4 minute read

Verona…just the name of this town in the Veneto region of Italy conjures images of balcony-bound professions of love and romance along with more than two thousand years of history. Magic and the stuff of which legends are made unfold along the Adige River.

Verona is in the northeast section of the country, about midway between Venice and Milan. But her proximity to the hustling, bustling cities might as well be non-existent as the town of Verona is a step back in time. Many who’ve been here consider Verona among the most beautiful cities in all of Italy. Of course we would love to hear your opinion.

Because of Verona’s association with Shakespeare’s epic love story Romeo and Juliet, the city of Verona boasts a perpetual ambiance of love and romance. However there’s plenty to see and do in this gentle burg beyond romantic endeavors. Here we offer some suggestions.

The Piazza Bra and Verona Arena

In the Piazza Bra, on the fringes of Verona’s historic city center, you’ll find the Roman Amphitheater. Dating back to 30 AD, older by half a century than Rome’s Colosseum, and built to hold up to 30,000 spectators, the Verona Arena is still in use today hosting large-scale opera performances. Said to be one of the most well preserved examples of Roman architecture, the arena is recognized internationally as an iconic monument of Italy and the Veneto region.

The Piazza Bra is Verona’s largest public square and home to many shops, restaurants and cafes. There are a few spots from which you can enjoy a coffee or glass of wine and a light bite or meal while you observe the good people of Verona going about their day. The colorful buildings with beautifully adorned balconies that surround the square, along with the Verona Arena in the background, make the Piazza Bra a perfect place for a photo op.

There’s plenty more to see around the Piazza Bra including the beautiful city gates, the fountain resembling a lemon squeezer (really! That’s what the locals call it!), the impressive architecture of the multi-arched Gran Guardia Palace and the columned, neoclassical Palazzo Beriberi. Plan accordingly and you’ll enjoy a passeggiata or family stroll before dinner. Verona’s residents love to ease into the dinner hour in this way.

A Stroll Through History

For those who enjoy strolling through history, Verona's historic city center and old town (called the Centro Storico) is a great place to roam. Let yourself get a little bit lost as you take in architecture from the Renaissance as well as medieval times. The buildings are so beautifully preserved and maintained the historical center of Verona is now recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

A Colorful Square with A Chance for A View

As in many cities throughout Italy there are plenty of squares to pause and take in Italian life. Verona has a few such squares. We mentioned the Piazza Bra but the Piazza Delle Erbe in the historic center of town is quite beautiful and historical. Once the main forum in Verona, the Piazza delle Erbe is surrounded by colorful buildings, many with incredible murals, and some wonderful examples of Baroque architecture such as is found in the Palazzo Maffei and the tower, Torre dei Lamberti.

Climbing the Torre dei Lamberti is a great experience as the payoff is an incredible bird’s eye view of Verona and the surrounding area. Of course there is an elevator available to take you to the top as well.

An Historic Bridge to Even More

Cross over the popular bridge, the Ponte Pietra which connects Verona’s Teatro Romano with the historic center. The original bridge was constructed in the 2nd century however it was destroyed as the Germans retreated from Verona in WWII. In 1957 rebuilding of the bridge, using original materials, was completed. Views from the bridge offer beautiful vistas along the Adige River.

What would Italy be without her stunningly gorgeous churches? Situated close to the Ponte Pietra is the 13th century Gothic church Basilica St. Anastasia. The church is adorned with fascinating statues inside and out as well as several well-preserved and lovely interior frescoes.

The Teatro Romano is a 1st century Roman theater. In warmer weather the theatre still puts on performances but you can mill about at any time and take fun the views from the upper levels. Also you’ll find an archeological museum that displays some of the fascinating artifacts found on the grounds.

Love Letters and Juliet’s House

Of course one of Verona’s most acclaimed and iconic residents was the fair maiden Juliet. Juliet’s house, the setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, is located on 23 Via Capello, in the very heart (where else?) of Verona.

You’ll traverse a covered pathway to reach the house of the Capulets and along the way you’ll see professions of love in all forms-graffiti, letters, post-it notes and messages, left by the lovelorn, love torn and simply besotted visitors over the years. Of course the powers that be have cracked down on this practice so please refrain from leaving your own ode to love but some of these professions are as interesting as the balcony from which Juliet beckoned her Romeo.

The Old Castle

Outside of the city’s medieval walls is the Castelvecchio Bridge and Museum. This structure was built in 1352 as a Roman fortress. It also served as a residence. Today the “old castle” serves as a museum of the history of Verona. In addition to the castle/fortress and museum you’ll find a 14th century stone bridge, the Ponte Castelvecchio. Also known as the Ponte Scaligero the bridge was the longest of its kind when first constructed.

This fascinating bridge boasts several towers which you can climb and look out onto the Adige River. The views are quite impressive and beautiful.

The Beautiful Basilica with A Legendary Crypt

The Basilica di San Zeno Maggiore is another gorgeous church you shouldn’t miss. Slightly outside of the usual tourist area the church and adjacent piazza are well worth the steps. Built in the 12th century, the church houses what is believed to be the very first example of Renaissance art in Verona, its altarpiece. This striking altarpiece served as inspiration for other artists of Verona. The bronze doors are equally as impressive.

The Basilica itself is known for many reasons but one that stands out? The crypt of the Basilica di San Zeno Maggiore served as the setting for the marriage of Romeo and Juliet. Ah love.

Fall in Love With Verona

So there you have it, the most beloved and fascinating things to see in Verona. Spend a day strolling the city and we know you’ll fall in love.

Verona Cafe Dessert