Friday, October 31, 2008

The march of the students

Today, all over Italy, thousands of students, teachers and school workers marched to protest changes to Italy's school system. Berlusconi's centre-right governament supported the changes that will be cutting billions of euros from primary school, research, university and school in general.
I took this photo this morning in Piazza Erbe. There were hundreds and hundreds of students marching and shouting their statements against the newly launched changes. A lorry leaded the march, loaded with big music speakers that played very good instrumental music and right after the lorry, students, teachers, supporters, took the microphone and spoke their ideas.

I liked the mood and the energy of the parade, which was paceful and rich of contents.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Porta Borsari

Almost every day I walk under these arches and I hardly notice it. Now that I am handling this photo I take a closer look and realize how special this construction is.

It was built in the first century AD over a pre-existing gate dated first century b.C. The Via Postumia (ancient highroad built in 148 b.C., it ran from Genoa and in Cremona it spread in two branches: one ran to Aquileia - Venice and the other ran north to the Brenner Pass, through Verona) passed through this gate!
The gate's current name derives from the guard soldiers which were paid the fee to enter in the town (Latin bursarii).

I have heard that during the terrible flood of 1882 the water reached such a high level that the rescue boats couldn't make it through the arches!

Today I was honoured to receive the Kreativ Blogger award from Nobu of Funabashi Daily Phone Photo

Thank you so much Nobu, I am happy to have received the award from someone I admire and whom I consider a source of inspiration.
My duty now is to list 6 things that make me happy and 6 blogs worth of this award.

These are six things that make me happy:

1 My family, especially my little daughter
2 Meeting people, knowing their stories
3 Natural beauty, wildlife
4 Reading
5 Taking photos
6 Thunderstorms

6 blogs worthy

1 Cavite Daily Photo by Stephen
2 Menton Daily Photo
3 Sari (Iran) Daily Photo by Danial
4 Santa Fe Daily Photo
5 Lost in Sicilia
6 Sidney Meanderings

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


The sky is low and grey, I can smell the rain coming. I walk out of the historical centre leaving the town brick wall on my back. I reach Via Valverde: no medieval buildings, no roman remains, no tourists. Just two rows of lovely leafy trees, pastel coloured houses, a few shops.

I stop and take some photos, adjusting the manual mode in order to get the right pale green and yellow of the leaves. No way, I don't do a great job, I rely on your immagination!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ponte Scaligero

This is one of my favourite buildings of Verona, Ponte di Castelvecchio, also known as Ponte Scaligero.
It was built in three years, most likely in 1354-1356, by Cangrande II della Scala (hence the name Scaligero) to grant him a safe way of escape from the annexed castle in the event of a rebellion of the population against his tyrannic rule. The bridge was totally destroyed by the retreating German troops on April 25, 1945. A faithful reconstruction begun in 1949 and was finished in 1951.
I like the three arches and their different size. I often pass on this bridge coming from the town centre (on the right) to take my daughter to a little park that's just at the other side of the bridge. Click here to see my previous post featuring the bridge, the one about the two girls who skipped school!

Monday, October 27, 2008

San Fermo

This beautiful church is very close to where we live. It has a complex architecture and a stunning brick work. Here is a short excerpet from the Associazione Chiese Vive Verona web site:

Between 1065 and 1143 the Benedictine monks realized a great project. They built two Romanesque churches: the lower church to keep the relics, the upper to be used for religious functions. In 1261 the complex was handed over to the Franciscans, who transformed the upper church into its present form.

Whenever I pass I am captured by the artistic work. I look at the lower rows of terracotta bricks and think about the hand who placed it there, "the builder"that actually put one brick after another, a man that existed centuries ago, that had a family and a life, a medieval life, surely not an easy one.

Have you read "The Pillars of the Earth" by Ken Follett?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Pink... Arena

Pink, it's my new obsession,
Pink, is not even a question
Pink, are the lips of your lover
Pink, is the colour of passion
Pink it was love at first sight..." -

Pink by Steve Tyler of Aerosmiths

Today, Rob of Trieste Daily Photo honoured me with

Friends award!!!

