Verona: The Magnificent Giardino Giusti – By Jessica Andrews / OneDayInItaly.com

I like to walk.  I like to walk a lot.  So when I found four suggested walking itineraries on the Verona Card website, I was really excited.

The second stop on Route D was Giardino Giusti, across Ponte Nuovo from the historic center and back a few blocks – I never would’ve happened upon it if not for these suggested itineraries, and I’m SO glad I did!

Verona: The Magnificent Giardino Giusti – By Jessica Andrews / OneDayInItaly.com

In 1570, Agostino Giusti, Knight of the Venetian Republic and Squire of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, laid out these gardens behind his palace with all the Renaissance charm he could muster.  They were restored in the 1930′s and have been praised by Goethe and Mozart – and me!

There was no one on the road and I saw no one as I walked through the entrance. I found an attendant in a small room to the left, bought a ticket (which I handed right back to him) and walked out toward the back wall where there were large, wrought-iron gates that dominated a tall stone wall, covered in ivy.  The guard called after me to warn me that it looked like rain.  That’s ok, I told him; I like rain, too ☺

Verona: The Magnificent Giardino Giusti – By Jessica Andrews / OneDayInItaly.com

I ducked through a small doorway to the side of the gates that was standing open and stopped, startled.  Who would’ve guessed that these immense, elegant Renaissance gardens would be tucked away back here, so close to the busy tourist area??

Verona: The Magnificent Giardino Giusti – By Jessica Andrews / OneDayInItaly.com

On the left and right were finely pruned hedges but – wait! I hurried off to my right to examine the bushes… could it be…

Verona: The Magnificent Giardino Giusti – By Jessica Andrews / OneDayInItaly.com

…A MAZE!!!

I was so excited!  I’ve always wanted to be in a maze!  I hurried in, looking forward to getting lost (which was hard, since the bushes were only about thigh-high) and made it to the center fairly quickly.

Then the rain started.

I hurried back through the light drizzle toward the cover of the trees.

Verona: The Magnificent Giardino Giusti – By Jessica Andrews / OneDayInItaly.com

I hid under the sprawling branches, sitting with my back against the trunk, as the rain started making puddles in the gravel paths.  I grew up in Florida – where it doesn’t rain, it pours! With thunder and lightening to boot! – so had never been able to spend time outside during a storm.  I was surprised by how dry I actually was, there beneath the trees.

Verona: The Magnificent Giardino Giusti – By Jessica Andrews / OneDayInItaly.com

She was hiding from the rain, too ☺

Verona: The Magnificent Giardino Giusti – By Jessica Andrews / OneDayInItaly.com

Looking out over the other sections of the garden, it looked like the statues were shielding their faces from the rain.

Verona: The Magnificent Giardino Giusti – By Jessica Andrews / OneDayInItaly.com

The storm let up and I made my way through the rest of the sections toward the back where there seemed to be a wall of some kind.

Verona: The Magnificent Giardino Giusti – By Jessica Andrews / OneDayInItaly.com

Looking back toward the Giusti Palace, I could just imagine it being the 1600′s and that I was taking a stroll through my private gardens…

Verona: The Magnificent Giardino Giusti – By Jessica Andrews / OneDayInItaly.com

As I approached the back wall, I saw this tower… How do I get THERE?!

Verona: The Magnificent Giardino Giusti – By Jessica Andrews / OneDayInItaly.com

A few more people had entered the garden while I was meandering toward the back, but it was still fairly empty and utterly peaceful.

Verona: The Magnificent Giardino Giusti – By Jessica Andrews / OneDayInItaly.com

As I came toward the center of the back wall there were steps leading up… to somewhere…

Verona: The Magnificent Giardino Giusti – By Jessica Andrews / OneDayInItaly.com

And a very angry face staring down from the top of the wall!

Verona: The Magnificent Giardino Giusti – By Jessica Andrews / OneDayInItaly.com

Down to my left, there was a small green sign, “Belvedere”.  I had no idea what it meant at the time and actually just remembered it as I was going through my pictures for this post.  Now I know that it means “Beautiful View”, which makes so much more sense, given what came after…

Verona: The Magnificent Giardino Giusti – By Jessica Andrews / OneDayInItaly.com

There were small benches hidden away on the path as it wound up the hillside.  I felt like they were placed there just for me to sit and read my book for a while.  (I can get quite the fantasy built up in my head in places like this)

Verona: The Magnificent Giardino Giusti – By Jessica Andrews / OneDayInItaly.com

The path continued and wound back on itself, but there was always an option to go higher.

Verona: The Magnificent Giardino Giusti – By Jessica Andrews / OneDayInItaly.com

Sunlight filtered through the canopy of branches.

Verona: The Magnificent Giardino Giusti – By Jessica Andrews / OneDayInItaly.com

I walked higher and higher and pretty soon could see the rooftops and could look down upon the manicured garden below.

Verona: The Magnificent Giardino Giusti – By Jessica Andrews / OneDayInItaly.com

The path ended as I approached the wall I had seen from below.  What I hadn’t been able to see before, though, were small cutaways, most with little benches cut out of the rock where, when it began raining again for a brief time, I actually did curl up with my book to wait out the storm.

Verona: The Magnificent Giardino Giusti – By Jessica Andrews / OneDayInItaly.com

One of the stone arches didn’t have a bench, but a door!

Verona: The Magnificent Giardino Giusti – By Jessica Andrews / OneDayInItaly.com

Inside was an altar… no idea why, but I started making up all sorts of stories in my head.

Verona: The Magnificent Giardino Giusti – By Jessica Andrews / OneDayInItaly.com

Right near the altar was the entrance to the tower.  The door was open… were we supposed to climb it? Or rather, were we allowed to?

Verona: The Magnificent Giardino Giusti – By Jessica Andrews / OneDayInItaly.com

I wasn’t sure, but my motto while traveling is usually “why not?”, so I started up the steps.

Verona: The Magnificent Giardino Giusti – By Jessica Andrews / OneDayInItaly.com

At the top was a small, relatively flat and uncultivated park.  The grass was sparse and what there was of it was brown and dry, leaves were scattered and the few benches were of old, weary wood.  But it had views!

Verona: The Magnificent Giardino Giusti – By Jessica Andrews / OneDayInItaly.com

From the top of the angry man’s face you could see across all of Verona!

Verona: The Magnificent Giardino Giusti – By Jessica Andrews / OneDayInItaly.com

I slowly made my way back down the tower steps, through the windy paths of the upper garden and into the manicured lower gardens.  To my right I spied a gardener’s shed.

Verona: The Magnificent Giardino Giusti – By Jessica Andrews / OneDayInItaly.com

Ya know, I think I could be happy living in the gardener’s shed – forget about the palace!

The gardens of Palazzo Giusti are open every day of the year except Christmas, from 9am to 7pm in the winter and from 9am to 8pm in the summer. Tickets are €7 (as of June 2016).

“One Day In Italy” offers expert travel planning services to help you make the most out of your next trip to Italy, giving you the information and insight to create authentic experiences you will remember for a lifetime.  Check out the travel blog, full of great insider tips and tricks, at OneDayInItaly.com.

Verona: The Magnificent Giardino Giusti – By Jessica Andrews / OneDayInItaly.com
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