A Romantic Verona Travel Guide for New Visitors
Headed to the hometown of Romeo & Juliet? Here’s all you need to know about visiting in this romantic Verona travel guide.
I may be biased, but when I think of the most beautiful city in Italy, I don’t think of Venice, Rome, or Florence. Nope, my favorite city is Verona. With fewer tourists and less attention, Verona feels like a quintessential Italian city.
With its beautiful, medieval center, wonderful restaurants, and ties to the famous Shakespearean couple, it’s definitely worth a visit. Here are all my tips with things to do in Verona do enjoy it best!
Verona Travel Guide
Why Did I love Verona So Much?
Maybe it’s because the city was one of the first destinations I visited with my boyfriend, or maybe it’s just a great city! I will never be able to look at Verona objectively. Sometimes you just have a click, and I just found it to be a beautiful city.
Verona is exactly what I dream of when I think of an Italian city. It has a beautifully preserved center, with ancient towers and city palaces. You can literally follow in the footsteps of historical figures like Dante. It’s special to imagine him seeing the same things you are!
Behind the city are hills with beautiful palaces, and in the foreground you can stroll over an old stone bridge. I also found it much less crowded than Florence and Venice, for example, but just as lovely!
From Verona you are also an easy train ride to Milan, Venice, Lake Garda, or Trento so it is also ideally located. And in terms of price, I also thought it was cheaper than neighboring cities of Milan & Venice. What’s not to love?
Top Things to See in Verona
The first time I came to Verona my mouth fell open when I saw the Arena. It is a beautiful Roman amphitheater, full in the heart of the old center. And it really is not inferior to the Colosseum in Rome.
Can you imagine the Arena of Verona already being completed in 30 AD? Even then it was already one of the largest amphitheaters in the Roman Empire. In 1117 the building was damaged after an earthquake, after which it was used as a quarry. Only in the Renaissance did it become a theater.
The Verona Arena is one of the best preserved amphitheaters in the world, and the best thing is that it is still being used. Concerts are held here, and when we visited there was some sort of big music awards show going on. (Just missed MIKA performing!)
The first time I was in Verona I attended an opera, which was so cool! You can get tickets for an opera here.
Piazza delle Erbe
Verona has a few important squares, and this is one of them. Already in Roman times, this square was the place where the market was held, and even today there are market stalls every day. If you like beautiful buildings, look out for your eyes on this square.
One of the most important buildings on the square is the Torre dei Lamberti (see below), a tower from 1172. You will also find the baroque Palazzo Maffei, a city palace where a rich nobleman lived, and Casa dei Mercanti, the former house of merchants .
The oldest monument on the square is the fountain. Although the fountain itself “only” dates from 1368, the statue on top of the fountain dates back to Roman times: the year 380, to be precise!
Torre dei Lamberti
One of the best tips to do in Verona is to climb the Torre dei Lamberti. As mentioned earlier, the tower dates from 1172, when construction started. How special is it to think that this square and the tower have looked the same for hundreds of years?
Well, expect for when the tower was struck by lightning in the 15th century and took some time to be restored!
Climb the tower of Verona to get a beautiful view of the city. Unfortunately (as with every Italian tower) there are nets hanging above. But if you want a nice photo, don’t worry. When we were there someone had cut (small) holes in the net so that you could still put your camera through it for a nice photo.
From the tower you have a 360 degree view of the city, and you really get an idea of how old the city is with its beautiful orange roofs. Look out over the hills with city palaces, the old city center, and the bustling Piazza delle Erbe.
Just about every self-respecting medieval city has a castle, and Verona is no exception. The 14th century castle is called “Castelvecchio” and is located on the River Aldige, on the west side of the center. The name simply means “old castle.”
Because it was a fortress with a military function, it is a rather austere Gothic building. There has probably been a fortress on the same site in Roman times.
Ponte di Castelvecchio
A bridge belongs to the castle: Ponte di Castelvecchio. The bridge was intended as a safe escape route, should the castle be besieged. In this way the Della Scaga family, who ruled over the city in the Middle Ages, could escape to the north. This calculation turned out to be correct, because when the family eventually lost control of the city, they fled to Germany and started their own branch there.
The bridge was destroyed in 1945 by the Germans who withdrew from Verona at the end of the Second World War but was rebuilt in 1949.
Ponte Pietra is my favorite bridge in Verona, because from here you really have a beautiful view of the city. But history is also special, because the original stone bridge that stood here still dates from Roman times! The bridge was built in the first century BC.
The bridge collapsed four times between 1000 and 1250, but each time it was rebuilt. In 1503 the bridge collapsed again, and then the city council was finished with it: it would now be thoroughly restored. That bridge lasted until the end of the Second World War, when the Germans also blew up this bridge. Fortunately, the old city gate from the 13th century was spared.
This is one of my favorite places in the city, because you have a beautiful view of the river, the colorful historic buildings of the old center, and the hills a little further. Especially at the end of the afternoon, when the sun goes down a bit, I think it is super nice here.
Casa di Giulietta
Where Copenhagen has the mermaid, and Brussels is proud of Manneke Pis, Verona also has a similar symbol for a fictional character: Casa di Giulietta.
Verona is the setting where the Shakespeare story Romeo and Juliet took place. Casa di Giulietta is the house where Juliet supposedly lived. How is that determined? Until the house was bought by the city council in 1905, the house belonged to the Cappello family. Since their last name is very similar to Juliet’s last name (Capulet), the city council decided that this would be Juliet’s house and would be transformed into a tourist attraction.
