Verona is definitely one of my favourite Italian cities. Its history traces back to the Roman era and Renaissance splendor.
The most important historical spots are all located pretty close to each other so it won’t be hard to see the majority of them in one day (unless you get stuck in queues of course).
Chances are high that you’ll fall in love as soon as you visit it! Wanna know why?
R+J in Verona
The first thing that many people associate with Verona is Shakespeare. Local cunning marketing guys use it to the fullest. It might look kitsch to you, might look entertaining – it’s up to you to decide.
Although all historical hints are hidden very deeply, you can still visit several spots somehow related to the famous Shakespeare’s tragedy that was inspired by an older poem of Arthur Brooke. The Juliet’s house serves as the main point for the pilgrimage.
To be frank, it’s a 13th century house that might be the one and looks like the house where a Juliet’s prototype lived (if she ever existed) and was doomed to fall in love with young Romeo – or she might’ve not lived there at all. Nevertheless, its inner court hosts a statue of this famous young lady: according to a superstition, touching some of her body parts helps to become happy in love.
As you can judge by pictures, there are so many desperate people in the world that some Juliet’s body parts expose polished and shiny bronze (see the pcs for the mistery revealed).
The balcony is legendary and looks authentic right? But it was actually added to the house in 1930 for the tourist satisfaction only 😉
If you opt to see the inner part of the house as well, some furniture, Franco Zeffirelli’s movie costumes and a room where you can write a letter to Juliet are all waiting for you.
Whether Romeo and Juliet were real or not, two powerful Italian bands nicknamed Montecchi and Cappelletti existed – check the history behind it (e.g. in ‘The Origins of the Legend of Romeo and Juliet in Italy‘ by Olin H. Moore, 1930).
Interesting: Seeking love is for all kind of people! For those more modern minded there’s an option to send an email to Juliette, not a hand written letter!
Tip: if you have time and are ready to dive into more Shakespearean legacy, consider taking a look at Romeo’s house that looks more like a castle or visiting Juliet’s Tomb as well! Or go to Mantua 🙂
Piazza delle Erbe
Piazza delle Erbe is another iconic Verona spot. 84-meter high Torre dei Lomberti is the impressive building that without doubt will catch your eye. Its weird structure comes from the historic reality of its construction – different materials refer to different stages of its erection, from the 12 to the 18th century.
You can climb it as well – the views over the historic city center once cherished by Goethe and Mozart are splendid!
Among other splendid notable spots at Piazza delle Erbe are the Lion of St Mark, Palazzo Maffei, Casa Mazanti and the beginning of Via Mancini, one of the main shopping destinations for the tourists.
Come back to the square which once was the Roman forum. Explore the fountain with a figure of Madonna Verona – its are real time travel! The statue itself dated back to the 4th century AD and the fountain was constructed in 1368.
Buy some fresh fruits on a petit market or just sit in one of the cafes here, order a coffee (and maybe something else to accompany it) and enjoy your time!
Piazza dei Signori
I might like splendid Piazza dei Signori with a monument to Dante Alighieri in the centre more than the buzz of the adjacent Piazza delle Erbe.
The Palazzo dei Ragioni now hosting the New Museum of Modern Art (on the right), Loggia del Consiglio, Palazzo dei tribunali are all located around the Piazza dei Signori.
The names of these buildings hint to its important administrative role over the city.
If you were wondering what Dante was doing here – he was given a refuge in Verona after he was exiled and had to flee Florence in the beginning of the 14th century.
You can definitely spot a lot of references to Verona in his texts!
Ponte San Pietro and Castel San Pietro
For me, the panorama I get from Ponte San Pietro over the river Adige is so essentially Verona! It looks so lovely doesn’t it?
The tower you see from the bridge belongs to the Basilica of Saint Anastasia that keeps a famous Pisanello’s fresco Saint George and the Princess.
This medieval monumental fortress is another unmissable place to see. Its shape prolonging to thePonte Scaligero, is just iconic. Constructed in 1354, Castelvecchio is connected to the name of Scalighieri, the powerful noble family, the Lords of Verona who ruled the city for over century and a half. Their tombs are located in Santa Maria Antica Church near Piazza dei Signori.
Climb the walls and explore the restored interiors of the castle rooms and exhibitions of Museo.
I was really impressed by its interiors, the combination of red marble, Renaissance art pieces and the peculiar light makes this place magical.
Make sure you have a look at Baptistery, St Helen church remnants and various archaeological excavations. As the cathedral was erected in 12th century on the remains of a more ancient palaeo‑christian basilicas, you can still see floor mosaics of the Roman era.
If you like Catullus as I do, you would be pleased to know that his name is closely linked to Verona and the original corpus of his writings was preserved in the Duomo library for a long time.
Tip: if you have time, visit Basilica di San Zeno as well! It was named after the Verona’s saint patron and first archbishop Zeno whose tomb you can see inside. This splendid Romanesque church has a long history: it dates back to the 12thcentury and has magical interiors. Stay alert for the Mantegna’s Madonna with Saints on the high altar! It might also be a place of R+J marriage but we’ll never know for sure.
Arena di Verona
There is definitely an elephant in the room – of course you just cannot miss the massive Roman beauty at Piazza Bra! It’s one of the best preserved Roman amphitheater in the World, third largest in Italy and built in the 1st century AD.
I was lucky to visit the open air Opera Festival the other year (did you know that I’m a huuuuge opera fan?) – but if you opt for it keep your fingers crossed for the good weather! We were completely flooded at the Aida performance as there is obviously no roof inside the Arena.
The Piazza Bra and Portoni della Bra are also gorgeous, aren’t they?
Tip: if you like Roman architecture and are craving for more, please go and see the ruins of Teatro Romano. Arco dei Gavi is another monument reminding us of Verona’s Roman heritage.
OR Take a short train to see a glimpse of Garda lake!
I’m pretty sure that after reading my blogpost you understand why Verona is one of UNESCO world heritage sites 🙂
Hope you enjoyed my today’s blogpost!