I love being hostess. Having people come and visit me here in Verona has excited me since before I came out! The first visitors I hosted were my mum and sister when I had been in Verona just over a month and was, in all honesty, still finding my feet a bit. In this short time, however, I had found a ‘favourite’ restaurant and bar which I was able to take them to. These places were more tailored to locals and not tourists, so I was able to show off a bit of Italian, albeit ordering an Aperol Spritz in Italian is a pretty easy thing to do..
I also took them to Venice as I had now mastered the trains of Italy…
My mum and sister visiting was really lovely, but since they had already been to Verona before, I couldn’t really show them things they hadn’t already seen. But having my friend who’d never seen Verona to visit was the perfect time for me to show off my new city and all the new Italian I’d learnt.
Reality check: I have very limited knowledge of ‘my’ city, and even less knowledge of Italian – not that she knew if what I was spouting was correct or not. Hand gestures are universal…
I have (very, extremely, horrendously) poor navigation skills to say the least. But, thanks to this, we occasionally got lost and I was able to show her cute little streets that were uninterrupted by tourists. This was an experience for me too, and I felt like I was discovering new parts of Verona to show my next wave of visitors.
One place I knew embarrassingly well was the main shopping high street in Verona, full of niche boutiques as well as the big boys like Armani, Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana, places I have not even dared to venture into with my student loan.
I of course took her to the main landmark of Verona: the Arena amphitheatre. Even though I walk past this on most days, I try desperately not to look like a tourist, even rolling my eyes as a sign of unity with the locals at the hordes of tourists who crowd the narrow streets.
As students, obviously we were looking for the cheapest way to enjoy the city. Luckily, my friend came for the first weekend of December, and, unbeknown to me until a few weeks ago, in Verona most of the tourist attractions cost only €1 on the first Sunday of the month (October-May) as opposed to a ridiculous €7-€10 at any other time.
I loved showing my friend the real Verona and I even enjoyed being a tourist in my own city for the weekend!