The Piazza delle Erbe (“Market Square” or “Square of Herbs”), is a dynamic heart of Verona to this day. Numerous restaurants have their tables and chairs on the streets and...
“…city of love”
TOP ATTRACTIONS IN VERONA
Juliet's House is located in the old city center of Verona, in Via Capello, around the corner from Piazza delle Erbe and Piazza dei Signori. It is one of the...
The Verona Arena (Arena di Verona) is a Roman amphitheater in Piazza Bra in Verona, Italy, built in the first century, beyond city walls. Today, the arena maintains a central...
Verona: city of love
By placing his play, ‘Romeo and Juliet’ in Verona, William Shakespeare has forever positioned this city on the world stage. And knowing that Romeo and Juliet related attractions are just a fraction of what you can see in this incredible city, makes Verona even more desirable to visit. In this comprehensive Verona travel guide, we will try and cover the most interesting facts about this gorgeous city.
Located in northern Italy, near Lake Garda (Lago di Garda) and almost on equidistance from Milan, Venice, and Bologna, Verona is a must-see when visiting Italian cities. Nested on the banks of the meandering Adige River (the second largest in Italy), this medieval city is brimming with history, ancient architecture, art, and culture.
Numerous palaces, squares, churches, arches, gates, and monuments are scattered around the city and they are all well worth visiting, exploring, and learning about the city’s rich history.
The world-famous Arena of Verona has an equally famous Opera Festival that brings classical music lovers from around the world in thousands. Historical locations upon which Shakespeare based his famous play are bringing many other visitors who want to experience the ambiance of Verona of the times and experience a glimpse of the world’s most popular love story.
What to do and see in Verona
Verona is a small city, but it has dozens of famous landmarks and attractions you can see by doing a simple walking tour. Here is a list of the most popular attractions to see and things to do in Verona, grouped by type:
Verona Arena. A Roman amphitheater, the Verona Arena, was built in Piazza Bra in Verona in 30 AD. Large-scale operas are still performed there, and it is well-known around the world for this. This is the number one landmark in the city.
Torre dei Lamberti. In the center of the old town is the Torre dei Lamberti – the Lamberti Tower. At 84 meters, it is the tallest building in Verona and towers over the entire old town.
Construction of the tower began in 1172 and a tower made of tuff and terracotta in the Romanesque style was built. There are two bells in the bell tower. After a fire in 1403, the top of the tower collapsed. During the reconstruction, the tower was raised again. If you stand in front of the tower, you can see it very well from the other building material (marble). In 1779 the city installed a tower clock.
Teatro Romano. The Roman theater in Verona was built around the same time as the Roman arena. After the fall of Rome, the Teatro Romano was also used as a quarry, similar to the arena, and left to decay. The small church of San Siro e Libera still bears witness to the partial overbuilding of the theater.
Loggia del Consiglio. The Loggia del Consiglio, on Piazza dei Signori, is the first fully Renaissance-style building in the Veneto region. It was finished in 1492 to house the City Council which moved from the ancient Palazzo Comunale, also on Piazza dei Signori, to make way for the court, or Palazzo della Ragione.
Gardello Tower. The Gardello tower is a medieval structure located in Verona, near the central Piazza delle Erbe. At the point where the Gardello tower stands, there was previously a tower-house, most likely belonging to the Gardello family, from which it would therefore inherit the name. This tower was restored and raised in 1370 by Cansignorio della Scala, perhaps based on a project by Giovanni da Ferrara or his son.
Museums and galleries
Galleria d’Arte Moderna Achille Forti. The Achille Forti Modern Art Gallery (Galleria d’Arte Moderna Achille Forti), which is located within the Palazzo della Ragione complex, displays a collection of works by artists from all over the world. The museum, which exhibits works by artists from the 19th and 20th centuries, places a particular emphasis on Italian artists such as Umberto Boccioni and Giorgio Morandi.
Castelvecchio Museum. Museum of Castelvecchio (Museo di Castelvecchio in Italian) Verona is an art museum located in an impressive medieval fortification near the city’s Arena.
