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One of the challenges of living in a place like Verona, is that visiting guests often expect you to be an expert. On everything. Local art, architecture, history, wine, food, football….
All too often I have to plead ignorance. Or, increasingly, I just make something up...
“Oh that’s the Church of the Sacred Lady of the Apples. It was built on the sight of an ancient apple tree that was destroyed in the great storm of 1477. Ever since, on the 13 April each year, the people of Verona eat an apple to commemorate that sacred tree.”
Wow, reading that back now it sounds kinda plausible !
While spinning such lines to gullible visitors might be amusing, after four years of living in Verona, I’ve decided it's time discover some of Verona's most important treasures and to fill some of the gaping voids in my knowledge of city's incredible art and architecture.
But where to start?
Cycling to one of my regular clients, my route takes me along the banks of the Adige, past the medieval splendour of the church of San Giorgio in Braida, up a slight incline, the Roman bridge Ponte Pietra on my right, Teatro Romano on my left.
A slight downhill now as the road widens, then reaches a fork. I’m usually too concerned with safely navigating the early morning traffic to admire the statue in any great detail, but it's impossible to miss.
An elongated face with a full, well-groomed beard, an Elizabethan ruff, and a rather large medallion. Dressed in a artists smock and short toga, he is holding in one hand a paint brush and in the other a palette.
He is, of course, Paolo Veronese, Verona's very own master of the Renaissance.
A week later I pass again, this time at a rather more leisurely pace. Pushing a pram instead of riding a bike, it’s a bright sunny afternoon in late summer (or early autumn if you’re Italian) and today we’ve decided to go in search of Veronese.
My companion for the day seems blissfully unaware of the days itinerary, but he appears to be alert and interested as we admire the imposing statue before us.