There are countless reasons to visit Verona but my favourite justification would be to see the city where the famous story of Romeo and Juliet was based on. Sadly, this city often overlooked because of the proximity with Venice but there is a subtle charm in this town and both are poles apart so it would wise to visit both the places if time permits.
I had the opportunity to combine this day trip with Sirmione and Lake Garda which both made up for a spectacular trip. Verona is highly recommended for people interested in history, art and culture. It is indeed a small town but a beautiful one.
Some of the things to see here are:-
Juliet’s Balcony – Start your journey into this romantic city by visiting Juliet’s house and the famous balcony where apparently she was wooed by Romeo. Every year thousands of tourists flock this place just to see the house and the famous balcony which till today remains an impressive highlight of the drama. So start your trip in this city of love by paying a tribute to La Casa di Giulietta.
Amphitheatre or Verona Arena – At the first glimpse I did though this arena was a replica of the colosseum in Rome but surprisingly this Arena is way older. Back in the days, it was used to host shows, events and gladiators. During the good old days, it could accommodate almost 30,000 people, it’s still used to today and is a well-preserved piece of history. A must visit when in Verona as it’s one of the main highlights of the cities.
Castelvecchio and Ponte Scaligero – One of the prime military construction of Verona is this Castle, and while walking here I did feel I have been transported back in time. While you are here you should even make it a point to check out the Castelvecchio museum which has some great art collection. The entire castle is made from red brick and has seven towers. Back in the days, it was surrounded by water but now the channel is pretty dry. The Ponte Scaligero bridge connects to the castle and is worth taking a stroll over.
Piazza Delle Erbe – An impressive place with a lot of history is this marvellous square of Verona and the heart of this square is the fountain. It’s surrounded by cafes, restaurants, shops and some prominent buildings. There is the popular tower called Torre dei Lamberti which provides exceptional views of the city, The Town Hall, House of Merchant’s, Palazzo Maffei and the Chamber of Commerce. Your trip to Verona is not completed without a visit to this popular square.
Piazza dei Signori – Just a few steps away from Piazza delle Erbe is this square and you can probably visit both on one visit to the neighbourhood. Some of the significant buildings and structures around here are the statue of the Italian poet Dante Alighieri, Loggia del Consiglio (former council building), Palazzo del Podesta (government building), Arco della Tortura and Casa della Pieta (house of piety). Most of the buildings here do not allow the general public but you still can appreciate the architecture from outside.
Centro Storico – The old town will surprise you with its shopping scene and this is one of the main reasons you should check out the Via Mazzini street. It’s lined with some amazing shops and cafes. It’s a good idea just to stroll around here to get a real sense of Verona. This city is surely wealthy when it comes to showcasing their history as well as the luxurious side by giving a glimpse to all its fancy boutiques around.
Castle San Pietro – You can reach this castle either by foot or by a funicular, the view is no doubt amazing from here but the history is something which will fascinate you more. Over the years there were many fortresses builds around and you can still some of the ruins in the hills but this 19th Century Castle St Pietro is what remains today. Unfortunately, you cannot go inside the castle but can appreciate the view of the city from here.
Arche Scalgeri – These gothic funerary monuments here represent the Scalgeri family who ruled Verona for a brief period of history. There is also a church here which you can visit called the S. Maria Antica. The most impressive structure and the one to remember would be of Cangrande, he was pretty popular and at times even his enemies had to accept that. The tomb area is hence closed for visitors to visit but you can still glance at the structures from out.
Giardino Giusti – This outstanding garden here is an example of Renaissance landscaping and is still looked after by the Giusti family since 1591. This is regarded as one of the most beautiful gardens in Italy, it has a fountain, pool, sculptures, Labyrinth, and a Grotto. These gardens are surely a tranquil site.
Basilica of San Zeno Maggiore – A specimen of Romanesque architecture is this lovely Basilica. Build to honour the cities patron saint. The outdoor space of the basilica is surrounded by the bell tower and the defence tower. According to legends, Romeo and Juliet got married here.
Piazza Bra – Sit right across the cafes and restaurants and enjoy your coffee without the beautiful view of the arena. It’s pretty spacious and doesn’t seem busy even though it’s quite buzzing around here. It’s one of the largest squares in the city which houses the arena, a garden, and few important buildings along with the numerous restaurants and cafes.
Verona was like a breath of fresh air for me, I am so glad I took this opportunity to visit this charming city full of history, character and love.