We all have a city in our hearts that we cherish so much it has a recurring role in our dreams. For me, New York was a long-time love, even though I’ve only visited it for one night when I was 10. Then last year I spent 5 days in the Big Apple and although I still carry its magic with me, recently I’ve been drawn back to another gem in the world.
Verona is calling my name with every heartbeat.
Sometimes I start walking along Via Nicola Mazza, sometimes I choose Via Venti Settembre. I walk past La Ruota Cafe, stop for a second by the window of Libreria Cortina Editrice, then continue my way towards the river. The Adige never appears the same to me, but now it is elegant and monumental with its slow tide. I admire it for a while, standing on Ponte delle Navi, wondering where the key I once threw in its water might be now.
I find my way to Via Leoni, which changes into Via Capello after a while. I remember there was a store on the left where I spotted some Essie nail polishes back when I’ve only heard of them on Youtube. The big things in life.
On the right, among the shops selling souvenirs and handcrafted aprons, the ones you can have your name written on, I spot a cozy and shadowy gate. If I went in, I would find a balcony and a statue of the greatest love story ever written in history. Next to the statue there is another gate, but this one is made of grids. Perfect for leaving a locket there. If I concentrate, I can still see where mine is. But today I am not going in. I only touch the wall that leads the way inside. There is my name on it somewhere, written with a blue marker.
Leaving Casa di Giulietta behind, I find myself at Piazza delle Erbe. So many little memories. The time I bought my first and only Cruciani bracelet and only wore it there. The first time I heard about Aperol Spritz and thought it was some weird drink. Indeed, I thought all those people who love it must be crazy. Then here I am, three years later, drinking that Aperol every time I go out. Also, memories of a cup of cappuccino loom in, was it at Cafe Filippini or somewhere else? I can’t remember. What I do remember, however, are the many little street stands offering various handmade clothes and jewelry. I bought two of my favorite winter pieces there; a beautiful and warm maroon colored wool scarf, and an even warmer koala hat. Casual.
I turn back and spend some time at Via Giuseppe Mazzini. All those stores, ah! It was heaven for a girl in her early twenties. I walk by Sephora, where a girl stops me to make me smell a perfume. I continue my way, but then the scent lingers on around me and I’m in love. I run back to ask for its name. I buy a big bottle the moment I’m back in Hungary.
Now I’m at Piazza Bra. I look around. I could go into the Arena but that would take an hour and as my favourite poem from Frost says, I have ‘miles to go before I sleep’. I stop at the fountain though, I recall a little boy having so much fun looking at the water it made me smile for a long time.
I’m starting to get hungry. I go through the gates of I portoni della Bra. Then I see my nickname on one of the streets. I follow San Luca (although he’s not a woman, but hey), then I have to choose. I could turn left and eat some pizza quattro formaggi at Pizzeria Bella Napoli. It is delicious, especially if you ask them to put some prosciutto on it for you as well. But I’m not that hungry, so I just grab something at Eurospar – it’s on the right. With some fruits in my hand, I’m heading towards Ponte di Castelvecchio.
Sometimes I stop here in my daydreaming. Sometimes I wander towards Ponte Pietra, then hike up to Parco delle Colombare. I just adore looking at the city from above.
And there are even times when, passing by San Pietro da Verona in Santa Anastasia, I go and climb the damn stairs of Torre dei Lamberti, even though I have a huge vertigo.
That’s how much I love you, Verona.