Cross a bridge over the Adige to a sparsely trafficked corner of Verona, and you’re rewarded with a patch of green that evokes glamour, mystique, and corteggiamento – courtship.
This living artscape, the Giardino Giusti, is a sight reserved for those who venture away from Verona’s popular centro storico, the city’s historic center. Old Italian Cypress trees line pebbled paths that neatly divide grottoes and sculptures, a labyrinth, a palazzo, the stables, and paths to a rooftop panorama.
Verona practically oozes romance, so it’s no surprise that it boasts the Giusti Garden, where poised statues discreetly study lovers over manicured hedges.
The garden’s main walkway leads toward a belvedere, a lookout, from which point you can take a winding, hedge-lined incline or a tower’s circular stairway upward. When you reach the lookout, you’re rewarded with hills made of rooftops, and a skyline dotted with treetops and towers.
Up here, you might suddenly find inspiration for your next novel. In an idyllic gazebo, you conjure up stories of high-society balls, midnight trysts, and sunsets that make the air sparkle.
A historic Giusti mansion, the palazzo, watches over it all, peering between columnar cypress trees. Its windows frame countless flirtations unfolding in the grounds below, where tortoises blend in with the greenery, nonchalantly basking in the sun amidst cinematic scenery.
With statues of Venus and Adonis looking out over the garden from lofty perches, it’s no wonder this Veronese locale has its own legend: It’s said that lovers who find each other in the garden’s miniature labyrinth are destined to be together. (Actually, in this setting, one could make arguments for the influence of most any statue here…like the mythological Bacchus, Ceres, Apollo, even Diana.)
The German Goethe may have been one of few to write about the garden in his travel memoirs, but this Renaissance convergence of art and nature –and, today, history– was once sought out by visiting artists and European monarchs. You know, Mozart is among the giardino‘s most memorable visitors. Do you think he could’ve drawn inspiration from the lush shrubbery? Because I’m feeling moved to compose a sonata. Or, at least, write this post.
Wishing you a weekend of inspiration,