Next to the 14th century house you will find a wall full of handwritten declarations of love, a statue of Juliet, and a balcony. If you touch the right breast of the statue, that should give you happiness in love (more like an infection from all the bacteria, I think).
The balcony is nice, but not original. It was not added to the house until the 20th century to add even more atmosphere to the fairy tale, as Juliet stood in the story on this balcony to hear Romeo’s serenade.
It’s nice to have seen, but I didn’t think it was that special. It’s always super busy with tourists, and since the whole story around it is fictional, it doesn’t make a big impression on me either :-). Fun fact: once this building was an inn.
A cooler way to experience “Romeo & Juliet” in Verona is this fun performance that uses the streets as its stage.
If you only visit one church in Verona, then let it be this one. The Roman-Catholic church dates from 1187, and it was built on the site of two churches that were destroyed by an earthquake in 1117. The church is built in Romanesque style.
Piazza dei Signori
The second most important square in Venice is Piazza dei Signori, around the corner from Piazza delle Erbe. Funnily enough, this square is surprisingly quiet compared to other places in Verona.
This stately square used to be the seat of the city. Here was the court and the Della Scala family ruled. Admire the Gothic façade of the Basilica Palladiana and its beautiful columns. Look at the Loggia del Consiglio, which used to be the meeting place of the city council. The fact that it was built in Renaissance architecture was a statement against the neighbors in Venice.
Also take a look at the statue of writer Dante Alighieri. The writer is an important figure in Verona, since he ended up here after being banned from Florence. He wrote a number of his masterpieces here.
My favorite thing to do is to sit here on the terrace and drink a Hugo while being surrounded by fascinating ancient history and stories.
In the meantime, the name “Scaligere” will seem familiar. This is in fact derived from the “della Scala” family, which in the Middle Ages therefore ruled Verona.
If you cross Piazza dei Signori you will soon come across a special “cemetery.” These extravagant structures are the tombs of the Della Scala family. There are five, to be precise. The Gothic monuments date from the 14th century. I looked my eyes out. It gives a good insight into how important this family has been for the city to get such tombs in such a central place in the city. Even after their death they are still honored.
The Roman city gate was once the main entrance of the city of Verona. The gate dates from the first century AD and stands on the site of an older gate. The white limestone gate is flanked by pillars and has twelve arched windows on the top floor. An important trade route ran through northern Italy and entered the city through this gate. Hence the rich decorations, which even today make an impression!
Castel San Pietro
Although Torre dei Lamberti gives a nice view, there is a place where you have an even better view of the city: the old castle of Castel San Pietro. There are a number of ways to get up: you can of course walk, but you can also take the funicular (funicolare), or like us … just enjoy the car.
You can’t visit Castel San Pietro itself, but that doesn’t matter. You only come here for the view. Because that view is really spectacular, just look!
Where to Eat in Verona
Pizzeria Du de Cope
On our first evening I was looking for a really good wood oven pizza and I ended up here. It’s not in the nicest place in Verona, but you can eat a delicious pizza and a fresh salad for little money.
Caffè Dante Bistrot
Sit down on one of the terraces of Piazza Dei Signori and order a Hugo: a delicious drink with prosecco, elderflower and mint. We were at Caffè Dante Bistrot, and there you also got some snacks with your alcoholic drinks. I remember that the prices were really great for the central location!
Okay, you’re all going to make fun of me, but hear me out. When I went out to dinner with local friends in Verona, they just didn’t feel like pizza or pasta (which makes sense if you live there, I think). And so they suggested eating All you can Eat Sushi at Tokyo Verona. For €25 you can order everything on the menu, and it was very tasty. Highly recommend!
If you want, you could also try a fun Italian cooking class in Verona.
Where to Stay in Verona
If you are looking for a nice budget hotel then I can recommend it. We stayed here one night. While the design isn’t anything special and it’s a bit outdated, the location is super convenient. It’s right between the train station and the center, and the staff was lovely. Check here for rates + availability
The second night we slept in this wonderful apartment in the HEART of the city. What a dream to walk up in the morning to the flower-lined balcony and to eat my breakfast in the sun while Verona’s daily life takes place in the street below me. Check here for rates + availability
For real indulgence, head to this hotel, which serves traditional luxury with style. Everything is taken care of to perfection here. This building, in the heart of the city, was once owned by the world-famous tenor Giovanni Zenatello. How special? Check here for rates + availability
How to Get to Verona
Verona is very easy to reach from the Netherlands. The fastest option is of course to catch the plane. With Transavia and EasyJet you can fly directly from Amsterdam to Verona in an hour and 45 minutes. A return flight is available from €58. From the airport you can catch the Airport Bus to the center. This takes 15 minutes and costs €6.
If you’re road tripping Italy, I recommend renting from Sunnycars. I always rent from them because you don’t have to take out extra insurance. There are no hidden costs and you are simply fully insured. Only have had good experiences!
They were: my very best tips for Verona, my favorite city in Italy. I hope this is useful for your own visit!
Anything else you’d like to know in this Verona travel guide?
General Travel Tips
- For accommodation, I always check Airbnb or Booking.com for the best prices.
- If your insurance at home doesn’t cover travel, you may want to look into SafetyWing for an affordable option.
- I always recommend checking Get Your Guide for the best tours in Europe and Tiqets for specific attraction deals.