In this article we’ll suggest what to do in Verona for first comers. Located close to the Adige River, Verona is one of the most underrated but one of the most beautiful cities in Italy. It is replete with architecturally-grand buildings that have stood the test of the time. It is known for its literary richness as well, as this was the place where the fictional play of Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare, was based on.
Though it isn’t as popular as Venice, Verona, on its own, comes as a complete tourist package. If you are a history lover, you cannot afford to miss some of these beautiful places in Verona.
Where to Stay in Verona
How To Get to Verona
If you are landing at the airport in Verona (Catullo) you can get to the centre which is only 10km away by bus or taxi. The shuttle bus runs every 20 minutes from 6.10am until 11.30pm from the bus terminal at Porta Nuova train station, the price is €6, from here you can get a taxi and the rate is €20-30.
If you are arriving by train you can reach Verona Porta Nuova station from any of the big cities in Italy, Milan, Bologna, Florence with the high speed train.
Arena di Verona
While Rome has its own Colosseum, Verona has the Arena di Verona to feel proud about. Easily regarded as one of the top tourist destinations in Verona, this building is a replica of the great Colosseum. It is quite unbelievable that a structure was constructed in 30 AD has stood the test of time to stand in all its majestic glory even today!
In the early years, many famous Roman games and festivals were conducted in this arena. The place could accommodate 30000 spectators at a single time. Today, it is one of the many historical buildings in Italy that are true representations of the craftsmanship of the Roman engineers that existed thousands of years ago. Even today, the Arena di Verona is home to many musical concerts and cultural events, but on a small scale, though.
Most of the Italian cities house many squares and open-air structures, where you can sit and watch people all day long without getting bored. Verona is no exception to this rule. The Piazza Bra is the biggest in Verona, and it is quite famous as well because it is also the place where the Arena di Verona is located. The structure is quite long and houses many beautiful complexes (residential & commercial) all along.
Don’t miss taking photos at the backdrop of these colorful buildings when you come here. If you start your tour of Verona from here, you can cover all the must-see places in a proper route, without any hassles. If you love more open-air structures and piazzas like these, you can also visit the diamond-shaped Piazza Delle Erbe, famous for its intrinsically-carved marble statues and eloquent fountains.
Vecchio Castle & Bridge
Vecchio Castle is one of the best representations of the rich Roman heritage. It has been standing tall, magnificent and majestic ever since it was built in 1354. It is not surprising to know that this castle was built was fortification purposes during the Scaliger Dynasty. The structure of the castle is as grand as its front gate itself. Don’t miss a chance to go inside and take a look at the museum to know more about the artifacts and valuables that were used by Roman Emperors of different dynasties.
Inside the complex of this beautiful castle, you will also find the Ponte di Castle Vecchio, a bridge that you can climb on to, to get a beautiful view of the Verona city from the Adige River. Many red bricks were used to construct this bridge, which makes the structure beautiful and unique as well. It was considered as the longest castle bridges in the world, at the time when it was constructed.
Religious sites such as Basilica of San Zeno Maggiore and Verona Cathedral
When you visit Verona, a trip to these beautiful religious places is deemed compulsory. The San Zeno Maggiore Basilica is quite popular because this was the place where Romeo & Juliet got married in Shakespeare’s play. Don’t underestimate the beauty of this church by its simple exteriors. The simple but beautifully decorated wooden door opens into a world of opulence. With decorate tiles in grey and marble columns, this church is an architectural wonder, indeed!
The Verona Cathedral is far more opulent and grander than the Basilica of San Zeno Maggiore. Built in 1187, this church, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, is considered as one of the most ancient and revered religious places in Verona. Though the front portico is quite simple, this cathedral boasts of some grand pieces of display such as intrinsic artwork on the walls, stained glass on the windows, mind-blowing fresco work at the main altar, Renaissance-style fresco work on the chapels, red marble columns along the knave and a massive gold organ towards the right of the altar. Don’t miss this architectural beauty, at any cost.
The Scaliger Dynasty was considered to be one of the most powerful in Verona. Located right next to one of the famous piazzas, Piazza Dei Signori, you will find the tombs dedicated to the rulers from the Scaliger Dynasty enclosed in a well-constructed structure.
The Gothic-style monuments are found inside beautifully-decorated iron grills. The tombs, per se, are well-decorated to represent the power of the Scaliger rulers. With tall towers and stone sculptures adorning the decorations of the tombs, it is surely a fitting resting place for the powerful kings who ruled over Verona for many years. Currently, there are five tombs enclosed in the iron grills and they are dedicated to the famous rulers, Cangrade I, Mastino II, Cansignorio, Alberto II and Giovanni.
What we have listed above is only the tip of an iceberg. There is more to Verona than just these few places. The beautiful and intriguing Giusti Gardens, Torre dei Lamberti (the tallest tower in Verona), many more open-air squares, museums, churches and more are all part of the small city of Verona. Know what you want before you take a tour around the city.
If you are a literature lover, you can hire an exclusive private tour guide to take you on a Romeo-Juliet tour. Here, he will take you to some beautiful places that were part of Shakespeare’s plays. These places include the famous Casa di Giulietta, Juliet’s house (the balcony of this building is from where Juliet spoke to Romeo in one of the scenes), Juliet’s tomb, (though it is empty), located in the San Francesco al Corso monastery and Romeo’s house, located quite close to Juliet’s home. Verona is a mystical city that will never cease to surprise you, regardless of how frequently you visit the place. The place is so rooted in its history and culture that it is hard to miss it when you plan a trip to Italy.