Hidden away in the north of Italy, Verona is a city often overlooked in favour of the nearby lakes or Venice. But for those looking for history, romance or even just a great city to explore, a visit to Verona is a must! Colourful buildings line the cobblestone streets, stunning architecture wows you at every turn and the food…well, it’s Italy! Of course there’s amazing food!
As with most Italian cities and towns, walking along the streets is an amazing opportunity to soak up the wonderful architecture. In summer, the streets are full of life. Cafes spill out on to the cobblestones, filled with people enjoying a coffee and pastry. Markets pop up, and bars and restaurants are buzzing.
Verona is a city full of history, and Verona Arena takes pride of place in Piazza Bra. This colosseum was built in the first century, and is still in use today. Not only can you take a tour and imagine what it would have been like to sit in the stands and watch the games, but it’s actually still in use as an entertainment venue today. Shows here these days are breathtaking, with the amazing acoustics complementing the operas and pop shows it hosts. Even One Direction and Adele have performed here! Although the outer wall is no longer fully standing, a visit here is a must to get just a taste of the history of the place.
There are several places across the city where it’s possible to catch a stunning sunset. The Arena is just one of those, but there’s also a tower for stunning panoramic views. Torre dei Lamberti in the Palazzo della Ragione is slap bang in the middle of the city, and even has a lift for those who don’t feel like tackling the 368 steps to reach the top.
Anyone who has heard of Shakespeare has heard of Romeo and Juliet. Their story is based in Verona, where you can even visit Juliet’s house, with the balcony and a statue of Juliet outside. Yes, the statue’s breasts are shiny. Why? Because it’s lucky to rub one or both of them when you visit. Is it true? Who knows, but plenty of people have given it a go!
A visit to Verona isn’t complete without seeing at least one castle. There’s the Castel San Pietro perched high on the hill, surrounded by the Roman Theatre – well worth a visit, if just for the views – or Castel San Felice further out. Another option is Castelvecchio, just a stone’s throw from Piazza Bra in the city centre, and you’ll be able to explore the castle, castle walls and the museum that’s now housed there.
It’s Italy, of course there are churches! The four larger churches’ entrance is all included with the Verona Card so you won’t feel guilty if you just pop your head in and have a quick look around. If you’re not into church visits and prefer to just see one, Verona Cathedral – Complesso della Cattedrale di Verona – is the best bet as it’s a more interesting complex than a standard church. Whichever you opt for, you just know it’ll be wow-worthy.
Verona is a great choice for a day trip if you’re already in the region, but if you can spare two or three days it’s definitely worth the time to really soak up the history, the culture and the stunning river views. With an airport of it’s own, and quick and easy links to nearby cities, Verona is very accessible for a weekend break away. If you have longer, it’s also the perfect place to pair with a few days in Venice. Or, if you’re coming form the west then Bergamo, Milan or the world famous lakes would be a great addition.
Feeling inspired to book a trip? Don’t forget to check out the sights that’ll make you fall in love with the city when you get there!