But we got distracted by the opera sets outside, around the back of the Arena and watching the cranes and men in cherry-picker trucks working there. The sets are huge and look so heavy–I guess that’s why they need a big crane to get them in and out of the ancient arena. It’s one of those fabulous juxtapositions of then and now right on the streets of Verona.
Walking across town we saw the church of St. Anastasia. We bought a pass for 5 churches and went in. The wooden doors in front are huge and strong. The ceiling art is beautiful and looks like fine upholstery fabric. They have some famous works in there including the 2 hunchbacks who hold the holy water when you first walk in. There was also a older local man spouting things about the Saints and Italian history–bouncing around from St. Mark to Marco Polo to Garibaldi. He was kind of loud and dirty looking but harmless. You can see him here with one of the hunchbacks.
Ken had his heart set on the Roman Theater so we got to go over a new bridge, The Ponte Pieta, the oldest of all.
Coming home I had a scary near miss with a speeding bicyclist. Really scary! I’m doing some more serious window shopping. Time is winding down. We have less than a week to go.
We walked through Piazza Dante, and the Palazzo Capitano, amazed at the history represented there. Sometimes we’re not certain what we’re seeing but we are feeling it. This arch was constructed in 1687. We read it’s history on the information placard but it’s just a paragraph.
Lunch was at the Restaurant San Mateo Church–right near our apartment. You can see a bit of the old walls at the entrance but from that point it’s strictly a very efficient restaurant. They serve the business people around here as well as student groups. There a menu of probably 70 pizzza possible combinations (they have a big wood burning oven), a salad bar and about 5 blackboard dishes of the day–like risotto for 6.50! We sat down and I got a spritz and Ken got a beer. We ordered a veggie pizza (La Vegetariana) and a small salad and shared. Can’t believe I ate my whole half of pizza! And they give you a complimentary coffee sorbetto afterwards! After that we came upstairs and I passed out for a good long nap.
Roy came over around 6 and we all hung out for a while. Then we walked over to Luisa’s cousin’s house– 3 minutes max, from our apartment. We met Luisa’s son Luca and some more family. Roy was very insistent on taking us to this certain Sicilian seafood place, a bit out of town in the San Michelle neighborhood, called Antonio and Rita. We all piled into the car and off we went. It was only about a 15 minute drive but we felt we had left Verona. The restaurant was great fun and totally delicious. We had the waitress/owner come to the table and recite in very rapid fire Italian the possibilities of antipasti and she suggested a large whole fish we could share, family style. She selected a Sicilian white for us, too. We had a huge platter of several kinds of shrimp over some simple lettuces (talk about a shrimp cocktail! And another with about 10 different raw fish, some were smoked. My favorite had mango and ginger under it. And then we got the beautifully cooked whole Lombrina with lots of roasted white and purple potatoes, oh, and another bottle of white wine from near Naples. The fish reminded me of the taste of fish when we would go fishing and wrap the fish in foil and cook the so simply on the grill. Just great flavor of the fish!
When we drove back passed the Piazza Bra the opera was just getting out–around mid night. The town was jumpin’ . The bars and the ice cream shops were all open and crowded. We stayed on the street talking for a while and then made the 2 minute walk home.