Casa di Romeo. It’s widely thought that the Montecchi family’s name resembles Romeo’s family, the Montagues, in the play. Romeo’s House Verona Italy belonged to this family. As for Juliet’s House, it was held by the Capello family, and many have speculated that this bears striking similarities to Juliet’s family, the Capulets.
Museo Nicolis. Exhibitions at Museo Nicolis include a variety of mechanical artifacts, from automobiles and motorcycles to cameras and typewriters, musical instruments, and even a few airplanes, in a hall-by-hall itinerary.
Lapidary Museum Maffeiano. One of Europe’s first public museums, the Museo Lapidario Maffeiano, was constructed in the center of Verona in the mid-eighteenth century. Marquis Scipione Maffei (1675-1755), a Veronese academic and erudite, is inextricably linked to its name.
Roman Theater Archaeological Museum. Roman Theatre Archaeological Museum opened in 1924 at the former monastery of Gesuati, built in the late 14th century, located behind the theater.
In addition to the monastery itself, the exposition is spread across several terraces and includes items from the theater, Verona, and the surrounding area, as well as collections that have been amassed over time.
Tomba di Giulietta. Juliet’s tomb is a stone sarcophagus, empty and without a lid, inside the underground crypt of the church of San Francesco al Corso, in an old Franciscan monastery. The complex is now deconsecrated and is the seat of the G.B. Cavalcaselle. It is very popular with fans of Rome and Juliet play from Shakespeare.
Musée d’Histoire Naturelle. The Civic Museum of Natural History of Verona, which is located in the prestigious Pompei Palace, hosts various scientific sections dedicated to the study of minerals and rocks, paleontology, and zoology.
The prehistoric and botanical sections were transferred to Palazzina Comando from the ex Arsenale Militare Austriaco. The scientific material collected by Museum researchers and numerous naturalists over almost five centuries is now meticulously prepared and cataloged, before being studied and then kept in the collections or exhibits of the rooms.
Musée Africain. The African Museum of the Comboni Missionaries was born from an intuition of its first successor, Bishop Francesco Sogaro. The first objects sent to Verona by the missionaries were put on display in a room in the large building of the ‘Mother House’ of the Institute.
CMV – Children’s Museum Verona. The Verona Children’s Museum consists of the main area with experiential activities, the Museum area itself, and a laboratory area, the ThinkLab. The two areas cover a total of 1000 square meters and are designed to allow adults and children to interact with the different installations.
Foundation ”Museum Miniscalchi Erizzo”. The Miniscalchi-Erizzo Foundation, which was established in the 1950s by the last descendant of the lineage, is housed in the aristocratic house of the family in the heart of Verona. The museum consists of two floors, each with a different room filled with family heirlooms that have been collected over more than three centuries.
Churches and other religious landmarks
Basilica di San Zeno Maggiore. San Zeno Maggiore is Verona’s most significant church in terms of architecture. A large Romanesque church with cloisters and the independent bell tower was part of a Benedictine monastery that often hosted the German Roman Emperors.
Catedral de Verona. The Cathedral of Verona is built on the ruins of old churches built in that place, but which collapsed for various reasons. This cathedral is part of a complex of architectural buildings, which includes San Giovanni in Fonte, the chiostro dei Canonici, Santa Elena, the Capitolare Library, the square in front of the church, and the bishop’s residence.
Iglesia de Santa Anastasia. The Church of Santa Anastasia is a Gothic-style temple located in the city of Verona, Italy. It is located in the historic city center, near the Adige River. Its construction began in 1290, but it was never finished. The project is thought to have been carried out by Fra ‘Benvenuto da Bologna and Fra’ Nicola da Imola, but no confirming documents have been found.
Scaliger Tombs. In Verona, the Scaliger Tombs (also known as the Arche scaligere) are a set of tombs built by the Della Scala family, who controlled Verona from 1350 to 1450. The monument to Cangrande (1291-1329), the most prominent and well-known member of this aristocratic line, stands out above the rest.
