Slightly south of Bolzano, in the northern part of Italy is a centuries-old town whose name we all grew up knowing. Verona. Historically referred to as Little Roma and the setting for Shakespeare’s famed Romeo and Juliette, Verona is not only a great jumping off point to explore several other Italian and European destinations, it’s worth a weekend of your time to explore.
Daytime driving in the city’s historic center is prohibited, making it perfect for leisurely walking tours and café sitting. There are numerous historical churches and archeological sites to see, as well outdoor frescoes and museum artwork. These are Trek Hound’s recommendations for the top things to do in Verona, Italy.
Enjoy an opera or take a tour in the arena di Verona.
Located in Piazza Bra, this arena is the third largest Roman amphitheater in existence. Opera performances are scheduled at the arena throughout the season, so if you love to enjoy live entertainment, then you might want to consider purchasing opera tickets during your visit to Verona. During the two years we lived by Lake Garda, we noticed this was a popular activity with other expats as well as locals.
If you only have the daytime to visit however, the arena di Verona is also open most weekdays for tourists and locals to explore, photograph or relax with a good book. The fee is nominal and relaxing with a lunch panini and a treasured tomb in such an ancient structure is . . . well, priceless.
Celebrate the romance of Romeo and Juliet.
For the few people left who haven’t seen Letters to Juliet, Verona, Italy is home to what many believe is the balcony which inspired the famous Shakespeare scene. While there’s a nominal fee to go up to the balcony itself, the courtyard is free to enter. You can touch the Juliet statue for luck, get your souvenir picture and take a few moments to “pause for the cause” so to speak.
Take a tour of the Castelvecchio.
This fourteenth-century fortress turned museum is worth the time it will take to get there on foot and take the tour. Its collection includes frescoes, medieval artefacts, statues and even jewelry. There’s an ornate arch within walking distance, and an historic bridge nearby as well.
Sit a spell at Piazza delle Erbe.
While Piazza Bra – home to arena di Verona – is certainly a pleasant enough place to start your stroll of the old city, the place to sit and sip your cappuccino is most certainly Piazza delle Erbe. Centuries-old frescoes, historic buildings and numerous outdoor cafes make Piazza delle Erbe the perfect choice for taking an afternoon break from sightseeing. The frescoes here are exceptional, and the location ideal for exploring the side streets later with your camera.
Verona is also home to a number of beautiful churches available for exploration.
There might not be enough time to see all of them in a weekend, but there are certainly more than enough to round any gaps in your touring schedule for the old city. Of note are the Basilica di San Zeno Maggiore and the Chiesa di San Fermo.
From the city of Verona, you can travel easily to Austria or Germany, or stay within Italy to enjoy some time on Lake Garda or visit other cities such as Venice, Milano, Florence or Rome. Verona is accessible by its airport, a train station, and two major highways.
Photo Credits: The photos in the article were taken by the Trek Hound team, but are currently available for online use through a creative commons agreement on our sister site, Pictures of Travel Places.