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Did you know that the name Verona derives from “Ver,” which means “spring” in ancient Etruscan? This is a beautiful homage to the vibrancy and beauty of this city, which always seems to be bustling, no matter the time of year. Known as “the city of lovers” due to its role in Shakespeare’s tragic love story, Romeo and Juliet, it is also a real gem of Northern Italy. This city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a fascinating blend of Roman, medieval, and Renaissance eras, reflected in its impressive architecture. However, the true heart of Verona beats in its cobbled alleyways, lively squares, and colourful markets… So, are you ready to embark? Here’s what you should do in Verona for a getaway.
💸 A generous gesture? If, at the end of a meal or a taxi ride, you’re unsure whether you should leave a tip in Italy, here’s our little guide.
🗒️ Season, hotels: things to know before going to Verona
Before we start our list of must-do things in Verona, here are some tips for your next getaway. We hope you find them useful.
When is the best time to visit Verona?
If you want to maximize your chances of enjoying the sun and sightseeing, summer (June to August) is the best time. Temperatures during these months can reach 30°C, with pleasantly cooler temperatures at night. It’s also the time when the city is most lively, with numerous festivals, like the Arena di Verona Festival (opera). However, this also means more crowds in the streets and at tourist attractions.
The spring (April to June) and autumn (September to October) months are a good compromise for those who prefer a slightly cooler climate, but still warm enough for city walks, in the evening – yes, it’s more romantic.
How to get to the center of Verona from the airport?
Verona International Airport is located just 12 km southwest of the city centre. To reach the historical part, you can take the airport shuttle that runs about every hour, and the journey takes about 15 minutes. If you prefer a more private means of transportation, taxis are available outside the terminal, and the trip to downtown Verona usually costs between 15 and 20 euros. That’s reasonable!
Which hotel to choose in Verona?
We see what you’re thinking: you’re in Verona, you want a romantic hotel. Well, romance is a bit subjective. Here are at least three establishments that never fail to impress their guests. First, the Hotel Due Torri, a luxury establishment located near the Verona Arena. It offers a refined stay experience, with elegant rooms and a rooftop restaurant offering a panoramic view of the city.
Another excellent choice is the NH Collection Palazzo Verona, a charming hotel located in Verona’s historic centre. It combines modern decor with elements of historic architecture. In addition to its welcoming atmosphere, it has a renowned restaurant that serves excellent Italian cuisine.
Lastly, the Hotel Gabbia d’Oro also deserves a mention. This 5-star hotel is nestled in a pedestrian street in the historical centre of Verona. It offers luxurious rooms and a dedicated concierge service. Moreover, its proximity to several major attractions, like Juliet’s house, makes it particularly attractive to city visitors.
If you are still hesitating, here are the best hotels in Verona 👇
🔝 What are the things to do in Verona?
Alright, let’s get down to business. Here’s what you should do in Verona to make your trip a success.
Go to the assault of Castelvecchio
Castelvecchio, or “old castle,” is a landmark in Verona. This imposing medieval fortress offers a breathtaking view of the city and its surroundings. Once inside, don’t miss the Castelvecchio Art Museum (read more below), which displays a rich collection of works ranging from the Middle Ages to more contemporary times. History and architecture enthusiasts will be fascinated by the old stone walls and the castle’s towers that tell centuries of Veronese history.
📚 History note: Castelvecchio was built in 1354 by Cangrande II della Scala to protect the city from invasions. The castle has survived several centuries of conflicts and was used as a military fortification until the 19th century.
Discover the Basilica of San Zeno
Here’s another must-do in Verona. Indeed, the Basilica of San Zeno is one of the most remarkable examples of Romanesque architecture in Italy. It is dedicated to Saint Zeno of Verona, a bishop of the city in the 4th century.
The construction of the current church began in the 10th century and was completed in the 14th century, after a series of renovations and expansions. The basilica is notable for its imposing facade with a large rose window and for its distinctive bell tower, which rises about 72 meters high. The interior of the basilica is just as impressive, with a magnificent nave lined with columns and arcades, a raised presbytery, and a crypt containing the tomb of Saint Zeno.
🎨 Good to know: The church also houses several notable works of art, including frescoes by Andrea Mantegna and Pisanello.
Visit Juliette’s House, of course
No visit to Verona would be complete without a stop at Juliet’s House, the famous setting of Shakespeare’s drama, “Romeo and Juliet”. It is a 12th-century tower with a bas-relief depicting a hat, likely the crest of Juliet’s family. After several renovations and changes of owners, the city of Verona bought part of the complex in 1907, restored it, and returned it to its medieval look. Was it really the home of the beautiful Juliet? While the mystery persists, the house – now a museum – is now a landmark for lovers from all over the world.
💕 Romantic note: Romantics can share their heartaches with Juliet by writing her letters, which volunteers have been answering since the 1930s.
Venture into the Verona Arena
Built in the 1st century and still in excellent condition, the Verona Arena is the third largest Roman amphitheater after the Colosseum in Rome and the Capua Arena. Able to accommodate about 30,000 people in Roman times, it now hosts about 15,000 for concerts and operas. The Arena is especially known for being the venue of the Verona Opera Festival, which takes place every summer, from June to September. The shows are known for their spectacular staging, sometimes with live animals and gigantic sets.
