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24 things to in Verona
“In fair Verona, where we lay our scene” Verona is a city located in the Northern region of Veneto in Italy. Most famous for being the setting of one of the most famous plays, Romeo and Juliet. While visiting Juliet’s balcony is definitely one of the to things to do in Verona, there is also so so much more. Read on to discover some of the best things to see and do in Verona. And why it makes it a fantastic, and definitely under rated, Italian city break.
Set on the U-bend of the River Adige, it is one of the most important cities in the Veneto region. It is famed for historic centre and beautiful buildings and architecture.
1. Juliet’s Balcony
It would be remise to not mention this as one of the top things to do in Verona. You can visit the famous Casa di Giulietta, but be prepared for quite the swarm of tourists. Enter the courtyard off Via Cappello and walk past walls covered, rather bizarrely, in chewing gum. The crowds in the courtyard are quite something, with people clamouring to take a clear photo of the balcony and touch the well worn bronze statue of Juliet.
The house itself is not free to get into, and is fairly empty inside, so perhaps not worth the money. While it is perhaps not the romanticised image you might have in your mind, it is definitely worth popping in.
Juliet’s Balcony: Via Cappello, 23, 37121 Verona VR, Italy | Map
2. Juliet’s Tomb at San Francesco al Corso Monastery
Located in the San Francesco al Corso monastery, and said to be the setting of the tragic ending of Romeo and Juliet. At the end of the 13th Century, when the story is believed to have taken place, this was the only monastery that was located outside of the city walls. It now sits empty, but the monastery itself is now also a museum!
Juliet’s Tomb: Via Luigi da Porto, 5, 37122 Verona VR, Italy | Map
3. Casa di Romeo
Romeo’s house is a small, castle looking building located in the heart of Verona. Legend says that this tiny 13th century house belonged to Romeo’s family, the Montecchi (Montague’s). It is built around a series of internal courtyards, and has a squat tower and large doors. Now it is a privately owned home, so you can only see from the outside. But it does have a romantic feel to the building!
Romeo’s House: Via Arche Scaligere, 2, 37121 Verona VR, Italy | Map
4. Arena di Verona
Verona is home to an amphitheatre that is actually better preserved than the Colosseum in Rome! In fact it is one of the best preserved structures of it’s kind. It was originally built in 30AD and has been pretty much in constant use since then.
Visit during the day to have some time to explore the 8th biggest amphitheatre from the Roman world. From the ticket booth walk along the dark corridors, which are wide enough for a gladiator chariot to drive through. To then emerge into the sunlight of the amphitheatre. With 50 levels of seating, it is quite impressive.
Arena di Verona: Piazza Bra, 1, 37121 Verona VR, Italy | Map
5. Watch an Opera in Verona Arena
Often in the evening the Arena becomes the backdrop to many different performances and events. None as classic as an opera. The arena can still hold a massive 22,000 people within its area. Although this is down from the original 30,000!
Performances start in June, check this calendar to see when they are on! At least four operas are performed between June and August, but there are also other types of performances to catch from rock to classic concerts. Tickets to sit on the stone steps are cheaper than those for the padded seats that are installed.
Arena di Verona: Piazza Bra, 1, 37121 Verona VR, Italy | Map
6. Eat Gelato
How can any trip to Italy be complete without tasting some gelato. No where in the world does ice cream quite like it. The options in Verona are endless, however some of the best can be found at La Boutique del Gelato. The flavours are authentic and genuine, and range from traditional to the more off the beaten track. For something even more different try one of the wine sorbets!
La Boutique del Gelato: Via Carlo Ederle, 13, 37126 Verona VR | Map
7. Climb the Torre dei Lamberti tower
The Torre dei Lamberti tower is the tallest in Verona, and located on one side of the Piazza delle Erbe. From the top it boasts amazing views of the town and the square down below. Originally built in the 12th century but it has been built to throughout the years. The climb is one of the best things to do in Verona, and if you don’t fancy the stairs then there is an elevator.
Torre dei Lamberti:Via della Costa, 1, 37121 Verona VR | Map
8. Visit Castello Vecchio
Castello Vecchio, literally translated to ‘Old Castle”, was built way back in the Middle Ages. Designed for purely defensive reasons, it was built for purpose rather than to look pretty. Built by the Scaliger Dynasty as a deterrent to power neighbours such as those from Venice.
Part of the Castle is a fortified bridge, which was built to intend to allow the Lords to escape safely towards the north of Italy in the case of a siege. Nowadays it is a a lovely place to take a wander out and see the views over the river Adige.
Castellovecchio: Corso Castelvecchio, 2, 37121 Verona VR | Map
9. Piazza Bra
Piazza Bra is the largest and central piazza in the heart of Verona. It’s a great place to start your visit to the city and to orientate yourself. In the middle is a calm, little park which is a great place to chill. The restaurants around the edge might not be the best place to eat – try some of the little side streets off the piazza.
Piazza Bra: Piazza Bra,VR | Map
10. Enjoy the views from the Castel San Pietro
Easily some of the best views over the city! This Castel can be reached by climbing a lot of steps. However, if this doesn’t appeal – there is also the funicular you can take! From this viewpoint you could spend hours taking in the views of the river, the traditional buildings and the church spires. Also a great place to head to watch the sunset.
Castel San Pietro: Piazzale Castel S. Pietro, 37129 Verona VR | Map
11. Have sunset drinks at Re Teodorico
If you decide to brave the steps up to Castel San Pietro then there is a great stop on the way! Re Teodorico is a sophisticated bar, which is perfect for stopping to catch your breathe on the walk up the steps. Enjoy a cheeky Aperol spritz or a glass of cold Italian rosé, and if you time it right you might even see the most beautiful sunset.
