I was in the beginning of a new, exciting trip. I took a decision – in 2017 I need to visit more places in Italy and include that country in my “program” 😀
A little curiosity about my hometown, Rijeka, in Croatia is that it’s situated on just a few hours of driving from Venice. Going by bus and train is a slower option, of course, but it still works well. I have traveled to Italy since I was little, but during the last 8 years I was in that country mostly at airports, bus and train stations, in outlet shopping malls and autogrill service stations on highways. After a few long-distance travels, to Finland and USA, it was time for just a short-distance but high-quality trip that will not include many different cultures, climates or time zones.
Early in the Sunday morning, I was boarding a bus in Rijeka in order to get to Trieste. From Trieste I had a bit long trip to Verona, having to change the bus in Venice. After a night with little or no sleep, I was in Verona, ready to visit a few museums!
Verona itself is a city-museum. Many details of the streets of this beautiful city will tell you what are the lands where centuries of art movements and architecture styles truly began. This will also be a place to enjoy a real Italian spirit, as Verona is simply a middle-sized city, with no more than 200 000 inhabitants.
Castelvecchio; Castle and Bridge. The impressive bridge over the Adige River was built fully in brick and today it’s a compulsory selfie stop. It’s not easy to take a picture, though. Some spots on the bridge have lines of people wanting to take pictures. Historical places, oh yeah! Everyone wants to get selfies there, isn’t it?
Maybe not. The most popular place in Verona to take pictures is the Juliet’s House. This Castelvecchio Museum was crowded as well on that day. There was a long line to buy tickets, extending to the beautiful courtyard. After 20 minutes of waiting, I got my turn in front of the tickets office and I learned that the price was just 1 euro and that it was a special periodical offer or something like that.
Bingo! A visit to this museum takes about an hour if you are an average visitor. The first part of the visit is dominated by the ancient and medieval stonework that was found by archaeologists around Verona. The building itself, as the name suggests, is a medieval castle built by the most powerful Veronese family of the time. It was some kind of combination of a fortification and a secondary residence. There is a series of rooms with Italian paintings and sculptures, hm, not any kind of Italian, but…
There was a painter named Paolo Veronese, but he spent most of his life in Venice. Other painters are represented here, mainly ones who worked in Verona, regardless of their origin. The fun thing here is that some of the Castle’s original frescoes from the XIV century are well preserved and the rooms can be easily imagined as rooms of a residential palace, although the whole space is equipped as an art museum, and not a palace museum.
Another fun part of visiting this museum is in the exhibition design. While some paintings are simply placed on the walls, others are put on some kind of artists’ easels so it looks like artwork “in progress”.
While the museum was fairly crowded at the time of my visit (maybe due to the “promotional” price? :D), it has a unique visiting experience, that includes the views of the river Adige and the bridge… on the other side, visitors can enjoy views over the building’s gardens and go from on section to another through the bridges between the wings of the Castle, discreet design interventions that make the visit to this museum plausible, designed by the architect Carlo Scarpa in the 50s and 60s.
The museum was installed into the Castle, however, numbers of interventions were made to make a visit easy and pleasurable experience.
So if you have included Verona in your Italian trip, and you want to get good insights about Italian art, this museum will be a cool place for you. Apart from art, you will learn about medieval architecture and contemporary design. The only thing that is missing, in my opinion, is a good restaurant on this place. If there is one in some wings of the castle, and I didn’t notice, my bad. But it didn’t seem that there is any. At least around the visitors’ part of the castle-museum.
This is the first article in a series of 8 episodes talking about my Italian trip in January 2017. The next episode will tell you a story of my visit to a temporary exhibition in Verona, and the article will be accompanied by an advice for heritage and culture travelers to find the greatest temporary exhibition on their trips.