Italy – Part 1 – Verona and Venice

If you have been following The French Lemon for any amount of time, you probably already know that I spent some time in Italy this past March. Things have been so busy around here the past few months that I have failed to blog about it so I think it is time to change that.

My trip to Italy started with a 6:00 am flight to Atlanta.  We had a short layover in Atlanta and then flew to New York where we had another short layover.  We then flew from New York City to Milan, Italy.  It was an overnight flight which means that we landed around 8:00 am Italy time in Milan. I love overnight flights to Europe!  If your flight is scheduled to land early in the morning then that means the last bit of your flight is spent chasing the sunrise.  I love watching the sun slowly rise as the plane races towards it.  We were so fortunate with this flight.  As the sun began to rise, we were flying over the Swiss Alps! I had a window seat and was so thankful for that view!  It was absolutely glorious!

Flying over the Swiss Alps

Verona

We unfortunately did not spend any time in Milan.  As soon as we landed and made it through customs we boarded our bus that was waiting for us and headed for Verona.  We arrived in Verona in time for lunch.  Verona is probably most well-known for being the setting of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. While the tale is not historically accurate, the city of Verona has capitalized on it and you can visit Juliet’s balcony.

Juliet’s Balcony

It is free to view the balcony from the outside of the house but you can also pay a small fee to enter the house and stand on the famed balcony.  A statue of Juliet graces the courtyard below the balcony.  It’s tradition to touch the statue for luck in love.  It’s a pretty neat place to visit but it was incredibly crowded so be prepared for that.

Verona is also home to the world’s third largest amphitheater that has survived from Roman antiquity. The Verona Arena is stunningly well preserved and intact.  The arena is actually still in use today and is famous for the opera performances that are frequently held there.  It is a quite a sight to see and I recommend checking it out if you have some free time in Verona.

Verona Arena

Venice

Adriatic Sea

After we left Verona we went to our hotel which was located just outside of Venice on the Adriatic Sea.  Our hotel was right on the beach and we had a bit of time before dinner to stick our toes in the sea.  So cold!

Dipping our toes in the Adriatic Sea!

 

Our second day in Italy we spent in Venice.  We started the day by visiting the island of Murano which is famous for its glass artisans. We watched an incredible glass blowing demonstration and then shopped some of the hand blown glass products in the shop. I bought some beautiful glass earrings. After seeing the incredible work these artists do, I decided that it’s my life mission to someday build my dream house, travel back to Murano, and pick out an incredible glass chandelier to go in that dream house!

Glass blower in Murano

We then headed a bit further into Venice.  We toured the Doge’s Palace which had exquisite architectural details and beautiful works of art. It was really a sight to see and the history of the palace is also very interesting.  If you have the opportunity to take a guided tour of the palace, I highly recommend it.

Ceiling in the Doge’s Palace in Venice

Ceiling in the Doge’s Palace in Venice

We spent some time in Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square) and had the opportunity to explore Venice a bit. I really loved this city but it is a bit difficult to get around.  The streets often felt like a maze to me but I had a lot of fun exploring.  I wish we would have had more time in Venice because I would have liked to make my way a bit further into the city.  I plan to go back someday and just spend several days exploring all of Venice.

Bridge of Sighs in Venice

Of course, you can’t visit Venice without taking a gondola ride.  Gondola rides are a bit expensive but it is such a traditional experience in Venice that I think everyone who visits Venice should try it at least once.  That being said, I’m not sure that I will spend the money to ride a gondola again when I return to Venice. The experience was valuable and a neat one to have but not necessary to fully appreciate the beauty of Venice.

Riding a gondola in Venice

Riding a gondola in Venice

Venice was definitely one of my favorite places that I visited while in Italy.  Stayed tuned for a future blog post to see where else we went!

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