Walk In the Footsteps of Dante
There are two terrific options when it comes to reliving history. You can either read about certain eras or actually walk in the footsteps of history's greatest figures. Thanks to David Blixt's thrilling historical fiction The Master of Verona you can actually do both.
It makes sense that an acclaimed Shakespearean actor of Mr. Blixt's caliber would set his novel in two of Shakespeare's most famous destinations. Verona was the setting for the tragic lovers Romeo & Juliet while Padua was the local for the perennially topical Taming of the Shrew. However, it is famed Italian poet Dante and his sons that play the central figures in The Master of Verona. Now, you can use this exciting novel as a guide to plan out the quintessential Italian journey through two of its most beloved cities.
A Little History Lesson
Verona and Padua are both situated in the same Northern Italy region and are separated by just twenty miles. It's conceivable to chose one of these cities as your Italian "home base" then plan out day trips to the neighboring towns. You won't be disappointed with a ride across the countryside. In The Master of Verona the time is the early 1300's and war is brewing between these two municipalities. Those troubles will ultimately culminate with Verona's warrior prince Alberto bringing Padua under his dominance. This was the same Alberto who was a great patron of the arts. Without his protection and financial support, Dante might have never been able to create his master works of literature. This is the backdrop for The Master of Verona as Dante and his eldest son Alaghieri become swept up in all the intrigue, rivalry and feuds of the time.
Amazingly, there are still remnants of architecture, sculptures and paintings from this era which you can enjoy as you set out on your modern tour of Verona and Padua. Imagine coming close to something that is over seven hundred years old. That is truly walking in history's footsteps.
Back to the Future In Verona
As a city, Verona is romance personified. Nestled between the Adige River and Lake Garda this ancient burg can trace its origins all the way back to the 3rd century AD. Today, your first stop in Verona should be to Casa di Giulietta or Juliet's House. Although she might have been a fictional creation of Shakespeare, there is a myth around this beauty which attracts lovers and those seeking love from all over the world. This special Renaissance style home is open to visitors and is complete with a balcony where you can leave a note for the wish of a perfect love. For good luck, make sure to rub the right breast of the bronze Juliet statue in the courtyard.
For a true stroll back in time, you'll want to carve out some time to visit the Basilica di San Zeno Maggiore. Built to honor the city's patron saint it took several hundred years to complete. Today, the beautiful 15th century frescos remain in all their splendor for you to marvel at. There are many other historic churches like the Chiesa di San Fermo and Chiesa di Sant' Anastasia that should also be added to you "must see" list.
Of course, you'll be hard pressed to have a bad meal in Verona. Look for an outdoor cafe for the true Italian al fresco dining experience.
In many ways Padua could be considered a "college town" if you think of a college town being established in 1222. That's when the city's famed university was founded. Today, there is a still a young, academic vibe to Padua which gives it such vitality and spirit. No trip to Padua would be complete without a stop at the Museo Civico Eremitanti. This former monetary has been converted into a treasure trove of historical artifacts and works of art. Speaking of art, you'll also want to spent time lost in wonders of the Basilica di Sant'Antonio which is the final resting place of this beloved saint. Make sure to give yourself some "quiet time" to just sit and take it all in.
To complete your Italian trip planning you need to think about covering all the bases. That can be accomplished with a simple, yet comprehensive, travel policy. Back in Dante's day, there was no guarantee that you would arrive at any one destination unscathed. Between robbers and outbreaks of the plague no vacation was guaranteed safe! Today, you can add a layer of protection with a policy that can make sure your trip won't be hindered by any type of inconvenience. It's the kind of peace of mind which will let you enjoy your walk through history.
Thanks for reading. For the actual books, drop by www.davidblixt.com.