Verona is known worldwide for being the capital of troubled love, having hosted the story of the two most famous lovers in the world, Romeo and Juliet. Do not be conditioned by the ending, however: Verona is a perfect city for a weekend (even for a romantic weekend, yes! Who knows that it won’t bring you luck …). Some base in Verona to visit the rest of the Veneto (and maybe Venice), but the city offers a rich choice of museums, shopping streets, shows and other things to see: starting from the majestic Arena di Verona, which in the summer it becomes a spectacular arena for concerts and operas.
In autumn or winter Verona – the second largest city in the Veneto – is by no means overshadowed by the regional capital, the nearby and splendid Venice
Verona has a unique historic center, declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco for its architecture and urban structure, romantic and charming with its bridges over the Adige river, the wonderful buildings and the streets teeming with people. From the most famous balcony in the world, that of Juliet, to the wonderful squares and the spectacular Arena of Verona, history lovers will love how each era has left a mark, something to see and appreciate, in this city.
1. Piazza Bra
We begin our tour from Piazza Bra, the beating heart of Verona, immense and majestic with the Arena di Verona in the center. On the southern side there is the Gran Guardia, a building dating back to the seventeenth century, which today hosts exhibitions and conferences. On the eastern side instead stands Palazzo Barbieri in all its beauty, built in the nineteenth century and today the seat of the Municipality of Verona. There is a lot to see, day and night. Don’t rush: clubs and bars liven up the square. Take a seat to observe the walk and drink a good coffee.
2. Arena of Verona
Symbol of the city the Arena of Verona attracts millions of visitors every year, not only for its beauty and history but also for the important events and concerts it hosts. Built with the Valpolicella stone, with shades of red and pink, and renovated in the 16th century, the Arena can now accommodate around 20,000 spectators thanks to its elliptical shape: it is the third largest Roman amphitheater, after the Colosseum and the Capua amphitheater. Among the events, do not miss the famous Opera Festival, which every summer transforms the Arena di Verona into the largest open-air opera theater in the world!
3. Via Mazzini
A stone’s throw from the Arena, we recommend that you take the central Via Mazzini, a beautiful road that connects the two main squares of Verona: Piazza delle Erbe and Piazza Bra. Via Mazzini is ideal for shopping or just to be fascinated by shop windows … and not only! It is also dotted with wonderful old buildings: don’t get distracted!
4. Piazza delle Erbe
Considered one of the most beautiful squares in Italy, Piazza delle Erbe is actually a small gem that will not fail to conquer you. Built on the ancient Roman forum (as the shape suggests), the square is a mix of styles, history, perfumes and smells. Take a look at the buildings that surround it, such as Palazzo della Ragione, Case Mazzanti, Palazzo Maffei and Casa dei Mercanti. The center of the square is dominated by the fountain of the Madonna di Verona, built in the 14th century. Also look for the Ancient Column and the so-called Capital, a marble canopy from which the rulers of the city spoke to the people (and where the heads of those who had been sentenced to death after execution were exposed!). The central part of the square is full of food stalls and typical objects.
5. Giulietta’s home
A few meters from Piazza delle Erbe, walking in Via Cappello, one of the most beautiful streets in the city, you will find yourself in front of the famous Juliet’s house. Before even entering the courtyard you will notice the walls covered with tickets and love letters left by lovers around the world. Above overlooks the famous balcony: below, according to legend, Romeo would have declared his love for Juliet (even if … history mixes with fantasy. A lot of fantasy!) The house is nice and welcoming and worth a visit. Before leaving, don’t forget to take a photo with the most famous lover statue in the world!
6. Torre dei Lamberti
A few steps from Piazza delle Erbe, looking up to the sky, you will find the Torre dei Lamberti with its 84 meters high. It is a monument to which the Veronese are very fond of. Its first construction dates back to the twelfth century, but was completed only in the following centuries: this explains the mix of materials used for the construction: the lower part is built with tuff and brick rows, the upper part, dating from the fifteenth century, is entirely in brick. The clock was added only in the eighteenth century. Don’t be lazy: get on and don’t miss the opportunity to admire Verona from above!
