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VERONA, CITY OF LOVE
Made famous by Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers, Verona is Italy's fourth-most-visited city and second in the Veneto region only to Venice in population and artistic importance.
The city rises up among the bends and twists of the River Adige and with its 2,000 years of history encased in an expanse of 77 sq mi, it's one of the 55 Italian sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Walking through the streets of the city is a great experience as you pass by the ancient building, churches, bridges that speak of an extraordinary history.
The heart of the city is Piazza Bra where the Arena stands out as testament to the city's ancient past. On summer nights, the magical sounds of the open-air opera performed in the Roman Anphitheatre infuse the city with life and a sense of spectacle that is unique and unforgettable.
The romance of Verona is magic. The unexpected surprises found around each corner and at the end of every cobbled street; the beautiful vistas of the surrounding landscape that can be glimpsed between the ancient buildings; and the warm amber glow of lights in the evenings, instantly remind all who visit here of the magical love story Romeo and Juliet, set in Verona by Shakespeare in his famous 16th century play.
Lastly, Verona offers a great surrounding countryside: only short distance from Lake Garda with its fjord-like landscape and Mediterranean vegetation and from Valpolicella, famed for its production of quality wines and nearby alpine mountains.
Lake Garda is the most family and sportsoriented of Italy's lakes. It's also Italy's largest lake, reaching from the steep alpine foothills to the northern edge of the Po Valley. The southern shore is lined by beaches and backed by low hills, while in the north, mountains and sheer cliffs fringe the lake, especially along the western shore.
Lake Garda is only a short distance away from several large cities in Northern Italy as Verona, Vicenza, Padua, Venice, Brescia, Trento and Milan.
History lovers especially can marvel at the evidence of prehistoric settlements in the Valtenesi and on Monte Baldo, or the remains of Roman villas in Sirmione and Toscolano.
Equally-charming are the Medieval castles and Scaliger fortresses, like in Sirmione, Malcesine or Lazise.
Known for its mild, Mediterranean climate, an array of olive trees and lemon groves flourish here, which is unusual this far north of the equator. Vineyards also surround Bardolino and Lazise, and produce a collection of world-renowned wines. The pebble beaches of Desenzano, Malcesine, and Garda town slide into the clear waters and provide a relaxing setting for a day of soaking up the sun. The charming harbour of Peschiera, fortress walls of Torri del Benaco and Scaligeri Castles stand in honour to the Veronese and Venetian rulers and offer plentiful opportunities to wander, admire and learn.