I’ve taken two trips to Northern Italy over the years, and somehow Verona had eluded me. Until now!
Verona is one of those picture perfect cities that give Italy a reputation for beautiful destinations. Full of old Roman architecture, the historic centre is a maze of pedestrianised cobblestone streets.
Where should you eat, sleep, and explore in fair Verona? Well, since you asked..
What to See in Verona
Firstly, just wander the streets. I haven’t been to an Italian city that I didn’t like (aside from Milan which took me a while..) but this one is something else. It’s very close to the top of my list of beautiful places, and if you’re looking for history and romance you can meander through here for days.
Piazza delle Erbe
This large piazza was once the main forum for gatherings during the Roman Empire. There’s a beautiful fountain in the middle and a column topped by St. Mark’s Lion, a symbol of the neighbouring Republic of Venice. It’s now home to market stalls during the day, a Christmas market during the season, and surrounded by bustling shops and restaurants with outdoor patios. This is a great place to grab an aperitivo in the early evening, but make sure you check the menus first to avoid paying tourist prices!
Viewpoint at Castel San Pietro
My search for the best view in town was successful. You can walk the steps up the side of the mountain to reach the castle’s viewpoint, or you can ride the funicolare right to the top. A return journey is only €2. Here you’ll get sweeping views of the city and beyond. Fingers crossed your day is less misty than mine was!
Chiesa Santa Anastasia
There are four popular churches to visit in the city. When you purchase your entry ticket, you have the option to buy one that allows you to see all four. Entry to one is €3, and the bulk ticket is €6. If you plan to do the four it’s well worth it!
My favourite church was the Chiesa Santa Anastasia. I’ve seen many, many churches on my travels, and this is one of about five I will always remember. If you only pop in to one, make sure this is it. The exterior isn’t particularly striking, but the interior will take your breath away.
Arena di Verona
No, you’re not in Rome. Verona has its very own amphitheatre in Piazza Bra, dating back to the 1st century AD, which does bear some resemblance to Rome’s famous Colosseum. Throughout the summer they still run operas here; unfortunately my trip was too early in the year to catch one. Tickets to tour the inside cost €10.
Via Mazzini is the main shopping street in Verona that runs between the markets of Piazza Erbe and the arena in Piazza Bra. It has shiny, paved streets and all the fancy stores you could want. While there are some global chains dotted along the street, there are also many Italian brands for you to experience. If you’re looking to do some shopping during your visit, look no further.
This is where you’ll get one of the best views of the city and the Adige River. While the Ponte Pietra’s original structure dates all the way back to Roman rule, it has collapsed and been blown up many times, most recently during WWII. After 2 years of reconstruction, the current bridge was reopened in 1959.
Casa di Giulietta (Juliet’s House)
Unsurprisingly, but perhaps controversially, this was my biggest letdown. We all love the romance of Romeo & Juliet, and Letters to Juliet is still on my anual movie playlist, but how you imagine it is not what you will get when you visit the Casa di Giulietta.
You enter through the iron gates on Via Cappello and reach a courtyard packed with people. There are notes and graffiti lining the walls, and selfie sticks everywhere. Above you there are people going on and off the famous balcony from inside the house, and people below rubbing the right breast of the bronze statue of Juliet for good luck.
I found a raised spot along the side to stand and survey the madness. I’m glad I got to see it, but it was more to say I had than anything else. If you have no interest in the subject, I’d suggest you skip it. I did not venture inside the house, but a ticket to do so is €6.
If you want to see the balcony and courtyard from a better angle (for free), pop into the souvenir shop. They have an upstairs section with windows that open onto the courtyard where you can take photos of the building from a less crowded spot.
Where to Eat in Verona
Grab breakfast at an authentic pastry shop, there are many to choose from. The prices will be reasonable and the bread will be fresh. Pasticceria Cordioli on Via Cappello is very central and open early 6 days a week. Two pastries and an espresso cost us a mere €3.50!
There is no shortage of restaurants in any Italian city, but our lunch spot was something new for me. We stopped at Tigella Bella and ordered, surprise, tigelle. These are small, round flatbreads native to Modena, Italy. The meal comes with all sorts of sauces, meats, and cheeses for you to create your own mini sandwiches. Nice and light for lunch!
Kick off your evening with an aperitivo. Order yourself an Aperol Spritz or Campari Spritz and enjoy the accompanying snacks. Not sure where to go? Look for a bar overflowing with people to really enjoy the vibe.
Getting to & Staying in Verona
Find a place to stay in the historic centre of town so you can walk around quickly and stay out late. We stayed in a gorgeous Airbnb home right next to the famous Piazza delle Erbe.
Many of the streets are pedestrian-only, and others allow cars for limited hours of the day. If you’re driving to Verona make sure you do a bit of research on nearby car parks. We left our car in this free parking lot on the other side of Ponte Pietra, but there are many available for around €15 per day.
You can also take the train to Verona. A direct trip from Milan will get you there in 1 hour and 15 minutes. Make sure you know how to get to where you’re staying though, because the walk to the historic centre is around 30 minutes from Verona Porta Nuova train station.
Did I miss anything?
What are you favourite spots in Verona?
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