Chiesa di San Fermo Maggiore. The church of San Fermo Maggiore is one of the most interesting and original religious buildings in the city of Verona, made up of two churches connected and superimposed on each other. A union in which the typical Romanesque style of the X and XI century blends harmoniously with the Gothic of the XIV century.
Saint Bernardino. Two years after the canonization of the saint from Siena, in 1452, at the express request of the Veronese people, the construction of the monastery of San Bernardino began.
The monastery survived the oppression and pillage in the 19th century with difficulty. Under the French, Austrians, and the Kingdom of Italy it was used from time to time as a hospital, municipal cemetery, warehouse, and boarding school.
Church of Saint Mary ‘Antica’. It’s impossible to leave Verona without experiencing Santa Maria Antica and the Scaliger arches that surround it, which give the church an air of mysticism and coziness. The church of Santa Maria Antica is free to enter, and it is usually open throughout the day, even when it is usually closed for lunch.
Chiesa di Santo Stefano. The church of Santo Stefano dates back to the 5th century and is one of the oldest buildings in the city, which still maintains the original early Christian perimeter walls. The episcopal tombs and the numerous important relics that are preserved in it suggest that it was the first cathedral in Verona.
Santuario della Nostra Signora di Lourdes. Verona’s San Leonardo hill, where the Lourdes shrine stands, takes its name from an ancient monastery and church dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes, patron saint of prisoners (12th century).
Basilica di San Lorenzo, Verona. In the historic center of Verona, between Corso Cavour and the Adige river, stands a true architectural jewel of Verona: the delightful church of San Lorenzo, a little hidden from the eyes of the general public.
Parrocchia di San Giorgio in Braida. The church of San Giorgio, thanks to the setting given by the harmonious Renaissance dome and the splendid bell tower designed by Michele Sanmicheli, is a fundamental point of reference in the urban landscape of Verona to the left of the Adige.
Piazza delle Erbe. The Piazza delle Erbe is the living heart of Verona to this day. Numerous restaurants have their tables and chairs on the streets and in the middle of the square, many market stalls are set up every day, where fruit, vegetables, and, above all, souvenirs are sold.
In Roman times, the Piazza delle Erbe was the central square – the forum Romanum – where the political, economic, and social life of Verona took place.
Piazza Bra. The Piazza Bra, Verona’s main plaza, is one of Europe’s largest piazzas, not just in Italy. It serves as a sort of welcome center before you approach the city’s core.
Piazza dei Signori. The Piazza dei Signiori was the former center of power in Verona. The most important buildings of the former city government, including the court and mansion of the Scaliger family, crowd around the beautiful square.
Since 1865, a large statue of the famous Italian poet Dante Alighieri has been emblazoned in the middle of the piazza, which has earned the square the nickname Piazza Dante.
Ponte Pietra. When the Ponte Pietra was first built, it was also known as the “pons marmoreus” (marble bridge). The Adige River was first crossed by a wooden bridge when Verona was founded in 90 BC. The Romans later replaced the wooden bridge with a stone one.
Castelvecchio Bridge. Ponte di Castelvecchio in Verona is also known as the “Scaliger Bridge” since it was built in honor of a dynasty (Della Scala family) that ruled Verona in early Renaissance times. It’s an extension of the Castelvecchio fortress’ defensive structure on the river’s south bank, and one of two iconic bridges that span the Adige in the city center.
Ponte delle Navi. Originally a wooden bridge, that have been present in Roman times in the same point where the Ponte delle Navi would have risen, was necessary to allow a more rapid connection of the other bank of the river with the Via Postumia.
Palaces and castles
Castel San Pietro. The Castel San Pietro, as a special tourist attraction, can be easily reached by cable car, with which you can enjoy the view of the city in advance while driving. After the return trip by cable car, you walk directly past the Teatro Romano, along a picturesque route that leads to the Ponte Pietra.
Villa Mosconi Bertani. The Count Mosconi, who bought the site, finished building the Villa, hence the name. The garden is surrounded by a central area and two wings on either side. With its stunning frescos and more than 140-year-old barrels, the elegant Salone delle Grazie and the cellar from the seventeenth century wrap up the beauty of this prominent villa. Water for the pond in this sprawling park comes from seven springs hidden behind the main building.
