I have fallen in love, so much so, that I don’t want to leave my hotel and I certainly don’t want to leave the city. I want to stay here forever. Or, perhaps I can transport every moment back home with me, from the heavenly chocolates in the minibar, to the Florentine scent, to the perfectly plump pillows. But of course, most importantly, the view over the lemon trees in the courtyard which give way to fragments of blue sky beyond terracotta sloping roofs.
I am staying in a Palazzo, and whilst not actually a palace, the Palazzo Victoria is fit for a queen, or indeed a Capulet. The three palazzos from which the hotel was created, was originally a Roman villa and then later, the residence of an influential 14th-century Veronese dynasty. Although never home to either of Shakespeare’s famous families, the property is just a short walk from the fictional Juliet’s balcony.
Hand-painted 13th century frescos grace the walls outside my room and below me lie ancient ruins dating back to Roman times. Palazzo Victoria is utterly romantic and therefore a good place to contemplate life, and of course love.
Just a short train journey from Venice, fair Verona is ideal for a weekend of falling in love. Get lost in the cobbled streets, dine al fresco in ancient courtyards, and sample Valpolicella grapes. Despite a reputation for broken hearts and tragedy, it seems that everyone is in love in the city and romance dances in every corner.
Spring is a perfect time to visit Verona, as you can spend sunny, crisp days exploring the sites and evenings tucked away in cosy trattorias. Start with an expresso in Piazza Bra, and gaze upon the Arena – the breathtaking Roman amphitheatre, before strolling down Via Mazinni for some window shopping, then continue to Piazza delle Erbe.
Romantics can later head towards Corso Santa Anastasia to the Club di Giulietta, made famous by the 2010 film and write a Letter to Juliet. The club began in the 1930’s when Ettore Solimani, the guardian of Juliet’s Tomb, began gathering and replying to the letters, thus becoming Juliet’s very first secretary. On the evening, I visited, I met one of Juliet’s young secretaries, a young medical student who invited me to join her in replying to some of the recent letters.
You can easily explore Verona in a long weekend, sampling the fantastic cuisine and Valpolicella wine as you go. I tasted my favourite ever melanzane alla parmigiana at Antica Bottega del Vino, the slow cooked aubergine and ripe, plump tomatoes perfectly complimenting the bold red wine. After a few days of slow food and passeggiata along cobbled streets and piazzas, much like Romeo, it is easy to imagine there is no life beyond Verona’s Walls.