Thank you!

Now is my pleasure to give this award to 5 other bloggers of my choice:

  1. New York Daily Photo by Ming
  2. Funabashi Daily Cell Phone Photo
  3. Salem Oregon Daily Photo
  4. New York Portraits
  5. Gliwice Daily Photo
And... is your turn to give the award to five other bloggers according to following rules:
1. Only five people are allowed
2. Four have to be dedicated followers of your blog
3. One has to be someone new or recently new to your blog and live in another part of the world
4. You must link back to whoever gave you the award

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Gastronomia Stella

This is one of the few Gastronomia left in the heart of the town. A Gastronomia is a "heavenly" shop where you can find all sorts of specialties. You may choose olives from Liguria, mozzarelle from Campania, sicilian oregano or cherry tomatoes, tuscan cheeses, cakes from Siena or chocolates from Piemonte, special pasta from Naples, etc.
There are also international gourmet products, like caviar or escargots. Their home made pasta (ravioli, tortellini) is the best (you can see it on the left) as well as all the freshly made fish specialties. And the salumi (ham, salami etc), mmhh, their choice is really top quality!

What about your town's Gastronomia specialties?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Evening lights

Just to give you an idea of Piazza Erbe in the evening. I took this yesterday, a few steps before I took the photo of my post yesterday.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Aperitivo in Piazza Erbe

Today I went out for a walk in the late afternoon, or, I should say, early evening, it was 6.30 pm.
At this time people look so relaxed, hang out at bars, have aperitives. I saw a guy who was almost reclined on his bike and sipping his drink while talking to his friends... I regret I couldn't bring myself to take a photo... Many people finish work at seven and rush to make a little shopping until closing time, which is, strangely, as early as 7,30.

I took this pic in Piazza Erbe, where all the bars were bustling with people having a good time.
This is where I like to have a glass of white wine before dinner, although it doesn't happen often!

Do you ever have an aperitive out with friends and where?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Fontana delle Alpi

This is the Fontana delle Alpi in Piazza Bra (Bra: from the german breit, wide). Last year I used to come to this garden in the square almost everyday with my little daughter. Being near home we pass by often. You can spot her on the other side of the fountain fence holding a pink sword.
This green bit of the square offers some shade in the summer and it is a meeting point all year round. There are benches and very cured flower beds and atiny summer kiosk that sells drinks and granatine, (ground ice and mint or fruit syrup) such a relief in the hot summer days...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Christmas lights (already)

Christmas lights appeared a few days ago but I still haven't had the occasion to see if they are already being switched on in the evening. These arches are called "I portoni della Bra" as they are the main entrance to Piazza Bra (you can see them on my post "Free Press").
Years ago Christmas decorations wouldn't appear before the beginning of december and that made the moment really magic. Nowadays the Christmas season lasts over two months and that "magic" fades quite a bit...

Any early signs of Christmas in your town?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Mysterious object

I was heading home when I found this scene in front of me. There was this mysterious object that was walking down the road, followed by the two guys with their hands behind their backs.
I spotted the feet of two persons walking inside the "legs" of the object and carefully making it walk, like two giant legs made of super coloured stuff, cotton, wool, plastic bits, gold and silver paper etc.
I have no idea what it is. But I didn't even ask, I might find it out sometime. I just wanted to show it to you, maybe you have a guess?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

My salad today

Today I take a break with views of the town and present one of my special salads! This is not quite veronese but you may happen to be served one if you came to visit me in Verona, so far.
I make a salad everyday, I am a serious salad eater!

