Over the extended weekend I drove to Italy with my bff. First we made ourselves comfortable on Lake Garda, before we took a closer look at the pretty town of Verona. In my travel diary I would like to share some highlights of this short road trip with you.
However, before we could soak up the sun, the traffic jam at the Gotthard Tunnel was doomed to us. So far I had always managed to avoid the traffic jam, but since another tunnel was closed due to a fire, there was only one way to the south. Unfortunately, the Gotthard Pass was still closed because of snow too. Nonetheless, we left and reached our first destination in time for the sunrise.
In advance, we had already reserved our hotel in Desenzano del Garda in the south of Lake Garda. The staff has been super nice and made sure we could get our room at 10am instead of 3pm to have a little rest. Because, there is a lot to discover around Desenzano del Garda, we drove to Sirmione in the afternoon.
Gone with the wind, we looked at the grottos of Catull. These are ancient ruins of a Roman villa at the northern end of the Sirmione peninsula at Lake Garda. This villa originally had three storeys and is really impressive. Especially the big columns and arches inspired us. The view of Lake Garda was at least as impressive and beautiful.
Very fascinating are also all the plants, which have searched their place between the ruins. If you are around, be sure to stop by.
In Sirmione, however, there are still more historic buildings to discover, the Castello Scaligero is a beautiful and well-preserved castle. The Scaliger built it from the Roman fort in Sirmione in the 13th century at the request of the Lord of Verona, the fortified castle.
In the evening we went back to Desenzano del Garda. There we walked along Lake Garda and enjoyed the beautiful sunset. Before we then found ourselves in a fish restaurant to eat spaghetti.
Cozy we let the evening end, before we went to Verona on day two. Many people know Verona thanks to the most famous love story: Romeo & Juliet. Verona is reachable by car in 30 minutes from Desenzano del Garda. If you are also traveling by car, I advise you to park your car in a guarded parking garage and not on the roadside. We found just before the city one, which costs 17 euros per day and is fully monitored.
Of course, I would like to share with you some tips and sights of Verona. Let’s start with the most famous attraction, the Arena of Verona.
The amphitheater is still well preserved and is also still used for various events. It was built more than half a century before the Coliseum in Rome and is a remnant of the Roman Empire too.
The arena is really impressive. If you want to see the arena from the inside, it is probably an advantage to arrive early. Since we did not have so much time, we have spared us queuing in the sun.
Directly in front of the arena is a pretty little park, which invites you for a short rest. Coincidentally, when we went to Verona, there was a marathon, so of course there were a lot of people around.
In Verona, you actually feel a bit relegated in time. It is a small town with a lot of character. Do not miss to walk through the typical Italian streets.
There is also a lot going on in the market place, Piazza delle Erbe. There you will find tourist souvenirs as well as genuine Italian leather bags and gelati.
If you prefer to take home an edible souvenir, I can recommend you the Torta russa di Verona. Crispy pastry on the outside, a soft cake inside. You will find the Torta russa di Verona in small bakeries.
Now to the landmark of all Romeo & Juliet fans. Of course, I did not miss the opportunity to visit Julia’s house and even climb to the famous balcony. It should be about the house from the fictional story. The balcony, however, was later built as a tourist attraction. In the house there are then some costumes, e.g. the premiere of the piece to discover.
I can also recommend the ascent to the hill San Pietro. The view is simply breathtaking. Unfortunately, the Castello del San Pietro was not visible because it is fenced. In the last picture you can see the Ponta Pietra – the bridge over the Adige.
Of course, before I went back home I had to refresh my lipstick all over the Italian way 😉 I hope you enjoyed my report and provided inspiration for your next trip to Italy.
Have you ever been to Lake Garda or Verona?