Piazzale Castel San Pietro. One of Rome’s best-known landmarks sits on the top of a hill, with its medieval walls towering over the city below. As one of Verona’s largest and most historic buildings, it’s no surprise that the views from the terrace are worth the demanding climb. One can see the many spires of Verona, as well as the shimmering Adige River, as it winds through the city’s heart, from this serene plateau. It’s one of the city’s best vantage points and getting there is completely free.
Palazzo Maffei Casa Museo. The Carlon Collection, at Palazzo Maffei in Piazza delle Erbe, is an eclectic and balanced collection between ancient, modern and contemporary art. The collection contains various significant nuclei that testify to the organic nature of the acquisitions due to the rich presence of works belonging to Veronese painting from 15th to 18th century, as well as Italian futurism, metaphysics, surrealism, but also abstract painting of the second half of the 20th century. Among others, Boccioni, Balla, Severini, but also Picasso and Braque; and then de Chirico, Casorati, Morandi alongside Magritte, Max Ernst, Duchamp.
Palazzo della Ragione. Palazzo della Ragione is a majestic quadrangular building with an internal courtyard, located in the south-east corner of the ancient Roman forum, between piazza delle Erbe and piazza dei Signori. A “domus communis” built in the twelfth century to accommodate the new magistrates of the municipality, incorporating various pre-existing buildings, and equipped with four mighty defensive corner towers.
Palazzo della Gran Guardia. Right next to the Portoni della Brà, the old city gate, is the Palazzo della Gran Guardia (Palace of the Great Guard). It served as the quarters and seat of the city guard and was built in 1610. The loggia and parade ground on the ground floor of the palace was generously designed by Domenico Curtoni. The stairwell and upper floor were not completed until 1850. The handwriting of Curtonis master, Sanmichelis, is particularly easy to recognize on the double columns on the upper floor – they imitate Sanmicheli’s Porta Palio.
Montorio Castle. The Montorio Castle, which is first mentioned in documents dating back to 995 AD, is likely a lookout post that was part of Verona’s city fortifications. After the annexation of the county to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, it was rebuilt by the Aldobrandeschi in the Middle Ages and restructured by the Ottieri. In 1820, the Austrians demolished four of the seven towers (as well as parts of the walls) of the structure. In the summer, the castle serves as a venue for cultural events.
Palazzo di Cansignorio. Located in Piazza dei Signori, the Palazzo di Cansignorio (also known as Del Capitanio) is a valuable and well-preserved example of a medieval fortified house, equipped with imposing towers, a closed central courtyard and a large enclosed garden that extended over the current Piazza Indipendenza and Piazza Viviani.
Palazzo Canossa. In 1527, Michele Sanmicheli designed the Palazzo Canossa, a stone palace that stands in the heart of Verona. Building began in the sixteenth century but wasn’t finished until the seventeenth century. It is situated between the Porta Borsari and the Castello Scaligero and is a popular tourist destination. The structure’s design is in keeping with the Mannerist aesthetic. One of four buildings designed by the architect for the city.
Monumental gates and arches
Porta Borsari. Porta Borsari is an ancient Roman gate to the city of Verona. It dates to the 1st century AD, though it was most likely built over a pre-existing gate from the 1st century BC. An inscription from emperor Gallienus’ reign reports another reconstruction in 265 AD.
Arco dei Gavi. The Arco dei Gavi is a historic monument in the city of Verona. It was constructed by the gens Gavia, an aristocratic Roman family with their ancestral home in Verona, near the beginning of the Via Postumia, the ancient Roman road that connected the city with the surrounding countryside.
Porta Leoni. Most tourists only move on Via Cappello as far as the Casa di Giulietta (Juliet’s house), but it is a popular shopping street for locals with its numerous shops and bars. Via Cappello used to be the main street when entering the city via Porta Leoni from Bologna. At the remains of the old city gate, Via Cappello divides today, in the middle you can visit the excavations around the Porta Leoni. The actual name of the Porta Leoni was Porta San Fermo or Arco di Valerio. Its current name results from the discovery of two lion statues that were found during the excavations around the gate.