Today I had one at lunchtime. For the base I mix different qualities of lettuce (often I get the ready ones, those that come in little leaves), sometimes I add carrots and tomatoes or a boiled potato. Then I add the "substantial" ingredient, mainly ham, bresaola, tuna, avocado (like today), emmentaler cheese, mozzarella, chicken, etc. To finish, I add some dried tomatoes (perfect with avocado and tuna, rather than ham, because they're both salty), or pickled ginger (the sliced one that is normally served with sushi - I get it from London!). Then I sprinkle some good olive oil and balsamic vinegar and accompany the plate with light crackers. It's so yummy!

Which is your favourite salad?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Military horses

These two guys in neat blue uniforms are Carabinieri, the national gendarmery. It doesn't happen every day to see them on horses, but here in Verona I have spotted them several times.
They are quite outstanding and as they pass they attract a lot of attention. I certainly wasn't alone to photograph them this morning as they stopped in Piazza Erbe and then kept on going, past the kiosks, towards Corso S. Anastasia.

Among the photos I took I chose this one because it shows a corner of Piazza Erbe which I have never featured before. You can see the Domus Mercatorum, (Home of the merchants), a medieval building (in 1210 it was built in wood, in 1301 it was built in stone, as you see it now). The building was of key importance in the development of the merchants corporations over the centuries.

There was a light fog this morning which made the buildings tops blur and dissolve...

Friday, October 17, 2008

The best Gelateria in town

Here is my favourite Gelateria. It's near home, so it's handy if we decide to go and get some icecream to eat after dinner. It's the Gelateria Patagonia and it is run by the argentinians. You can see that on the wall (but also on the sides and back) there is a huge collection of argentinian plates, jerba mate's "ball" cups and all sorts of typical argentinian items.
It is a very small shop with two entrances, it's very colourful and there is alway a very happy atmosphere. Sure, they are all friendly and welcoming!
Besides, the icecream is definitely the best I know!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A little treat for me

Ok, I am not feeling that good today. I have a really bad cold my bones are in pieces... So, can I have a little cake, just a treat, to lift the spirit and recover soon? Why not. I head to the Pasticceria Flego and look around. They have the most amazing cakes, they are so colourful, they look HAPPY! They seem to specialize on fruit cakes, so I'll have one of this enchanting little pastries, I bet they contain a lot of vitamins and will be good for my health, after all!

Which is your treat when you are feeling a bit down?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

No school today!

I crossed the river Adige on this beautiful brick bridge called Ponte di Castelvecchio (a post about it will be coming soon) and stopped to take a photo of it when the two girls caught my attention. It was past ten in a misty autumn morning and obviously the two girls "took a day off" from school and found a good quiet place to spend the morning with a very low risk to be spotted by a teacher or by a relative. They chatted closely and had their school bags near them and one of the girls had a diary opened on her lap.

The river flowed slowly, the air was still and I found myself thinking of when I was in my teens...,
not that escaping school was my habit but it happened, maybe a couple of times. I remember I felt excited, grown up and guilty, all at the same time...

There are many words in italian to call a "day off from school". The most common one is the verb marinare, litterally "to marinate", just like in a recipe you would say "I marinated school today!"
So which is your word to name it?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Road Safety Day

Monday 13 october, European Road Safety Day. Eleven dummies appeared in Piazza Bra. They were wrapped in a yellow sheet where a black print reported the most common causes of car accidents, as if told by the victim of the accident, like "It was raining", "I was talking on the phone", "One of the tyres exploded", "I was drunk", "I didn't fasten security belt" and so on.
The claim on the yellow board said "It doesn't always happen to others" and "On the road a second can be fatal, think about it".

I was touched and I appreciated the communication style: there was no need of a crashed car to impress the drivers. These dummies catched the attention with their yellow "dresses", so the first aim of the campaign was accomplished. Besides, they looked just like ghosts...

Monday, October 13, 2008

The big heavenly tree

There is a tiny park in the city centre, Piazza delle Poste. It's a big garden, rather than a park, I should say. There are several huge trees and flower beds and the soil is covered with grey oval gravel. There are green benches in the paths and in summer it is a shadowy place for a fresh stop.
Today in the early afternoon I was passing on the lane at the side of the park where it is enclosed by a high wall. There were four young friends having a chat. The tree looked heavenly as the intense rays of the sun enlightened the leaves and filtered through the spaces among the branches. This vision inspired me the words, I don't know if I can call it a Haiku...

