We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
We drove down from the Dolomiti and the Alps to Verona, which is immediately south of the foothills. Straight shot on the Autostrada (#22). Nice little Renaissance town. We stayed in the Old City (an old Roman city on the bend of the Aldige River) instead of venturing out into the modern city (pop. 275,000). Tourists hang around the old city, but plenty of Italians come into the old city for fun and shopping.
Verona is a charming old town, walkably-manageable in size although we did get a little lost walking out to see St. Zeno. Getting lost is not a bad thing because you see things. It is a bitch to drive into, though, once you get off the highway. Cops keep yelling at you for going the wrong way. Gotta laugh.
The Passagiata in Verona is wonderful, between 5 and 8 pm. It's a town of lovely women of all ages, and the Italian men look great with their fitted shirts and tailoring. We tourist men, not so great. All the kids in strollers and backpacks look good, and the women look feminine. Lots of real blondes in northern Italia.
In my view, all women and all men ought to try to look their best, in public at least. Being over 40 or 50 doesn't mean that you are dead. I just have no talent for style. I shoulda brought my red trousers with me.
Dinner is around 8-8:30, and afterwards the young and/or single people, looking good, fill the narrow streets and piazzas - I call them pizzas - and bars with laughter and flirtation. A jolly scene. Women hold hands, men kiss. Everybody drinks and smokes.
La dolce vita.
Lots more pics below the fold - Mrs. BD thought our lady readers might enjoy the clothing shops -
Front of our hotel, the building - an old monastery - dates to 1200 - the Gabbia D'Oro
The breakfast room. In this hotel, you are expected to look good when you come downstairs. Dress properly, not like an American tourist. It is fairly clear that they will treat you better with a jacket and tie for tea time. I had no tie, because this was mainly an Alpine hiking trip.
La Bella Figura does matter.
The hotel's Tea Room:
Misc. Verona street pics
A spritzer of these seems to be the popular summer drink this year:
Mrs. BD says her friends call this "D and G"
If you recall, Dante fled Florence and ended up here
At the opera in the Roman arena, before it filled up. A wonderful birthday treat.
Why are all of the women walking away from you? Was it something you said?
Sartorial Note: Buy a tan cotton suit, wear it with a crisp white shirt and a black tie. You will look like a Don and people will show you respect. I have seen this in the hill towns of Sicily.
The picture of the woman in the black dress and heals with the bike reminded me of Milan. I was fascinated by the lovely women who were riding bikes in a nice dress and heals. I have never seen that in the US.
When I lived in Europe in the 60's wearing shorts, a T-shirt or Levis would get you dirty looks and sometimes even a dressing down if the local could speak English. I remember once in Belgium a friend and I were eating breakfast at the hotel we stayed in and an Englishman at the next table commented on my friends Bermuda shorts by saying "good morning, I see you almost got dressed this morning". Interestingly in the 60's Italy had so many "common" people or poor immigrants that poor taste in clothing was common but instead of simply making you appear to be a tourist it made you appear to be from the lower class. It did cut down on the panhandling somewhat.
In most of the larger cities in Italy the gypsies were usually abundant. From the little girls begging to the teen boys aggressively panhandling and stealing to the older men roughing up anyone who showed offense at being accosted. Did you see any/many gypsies and/or panhandlers?
Interesting, I thought this was a Mexican custom. My son went to a college in Southern California that is in a town with a heavy middle-class immigrant Mexican population (one of the places you move to if you have "made it" in America). At around sunset on weekends families with their children would come out in the downtown area (there called "uptown"), have ice cream cones, and just walk around and socialize. I thought it was a very nice tradition and it made a positive impression on me.
I lived in The Italian alps in Trentino for over ten years working as a rafting guide. I spent a lot of time in Verona, my favorite town in Italy after Venice.
In your photo of Dante you will notice there is another statue in the background. The statue is holding a large ball. The local saying goes that when an honest man walks beneath the statue the figure will drop the ball. I walked under it a number of times but it seems I am not as trustworthy as I imagined.