Exploring Verona’s art, history and nature by bike – Interview with tour guide Katiuscia

verona guided tours

With a team of expert tour guides designing Verona guided tours, Itinera Bike & Travel is dedicated to providing its travelers with unforgettable experiences that showcase the best of Verona’s rich history, culture, and natural beauty. We recently had the pleasure of interviewing Katiuscia, a committed and inspiring tour guide in Verona.

Her deep passion for nature and culture is contagious. We learned more about her insights and experiences as a guide in Verona, and we were impressed by her enthusiasm. With over 23 years of experience as a guide, Katiuscia has a wealth of knowledge to share on the history, culture, and natural beauty of the region.

Hi Katiuscia, thank you for joining us today. Can you tell us a bit about your background and how you became a tour guide in Verona?

During my philosophy studies at university, I discovered my passion for tour guiding, which led me to pursue a full-time career in this field for over 23 years. Initially, I offered historical and art tours in both Italian and French. In 2008, I furthered my expertise by becoming a certified environmental guide with a focus on geology and botany. My love for languages and sharing knowledge with travelers from all around the world has always been a driving force in my career as a tour guide.

That’s fascinating. So, how do you combine art and nature in your Verona guided tours?

As someone with a deep passion for nature and the great outdoors, I’ve always been eager to share that love with visitors to the region. That’s why in my tours, I strive to combine nature and historical elements to showcase the interconnectedness of different facets. My partnership with Itinera Bike & Travel on bike tours combines perfectly these two passions. I offer visitors a unique experience that allows them to explore the natural beauty of the area while also incorporating visits to historical sites and local specialties.

That sounds like a unique and immersive way to explore the region. Can you give us an example?

Verona is home to several rings of Austrian fortifications, which are exquisite examples of military architecture and accessible by bicycle. These fortifications offer a unique blend of nature and history, with the green rings intersecting at points such as the Fort of Gisella or Santa Lucia, as well as the Fort of San Mattia situated in the hills. To enhance the visitor experience, slow food stations are planned to be set up within these fortifications, providing visitors with a taste of local bites. The stones used in constructing the fortifications are sourced from the natural surroundings, thus connecting the dots between history and geology, while the military art of Verona is intertwined with its food. This deep-rooted connection to the territory offers a unique and holistic experience for visitors to Verona.

Take Verona’s wine, for example. The type of wine produced in a particular area is closely tied to the stones and soil of the region. Even seemingly distant aspects, such as military history and gastronomy, are intricately connected to the land. Verona’s strategic position as a passage and fertile ground has made it one of the granaries of Italy, supplying Austria with agricultural products. Bringing together all these aspects requires a unique profession of weaving the threads of history and geography, keeping them dynamic. Listening to the questions of visitors and responding with thoughtful insights creates a unique experience.

How this vision aligns with Itinera Bike & Travel?

For several years, I have been collaborating with Itinera, along with my Assoguide Association, and whenever possible, we strive to connect and raise our voices on sustainability issues. In my day-to-day work, I team up with Itinera Bike & Travel to arrange cycling tours for French-speaking groups, mainly from Canada, in Verona. We share similar values, life mindsets, and ways of thinking, and we are aligned in promoting eco-friendly tourism.

What type of tours do you offer?

I always start with a general overview because Verona is not as well-known as other Italian cities. We begin with a general presentation that covers the historical city center and the Arena, and then we explore the Austrian forts and expand to the surrounding areas such as Castelvecchio and the patron saint Church of San Zeno, a Romanesque jewel. In addition to the historical tours, we offer green itineraries that take visitors to the hills of Verona.

What is the most meaningful experience to you?

I am very passionate about religious art and offering in-depth iconographic interpretations of the meanings behind the Gospels and the Bible. I aim to provide something extra, beyond just nature and cultural aspects, such as colors. One particularly unique aspect of Verona is the ochre color, similar to Siena but with the addition of greens. The city’s painting style is characterized by a love for strong and bold colors. For example, Paolo Veronese’s “The Wedding at Cana” is a famous painting that features colors derived from Verona’s color-rich earth. I am interested in exploring the geological and chemical dimensions of the stone and its symbolic meanings. As a mediator of the silent stone and image, I aim to connect the material, historical, artistic, and symbolic aspects to create a meaningful experience for my clients.

What do you hope travelers take away from your tours?

I hope visitors come away with a deeper understanding and appreciation of the region’s history, culture, and natural beauty. I believe sustainable tourism can connect people to the world around them and foster a sense of empathy and understanding. Furthermore, I’m dedicated to providing visitors with an unforgettable experience that goes beyond surface-level tourism.

I believe that traveling should not only be about discovering new places and culture, but also about seeing familiar things with fresh eyes.

As Marcel Proust said, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” Therefore, I strive to help visitors see Verona with new perspectives, even if they already know the city. I want to provide an opportunity for them to truly engage with the city and its surroundings and to have a more profound travel experience.

Thank you for your inspiring contribution!

Katiuscia has also authored a book in Italian titled “Verona città fatata. Itinerari attraverso colori, forme e simboli,” which offers a unique perspective on the city and its hidden gems through the lens of colors, shapes, and symbols.

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