Un po' d'Italia in più (More of Italy) / by Anthony Brooks


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After spending a bit longer than I planned in Turin, I moved on to Lazise (and Verona). Rather than my typical blablacar ride, I took a bus. It was ~4.5 hours, had Wi-Fi, comfortable seats, and a restroom. All for just over 10 dollars! For those who are in Europe and/or will be in the future, remember both Blablacar and Flixbus. They're super affordable and make traveling much, much easier. 

Anyways, as of October 19th, I left Turin and headed towards Verona. My procrastination in regards to packing almost led to me missing my bus. Luckily for me, Luca knew where to go and sped like a racecar driver through the streets of Turin to get me to the pickup point with just minutes to spare (sorry for causing the rush, man). Later that evening, I arrived in Peschiera del Garda where I was to be picked up by my host, Rik. He graciously offered two other travelers a ride as well as they were supposedly staying nearby and he and I weren't in any rush. This proved to be semi-comical as they were from Belarus and their only instructions/location name where in cyrillic. Which neither Rik nor myself could read...  Once we finally found where they were staying, it was late and as he had just gotten off of work (and I had been on a bus for the greater portion of the afternoon), we went for some beers and food at a local bar. As it wasn't any crazy or exotic experience, I'll omit that from this post. Afterwards, we headed back to his house where we watched what was on the TV (Clockwork Orange) until the past day's hectic schedule caught up to me and I passed out from exhaustion. 

October 20th: I woke up early and went out to take some photos. Unfortunately it was raining, though this gave my photos an interesting feel. The only downside was that the first few photos taken were with my phone and not my actual camera. I already ruined one lens at the beginning of my trip, so I'm taking extreme precautions to make sure that both my lenses and my camera body don't experience any conditions that may damage them.

Once Rik got back from the bar that he owns/runs, we drove into Verona for the day (where he gave me a fairly comprehensive tour of the city). His historical knowledge is impressive and he showed me many things that I otherwise wouldn't have even noticed. For example: underneath the current city of Verona lays the ruins of ancient Roman architecture. I have some photos that show this better than I may be able to explain it, but I'll give it a shot. 

When something happened to destroy old buildings, the Romans didn't clear the ground and rebuild there. No, instead they just covered the rubble and built on top of it. So underneath some of the churches are even older churches. Underneath the streets are even older streets, broken pillars, and other rubble. It's really pretty amazing! The coolest of these was the Chiesa di San Fermo. The main church that you walk into is of a 13th century Gothic style. The completely wooden ceiling is impressive enough on its own, but the real secrets lay underneath. Under the main church is another older Roman church dating back to around the 8th century and under that is another set of stairs leading further down. This is rumored to be another church dating back to the 5th century, though with the stability of the other two churches located above it resting on its shoulders (literally), excavation is nearly impossible. Other examples of the ancient Roman civilization can be seen throughout the city either in fenced-off holes opened up to allow viewing for the public/access for researchers. In places where these access points are impossible, differently colored paving stones have been placed to mark structures located below. It's truly fascinating!

During our tour, we walked around a quarter of the city and saw most of the major churches, a coliseum older than the one located in Rome, (by 50 years; it was constructed in 30 AD), a castle, several bar/cafes, a restaurant, and a Roman bridge constructed in 100 BC. I'm sure there were other things that I'm forgetting, but it was extremely informative and I'm glad I have a host who knows the history to such an extent. 

From there, we left the city and went to a local vineyard whose owner Rik is friends with. There I was given a few glasses of wine as samples (I've never received full glasses as samples before) and a full tour of the facility (360° photos located HERE). That concluded our tour and the rest of the day was spent sketching/going through photos taken during the day, and wandering about Lazise to capture the beautiful sunset. 

October 21st: I decided I wanted a day to just wander Verona on my own. Some to revisit places from the day before, but some to go places that we hadn't gone the day before. As the day before had been rainy until mid-afternoon, I wanted to go back and photograph some of the places so I could do drawings later. Well, that and I really like how the night photography in Turin (seen HERE) turned out and wanted to get some here in Verona. One super sappy/touristic fun fact is that Verona is the home of Romeo and Juliet. In the photos below, you can see the tunnel where people write their notes to Juliet, her balcony, and people touching her boob (ha).  On a more serious note, while walking around I saw a homeless man and his dog sitting on a ledge near one of the churches. Just the look on his face was enough that I HAD to photograph him. His face was so expressive and the voice in which he was talking to his dog just oozed raw emotion. It sounded as if he was comforting the dog and in return, it snuggled in closer to him. I'll post the photo below. 

October 22nd: Seeing as I was staying in Lazise (within a few minutes of the beautiful Lake Garda), I wanted to go out and actually see the lake. So I asked Rik if I could use a bike that he had mentioned that he had a couple of days earlier, and then headed out for the next 7 or so hours. I rode along the beach and from there out into the nearby towns/countryside. It was a nice break from the big cities that I had been in with Turin and Verona. I got to take some more night photos (yay) and got some sketches of boats (...and clouds, which are super fun to draw! Who knew?)

Drawings done while out riding the bike (and once I got back to my host's bar) are posted below as well :) 

October 23rd: Just spending today working on going through photos, updating all of my social media presences, drawing a bit, and figuring out any bookings that I need to do for the next week or so.