🌹 Can’t get more romantic than that… If you extend your stay in the region with a trip to La Serenissima, check out our selection of Venice hotels with jacuzzis, or with a splendid view of the Grand Canal.
Cross the Ponte Pietra at dusk
The Ponte Pietra, literally “Stone Bridge”, is a Roman bridge that has been the site of many battles and destructions throughout the history of Verona. It was notably destroyed by the Lombards in the 6th century, then rebuilt and renovated in the Middle Ages. In 1945, during World War II, the bridge was heavily hit by German bombings. However, thanks to post-war restoration efforts, it was rebuilt as closely as possible to its original form, using as much of the original materials as possible. Today, it is a popular place for walks, offering a fantastic view of the Adige River and the old town of Verona.
Step back in time at the Castelvecchio Museum
As mentioned earlier, the Castelvecchio Museum is located in the 14th-century castle of the same name and has housed an impressive collection of medieval and Renaissance art since 1924. The museum’s exhibits include paintings, sculptures, ancient weapons, and historical objects. Bonus: the museum offers a magnificent view of the Adige River.
Savor the local gastronomy in Piazza delle Erbe
One of the oldest squares in Verona, Piazza delle Erbe, is a lively place of shops, cafes, and restaurants. Over the centuries, it has served as a Roman forum, a market, and a social gathering place. Today, it is filled with stalls selling fruits, vegetables, spices, wine, and other local products. Don’t miss the opportunity to taste polenta, a specialty of the Veneto region, or enjoy a spritz, a typical drink of Northern Italy, at one of the many outdoor cafes.
The square is surrounded by imposing historical buildings that reflect Verona’s rich heritage. Among these buildings, the Casa dei Mercanti (House of Merchants), the Palazzo Maffei adorned with statues of Greek gods, and the Torre dei Lamberti, a medieval tower offering a panoramic view of the city, are quite remarkable.
Wander Via Mazzini for a shopping spree
Via Mazzini is the main shopping street in Verona, connecting Piazza Bra with Piazza delle Erbe. It is lined with high-end boutiques, designer stores, and international brands. From clothing to jewelry, to home goods and souvenirs, there is something to suit all tastes and budgets. Take the time to stroll and appreciate the architecture of this paved street, lined with historical buildings.
Marvel at the Duomo of Verona…
The Verona Cathedral, also known as the Duomo (quite generic, in Northern Italy), is a mix of Romanesque and Gothic architecture. Built in the 12th century, this impressive structure is one of the city’s main historical sites – a must-see. The exterior is famous for the beautiful marble portal, adorned with detailed sculptures and flanked by two statues of lions, which welcomes the visitor. The baptistery, a separate structure within the cathedral complex, is known for its shell-shaped baptismal font, carved from a single block of marble.
Inside the cathedral, you will find a wide nave flanked by aisles, supported by magnificent marble pillars. The walls are adorned with detailed frescoes, some dating back to the 14th century. And the ceiling is a true masterpiece, painted with scenes from the Bible.
Also, don’t miss the cathedral’s chapel, the Cappella di San Pietro, which contains an impressive collection of art, including an altarpiece by Titian.
… and don’t forget the Sainte-Anastasie church
Indeed, this edifice had to end up on our list of things to do in Verona! The Church of Saint Anastasia is a real gem nestled in the heart of the city. Built between the 13th and 15th centuries, this Gothic building, restored in the late 19th century, is one of the largest in the city and is particularly renowned for its architectural beauty: it has three naves, a Latin cross, and five polygonal apses.
One of the highlights is the beautiful altarpiece by the painter Pisanello, which represents the legend of Saint George freeing the princess. The finely worked details of this fresco make it a true masterpiece of Renaissance art.
Embrace nature at Parco delle Cascate
Located in Molina, a small town about 30 kilometers from Verona, the Parco delle Cascate (official site) is a true natural paradise. The park houses several waterfalls, some reaching a height of more than 30 meters, which are fed by the Fumane stream. The waterfalls have carved deep gorges into the limestone rock, creating a stunning landscape of cliffs and natural pools. The park offers several hiking trails, suitable for all fitness levels, that cross forests, meadows, and vineyards. Plus, numerous viewpoints!
In addition, the park has a reconstructed prehistoric cave, providing a glimpse into the life of the region’s inhabitants millions of years ago. Your children will love it!
Browse the vineyards of Valpolicella
Just a few kilometers north of Verona, the Valpolicella region is famous for its quality wines, especially its Amarone – a dry red straw wine. We think dedicating a day to explore this wine region is an absolute must for any self-respecting wine lover (but it’s up to you). Many estates offer guided tours and tastings, allowing you to discover the wine production process and taste the region’s best vintages.
Here are two renowned addresses:
- Villa Mosconi Bertani : a historic estate that produces some of the best Amarones in the region. Visitors can explore the vineyards, historic cellars, and the 17th-century villa before tasting the wines produced on-site. | Novara, 37024 Arbizzano di Negrar VR, Italy
- Tenuta Sant’Antonio : this family estate offers a range of organic wines, including an exceptional Amarone. Guided tours include a wine tasting and a detailed presentation of the estate’s production philosophy. | Via Ceriani 23 Loc. San Zeno, 37030 Colognola ai Colli VR, Italy
So, we hope this list of must-do things in Verona, for a short trip, has helped you in planning your trip. Don’t hesitate to tell us your opinion about the destination in the comments.