Verona is one of northern Italy’s most beautiful cities and it is packed with amazing sites and things you can do. Travelers often miss it because they want to visit Milan and Venice. Their loss is your gain. Verona’s rich culture, beautiful architecture, fascinating history, and unique cuisine make it a popular base for those who want to spend extended vacations throughout Italy. It is also associated with Romeo and Juliet. But it is more than Shakespeare’s romantic city. Many important people have been inspired by the town, including Goethe, Julius Caesar, Dante, and even Dante, who visited it during his travels.
What stands out about Verona above all else is its beautifully-preserved ancient, medieval, and Renaissance architecture. It is home to the most extensive collection of Roman buildings in Northern Italy. It was awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status by the United Nations in 2000. This amazing heritage makes it a must-see for all those interested in European cultural history. Its ideal location between the Alps and the banks on Lake Garda makes it a great base for exploring the region, especially for families who are looking for different experiences over a long vacation. The Walks of Italy Verona Travel Guide is a great way to discover hidden gems and get off the beaten track.
If you are looking for a local guide to show you the city, then check out our Verona Day Trip From Venice.
What can you do in Verona
View an opera
If you are looking to understand the heart of Verona, then the best thing to do is to see opera. Verona’s beautiful, ancient amphitheater hosts the summer opera season. This is a great way to see Roman architecture as a spectator. Imagine you are at a concert in Rome’s Colosseum, but Verona’s venue is just slightly smaller. 15,000 people sit in rapt attention. The operas here are more affordable, less stressful, and more relaxed than those in Vienna and Milan. Interested? Learn more about how you can attend opera at the Arena di Verona
Discover the wine routes
You can find more activities in Verona by looking to the hills. The area around Verona is famous for its exceptional wine production. It boasts world-famous wines such as Valpolicella and Soave. Verona also established Vinitaly an annual event that celebrates wine production. This brings together professionals from all over the globe to share their knowledge and to enjoy the wines. It’s possible to visit it in April. If you aren’t going to be there in April, rent a bike and get a map so that you can explore the region’s most popular and accessible wineries.
We swear we have tried local specialties.
Verona, like all Italian cities has its own cuisine. It proudly showcases regional and local specialties. Although the dishes are simple, they feature high-quality ingredients. A hearty ragu (meat dish) is a great pairing for the best wines from the region. The donkey-ragu is a signature of Verona. Although it may sound odd, the ragu is delicious and has a rich flavor that rivals any other ragu in Italy. Traditional dishes using freshwater fish from Lake Garda are also available. You can also enjoy roasted chestnuts and truffles ( , but only in the late fall and early winter), and tortellini pasta.
Take your kids to Gardaland
Gardaland is the largest amusement park in the region and offers more excitement or fun for the kids. The park is located about 30 km from Verona and makes for a fun day trip. You can either travel by car, or you can take the train to Peschiera del Garda (on Milan-Venice rail line). Gardaland offers a roundtrip shuttle service for free every 30 minutes from there.
Enjoy Sports at Lake Garda
Lake Garda, Italy’s largest lake, is a popular spot for water sports. It is a great day trip starting from Verona. It’s also one of our top picks outdoor sports locations in Italy! You’ll find plenty to do here, and the lake’s size and reliability make it a favorite spot for kitesurfing, windsurfing, and sailing. You can also fish, canoe, or waterski. Because of its stunning scenery, the lake is a popular spot for cyclists. You can also set up camp at one of the many beaches scattered around the lake. You will enjoy the sunshine, fresh foods and beautiful mountain scenery.
What can you see in Verona
The most striking thing you will see in Verona, is the Coliseum-like Verona Arena. The arena, located in Verona’s main square, Piazza Bra is a beautiful reminder of Roman rule. Although it is smaller than the Colosseum, Rome’s Colosseum, its construction dates back about 50 years. And unlike its famous counterpart, the arena is still being used regularly. The ancient structure was once home to 30,000 people. Today, the number is “only” 15,000 due to safety reasons. Another major change is that the amphitheatre does not host gladiator games or equestrian events. These were popular Roman blood sports. Each summer, people fill the ancient stands to see concerts and other operas. You can find the Verona Arena performance schedule on their Web Site.
Casa di Giulietta (Home of Juliet)
Romantic lovers as well as literary lovers can enjoy Verona’s top attraction, Juliet’s House from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The courtyard houses a replica of the balcony Romeo used night after night to seduce Juliet. Visitors can also stop by the courtyard. The Scaligeri, Verona’s most powerful ruling family at the time, may have inspired Shakespeare’s drama. Whatever the reason, Verona was a strong influence on Shakespeare: The city is home to three Shakespeare plays: Romeo and Juliet, The Two Gentlemen of Verona and The Taming of the Shrew.
Piazza Bra and Piazza delle Erbe
You can’t miss Verona’s two largest Piazzas when you visit the city. Piazza Bra, the largest piazza of the city and one of the most important in Europe, is also the heartbeat of Verona’s civic life. The Arena, Palazzo Barbieri, the town hall are all found here. You will also find vibrant examples of Verona’s strong café culture along the piazza’s dozens of coffee shops and restaurants. Although they may be a little expensive, we enjoy sipping espressos in them, just like all the other European squares. After you are satisfied, you can visit the Piazza delle Erbe to see the famous Mazzanti Houses, whose facades feature 16th-century frescos.
Look for the large whalebone hanging from the arch at the Piazza della Erbe. Although no one knows the origin of the bone or the person who hung it from Arco della Costa (literally: Arch of the Rib), it has been there for hundreds of years. Some believe it is a religious relic while others think it is an advertisement for an ancient pharmacy that still operates underneath it. It is said that it will only fall if someone walks underneath it with pure heart. The person described as either a virgin or someone who has never told lies. It hangs, regardless of its purpose, and is ironic because it connects to the Piazza with Palazzo della Ragione (or House of Reason).
Basilica di San Zeno
The Basilica of San Zeno contains the remains of St. Zeno, Verona’s first bishop. The construction of the church started in the 10th century, but the Romanesque-style building you see today was not completed until the 14th. Its white tuffstone facade was a model for many buildings in Verona. Dante also mentioned it in Canto 18 in the Divine Comedy. The church is also believed to have been Romeo and Juliet’s wedding church. The rose window, which has its roots in Greek/Roman mythology, is the main attraction. It is also known as the Ruota della Fortuna or the Wheel of Fortune. It is used by Fortuna (or Tyche in Greek), who turns it randomly. It was used in medieval Christianity to remind people about the problems of life and the limited time we have here on Earth.
Scaligeri Family Tombs
Verona’s independence from neighboring dynasties during the 13th century led to an economic boom, which saw many well-known families move to the city. The Scaligeri family was one of these families that ruled Verona for hundreds of years. From the 13th century to the 14th century, the Scaligers (or Scala family) were the most powerful rulers in Verona. One of the most memorable things you can do in Verona today is to visit the five magnificently Gothic outdoor tombs of Scaligeris, which are located in the city’s center. Each one features a statue depicting a knight riding on horseback.
Church of Saint Anastasia
The Basilica of San Zeno and the Duomo are all Romanesque churches. However, Sant’Anastasia, one of Italy’s most treasured Gothic-style gems, was built in the Gothic style. It was built by the Dominicans in the 13th and 15th centuries. It is most well-known for its beautiful frescoes of St. George, as well as Pisanello’s magnificent fresco of the Princess of Trebizond. It is a beautiful church, not to be missed along with San Zeno.
You might also find our Verona guide useful if you’re looking for other Insiders Guides such as The Tuscany Guide, The Amalfi Coast Guide and Outdoor Adventures Guide.