Verona, Italy AIA Course-“Sustainable Design in Stone”–Steve Chambers, AIA
Rain is predicted for this day but we awake to cool temperatures and sun streaming through the hotel windows. “We need to walk along the river,” I declare, “and on the way, look at the scarves in the vendors’ booths!” Steve says, “I get it…you want to sustain the economy of Verona all by yourself.” Then I give my famous, “I just want to look” line. But, Steve is game, so we head out after a visit to the Hotel Giberti’s bountiful buffet of eggs, prosciutto, Yomo (yummy!) yogurt, pastries and cappuccino. “Now, we really need to walk,” we say at the same time.
The Adige River makes an “S” shaped curve through Verona—as though one half of Juliet’s heart connects with Romeo. The city crouches against one side of the river and villas perch on gently sloping hills on the other. We get the sense that this city is Rome, Florence, and Paris, but on a more human scale. Verona’s treasures are easily accessible within a 20-minute walk. Many upscale retail shops beckon, but real values are to be found, side-by-side, in the variety of architectural styles, from Roman to modern day, history lessons waiting to be read. After lunch and vino rosso in the square, we are suddenly struck by jet lag and need to nap.
We are surprised to be awakened at 5:00 p.m. by a phone call from one of our hosts and the planner of the VeronaFiere classes. He invites us to dinner to meet another architect, a sustainability consultant, and the Director of the VeronaFiere stone show. Our dinner near the colosseum is a lively mix of conversation and the music from Peter Gabriel’s concert. I was hard-pressed to eat the two salads I had inadvertently ordered, but intrigued by the consultant’s comments that ‘living green’ is not as complicated as we are made to feel. “It starts with a single act that evolves out of self-reflection,” she states. “One cannot change the world, a community, or an organization without first starting with oneself.”
More pictures from our walk. Many fine examples of Venetian Renaissance architecture and details can be seen in a brief walk around the centro of Verona.