In summer Verona can be particularly hot. The thermometer can top 35 degrees and, worse, the baking hot wind coming from Africa is full of moisture and the air becomes unbearably muggy. When that happens, the Veronese try to escape the heat. Some go to Lake Garda for a dip in its cool waters, some go to the mountain – the Baldo or Lessinia range – where temperatures are considerably lower due to the altitude. But if you have to stay in the city and don’t want to be a prisoner of your own air conditioning, you have to invent some strategies to deal with the heat. I can think of five, all from my personal experience.
Vasca dell’Arsenale. For some years this part has been one of the favourite places of locals and tourists alike on hot summer evenings. Following a pump failure, the complex has now been repaired and is in perfect working order. Tucked behind Castelvecchio, in front of the former Habsburg Arsenale. In the gardens, shaded by the pine trees, stretches out a large shallow pool with an inch of water. You can walk through by barefoot or in sandals, children play ball and cycle around, dogs paddle. In short, it’s a little corner of cool in the heart of the city.
“Adige beach”. On the muggiest days, you just need to cross one of the many bridges in the city to see that a cool breeze comes up from the Adige lowering the temperature a few degrees. The river usually has less water in the summer so the water level drops at various points along its banks leaving spaces. Near the Castelvecchio bridge, coming down from the Arsenale gardens, a large beach of river pebbles forms each summer. There is also a sandy beach near Catena Bridge (nicknamed “Catena Beach” by the locals). From here, you can walk into the Adige park, a beautiful stroll through the trees along the shore with clearings equipped with tables and benches for impromptu picnics.
Lido Pools. In Verona there are several reasonably priced municipal swimming pools. My favourites are the Santini, deep in a shady green park right at the foot of the Quinzano hills. The ones closest to the centre though are the “Lido” pools: they are also the oldest in the city and they are a little dated. The location just by the city ramparts, however, is quite simply unbeatable. I don’t know any other city in the world where you can swim in the shade of its medieval walls!
Adigeo. I’m not a mall kind of person. But the new Adigeo mall near the Verona Sud motorway exit (easily accessible from the city by shuttle buses) is elegant and comfortable, as well as particularly cool (thanks to the air conditioning). Set out over two floors, with wide open square type spaces, it features a wide selection of good quality restaurants. In short, if you can’t breathe in the city centre, this can be a good alternative in the hottest times of day.
Watermelon kiosks. Experts say it time and time again: when it’s very hot, you should eat a lot of fruit. In Verona, one of the most popular traditions on hot evenings, is to meet friends to eat a slice of watermelon. There are kiosks selling it all over the city. The most famous and probably the oldest is the San Zeno kiosk, which has just celebrated its first fifty years and where there is often live music in the evening. And if you don’t like watermelon, there are certainly alternatives, perhaps a nice granita.