Porta Palio. An architectural marvel known as Porta Palio was built from 1550 to 1561 by the Italian architect and engineer Michele Sanmicheli, who died in 1559. Porta San Zeno and Porta Nuova, two examples of the city’s Renaissance cultural heritage, were also designed by him.
I Portoni della Brà. The Portoni della Brà, the two arches of the city gate, delimit the Piazza Brà in the south. Through it you get to the Porta Nova, which connects the old town with the fortification walls in the south. Originally, the Portoni della Brà were not designed as city gates, but rather were intended to create a connecting passage between the Castelvecchio and the citadel. Unfortunately, only the remains of the city wall near the Piazza Citadella are reminiscent of the latter. Both the archway and the citadel at the time were created by Gian Galeazzo Visconti in the 14th century.
Porta Vescovo. The Porta Vescovo is located between Borgo Venezia and Veronetta between the old city walls built by the Scaligeri, reinforced by the Venetians, modernized by the Austrians. Until recently, the automobile movement that moved east from the city center had to pass under the major arch of the gate. Thanks to a recent restoration with consequent cleaning and diversion of traffic on the sides of the gate, the same has regained its lost dignity and may well appear as a shining example of Venetian and Austrian military art.
Arco della Costa. Giant whale bone hangs from an arched passageway that was once reserved for aristocrats and high-ranking officials. Since at least the 18th century, a whale bone has been hanging from the arch of the Arco della Costa and its origins and meaning remain a mystery.
Porta Nuova. Porta Nuova is a massive and majestic stone door that has served as Verona’s primary entrance for many centuries. In the first half of the twentieth century, it was built on a project by Veronese architect Michele Sanmicheli to replace the scaligera Porta di Santa Croce, which was put into action by the Serenissima Republic of Venice.
Other attractions and public places
Via Giuseppe Mazzini. Via Mazzini is an important pedestrian street in Verona; located in the heart of the historic center, it connects the two most important city squares, piazza Bra and piazza Erbe.
Parco delle Mura. Park with gardens along the city walls and a fort, in the center of Verona. Well maintained and popular with both locals and visitors.
Garden Pojega – Wine shop Guerrieri Rizzardi. At Villa Rizzardi, the Pojega gardens were designed by Luigi Trezza in 1783 for Count Antonio Rizzardi in the vineyards. With box and cypress hedges, the “green theater” is the most well-known feature of the three levels. Hornbeam Alley and Stalactite Temple are among the many attractions. Fountains, statues and parterres also adorn the landscape.
Capitular Library of Verona. Verona’s Biblioteca Capitolare is the world’s oldest working library. Carlo Magno’s son, Dante Alighieri, Francesco Petrarca, and many other notable historical figures were all students here and were using the library regularly. It is housing a vast collection of manuscripts, paintings, incunabula, printing tools, and musical instruments.
Cimitero Monumentale. Monumental cemetery dating back to 19th century. Called ‘l’albergo ai du leoni’ – ‘hotel at two lions’, because of two lion statues of lions at the entrance. Yet another example of Veronese brutal humor.
International Center of Photography Scavi Scaligeri. Located in the middle of the old town, close to Piazza Erbe and Piazza dei Signori, this center hosts important and prestigious exhibitions of the world’s best photographers, such as John Phillips, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, Gianni Berengo Gardin, Renè Burri, and others.
Funicolare di Castel San Pietro. From 1941 to 1944, the Verona Funicular transported students of the Fine Arts Academy B. Cignaroli, located in Castel San Pietro, but it was forced to close due to World War II. It was reopened in 2017.
Tommasi Viticoltori. As one of Verona’s oldest and most well-known wineries, Tommasi Viticoltori has a long history in the Valpolicella region, with properties in other Italian regions. Founded by Giacomo Tommasi in 1902, this Valpolicella-based winery has since established itself as one of the region’s most renowned producers of fine wine.
