Things to Do in Verona
Feel like part of history as you attend an event in the Verona Arena (Arena di Verona), a spectacular Roman amphitheater that has dominated Piazza Bra since the first century. Once a venue for sporting events, games, and gladiatorial battles, today audiences of up to 15,000 gather to watch opera, music concerts, and dance performances.
Home to the city’s town hall and other important buildings, Piazza Bra sits at the heart of life in Verona. The huge city square welcomes visitors from all around the world who come to stroll the wide expanse, enjoy a coffee or a meal at one of the al fresco restaurants, or attend one of the regular music performances held at the Verona Arena.
Translating to Square of Herbs, Verona's Piazza delle Erbe is the city's central square and host to the local market. It has been the center of political and economic life in Verona for centuries. It was also once the site of a Roman forum. The 272-foot Tower Lamberti, the tallest tower in Verona, stands in the piazza topped by an octagon-shaped structure that holds the 1464 Rengo and Marangona bells. Palazzo Commune, Verona's town hall building, is also located here. It was built in the Middle Ages, but renovations in the 19th century added a neoclassical facade.
Also located in Piazza delle Erbe is Torre Gardello, which was built in 1370 but not finished until 1626. Palazzo Mafei is a Baroque building on top of which are sculptures of the gods Jupiter, Venus, Apollo, Hercules and Minerva. The most popular attraction in the square is the 14th-century Madonna Verona Fountain, also known as the Virgin of Verona.
William Shakespeare put Verona on the map for the English-speaking world, setting his tale of the star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet in this northern Italian city. The Bard’s timeless story has inspired a steady flow of romantics to visit Juliet’s House, or Casa di Giulietta, as Verona’s 13th-century palazzo of the Dal Cappello family is now known. Though Romeo and Juliet were almost certainly figments of Shakespeare’s imagination and the famous balcony where Juliet is said to have gazed down at Romeo was added centuries after the love story was written, the romance of Juliet’s House transcends fact or fiction.
Porta Borsari is a white limestone gate that once marked an entrance point into the Italian city of Verona. With two arched entrances and two sets of windows above, it’s a lasting example of the impressive scale of Roman monumental architecture.
With ancient Roman ruins, church crypts that inspired Shakespeare, and grand Austrian-style buildings from the 19th century, Verona’s Historic Center (Centro Storico) is an architectural treasure trove. Highlights include the 2nd-century Verona Arena, the Casa di Giulietta, and the 14th-century Scaliger Tombs.
A symbol of Verona, the 14th-century Castelvecchio Bridge (Ponte Scaligero) spanning the Adige River had the largest supporting arch span in the world when it was completed in 1356. The original was destroyed during World War II, but a new bridge was rebuilt with the same red-brick crenellations as its predecessor.
Historically, Piazza dei Signori (also known as Piazza Dante in honor of the poet’s statue in the square center) was the civic and political heart of Verona, and is still home to the Loggia del Consiglio, the former city hall. Lined by medieval palaces and elegant arches, this square is a vibrant local gathering place.
Commemorating the influential Della Scala family, the Scaliger tombs are a series of five Gothic funerary monuments found outside the Santa Maria Antica church in Verona. Dating back to the 14th century, the monuments are famous for their elaborate decoration.
Spanning the Adige River on the northern edge of the city, Ponte Pietra reflects Verona’s remarkable history. This stone-and-brick footbridge was built by Romans in 100 BC and remained largely intact until several of its arches were blown up during World War II. Today, the reconstructed bridge is one of Verona’s top attractions.
More Things to Do in Verona
Old and new come together elegantly at Verona’s Castelvecchio, a historic castle renovated in the 1960s by visionary architect Carlo Scarpa, who paired glass panels, concrete, and metal grills with the surviving medieval stonework to create a striking museum for artworks by Bellini, Tiepolo, and Veronese.
Had Shakespeare’s tale of star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet ended happily ever after, the two may have wed in Verona’s beautiful 12th-century cathedral; and, in fact, travelers flock to the duomo on Romeo and Juliet-themed tours. The mix of Romanesque, Gothic, and Renaissance elements make this one of the most beautiful churches in Verona.
Via Mazzini is Verona’s top shopping street. It’s lined with stores selling the latest fashions and chic cafes where you can sit and people watch over a creamy cappuccino. Leading from the central square Piazza Bra to the Casa di Giulietta (Juliet’s balcony) it connects some of the city’s main sights.
Verona’s largest church, the impressive brick facade of Basilica di Sant'Anastasia has been a fixture of the city for hundreds of years. Located in the historical center, it’s also one of the city’s finest examples of Italian Gothic architecture.
Verona Arena, the first-century Roman amphitheater on Piazza Bra is one of the city’s most famous sights, but Verona also boasts a pristine Roman Theater that is even older than the arena and is set on the banks of the River Adige. Visit the theater to see remains of the stage, stone seating (cavea), and loggia arcades.
Piercing the sky high above Verona’s historic Piazza delle Erbe, the 12th-centuryLamberti Tower (Torre dei Lamberti) is one of the most eye-catching landmarks in this UNESCO-listed city. Climb 84 meters (275 feet) to the panoramic terraces and belfry at the top for 360-degree views over Verona’s historic center.
The striking St. Zeno Maggiore Church (Basilica di San Zeno Maggiore) is just as famous for its pink-and-white pastel color scheme as it is for hosting the marriage scene in Shakespeare’sRomeo and Juliet. A lasting example of Romanesque architecture, the building—parts of it, at least—dates back to the 9th century AD.
Piazza delle Erbe (Market Square) is the bustling heart of UNESCO World Heritage–listed Verona. Cafés and elegant buildings front the rectangular square, whose centerpiece is the 14th-century Madonna Verona Fountain (Fontana di Madonna Verona)—an allegory of the city topped by an ancient Roman statue of a female figure holding a scroll bearing the civic motto.
Built in the 1550s, Porta Palio is a monumental city gate in Verona. It stands on the site of a former gate in the Medieval walled city. While the gate is now closed to traffic—whether horse, car, or pedestrian—it stands a reminder of 16th-century Verona.
Offering a contrast to the more traditional attractions of Verona, the Nicolis Museum is one of Europe’s most important spaces dedicated to cars. The museum boasts an extensive collection of precious and extremely rare car-related objects collected all around the world by Luciano Nicolis, the museum’s founder.
Housed in the Palazzo della Ragione complex, the Achille Forti Modern Art Gallery (Galleria d'Arte Moderna Achille Forti) houses a collection of works from artists worldwide. Showcasing works from the 19th and 20th centuries, the museum has a special focus on Italian artists including Umberto Boccioni and Giorgio Morandi.
Set in Italy’s Veneto region, Soave is a historic walled village famous for its medieval castle and fine white wines. Located just off the A4 motorway outside Verona, it’s an ideal stopping point between Venice and Milan, where you can explore the castle fortifications and sample white wines from local vineyards.
Just across Piazza Bra from the Arena, the majestic Gran Guardia Palace (Palazzo della Gran Guardia) is one of Verona’s most important historic buildings. Today a popular venue for exhibitions and cultural events, the palace had been used for various military purposes for centuries.
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