Nestled in the heart of Northern Italy, Verona, steeped in history and artistic appeal, invites you to explore its fascinating streets and immerse yourself in the timeless symphony of love that echoes through its rich cultural tapestry.
But why is Verona referred to as the city of romance? Firstly, it gained widespread recognition as the setting for William Shakespeare's iconic play, "Romeo and Juliet". The tragic love story of the star-crossed lovers has made Verona synonymous with romance, attracting countless visitors to Juliet's balcony and the purported tomb of the fictional characters.
Verona's romantic allure extends beyond literature to the realm of music and art. The city has been a prominent source of inspiration with its stunning architecture and quaint landscapes. During the Renaissance period, Verona flourished as a centre for artistic creativity, attracting renowned painters, sculptors and architects who contributed to the city's cultural richness.
How to visit Verona
This majestic city is located between the iconic destinations of Milan and Venice. With its rich history, romantic ambiance and a compact historic centre, Verona promises an enchanting stop on your Italian adventure.
Verona's historic core is easily navigable on foot, so it is advisable to arrive by train, since the city offers excellent rail connections. In case you already have a car, we recommend leaving your car outside the city centre, for a convenient and efficient exploration. If you also wish to visit the surrounding region and more off-the-beaten-path attractions, then a car will definitely be useful.
Regardless of your mode of transportation, historic landmarks like Juliet's balcony and the Castel San Pietro await you, to show you that Verona’s magic is the perfect addition to your Italian itinerary!
The connection to Shakespeare started with La Casa di Giulietta, or House of Juliet, a Gothic-style house from the 12th century that is believed to have inspired the fictional home of Juliet Capulet in Shakespeare's play. In fact, the balcony of the house was the place where both lovers declared their love to each other, which is why it is so popular nowadays.
The irony surrounding Shakespeare's connection to Verona lies in the fact that he never set foot in the city, however his imaginative brilliance crafted a myth that transcended fiction. While Verona served as a canvas for Shakespeare's literary masterpiece, the city eventually embraced the myth with the House of Giulietta - a pilgrimage site for lovers worldwide. Thus, the convergence of Shakespeare's creativity and Verona's embrace of the myth epitomizes the enduring power of storytelling to shape and breathe life into the places we may only encounter through the written word.
Verona Arena & Piazza Brá
The Verona Arena, dating back to the 1st century AD, has been repurposed over the centuries and now serves as one of the world's most renowned open-air opera houses. The Arena di Verona Festival, an annual operatic extravaganza, showcases world-class performances featuring acclaimed artists against the breathtaking backdrop of this ancient amphitheatre.
Piazza Brá, the expansive square surrounding the Verona Arena, is a vibrant hub of activity. Lined with cafes and historic buildings, the square provides a picturesque setting for pre-opera gatherings and post-performance reflections. The atmosphere during the festival is electric, with the square buzzing with anticipation and excitement!
Verona's commitment to the arts underscores the city's enduring legacy as a cultural beacon marked by an enchanting tapestry of music, history and communal celebration.
Torre dei Lamberti
The Torre dei Lamberti, a majestic medieval tower soaring above Verona's skyline and reaching a height of approximately 84 metres (275 feet), offers a panoramic overview of the city and its surroundings. Standing proudly in the heart of Piazza delle Erbe, this iconic landmark from the 12th century serves as both a historical symbol and an excellent vantage point for a breathtaking perspective of Verona.
An elevator facilitates the ascent for the majority of the journey, making the experience accessible to a wide range of people. As you ascend the tower, the cityscape unfolds, revealing Verona's architectural gems, historic landmarks and the Adige River winding its way through the city. The elevator will take you up to an impressive height, but the last leg of the journey involves climbing the final two floors on foot. This short trek adds a touch of authenticity to the experience, allowing you to connect with the tower's historical roots and appreciate the effort it took to ascend such heights in centuries past.
Piazza delle Erbe
Every cobbled street in Verona will lead to its beating heart, the Piazza delle Erbe, a lively and historic square that encapsulates the city's rich heritage. Also known as the Market Square, it has been a focal point of Veronese life for centuries.
Surrounded by colorful façades adorned with frescoes, the square exudes a vibrant and old-fashioned atmosphere. The name, "Square of Herbs", harks back to the medieval times when it was a thriving market for herbs, spices and medicinal plants. The site's centrepiece is the ancient Madonna Verona Fountain, topped with a Roman statue. Be sure to browse through the market stalls that now offer an array of goods, from fresh produce to local crafts.
In essence, Piazza delle Erbe is a fascinating snapshot of Verona's past and present, a place where commerce, culture and community converge in a vibrant tapestry of Italian life.
When you need a little break from the cultural side of the city, find solace in the tranquility of Giardino Giusti, a sublime Renaissance Garden. Established in the 16th century by the noble Giusti family, this space is a masterpiece of geometric landscaping, featuring meticulously manicured hedges, statuesque cypress trees and a symphony of vibrant flowers, as an ode to the Italian Renaissance's love for symmetry, order and aesthetic beauty.
A highlight of Giardino Giusti is the famous "Great Maze", an intricate labyrinth of perfectly pruned hedges that challenges visitors to navigate its twists and turns. The reward for those who successfully navigate the maze is a stunning view of the city of Verona.
Giardino Giusti is also imbued with historical significance. The garden has hosted illustrious figures such as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who marvelled at its beauty during his travels. Today, the garden serves as a living testament to the enduring appeal of Renaissance design.
Castel San Pietro at sunset
Castel San Pietro, a Roman fortress crowning the hills of Verona, is an emblem of the city's rich history and architectural grandeur. Perched atop the Castel San Pietro hill, it boasts ancient stone walls, towers and remnants of its military past, evoking a feeling of stepping back in time. The journey to the top is a pleasant walk and will reward you with stunning panoramic views of Verona and its red-tiled roofs, the meandering Adige River and the splendid Arena di Verona.
Since the main goal of visiting this castle is to get lost in the views, we recommend you to come here at sunset, when the warm hues of the descending sun bathe the landscape and the city below comes alive with the soft glow of streetlights, casting a romantic ambiance over Verona's streets and landmarks. The serenity of the moment is punctuated by the distant sounds of the city and Castel San Pietro captures perfectly the essence of Verona's allure.
If you are staying in Verona for a few days, consider exploring a little further and making a detour to the beautiful regions around! A rental car is the most practical means of transportation to get around these areas and uncover all the nooks and crannies.
Lago di Garda, Italy’s largest lake nestled between the Alps and the Po Valley, is one of the must-visits, with its crystal-clear waters and lovely landscapes. The lake offers opportunities for boat rides, lakeside strolls and water activities. Delightful lakeside villages dot its shores!
One of these villages is Sirmione. It is renowned for its medieval Scaligero Castle, which offers ample views of the lake. The town is also famous for its thermal baths, such as the Grotte di Catullo, providing a unique experience of both history and relaxation. The charming streets, gelato shops and lakeside ambiance make Sirmione a delightful stop.
A tapestry of history, romance and culture
Locals say Verona transports you to a timeless tale where history, romance and culture intertwine seamlessly. From the iconic balcony of Juliet to the ancient charm of the Verona Arena, every cobblestone street and historic monument reveals a piece of the city's rich heritage. With its vibrant piazzas, lush gardens and the allure of nearby destinations like Lago di Garda, Sirmione and Valpolicella, Verona invites you to an unforgettable journey through Italy's past and present that resonates with the essence of la dolce vita.