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City Guide: Verona

By Italian Football
December 1 2004

Brief description:
The historic city of Verona was founded in the 1st century CE. It flourished particularly under the rule of the Scaliger family in the 13th and 14th centuries and as part of the Republic of Venice from the 15th to 18th centuries. Verona, a city of culture and art, has preserved a remarkable amount of monuments from antiquity and the medieval and Renaissance periods, and represents an outstanding example of a military stronghold.

Now the important stuff Football, Verona is home to 2 sides the mighty (or once mighty anyway) Hellas Verona and a bunch of impertinent upstarts called Chievo who the sooner they get relegated the happier a certain writer will be.

They both play at the Bentogodi stadium which, while not the biggest can have an amazing atmosphere when Hellas is playing (cant speak for Chievo I would imagine they send each other smoke signals or something, I mean there is only about 3 of them).

The hard core of Hellas fans are called the Brigate Gialloblu (the yellow-blue Brigade) the hard core of Chievo fan is called Mike although to be fair he is often joined by his pet dog tiny.

Out and About (A bit of culture):
There are a couple of real finds in Verona, just away from the centre - Veronetta on the north bank of the Adige and the beautiful Giusti gardens, the peace only broken by somebody rehearsing, possibly for an opera performance later on. Lake Garda is only a 15-minute drive away and in Desenzano, Garda's largest town, an antique market is held on the first Sunday of every month. Get there early to pick up the bargains. If you see something you fancy, shipping can be arranged. Further up the coast at Moniga, you can join a boat trip or rent your own at around 65 per half day.

One of Italy's most atmospheric opera houses is Verona's Roman Amphitheatre. Built in the 1st century AD, it's remarkably well preserved and is home to the summer opera festival. It's advisable not only to book an opera seat but also a restaurant. Instead of the overpriced ones nearest the amphitheatre go to the Bottega del Vino just round the corner. (Advertising I know but it is a good restaurant)

The restaurant attracts both tourists and locals with its wine list offering a selection of over 3,000 wines and the special opera meal. Three courses cost around 30 and the restaurant stays open until 4am during opera season for those who like to eat after the performance.

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