7. Arche Scaligere
The Arche Scaligere, a few steps from Piazza delle Erbe, is a funeral complex dedicated to some representatives of the Scaligeri family, who reigned for a long time in Verona. The Arche are a very particular structure: the oldest, in a sumptuous Gothic style, dates back to 1277. An imposing iron gate protects the monument, but from June to September it is possible to visit the interior.
8. Porta Borsari
Going along Corso Porta Borsari, in the historic center not far from Piazza delle Erbe, you will reach the homonymous door. It is a gateway to the city of Roman times, dating back to the first century BC: the current name alludes to the soldiers who collected the duty here.
9. Castelvecchio and Civic Museum of Verona
On Via Roma nestled on the banks of the Adige, there is Castelvecchio, the castle of Verona built in the mid-fourteenth century by the will of Cangrande II della Scala. A visit here will bring you back to medieval Verona, in a romantic and fantastic atmosphere: the structure is divided between the large courtyard (in the center a strange dog-shaped fountain was built, a symbol of loyalty!) And the Royal Palace of the Scaligeri. Once an impregnable fortress, today Castelvecchio houses the Civic Museum of Verona not to be missed!
10. Verona Cathedral
Hidden among the buildings the Cathedral of Verona rises majestically in the sky of the city. Built over the rubble of two early Christian churches, it was consecrated in 1187 and dedicated to Santa Maria Matricolare. The structure is in Romanesque style, but the church was deeply remodeled in the Gothic and Renaissance periods. Inside is the famous Pala dell’Assunta of Tiziano. From the Duomo it is possible to access the baptistery of San Giovanni in Fonte, a church from the Lombard period in which there is a baptismal font entirely carved in marble.
11. Roman theatre
The Roman Theater of Verona stands on the left bank of the Adige river, at the foot of Colle San Pietro. Its construction dates back to the first century BC, but what remains today is only part of the initial project: over time the theater has been partially destroyed, and other constructions have overlapped it. Only in the nineteenth century was it decided to recover the original structure. Every year, in the summer, the theater is suitable as a setting for a festival dedicated to the Shakespeare theater. Not only Romeo and Juliet, in Verona!
12. Scaligero Bridge
Built with the red bricks typical of medieval Verona, the Scaligero Bridge, adjacent to Castelvecchio, will give you the opportunity to better observe the Adige, and to take truly suggestive photos through the slits. 120 meters long, it was erected to ensure an escape from the city. Destroyed by the Germans during the Second World War, the bridge was rebuilt with the remains of the stones recovered in the Adige. This piece of history reaches its peak at sunset!
13. Basilica of San Zeno
Moving away from the center of Verona, it is worth visiting one of the masterpieces of Italian Romanesque art, the Basilica of San Zeno, dedicated to the eighth bishop of Verona. The facade entirely in marble and tuff is made truly special by the central rose window, the “wheel of fortune”, which represents the six phases of human life and the uselessness of material joys. The interior is enriched with various works, such as the Mantegna triptych depicting the Madonna on the throne. Following the marble stairs you will enter the crypt, where the saint’s body is kept. A truly suggestive place of peace and meditation.
14. Juliet’s Tomb and Affreschi Museum
Along the city walls, along Via del Pontiere you reach the wonderful former Convent of San Francesco al Corso. Inside, in the basement, there is Juliet’s tomb, surrounded by an atmosphere of silence that will make you relive the tormented but eternal love of the two young Shakespearean lovers. With the same ticket you can also visit the Affreschi Museum G.B. Cavalcaselle, where the works rescued from the flood of the Adige of 1882 are kept.
15. Molina Waterfalls Park
If you want to enjoy a relaxing day among enchanting landscapes, head to the Molina Waterfalls Park, about an hour from Verona. Easily reachable both by car and by bus, the Parco delle Cascate offers the opportunity to take long walks between fantastic water jumps and archaeological excavations. Three suggestive routes await you, all rewarded by a breathtaking view. A nice diversion, especially if you travel with children!