When it comes to selecting a trip within Europe, I’m admittedly more attracted to places south of the continent. The combination of sunshine, architecture, culture and the people makes it a favorite destination to return to.
With its natural beauty, impressive architecture and abundance of good food and wine, it’s easy to see why Italy is popular with tourists and travelers alike. Though there are many places in Italy I still have on my list, one place I have been is Verona.
Famous for its architecture and of course as being the setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Verona’s one place everyone should see in their lifetime. This list is perfect if you only plan to spend a few nights in the city. Buon viaggio!
Top 5 things to do in Verona:
Piazza delle Erbe
The piazza’s home not only to the central market of Verona, but also to a plentiful string of bars and restaurants. From fruits and vegetables to bars and restaurants, it’s no wonder why the ‘square of herbs’ is known for its buzzing atmosphere. Fun fact: The name ‘Piazza delle Erbe’ comes from medieval times when it was simply a herb market.
The piazza, once the town’s forum for the Roman Empire, showcases an impressive range of Medieval and Renaissance style architecture, such as the Torre dei Lamberti, and the City Hall. Leave the square via the Arco della Costa to catch the sight of the hanging whale rib, before exploring the funerary monuments at the Scaliger Tombs.
Casa di Giulietta
Prepare to battle with minions of tourists, loud and loved-up teenagers and selfie sticks. Yes, visiting the Casa di Guilietta is a complete cliché, but when in Verona…
When you enter — if you can — the courtyard, I highly advise to take the photo of the infamous balcony, and go. There’s an option to go inside, but, for me, it’s not as special as you may like to think. Besides, there are many other places you can discover in this exquisite city.
Just when Verona couldn’t possibly get any prettier, the striking sight of the Italian Renaissance gardens, Giardino Giusti, proves otherwise.
The gardens date back to the 16th century, and has everything from age-old trees, to gargoyles and fountains. It was owned by the Giusti family, and the gardens were so splendid that Goethe and Mozart came to see it for themselves.
The family’s stunning palazzo is just as impressive, and visitors can enter, for a price of course.
Arena di Verona
My history with the opera consists of the following: 1. playing an ‘Italian’ daughter in Puccini’s Tosca when I was 9-years-old; and 2. accompanying my gay friend to Madam Butterfly at the English National Opera. Both incidents, though pleasant enough, did not have leave me itching to return.
A night at the opera in this magnificent structure is enough to change anyone’s mind. The Roman amphitheatre of Arena di Verona has many large scale opera performances, and even if you don’t enjoy the show, the ambience is electric.
Castel San Pietro
Castel San Pietro is my top pick for getting some of the best views of the city. The castle that sits on the hill awards one of the best – and free – panoramic views of Verona. Verona was founded on this very hill, and the Romanesque Revival style castle was built during the time of Austrian rule.
Be sure to wear comfy shoes, as there’s quite a few steps to reach the top of the hill. That said, there’s a handy water tap at the top, which you’ll need to refill your water bottle! Travel tip: look out for the stairway near the Roman theatre to get to the top.