Day 1 - Our Verona and Venice city break started with a convenient flight from Birmingham airport leaving in the late afternoon. We landed in Verona where we waved down our taxi to take us the short drive to the wonderful Gentleman of Verona Hotel. As soon as we walked through the doors we felt as though we had just entered a secret gentleman’s club with its golden hues and stylish velvet chairs. We grabbed our room key and headed up to our room ‘the silver room’, its silver décor offset by blue velvet furnishings lending it a luxurious feel, bursting with character.
We had so much planned for our Verona city break that we didn’t want to waste any time, so we headed straight out to explore. A 5-minute walk lead us to the Arena di Verona – it was wonderful to see it in the flesh after admiring it in pictures for so long. It was late in the evening, so we had to save our explorations of the inside until another day, but we had a good look around before heading back to the Gentleman of Verona for some late supper. We enjoyed delicious duck breast with veggies and cheese and truffle risotto before toasting the start of our Verona city break with a cocktail.
Day 2 - After breakfast we headed for the second hotel of our Verona holiday, Il Sogno Di Giulietta, just a 10-minute walk from The Gentleman. Hidden through a busy courtyard we found a picture-perfect hotel with a pink hue. The Courtyard, overlooked by Juliet’s iconic balcony , is open during the day to the public. It’s one of the most popular sights on any Verona city break, where visitors stop to take pictures and wish for love by touching the statue of Juliet. In the evening, however, it is shut behind closed gates and access is exclusive to hotel guests. We loved the fact that couples could even hire out the courtyard for a private romantic meal – what could be more romantic! In Il Sogno Di Giulietta you can also find Romeo and Juliet’s velvet costumes – the perfect hotel for Shakespeare fans. We made the most of the day visiting the churches and landmarks of Verona such as the Chiesa San Fermo, the Chiesa Sant’Eufemia, the Santa Maria Antica and Castel Vecchio. We enjoyed the sunset over the Castel Vecchio bridge before savouring a lovely dinner. A selection of cold meats, bread and mozzarella were the perfect accompaniment to a nice glass of wine and, of course, when in Italy, pizza and pasta for our main courses. A fitting end to the Verona leg of our Italian city break. We placed our breakfast order by the door and went to sleep.
Day 3 - The next morning we hopped on the train for the short hour and a half journey from Verona to begin our Venice city break. We opted for the Water Bus to take us to our hotel, the Ca Sagredo, which seemed to be held up by hands coming out of the canal. The lobby of the Ca Sagredo, took our breath away. We were transfixed by the incredibly decorated frescoes on the ceilings. With the sweet sound of classical music coming from the ballroom and echoing through the hotel it really set the mood for our Venice city break. We sat on the terrace of the Ca Sagredo overlooking the canals, a glass of prosecco in hand watching the gondolas go by. (A quick tip – if the hotel brings you out some snacks, eat them quickly, or you will be swamped by a storm of greedy seagulls thinking they can share!) There are plenty of great restaurants nearby, but we chose the Trattoria Casa Mia. A calzone bigger than the plate it was on was placed down in front of us and we didn’t waste any time before digging in. We walked 20 minutes to the Pont de l’Académie to try and burn off our dinner and stopped on top of the bridge over the canals to admire the beautiful buildings either side and the gondolas floating by.
Day 5 - For the last day of our Venice city break we discovered the wonderful St Marks Basilica, and the Doge’s Palace. The four horses displayed in the museum are impressive and the Basilica is filled with stunning mosaics, many made from gold leaf. Right next to it is the Bridge of Sighs. The bridge connected the old prison and interrogation rooms of the Doge’s palace to the new prison situated on the other side of the river. The legend is that if you kiss under the bridge you will have eternal love so taking a gondola ride definitely gives you the best chance! Whatever your reasons, a gondola ride is highly recommended as a quintessential Venice city break experience. It is the best way to appreciate the architecture. The Bridge of Sighs seemed an apt way to mark the end of our Italian city break as we headed for Venice airport and our return to the UK.
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