Romeo, Romeo, where for art thou Romeo?
Well, it’s safe to say I didn’t find Romeo among the throng of tourists that waited patiently – and not so patiently – to take their place on the infamous Juliet’s balcony, but I certainly fell in love with Verona, the city that plays host to Shakespeare’s famous Romeo and Juliet.
I didn’t know much about Verona before visiting, and it was only upon a recommendation from an Italian friend that I actually ended up there. But once I’d arrived, I soon realised that this is a city that should be on everyone’s to-see list. As with any city, there are a few things here that will make you question why you never visited earlier, and here are the top 7 sights that’ll make you fall in love with Verona!
Shakespeare set one of his most famous plays in Verona – Romeo and Juliet – and a visit to the city isn’t complete without popping by to see the famous balcony. History tells us that there may actually have been two real warring families living in Verona, and the building is said to belong to one of the families. However, the balcony you can see today isn’t the original balcony a young teenage girl would have called from. If you’re just stopping by and not visiting the actual house, there’s a statue of Juliet in the courtyard of the building that’ll bring you luck if you rub her breast – no really, you’ll see they’re both worn and super shiny – and you can read all the love notes people have scribbled onto the walls.
You can tour the museum of the house for an entrance fee, or see the balcony and statue of Juliet for free in the courtyard.
Taking pride of place in the centre of Piazza Bra, the arena is a huge attraction in Verona. Not only is it chock full of history, it plays host to huge concerts throughout the year, including One Direction and Adele! You’re able to walk around most of the arena for your admission fee, and for those who love history, taking a seat on one of the rows and imagining all that has happened since the arena was first built in the first century is very cool!
If you can time a visit for when the crowds are thin, stand on the opposite side of the arena from a travel buddy and sing – you’ll be amazed at how the sound travels!
Italians sure know how to build ’em, and the architecture of the churches in Verona is among some of the most best I’ve seen. There are four big, impressive churches to check out, as well as a number of smaller ones. As Verona is a nice compact city, you could easily see them all in a day. Thinking once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all? Not here! Each church has something different from the others, but if you only want to visit one I’d recommend the Duomo – there are still 3 mini-churches to explore there.
Verona Castle takes pride of place on the river, and offers stunning views over the city. A visit here is a mix of history, artwork and appreciation of the variety of architecture.
Torre dei Lamberti
Panoramic views are not only a great way to get a lay of the land, but timing it to catch the sun setting over a city really gives it a special edge. Although the entrance to this tower isn’t immediately obvious, it is well worth spending the extra €1 to get the lift to the top – there are a lot of steps!
Entry to the Roman Theatre gives you access to two sights – the Roman Theatre itself and the Archaeological museum, although it’s worth visiting just for the Roman Theatre! Although some of the seating area has been reconstructed, you’re still able to sit and imagine what it would have been like to sit and watch a show all those hundreds, even thousands of years ago!
A visit here isn’t complete without climbing to the top of the theatre and checking out the amazing views of Verona.
Walk for a few minutes and you’ll come across a square of some kind and size. From the large, impressive, shop-lined squares to the small, intimate squares, Verona has the lot. In fact, half of the joy of exploring the compact city of Verona is stumbling upon the local shops and backstreet local hangouts. Don’t be afraid to stray from the main tourist trails!
So there you have it, the 7 sights that made me fall in love with Verona. There is so much more to the city than just these sights, but I don’t want to completely spoil your visit and leave you with nothing to discover!
Have you been to Verona? Let me know what you loved about the city!