Back when Shakespeare placed star-crossed lovers Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet in Verona – he certainly knew what he was doing! And it was with good reason: this city is alive with colour, romance, drama and culture. I recently spent four days here exploring this under-rated city. Here is The Ultimate Guide to Verona as I pass on some tips from during my time here.
Verona is traditionally very Roman with ancient gates, Piazza delle Erbe which played host as a form and the magnificent arena. This Roman presence makes Verona a stunning city with incredible architecture, lots of culture and a lot of history. And today, the city is a Unesco World Heritage Site and buzzing city that comes alive even more so in the summer when the 2000-year-old arena hosts opera’s biggest names.
HOW TO GET THERE
You can fly from most airports around the UK to Verona, with most airlines. I flew with EasyJet from Birmingham International to Verona Airport which took only 2 hours, and cost me around £70 for a return flight!
WHEN TO GO
We loved visiting Verona when we did, in March, as the weather was sunny but not too hot or cold. We took our coats, but ended up taking them off most days. The sunshine was out and it was generally lovely weather. I would go back again at this time of year, before it gets too hot in the summer months (up to 28 degrees).
WHERE TO STAY
There are 100’s of hotels in Verona but when I visited I stayed at the stylish Hotel Trieste, not far from the arena. Hotel Trieste is a designer hotel with an eclectic style. A hotel by Andrea Quiriconi, Hotel Trieste is a hotel with a difference – a true artist’s residence, housing artwork from many an artist, both Italian and beyond. The hotel has hand-picked design interiors and regularly updated installations by local artists making it a piece of art in it’s own right.
The hotel is located in the exhibition area minutes away from Fiera di Verona and Verona Arena, and also only 1.2 miles away from Verona Train Station. It was also easy to get to from the airport by taxi (only 20 minutes and 25 euros) or by train (takes maybe an hour but is only 6 euros) and then a short walk into the centre where you can find all the main tourist spots.
At Hotel Trieste you can choose among fully equipped suites, standard rooms, and rooms just to ‘crash’. They have an array of rooms, varying in price and comfort, depending on your budget. We opted for a room with more space, going for the spacious, newly refurbished and discreet Superior room measuring 35 square meters and boasting a balcony with a view of Verona. The rooms are as eclectic as the lobby downstairs, with art adorning the walls and colour splashing out from every angle. I loved the theme throughout this hotel, it was unique and left lasting memories in my mind.
Read my full review here.
WHAT TO DO
Galleria d’Arte Moderna Achille Forti
In the shadow of the Torre dei Lamberti, the Romanesque Palazzo della Ragione is home to Verona’s jewel-box Gallery of Modern Art. Reached via the Gothic Scala della Ragione (Stairs of Reason).
Torre dei Lamberti
For panoramic views of Verona and nearby mountains, head up this 84m-high watchtower. Begun in the 12th century and finished in 1463 – too late to notice invading Venetians and sports an octagonal bell tower.
Museo di Castelvecchio
Situated on the river, this museum is bristling with battlements along the River Adige, Castelvecchio was built in the 1350s by Cangrande II. Severely damaged by Napoleon and WWII bombings, the fortress was reinvented by architect Carlo Scarpa.
Not as impressive as Florence’s but Verona’s 12th-century cathedral is a striking Romanesque creation, with bug-eyed statues of Charlemagne’s paladins Roland and Oliver, crafted by medieval master Nicolò, on the west porch.
Built of pink-tinged marble in the 1st century AD, Verona’s Roman amphitheatre survived a 12th-century earthquake to become the city’s legendary open-air opera house, with seating for 30,000 people.
Casa di Giulietta
Never mind that Romeo and Juliet were completely fictional characters, and that there’s hardly room for two on the narrow stone balcony: romantics flock to this 14th-century house to add their lovelorn pleas to the famous wall.
Teatro Romano e Museo Archeologico
Just north of the historic centre you’ll find a Roman theatre. Built in the 1st century BC, it is cunningly carved into the hillside at a strategic spot overlooking a bend in the river. Take the lift at the back of the museum for incredible views of the city.
Walk through the archway at the far end of Piazza dei Signori to these ornate Gothic funerary monuments, the elaborate tombs of the Della Scala family, in front of the little Santa Maria Antica church.
Piazza dei Signori
Verona’s beautiful open-air salon is ringed by a series of elegant Renaissance palazzi. Chief among these are the Palazzo degli Scaligeri (aka Palazzo Podestà), the 14th-century residence of Cangrande.
Piazza delle Erbe
Originally a Roman forum, Piazza delle Erbe is ringed with buzzing cafes and some of Verona’s most sumptuous buildings, including the elegantly baroque Palazzo Maffei, which now houses several shops at its northern …
Flanking the northern end of vibrant Piazza delle Erbe is Palazzo Maffei, an elegantly baroque creation now home to numerous offices and businesses.
WHERE TO EAT
Pintxos Bistrot – MODERN ITALIAN
Very good food with a mix of sushis, pasta and Spain-Basque coast pintxos. Creative platters and fresh fish with a good service.
La Taverna di Via Stella – VENETO
Real Italian fresh food – superb dining at his best. Delicious food with a great choice of wines and the staff are very knowledgeable.
La Costa in Bra – TRATTORIA
Cheap and cheerful pizzeria serving all italian food, and European. Situated in the arena square, good place to people-watch.
Terrazza Bar Al Ponte – CAFE
Wonderful cafe situated just off the main street which has an open balcony area looking over to San Pietro Castel. Drinks, snacks and food available.
Cappa Café – CAFE + TRATTORIA
Gorgeous little cafe next to the river serving drinks, snacks and food. Nice place to grab a seat and chill out.
Ostinati – OSTERIA
Just a short walk from the Arena and well worth it. We dined here on our first evening and it was just what we needed, good wine, good pizza and good vibes. We ate here again for lunch one day as it was great.
Gelateria Ponte Pietra – GELATO
Nothing else needs to be said here than: AMAZING ICE CREAM.
Re Teodorico Food & Garden – TRATTORIA
A small walk from the main city, located in the hill that San Pietro Castel sits with incredible views across the city.