Fair Verona for a few weeks in Winter. The summer before, an old soft-leathered man I’d met in a back street in Venice, who’d marveled at my height in broken English and with a tilted chin, was aghast to hear I was taking the train straight to Milan.
“Go to Verona. Milan is like all other big towns. Ugly.”
He was right for one part, but Milan is not like all other big towns. It’s lonelier.
I took the train directly to Milan that September, but kept in mind his tip to stop at Verona.
A misinformed member of my family once told me there was nothing in Verona apart from a fake balcony. Because Juliet and her Romeo were a figment of Shakespeare’s imagination.
Worse decisions have been made, in the history of mankind, than my attempt to escape from the motherland to a country where there exists a barrier of tongues. If nothing else, it’s good to discover that Verona holds more than just a fake—which turned out not to be fake at all—balcony.
Verona in November and December is cold. The wealthy of the north are guided along the streets at night by their dogs, in duo and trio. Italians eat ice-cream wearing linens on the street in summer, and they wrap in furs for these social parades in winter. Both the style and the dialect spoken in Verona is a little influenced by the flanking lands of France and Germany. Perhaps it is thanks to the German side that the style in Verona is measurably less fabulous than it is in Florence, for example, where I once met a young man in an excellent orchestration of colour walking his jacketed Dachshund while wearing the exposed interior of a nineties electronic hand-game for a brooch. Perhaps it is thanks to the French side that it’s a little more reserved there in Verona too, where round velvet vowels are not sung out so loudly as they might be in other departments.
Jewellery is important here. A perfect pair sit in a fabulous Italian huff, chain-smoking but body language bound, their tanned wrists weighted down to the coffee table by chunky silver watches. Jewellery shops are dotted around; Piazza della Erbe and Via Roma have in their shop windows such extraordinary rings and necklaces that I stood mesmerised in front of them often, eating pastries.
About the Author
Liv Monaghan is a bird; a singer, a writer, a vintage fashion-forward/menswear vixen, and a sometime costume designer living a lot in Paris but often more-so in Ireland. She believes travel is key, and that inspiration comes from intense, joyful, and/or heartbreaking glances into the souls of wicked people and lonely places.