Fontana Madonna Verona. The fountain of Madonna Verona is one of the most representative and loved city monuments by the Veronese. It is a symbolic personification of the city of Verona itself, located in the center of Piazza Erbe.
Valpantena. Valpantena is a valley that starts from Verona and climbs towards the Lessini Mountains passing through Poiano, Quinto di Valpantena, Marzana and Grezzana. Famous for wine tasting, vineyards and amazing landscapes.
Giusti Garden. Located across the river Adige from Verona, Giusti Garden is a veritable treasure. Palazzo Giusti’s back garden dates back to the 1500s.
Where to stay in Verona
Verona is a small city with very few neighborhoods to choose from, but they are very distinctive and offer different feel (and prices). You will have options of various hotels by star rating, Airbnb rentals and independent rental agencies.
Here is the list of main areas and what is their best characteristic:
- Historic Center – the best if you want to see the main attractions and landmarks by just walking around. There are also plenty of restaurants, cafes and shops to have a break between sightseeing. This is, understandably, one of the most expensive area to stay.
- Porta Nuova – If you want to make use of evenings and nights and enjoy night life, this area is the best for you. Located just south of city Centre, this area is filled with bars, and it has budget friendly accommodation to offer as well.
- Borgo Trento – for family vacations you should choose this neighborhood – quiet and family friendly, but still very close to the city center. Perfect for families with small children.
- Veronetta – to the east from city center and across the river, Veroneta offers affordable accommodation and easy access to city center over several bridges.
- San Zeno – if you want to escape touristy places and crowds, San Zeno is your preferred area. You will be in the authentic neighborhood with small souvenir shops and open markets that will make you feel like a local.
- Verona Fiere – a bit of a modern part of the city, located south from city center and focused on events and business meetings. There are many hotels in the area to choose from.
Your accommodation in Verona will depend on your plans and needs for your stay. Even if you have hotel or a room rental located far from the city center, you will be able to easily reach most of the attractions with public transport or even on foot.
Climate in Verona is continental, with wet winters and humid summer months. Verona is located In the Venetian plain, about 20 kilometers from Lake Garda, the city has a similar climate to the one of Milan.
The average temperature of the coldest month (January) is of 2.5 °C (36 °F), and of the warmest month (July) is of 24.4 °C (76 °F).
Rain amounts to 785 millimeters (30.9 inches) per year: so, it is at an average amount. It ranges from 35 mm (1.4 in) in the driest month (February) to 85 mm (3.3 in) in the wettest ones (June, August).
Snow in Verona is rare, and due to local circumstances is rarer than in other locations in the Veneto region (which is already a less snowy region than other areas in the vicinity: Lombardy, Piedmont and Emilia). On average, about 10 cm (4 in) of snow fall per year.
Best time to visit Verona
The best time to visit Verona is from late May to early October, when the weather is at its best. If you’re searching for a less crowded environment, spring and fall are the best times to visit. The Verona Arena Opera season runs from June to August, with nighttime performances being the most popular time to visit.
If you are planning to visit museums and galleries and want to avoid crowds, you should try and visit during fall and winter since there will be very few tourists around.
Festivals and events in Verona
Verona has very active festival and art scene, especially in summer, but there are popular events throughout the year. Here are some top recommendations:
- January – Motorbike Expo;
- February – Valentine’s day celebrations, Verona Carnival and Fieragricola (agricultural fair)
- March – Vinitaly – wine festival
- June – September – Opera festival
- September – May – Philarmonic Theater Concerts,
- September – Tocatì Traditional Game Festival and Marmomacc (Marble fair)
- November – Fieracavalli – horse fair
- December – Art Verona and various Christmas celebrations and markets
Interesting facts about Verona
Cheap flights to Verona
The peak season for flights to Verona is January, February and December. The low season for purchasing tickets is May, July and August.
Verona is served by these airports: Verona Villafranca Airport (VRN) and Montichiari Airport/ Aeropuerto de Brescia (VBS). Direct flights to Verona are offered by 22 airlines.
You can also fly to nearby Milan (140 km) or Venice (120 km) and reach Verona by bus or a car.
Here is a calendar of cheap flights to Verona: