Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A quiet evening

A quiet, cold evening. 
The river Adige flows slowly. 
The end of the year is close.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Case dei Mazzanti #3

 Case dei Mazzanti, the medieval building on Piazza Erbe. This is my favourite bit, the corner on Corso S. Anastasia with this beautiful painting overlooking the square. I never fail to look up when I walk by!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Never too cold

We had a really ridiculous sprinkle of snow after lunch and I got really excited about it, although it didn't even show on the ground as there were at least 3°C. The good side of it is that it's never too cold here to prevent us from sitting outside a café and having a coffee or a drink, as far as we sit near this "fire" column. We were not alone, as you can see, in fact almost all the tables were busy.  A hot chocolate with cream and a champagne was our toast to the snow!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Roast chestnuts

Among the colourful kiosks in Piazza Erbe there are two veg stalls that also sell roast chestnuts. They work a lot when it's very cold, like today. I like the chestnuts smell and flavour, but, above all, I love to feel the warmth of the paper bag in my hands!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas home interior

This is our third Pandoro... The second, though, was an "Offella" and it's finished now... (so very yummy). It is considered the ancestor of Pandoro, going as far back as 1891 (see the site of the most renowned pasticceria that makes the best Offelle...).
The first Pandoro we ate was a Bauli, surely the most popular one, with its typical lilac box (italian children - me included, a while ago - play with this box. Parents cut holes for the eyes and the child wears it on his head, like an armour). 
This third is a "second choice" one, sold (only locally) in a clear plastic bag at a ridiculous price only because its shape is not perfect... We like to buy the boxed ones first because the the box is part of our Christmas traditions...but we usually grab a couple of these too...
Next one (and last...) will be a Paluani, of course. The red box is very festive and the cake is really really good!
So, after my lecture about our typical Christmas cake, you surely know what to seek for!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Urban Nativity

Nativity in the urban scene: everybody is too busy to notice.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Romeo's house

The brick house, that looks like a little fortress, dates back to the 14th century and, according to tradition, is where Romeo lived.  Many people, all year round, stop here to take a photo of this building, today it was my turn!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Street musicians in the sun

Lovely sunny morning. Piazza Erbe was packed with people browsing among the fruit and souvenirs stalls or sitting at the Cafes. We were having coffee when these two guys appeared on the scene, just in front of us. They played a pleasant tune and they looked happy and giggling. After the little "show" they came among the tables to collect a few coins. I like to hear music in the street, it makes such a lovely atmosphere... and lift the spirits!

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Desire    (di-zahy-uh-r) / noun

>a longing or craving, as for somethin that brings satisfaction or enjoyment/
ME desiren >OE desirer 

Friday, December 19, 2008

Back to the first century B.C.

Verona hosts one of the richest collections of Roman remains in Northern Italy.
This is the biggest roman excavation in town and I love it. I often stop by and admire the variety of structures, the shapes, the bricks and the huge stones and wonder how many hidden treasures there might be under my feet as I walk in the city centre.
I also like to observe the sophisticated architectural work that made the site perfectly visible from the street level.
This site marked the south-western border of the roman Verona, accessible through Porta dei Leoni which is a few steps to the left. 

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Gingko update

A soft, yellow carpet: that's what all the leaves of the Gingkos (there are two) have formed in the last few days falling down, helped by the continuous rain. 
This morning the sun shone for a few hours, bright and warming in the perfectly clean sky...until grey clouds were back in the very early afternoon...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Such a romantic corner...

Heart of town, early evening. Soft lights to admire a lovely wedding gown.
Now, isn't it a most romantic corner? 
For the first time since I made this blog, I couldn't choose between two pics.
Let me show you both, for once. Which one would you choose?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

It's raining again!

It's raining again
Oh no, my love's at an end.
Oh no, it's raining again
and you know it's hard to pretend.
Oh no, it's raining again
Too bad I'm losing a friend.
Oh no, it's raining again
Oh will my heart ever mend.
Oh no, it's raining again
You're old enough some people say
To read the signs and walk away
It's only time that heals the pain
And makes the sun come out again    (It's raining again, Supertramp)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Sicilian specialties

Yummy! I resisted the temptation to stop and buy some sicilian pastries today. I was in a hurry and there was a large crowd in front of the stall. But I thought I could afford to spend a minute for a couple of shots...
Marzapane, almond pastries, cannoli with ricotta, pistacchio cookies... mmmhhh...
Too bad that this enchanting stall is gone... All the Santa Lucia stalls packed up and moved...the festivity is definitely over...for this year. 

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Santa Lucia

Every 13rd December Verona celebrates Santa Lucia. Children receive presents (as well as Christmas...) and the typical stalls sell a variety of handicraft, food, toys, tools... the list goes on and on. 
It's a very old tradition and the veronesi are really fond of this festivity that is observed only in Sicily and in a few other towns here in the north.
The first poem that my daughter, aged 3, was taught at school is dedicated to this beloved Saint!

If you want to learn more about Santa Lucia festivity, my friend Antonella wrote an interesting piece, look here!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Rain, rain and more rain!

It's been raining for at least three days... We are completely soaked, luckily not flooded, like it is happening in Rome..., but still...!
I avoided posting "rainy" pics, but today I just can't skip it!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Windows, arches and other details...

I took this photos standing on one of the few staircases in town, in fact, you can see that my view is higher than the street below. I liked this view because it contains a huge variety of windows, arches, columns and oter interestning details. 
As I often suggest, just stop for a minute and look better!  

Ps: I took this pic a few days ago, when there was a bright sun. Now it's grey and damp: it's been raining for two days and more rain is coming...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Wrought iron

Merlons, marble columns, arched windows, beautiful frescoed rooms... This is the medieval Palazzo del Podestà that hosts the administrative offices of the Province of Verona. 
The Palace, faces Piazza dei Signori, while the back side runs along Corso Santa Anastasia with
its courtyard enclosed by this beautiful wrought iron fence that never fails to attract me whenever I pass by...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Morning coffee and newspaper

You already knew that I love to go out in the late morning and have a nice, warm, tasty black espresso...
A couple of days ago I found out that where once was a store, a new café is to be found, so I entered to check it out!
It's a Loacker café, the brand of a very popular wafer biscuits based in Bolzano, up in the Dolomiti Mountains. In fact here you can find the complete Loacker range that is absoluuuutely yummy !
The coffee was good and I enjoyed being served in this rough, sud-tiroler style huge table: I was, in fact, sitting on a high stool, and sharing the table with some other persons who sat on the other end... 

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas market in Piazza Dante

A lovely Christmas market arrived directly from Nurnberg, Germany, into Piazza Dante. The kiosks display a huge variety of handmade wooden toys, decorations for Chrismas trees and various other beautiful items. Loads of people browsing about, but the food and beer stalls were the only ones to have long queues... 

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Just married

The newly wed took a walk in Piazza Bra and had a complete photo shooting on the Merry-go-round, then near the Comet Star, then with the fountain and so on...
I so felt for the bride, she must have been either freezing or too excited to notice the four degrees in her chiffon wedding gown!

The quality of this photo is quite poor, although I decided to post it because I think it emanates good vibes... ;-)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Round sign

I noticed this round sign this morning, next to an old style neon sign. It was raining a bit and I struggled with my umbrella to take this pic ;-) 

Nowadays, as everyone has one (or more) mobile phones, most of the public phones have been removed. I thought it was nice to see the old "phone" sign, as it is a reminder of how we used to be and how politely it told us that a phone was available in the bar... 

Friday, December 5, 2008

Secret corner

Another sunny morning gave me the chance to photograph this secluded corner in the heart of town. I had just sipped my coffee in a new café and bought some lovely bread. Next to the panificio a little marble staircase leads to a tiny square from which two little roads depart. 
This is one of them: it is narrow and bends twice among the ancient houses built on roman remains (some of them visible in a few public places), and leads, in a few steps, to the Corso Portoni Borsari.

I love the monochromatic paintings, the rounded shutters, the white flowers: I find enchanting every detail of this close up and every step of this vicolo... 

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Sunny morning

A very sunny morning. Piazza Bra is ready for Christmas: the Comet Star on the Arena (you can see the higher bit behind the trees), the merry go round (red and white pointy tent) and the Christmas tree (actually, two), and, finally, the sweets kiosks, just arrived. Passing by, you can smell the "croccante", the "zucchero filato" and "torrone". 

A flock of pigeons clearly smelled some bits that had been spilled on the pavement and flew down. I was a bit late with my camera and "caught" only one of them!...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Say a little prayer

A little corner for prayer and devotion right in the whirl of sparkling lights, jewellery shops, bars, big cars... and so on... 

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Reflection in a puddle

Surprise in a little puddle in the middle of the square...
The big Christmas tree top reflects on the typical "Sanpietrini" pavement.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Shining star

Remember this work in progress? This is the stunning result! I went to take some photos and I found the most sparkling views I have ever seen here in Verona...

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Christmas lights (and shadows)

Christmas shopping has "formally" begun yesterday, when all the Christmas lights were switched on. It is my impression that this year the lighting scheme was improved to create a more special atmosphere and attract more people to buy, in such a bad economical period.
It is also my impression that shops are still more or less empty, except for the people who hang about, browse, touch the merchandise and walk out. Only a few buy.
Shall we finally understand the real meaning of Christmas?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Winter things...

The weather has dramatically changed, from sunny/cold to cold/rainy/windy! The sky was very dark and gusts of wind kept blowing up my hair and scarf as I was rushing home... It's such a relief to step inside and feel the warmth, prepare a cup of tea and put balsamic eucalyptus essence in little bowls of water on the heaters... Winter things...

There are many "winter things" I do, like cooking various types of cauliflowers (green, violet, white, dark green and so on) or lighting candles and incense sticks...

What are your "winter things"?

Friday, November 28, 2008

I crossed the river to the district of Veronetta. I was walking along the Interrato dell'Acqua Morta when I decided that this scene was going to be my post today. Nothing special, apart the very bright traffic lights. Veronetta is a very special part of town but this very spot has nothing remarkable, so it's the first time I don't feature one of the classic highlights of Verona...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Eyebrows day!

I was invited to the party for the launching of the Benefit Brow Bar at Sephora's. The store is on two floors but it's not too big; it was packed and got really hot! The champagne helped us to wait and enjoy the crowded atmosphere... Me and my friend Elisa resisted and got our eybrows done to a spectacular result!
Wow, Verona has a brow bar now!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Work in progress at the Arena #1

...there has been something going on near the Arena for a couple of days.
I will post more work in progress till the work is over...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Bank treasures

This is a bank's window and it shows the ancient roman remains underneath the bank premises. There are a few of such sites below the street surface: the roman city "layer" was about two meters down. Some of them are to be found in restaurants' cellars, shops' storage rooms, churches and so on....

Monday, November 24, 2008

Today's last ray of sun

I caught the last ray of sun today, on the corner of a building I like a lot. It was around four pm and the light was dramatically changing.

It's getting rather chilly here, as I walked, I tightened my scarf and put on my leather gloves.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Every day view

This square is mainly a just a parking. I walk here everyday, from home to the high street. Weather has suddenly changed in the past few days, it's much colder now and today there was a very special light. It was partly cloudy and partly sunny, thus creating that special glow that warms up colours and resembles to interior lights...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Frescoes at home

Passing by these window I couldn't help stopping and snap a few shots. The beauty of this building is really remarkable. Every detail is special, like the marble ornate balcony, the light paintings on the façade, the architectural features.

But, most stunning of all, and here I must apologize for the poor quality of the pic, is the frescoed ceiling. It can either be a home of some lucky family or a very elegant office, surely it is a very special place.

Friday, November 21, 2008


This morning I walked on the other side of the river Adige, to Veronetta, a very pictoresque and lively district. The University of Verona is here, so this part of the town is always bustling with students. I went into a bar for an espresso and I spent a few minutes looking at this wall covered with photos of young girls and boys, obviously in this bar, obviously having a great time. I was particularly amused to see some handwritten and signed notes where this girl or this guy "declared" he/she would stop drinking for a month.
I liked these photos, they tell a story about being young, having lots of friends, having big times, living such a golden period of ones life, that will never come back. A time when your ways are all still opened and you look at the future with wide, curious eyes...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Tomato sauce

This is a close up on the cherry tomato sauce I prepared yesterday and this is all I can post today.

