The romantics among us know this pretty yet petite Italian city as the setting for the most famous play in the world, Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare. However, Italian cities are in tough competition when it comes to choosing your next city break, but I’m here to tell you all the reasons why Verona shouldn’t be overlooked.
The Piazzas (the main squares)
So the main part of the city where all the touristic sights are is called the Centro Storico. So it is best to keep this in mind when choosing accommodation to be close to here. We stayed in an affordable Airbnb which was about 20 minutes walk away from this area. The Centro Storico is the perfect base to set out your day in the city. Lots of opportunities to stroll down the side streets, take plenty of photos and eat until your heart’s content in Italian cuisine. There are two main Piazzas to see: Piazza della Erbe and Piazza Bra. Piazza della Erbe is a scenic square with a huge market, selling all types of souvenirs and snacks. It’s the perfect place to people-watch and to buy a few goods for loved ones at home, whereas Piazza Bra is the biggest square that is close by to all of the attractions. From here you can take a gelato or sit in one of the many outdoor cafes. This is also the main area for some major fashion designers such as Louis Vuitton.
The Verona Arena
This is a must-see whilst in the city. It looks like her more famous sister, the Colosseum in Rome but the Verona Arena is actually older and bigger. Built in the FIRST century and it is still going strong. If you are already at the Piazza Bra then the Arena will be right in front of you. You can visit the Arena in the day (tickets are 10 Euros per adult), but if you are feeling a different kind of experience then you can catch an opera performance there most evenings.
So Shakespeare completely made the story up, therefore Juliet Capulet never actually lived here. BUT, it is said that this is the house (and more importantly, the balcony) that inspired him to have the set of his play based in Verona (and so I quote, “in fair Verona, where we lay our scene”). Now, it is purely a tourist trap and because of this, it is always super busy. With that being said, you can get inside fairly quickly and take a quick photo of the balcony. If you would like the full experience, you can purchase a tour which will then allow you to stand on the balcony and take a photo. So, all in all, it IS overrated, but still worth a glimpse.
Ponte Scaligero and Castelvecchio
As you walk through the Centro Storico, you will come to Castelvecchio (a medieval castle that was built in 1354). For only 7 Euros, you can visit the museum inside or you can follow the Ponte Scaligero and walk over it, looking over the river. This is the perfect stop for a photo opportunity.
From Verona, it is extremely close to get to the south of the famous Lake Garda. We took the train from Porta Nuova station to Peschiera (it cost under 4 Euros and only took 15 minutes), making it a perfect day trip away from the city. Once you are there you can hire out boats, jet skis and pedalo’s or you can chill on the tight pocket of the beach. If you were planning to extend your stay in Lake Garda, you can also check out the many parks they have to offer such as a safari park, waterpark, theme park and a Hollywood movie set park.
Did we have enough time?
Overall, I think we had the right amount of time in the city. There were certain things that we didn’t do, for example, climb the Torre dei Lamberti (84 metres tall) due to heat and laziness, but that could always be added to your itinerary. We managed to tick off all the touristic things rather quickly during our stay so we were happy with that, but the main purpose of visiting these Italian cities was to soak up the culture. We were content to just take a passeggiata (an evening stroll around the city), walking through Piazzale Castel San Pietro and walking across Ponte Pietra, indulging in the food. Verona is especially famous for its wine, as well as serving delicious pasta, pizza and gelato and you can’t beat just sitting outside in the warm air, admiring the views. The trip to Lake Garda was a lovely bonus to the trip, you should definitely try to combine the two destinations on your trip considering it is only a short train ride away!
Let me know if you have been to Verona or Lake Garda and tell me what you thought! Follow my Instagram to stay up to date with blog posts and snaps from my travels.