I can’t imagine that anyone could ever tire of Verona or stop staring in awe at the beautiful architecture that covers every inch of the city. While it’s famous for being the setting for Romeo and Juliet, there’s a whole lot else to fall in love with here. For a start, the buildings are gorgeous. From the moment you step foot into the city, through Roman walls nonetheless, it’s like being on an Italian film set. All of the buildings are Mediterranean pastel colours and look exactly how you imagine Italy should look. If you enter at the Piazza Bra, prepare to have your breath taken away. In the middle of the large piazza sits the old amphitheatre where the opera is still held. Around the square there are lots of restaurants and cafes, all with outdoor seating, where you can sit back, relax and take everything in.
Top five things to experience in Verona:
- Take a tour of the Amphitheatre – Built in the 1st century AD and having survived an earth quake, the amphitheatre really is quite an incredible sight! It’s still used to house the annual summer opera season which in 2016, runs from June 24th to August 28th. If you get the chance, definitely try and get a ticket. Tickets cost from €20 to €188. If you can’t make the opera, you can enjoy a tour of the Amphitheatre for a really reasonable price.
- Climb up the Campanile, Palazzo Scaligeri – There’s a lift to take you part of the way up, but you still have to make the journey to the top by foot. The 360 degree views from the top are incredible and on a sunny day you could spend a good hour just admiring the view from all angles. A word of warning from first-hand experience, keep an eye on the time when you’re at the very top because the bells are directly above your head and they’re rather loud!
- Cross a bridge and walk around the edge of the city – when you step outside the inner city and cross the river, there’s a path that follows the river round. It’s a great way to get a different perspective on the city – you can see all of the various intricate spires and churches. It’s a lovely walk and there are quite a few bridges that cross the river, so you can head back over at any point.
- Piazza delle Erbe – this square is full of life with many cafés and wonderfully colourful market stalls. But, look up and take in the buildings surrounding the square – there’s the ancient town hall, the Baroque-style Palazzo Maffei and gorgeous façades. Anywhere you look in simply stunning!
- Castelvecchio and the Scaligero bridge – the old castle and stunning bridge are worth exploring. We visited on a Monday morning when the Castelvecchio wasn’t open, but we could still wander around the (small) grounds and read the various information plaques dotted around. Once you leave the courtyard, walk across the gorgeous Scaligero bridge. Once on the other side of the river, turn left and take a seat next to the river. A perfect picnic spot!
One tip – unless you’re really looking for a way to pass the time, avoid dedicating much time to Juliet’s balcony. It’s the only part of the city that was a real disappointment. There were hordes of people with selfie sticks trying to cram into the tiny courtyard. Walk past, take a glance but don’t waste your time. There are so many other beautiful things to see and experience in Verona.
We stayed at Bella Italia, Lake Garda. Trains run between Peschiera-del-Garda station and Verona, taking between 15 and 20 mins. A bus service also runs from various stops, including the station in Peschiera-del-Garda, and drops off at Piazza Bra. Tickets can be purchased from newsagent-type shops or on the bus.