Our first stop in Italy was Verona. We were looking for romance both medieval and modern. From the town square we walked down one street in particular which was lined with couture shops for everything from the ultimate black dress to these fantasy wedding gowns. Italian men and women window shopping in this area were walking advertisements for Italian fashion.
Not far off the square, however, our attention turned to the most romantic balcony of all, Juliet's. It was here in a narrow little street in Verona that two young lovers pledged their ill-fated love. Since the 1930s, lovers from all over the world make the pilgrimage to this site. On the door, and through the passage leading to Juliet's balcony,
lovers leave graffiti amore.
The messages on the passage walls tell of love lost and found. In the courtyard it is customary to rub the right breast of the Juliet statue for luck in love. Notice that it is worn from the constant touching. Every year before Valentine's Day all the graffiti is powerwashed away to make room for next year's collection of lovers' wishes.
Back in the square, which is the center of action for most Italian towns, we see our first costumes
and masks. In Italy, characters for the performing arts often dress in eighteenth century costumes and masks. These costumed characters were
advertising upcoming performances in the first century Roman arena which fronted the square.
There was also opportunities for tourists to be skammed as well. Here you see women from our tour group being "engaged" for a photo op by a handsome Roman soldier in his red cloak--for a price, of course.
Late in the day we travelled east to the small port city of Treviso on the Adriatic Sea where we boarded a ferry for Venice Lido. The fashionable Lido Beach was our base for the Venice and Burano leg of the tour. Our hotel, Le Boulevard, was aptly named because it was in the center of the beach action. It was also one of the most interesting accommodations for me. When you travel single, the rooms are often not the greatest, even though you have to pay a hefty single supplement. But sometimes you get a pleasant surprise. My room at Le Boulevard fit that bill. It was on the top floor and when I first opened the door my spirits dipped because there were no windows--how claustrophobic. And then I spotted two large skylights. A little tinkering with the blinds and I was able to sleep under the Italian stars for two nights--nice! This photo was an early morning view along Le Boulevard.
(Come back in a couple of days for a look at the masks and costumes of the Venice Carnevale. It was too late in the evening when we arrived on the Lido to take a vaporetto across the canal to Venice to check them out. And, who knew what dangers may be hiding behind the masks of a Casanova or dandy lurking in the shadowy canal streets of Venice?)