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I chose this trip as my daughter is studying Romeo and Juliet for her GCSE's and thought this could cement her learning. But despite this being the theme of the trip, it is almost completely absent from the tour - bar very brief viewings of the alleged buildings occupied by the Montague and Capulet families.
The day started with a 2hr drive from Venice to Verona - including rest stop. Our driver was harangued at this stop by another driver for his aggressive driving, having cut across him. This didnt surprise me, as on a couple of occasions i'd feared us crashing.
On arrival at Verona, we parked high over the city with magnificent views of the river and town, and descended down steep steps to start the tour.
This is a walking tour - 2 blocks of around 2 hours walking with a 2 hour lunch stop. It takes in churches, arena and castle as well as a little of Romeo and Juliet, with a guide who is informative if scripted. This became particularly obvious when he repeated a 5 minute passage of his dialogue word for word, inflection for inflection.
At the end of the tour, we were put onto the train back to Venice where we had a very smooth journey.
I enjoyed seeing Verona and the descriptions of the magnificent artwork in the churches in particular, was fascinating. However, this tour did not match its Romeo and Juliet theme and as for the driving - wow!
My elder daughter was very keen to do this Tour because she was studying Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet' in school, but the rest of us myself, my husband and younger daughter were not very keen to go along and spend a soppy, romance filled day hearing about and walking in the footsteps of the legendary doomed lovers. Surprisingly, this Tour, organised by Walks of Italy- Venice, turned out to be so much more than what we expected!
The drive from Venice to Verona takes around an hour and a half, but because the van that Walks of Italy provides with an experienced, friendly driver is so comfortable, the journey is smooth and eventful. Though you travel mainly on a highway, the pastoral and village views you encounter on both sides of the van are photo worthy at certain points. The van does also stop for a toilet and coffee break at a fuel station with good and clean facilities on request.
When we reached Verona, we collected Susie, our learned local guide, and traveled to a view point from where we were treated to a spectacular panorama of Verona, its meandering river and multiple bridges. Later with Susie, we gradually descended the hill to the River passing many Roman ruins en route. We also saw beautiful homes owned by locals.
On reaching the River we walked across one of the city's famous ancient bridges and were transported into the historic centre of Verona. As the city changed many hands it was under Roman, Venetian, Austrian control all the varied influences of these regimes can be clearly seen during the Tour. Susie gave us very detailed explanations of all the wondrous churches, piazzas and monuments that visited. There is so much antiquity in Verona- an archaic Roman amphitheatre and arch, part of an ancient city that still exists, albeit underground, a castle, etc. There are many Romanesque churches, which have been worked on in different eras and hence have much variation in structure and design.
Of course a part of the Tour is focused on Romeo and Juliet. As Susie explained, though the families with similar surnames as those of the legendary lovers did in fact exist and did have bad blood between them, the characters of Romeo and Juliet were sadly entirely fictional. During the Tour one does get to see 'Romeo's family home and visit the immensely popular and iconic Juliet's House- a villa fashioned into the home of the play's doomed heroine- complete with a balcony, museum, statue of Juliet that must be loved for good luck, lovers graffiti wall, souvenir stores, Juliet Club letterbox, etc.
During the Tour, one has time for lunch and a bit of shopping, with the guide's recommendations. Plus there's time for a quick gelato or coffee at two popular places, before the Guide escorts you to the railway station to catch your comfortable train back to Venice. The train journey too lasts for almost an hour and a half.
I recommed this Tour because since Walks of Italy caps the amount of people per group, so the experience is very intimate and results in friendships with fellow travellers at the end of the Tour. Also one experiences travelling to Verona by road from Venice and back by train- 2 different modes of transport, offering 2 different kinds of views and perspectives on the journey. Also Verona is a beautiful city, it's historic centre is best enjoyed on foot. With a good guide much can be seen and enjoyed in a span of a day without feeling rushed primarily due to good planning and also because much is within close proximity.
So without further adieu, book this tour if you want to enjoy a day in beautiful, ancient Verona and ofcourse are curious to learn the truth behind the legend of Romeo and Juliet!
Felicia Variava Albert, Managing Director, Blaze Tours and Travels Pvt. Ltd., Mumbai, India
This was a fairly thorough tour of the beautiful city of Verona. My only issue was that the beauty of this lovely city was lost into a lengthy long ancient history lesson. I realize this city is rich in it's storied past, but with only one day to visit, we felt like we were immersed into a long walking lecture, rather than exploring the beauty. Thank goodness for the two hour lunch break to wander on our own, but I think this tour would be better served to have the morning touching on a few bigger ancient highlights, and leave the afternoon to personal exploration.
A very nice if long day’s outing from Venice to the city of Romeo and Juliet (if the two existed, albeit the families did). Verona is fascinating, from old town to excellent Roman ruins (when we were there they were preparing for a performance of Aida in the Roman arena!
Our driver out to Verona was half asleep and quite usage/unnerving (June 23) - not a good asset at all and the coffee/rest stop was a shambles. Awful place.
You go up by van and return by train. Local guide in Verona was good.
We were really excited about this, it was our 48th wedding anniversary. We went to your internet site for the meeting place and it said Piazza Roma. We got up early and arrived at 8:30 AM, 1/2 hour early. We searched the Piazza diligently. We asked numerous tour offices. No one had even heard of you until we encountered one woman who looked you up and called both telephone numbers for us. There was no answer at either.We did not give up, we looked everywhere twice and 3 times, questioned bus drivers but finally at 9:15 we gave up. The voucher we had was apparently useless. This was our 4th experience with Viator. The first 3 including a trip to Stonehenge were great. This one was very disappointing not to mention expensive. Obviously we will not send pictures. We had previously recommended your services to our friends who travel, but after this experience it is unlikely we would do so again. As for ourselves we will probably not consider Viator for our travel assistance in the future. Bob and Eileen Segerson