Ciao! At the time I’m writing this, it’s been about just over 3 weeks since I first stepped foot in Verona, Italy, after eating from local restaurants, moving into the Residence, and getting some-semblance-of-adequate-sleep, I can proudly say that it’s finally hitting me: I am in a different country. I think this reaction has been delayed because I have been go, go, going non-stop since the first connecting flight. When we first walked through customs, our USAC (University Studies Abroad Consortium) program director has kept us busy. Between group dinners, orientations, and tours of the city, there hasn’t been time for it to really sink in that we are far away from our home country.
My favorite part of the first full day was the city walking excursion and the free time that followed. Our guide gave us a tour of Verona. He took the group down the ancient streets-some over 2000 years old- and gave us a compact version of the history of the city and Italy itself. We learned a little bit of everything, from Castelvecchio (“Old Castle”), to the true history of the Capulets and the Montague’s rivalry (Juliet’s balcony was actually constructed after the famous play came out), to Ponte Pietra (“Stone Bridge”). Each of these locations holds a special place in Verona’s history and helped shape it to be the city it is today.
For the free time that followed, I grabbed lunch and gelato with my roommates, and then we set out to discover the city on our own. Our first stop was Castel San Pietro (“St. Peter’s Castle”), where we took the Funicular up the incline to get to the top. The views from the castle boundaries were breathtaking: you could almost see the entirety of the city from there! Since the castle is under renovation, guests could only walk the grounds, but it was definitely worth the one euro trip up. From there, we met up with friends for dinner and finished exploring the city.
At the end of the day, I gained new insight into the city I will be calling home for the next six weeks, an appreciation of the art and history that can date back 2000 years ago, and 24000 steps that I definitely felt the next morning.
The next few posts will be catching up on the adventures I have taken thus far.