Unfortunately the computer is having HUGE problems and keeps turning off every ten minutes. I cannot overload it with more photos, it's old and already stuffed to death.
I am so sorry I might not post in the next days....sigh!
But I will come back SOON!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Gastronomia Albertini

This shop has been here since 1939! Along with Gastronomia Stella, these are two of the three left in the historic centre of Verona and this one has a really beautiful framed door.

They already display the typical Chrismas cakes (you can see the boxes piled inside the shop on the right): panettone (from Milan) and the pandoro, originally from Verona, and above all, the Offella, considered the oldest and first version of pandoro. They are all so, so yummy!

What is your Christmas cake?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Workers on the Arena

This afternoon I spotted these guys mounting scaffoldings to the outer circle of the Arena.
There was a lovely sunset light and my first thought went to the roman builders of this magnificent amphitheatre. About two thousand years ago, probably with no safety devices, working hardly to put stones over stones, to create a stunning structure that would last for ever...

Over the last few years the Arena has been cleaned thoroughly. This is the last bit that is going to be restored. The marble stones, now bearing a grey-sh shadow due to pollution and natural mold (I guess what the darker bits could be), will be brought back to their original white-pinkish shade.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Fairy tale castle

A lovely, sunny sunday... We drove in the countryside and reached Borghetto, a tiny, pictoresque, old village on the river Mincio. I am not showing you the village, though, but the fairy tale castle that overlooks the river from the top of a hill.
After lunch we came here, on this road that runs near the river and had a nice walk.
You may see more photos on my other blog, hopefully tomorrow evening...

How did you spend your sunday?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Waiting for Christmas

Christmas lights have been hanging everywhere for weeks now, but they haven't been lit, yet.
I walked down Corso S. Anastàsia today and a beautiful sun warmed up the brown facade of the biggest church in town: Chiesa di Santa Anastàsia.
The sun was low, on my back, and people cast long shadows on the pavement...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Ginkgo on the corner

You know, I love trees. After the Heavenly Tree, here is the Ginkgo Biloba, right in the heart of Verona. It is a huge, beautiful leafy tree. It is still quite green now but soon it will become completely yellow. I read that Ginkgos have an extreme urban tolerance...

"Ginkgo biloba is the oldest living tree species.
A single tree can live as long as 1,000 years and grow to a height of 120 feet"

(University of Maryland Medical Center)

I liked this angle rather than showing you the entire tree, though. It seems to me that, beyond the beauty of the plant, this corner concentrates Verona's typical features: the medieval brick building, the red house with marble balconies, the narrow street (a few steps ahead, on the right, there is Romeo's house!) and a tiny detail in the middle of the photo: an wrought iron flag holder (at least I think that's what it is...) bearing the medieval town's sign, a stair, scala, from the Scala family, the Lords of Verona from the XIII century.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Fire escape?

When I saw Ming's yesterday post I automatically thought of this photo I had taken a few weeks ago. The building in Ming's photo is obviously new and this is not a fire escape... but...

This is the back of the Case de' Mazzanti, the medieval building overlooking Piazza Erbe (see my older post here). While the facade on the square is beautifully painted and quite "regular" in its features, the back shows all the charm of a very, very ancient building with its imperfections, its added features, its bricks... I think I like this side more than the "good" one on Piazza Erbe...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Vintage dresses shop

Ok, the Fieracavalli is really over. I promise I won't post photos with horses for a while...
So, to change subject, totally, I want to show you one lovely vintage dresses shop: Cécile. I think the lady who owns it is french and she has recently opened a french-style vintage furniture shop just opposite this. I like browsing among the cocktail dresses of big designers, such as Valentino, Chanel, YSL... I actually don't go to any cocktail parties....but, you never know. So far, I haven't bought anything in this shop, but I like it!

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