Re Teodorico: Piazzale Castel S. Pietro, 1, 37121 Verona VR | Map
12. Wander across the Ponte Pietra
Ponte Pietra is the oldest bridge in Verona, and also one of the prettiest! The bridge was first completed in 100BC by the Romans, although almost completely destroyed by retreating German troops in WWII, and then rebuilt using the original stones.
Head down there later afternoon for some glorious light over the river and the banks. There are beautiful views over the river Adige, gorgeous buildings to admire and views looking towards Castel San Pietro. This is a place you don’t want to miss!
Ponte Pietra: 37121 Verona, Province of Verona | Map
13. Eat at Hostaria Vecchia Fontanina
Looking for somewhere with traditional Verona food? This is the place! With a real traditional feel, sitting outside at tables with red checked table clothes and drinking local red wine. What could be more perfect? Tables on a pint sized courtyard, cosy indoor rooms and excellent food! The menu has a local, traditional inspiration with a few unusual dishes thrown in. A real Verona treat!
Hostaria Vecchia Fontanina: Piazzetta Chiavica, 5, 37121 Verona VR | Map
14. Eat Amarone Risotto
This risotto is a Verona staple, and a traditional dish in this region. It’s made with the wine amarone, radicchio and lots of Parmesan. Most risottos are made with white wine, but this is made with red. It might not look the most attractive, but it is most definitely delicious! It can be found in plenty of restaurants across the city, so you won’t have to hunt too far. You can also try it at the above mentioned Hostaria Vecchia Fontanina.
This church is built in gothic style, and is located in one of the oldest parts of the city. It was named after the Saint Anastasia whose named remained from the pre-exsiting church that was on this spot. Since 1307 it is also dedicated to St. Peter, martyr and co-patron of Verona. The basilica was where the ruling families of Verona’s came to worship, including the highly influential Scaliger family.
Sant’Anastasia: Piazza S.Anastasia, 37121 Verona VR, Italy | Map
16. Check out the Scaliger tombs
The Scaliger tombs are a collection of Gothic funerary monuments celebrating the Scaliger family, who were the ruling family of Verona from the late 13th to late 14th century. They are located just outside the Church of Santa Maria Antica and are said to be some of the best examples of Gothic style tombs.
Scaliger Tombs: Via Santa Maria in Chiavica, 1a, 37121 Verona VR | Map
17. Visit Piazza delle Erbe
This is the market square in Verona, and used to be the forum in Roman times. It is also home to the town hall and Torre Dei Lamberti tower, with the square’s most ancient monument – the fountain, in the middle. You can also find market stalls set around the edge, which are fantastic to take a browse around.
Piazza delle Erbe: Piazza Erbe, 37121 Verona VR | Map
18. Explore the streets of Centro Storico
The historical streets of Verona Centre are a destination in their own right. Take your time to meander you way around them, down all the little, cute side streets to find cute shops and delicious places to eat. Beautiful store fronts, shutters, cobbled streets and lots of charm. Make sure to step away from the main thoroughfares.
Centro Storico: Via degli Alpini, Verona VR | Map
19. Admire the Arco dei Gavi
An ancient structure built by a noble Roman family in the 1st century AD. It was orignally built at the beginning of the Via Postumia, as an entrance to the city in the middle ages. During the Napoleonic rule, it was completely demolished by the French and the ruins moved to the arena. It was rebuilt under Mussolini, near its original spot.
Arco dei Gavi, Corso Cavour, 37121 Verona VR | Map
20. Admire Palazzo Barbieri
Located in Piazza Bra, this 19th century palace now serves as the town hall. Palazzo della Gran Guardia Nuova, and housed staff associated with the occupying Austrian Army forces.
Palazzo Barbieri:Piazza Bra, 6, 37121 Verona VR | Map
21. Visit Giardino Giusti
These gardens are considered some of the finest examples of an Italian garden. Peaceful and tranquil, there a place to come and relax and escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. The gardens are made up of 8 different squares with a unique design and a central fountain or decoration. There is also a hedge maze and series of grottoes landscaped into the hillside.
Giardino Giusti: Via Giardino Giusti, 2, 37121 Verona VR | Map
22. Verona Cathedral
A Roman Catholic cathedral dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. it is the most decorative of all the religious buildings in Verona as it features a mixture of Romanesque, Gothic, and Renaissance styles. After two churches on the same site were destroyed in an earthquake in 1117 building began, with it being completed in 1187. The sober 12th century exterior gives way to an extravagant 16th to 17th frescoed interior, making it really striking!
Verona Cathedral: Piazza Duomo, 21, 37121 Verona VR | Map
23. Take a day trip to Sirmione
If you have had your fill of Verona, then consider taking a day trip to Sirmione! This beautiful little town is on the edge of Lake Garda – on a spit of land that juts out into the lake. The most striking part of the town is the Scaliger Castle, that dominates the landscape as you arrive. Underneath is a quaint little town, with beautiful buildings. As well as gorgeous views over the lake. About an 40 minute drive from Verona, it is the perfect day trip!
Sirmione: 25019 Province of Brescia | Map
24. Take a day trip
If Sirmione hasn’t wet your appetite for day trips, there are plenty others you can take from Verona. Lake Garda, Milan, Venice and Parma are all within a day’s trip from the city. Explore the canals of Venice, the shores of Lake Garda, the fashion of Milan or try some parmesan cheese in Parma. All are less than 2 hours drive from Verona, what more could you want!
Looking for more European city break inspiration? Take a look at this post: The ultimate European city break bucketlist
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