How I came to visit Verona was completely unexpected. We were already two days in Venice and felt we needed a break from the overly touristy city of canals. With one day to spare on our hands, Verona was among the few nearby cities to pay a visit and made it to the top of that list for being the setting of Romeo and Juliet (not that I’m a big fan of that novel but I do like Shakespeare and a little romance wouldn’t hurt anyone). Without any previous plans, I purchased two train tickets online and read about the “must-sees” of Verona the night before. After 1.30 hours on the regional train packed with other tourists, we reached Verona Porta Nuova station (this is the closest station to the city center). Although there were many buses outside bound for different places in town and surrounding areas, we decided to walk to the center. The way was fairly forward; almost a straight road from station to city gate, in under 20 minutes (Corso Porta Nuova).
As soon as we crossed the city gate and stepped into the Large square Piazza Brá with the imposing Arena di Verona on one side, we were enchanted by this beautiful city. We had just been in the Coliseum of Rome the previous week but still the one in Verona did not fail to impress us.
This was just the start of a nice day trip that proceeded with a walk along the cobbled streets of the old historic center, taking in the architecture and charming atmosphere. Some of the sites I recommend in Verona are:
1) The house of Juliet with its famous balcony. It is also a museum you could visit (I don’t know how good it is as I couldn’t go in myself). A brass statue of Juliet stands in the patio always surrounded by tourist posing for a photo. It is believed that good luck will be brought to that person touching one of her breasts.
2) The main square Piazza Delle Erbe with its pretty fountain in the middle, the colorful houses surrounding it and the tall tower Torre dei Lamberti. It is possible to go up to the top of the tower to take in the city views.
3) The square Piazza dei Signori off the main square with the government building. There are four arch-way entries into the square.
4) The Piazza Santa Anastasia
5) A walk through the river bank to take in the view of the Castle Castel S. Pietro.
6) Crossing the bridge Ponte Pietra towards the castle.
7) Going up to the castle to enjoy a magnificent view of Verona (free of charge).
8) The cathedral Santa Maria Matricolare.
Surely there are many other sites to see in Verona. It depends on how much time you have available. I would have loved to stay one night to enjoy some of the sites and streets longer and see the city lit up at night. I found Verona much less touristy and more authentic than Venice. I would dare to recommend spending the night in Verona instead of Venice (better prices for better quality) and reaching the canals city early in the morning by train and leaving late at night. Of course, this recommendation is only valid for those wanting to see Venice “from outside”, in other words, without visiting the museums. If this is the case, then ignore the previously mentioned and do stay a few nights in Venice (you can read more about this on my upcoming Venice post).
Just a quick tip on food in Verona: try the horse meat if you aren’t vegetarian. It is one of the local dishes and tastes quite good. We ate a very satisfying meal in the restaurant La Taverna di. via Stella nearby Juliet’s house surrounded by locals (very different to most tourist traps we had been seeing around).
I hope you enjoy reading and got some useful tips. Happy travels!!! 🙂