The big tree witnesses all,
hopes, friendship and young love
in a sunny afternoon

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Vintage toys shop

This is one of my favourite shops in town. It's a tiny place that sells little antique items, mostly objects. They always have a special selection of toys and they often dedicate their tiny window to this collection. This time I particularly liked it because they displayed in a casual way many different toys of the '900. I am very fond the long nosed wooden marionette Pinocchio, one of the most popular italian kid's stories, written by Carlo Collodi. You can see another italian typical character, the big eared mouse in the middle, he is called Topo Gigio and he became famous in the seventies in a tv programme. Both of them two of my fav toys as a child!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Village weekly market

This photo inspired a friend in Japan to write a Haiku:

morning market ;
flowers cast autumnal colour.
by Nobu

This morning we visited Sommacampagna weekly market. This little town is close to a tiny village where we used to live before moving into Verona, one year and a half ago. We used to come here almost every week to enjoy a quiet stroll, a coffee, newspaper reading and, of course, to buy some nice vegetables and fruits, cheeses and the occasional extra item, that could have been a fleece jumper or a bathroom rug or, say, a pair of stockings. Many times my "extra item" was a plant which I liked to pick up at this florist's.

Friday, October 10, 2008

National Day for Paralympic Sports

This morning in Piazza Bra the Italian Paralympic Committee presented the third national day for paralympic sports. Young disabled demonstrated different sports, such as basket, handbike, torball, judo and many others. Highschool students took part to the games sitting on a wheelchair to experience their playmates difficulties.
Guest stars of the event were some Olimpic gold medals, both disabled and not. In this photo you can spot two olympic swimmers, Luca Marin and Federica Pellegrini, both in white t-shirts (she is a bit hidden).

I was really, really touched by these young disabled, they played with such an enthusiasm and, above all, they were really having fun. Some of them were struggling and I could see the strong determination that lead them to undertake sport and I tried to imagine how important it must be in their lives. I received a great life lesson today.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A new patisserie in town!

This patisserie was opened a few weeks ago. I pass by almost everyday and take a look at the window as it is always so beautiful. It's quite small but I find that this is not bad after all: what you see is the sweetest and yummiest square meter (more or less) in town!

I was there, "lost" in the fruit cakes, holding my camera and trying to decide how to get a good shot without the reflection on the glass when this lady approached and switched on her camera.
So I stepped back and took a photo of the lady taking a photo of the cakes, hoping she wouldn't notice me. And she didn't, and I was really glad. I apologize for the reflection...

Next, I decided to go in and have a good espresso and try just one very little little thing...!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Madonna Verona Fountain

I was again in Piazza delle Erbe yesterday, when I took this photo. A warm jumper and sunglasses, my step slow in this bright sunny morning, I kept stopping and observing and I took many photos. The fountain caught my attention more than anything else. The water was enlightened by the sun rays and it fell in the marble pool with delicate splash sounds.

I looked up and admired the marble roman statue named Madonna Verona. Somehow it testifies that this square has been used as a marketplace for two thousand years! The building facing the fountain is called Case dei Mazzanti and was built and frescoed in the first half of the XVI century. A friend of mine live in this building and has a couple of windows overlooking the square! I totaly love this view!

So, which is your favourite view in your town?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Autumn colours

I have never loved autumn like this year... its delicate beauty is hidden in a red and yellow leaf, in the bright orange of pumpkis, in the softness of the mist on a field, in the warm brown of a chestnut...
Browsing through the DP blogs I have admired so many beautiful seasonal photos and today I want to share mine. I took this in a vegetable stall in Piazza Erbe a few days ago.
The lady had arranged pomigranates, chestnuts and peperoncini on a tiny table creating such a lovely autumn set.
In the air I could smell the chestunuts being roasted a few steps back, their price scribbled with white chalk on the side of the rusty grill...

Monday, October 6, 2008

Saturday afternoon (window) shopping

Saturday, late afternoon, the city centre is packed. Via Mazzini is the first shopping street with the big designer brands and, along with Via Cappello and Corso Portoni Borsari is the most busy street, every day of the week. On saturdays and sundays Via Mazzini is absolutely choc-a-bloc and I definitely avoid it, especially if I am pushing the stroller.

Many people are in the shops, most of them are just browsing. Many people but not so many, considering the quantity of people strolling. Economical crisis = window shopping. I do that a lot lately. Do you?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Train models shop

This is the window of a tiny shop in Piazza San Zeno. I know it's been there for many many years. They sell all types of train models and accessories. Whenever we are here, we stop and observe: there are always different sets. It can be green hills and the trains, a railway station or just the trains. This time the set was quite outstanding: the square on the back of a german little town's railway station: many people, tables, a fountain, ancient buildings.

Do you know anyone who collects train models?

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Palazzo Canossa is one of the four buildings in Verona that were built by the 16th century architect, Michele Sanmicheli. He designed the building probably between 1530 and 1537 but it was not finished until around the second half of the 17th Century. On the loggia, eight mythological figures by Giuseppe Antonio Schiavi overlook the Corso Cavour down below. Giambattista Tiepolo painted the lounge vault with scenes from the Glory of Hercules however, most of it was lost in the second world war bombings.

Corso Cavour is a busy road. I almost never walk there but when I do, I can't but stop and admire the beautiful palaces. Although I was on the other side of the road, I couldn't frame the whole building, so I focused on the upper part: I thought the statues looked even more dramatic against the bright sky.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Morning coffee

This is one of my favourite places for a nice coffee in the morning. It is very close to home so after I have dropped my daughter at the nursery school I often come here for a (finally) quiet coffee break. Sometimes I meet other moms who have dropped their little ones too (there are two schools nearby) and we have a little chat. If I am alone I indulge in reading the newspaper with no hurry.

The place is called Caffé Dersut and it is part of the franchising project of a well established coffee company. There are at least two in the centre of town. I like it because the place, for a start, is simple and really nice and secondly because they have really good coffee and quite a wide choice of yummy pastries (much more than average coffee bars). One thing that I immediately found interesting is that they also have half-pastries! You can get a really yummy half nutella pastry and not feel too guilty for either eating it all nor for leaving half in the plate. Great idea!
They also sell coffee, you can see the different types in the photos. You choose the blend and they will grind it and put it in a lovely paper bag. Mmmmhhh, nothing compares freshly ground coffee!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Rock concert

Yesterday evening I was out and took this photo. The square was very crowded with the people waiting to get in the Arena for "Ligabue" concert, a very famous italian singer.

The Arena, a huge roman amphiteatre (resembling the Coliseum of Rome, just a bit smaller), two thousand years old, is still used as a big outdoor theatre. Can you imagine sitting in such an ancient structure for a rock concert? Roman architecture matched with..., say, ... Bjork (she sang here last july), a great stage lights show and superb audio power...

Isn't it such a interesting combination?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A walk on the Lungadige

Verona is characterized by the quiet current of the Adige River (the second biggest in Italy, after Po river), which crosses the city, forming an S, with a suggestive network of bridges.
I took this photo on a bit of the so called "lungadige" (along the Adige) beyond Via Sottoriva, actually one of my favourite places in town. It reminds me of l'Ile de St. Louise in Paris!
There is a row of ancient buildings, now completely restored, with lovely balconies facing the river and with a privileged view of the hill dominated by the Castel San Pietro.

I often walk by the river where I like to stop and take a long look at it, like this woman in the photo: sometimes it looks so still you can see the rocks. I like to see the ducks and other birds floating quietly. When it rains more the river gets bigger and stronger. It washes away quickly and can be even threatening. About ten years ago I saw it almost running out of the banks!

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