Verona is one of Italy’s loveliest cities, sitting prettily in the north of the country. If you’re visiting Lake Garda or Venice this summer, why not consider taking a day trip and exploring the city? It is extremely compact and walkable, meaning it’s easy to take in a lot of the city’s main sights in just one day.
I recently visited and have put together the below itinerary to help you see the best of the city in one day.
Start your tour of Verona off with a visit to the Arena di Verona, a Roman amphitheatre located in Piazza Bra. Built in the 1st century, the Arena is host to the city’s annual opera festival, but has also hosted many rock and pop acts, including One Direction and Adele. You can tour the arena when a concert is not taking place and it really is a must-see sight. Before entering, I would recommend you purchase a one-day Verona card. For €18 this gives you admission into many of the city’s attractions, making it good value for money if you intend to visit more than two attractions.
After your Arena visit, take in Piazza Bra, the largest piazza in Verona and then wander through Via Mazzini, an upscale shopping street home to famous brands such as Dolce & Gabbana. This will take you to another one of Verona’s famous squares, Piazza delle Erbe. Take some time to admire the architecture of what was once the town’s forum during the time of the Roman Empire. This will lead us to our next stop, Torre dei Lamberti.
The Lamberti tower is great to get a bird’s-eye perspective on the city. It’s an 84-metre-high watchtower and entrance is included on the Verona card. If you don’t fancy the stairs, there is also a lift (€1 fee) which takes you to the first viewing platform. This boasts fantastic views, but if you have a head for heights, climb the winding staircase to the higher platform. After you’ve taken in the views, you can visit the adjoining Galleria d’Arte Moderna Archille Forti.
If you fancy a mid-morning espresso break, I recommend Caffe Borsari, a quirky authentic Italian café near to Piazza delle Erbe. An espresso will set you back roughly €1 and do it the Italian way, drinking standing up at the bar.
So now it’s time to visit one of Verona’s famous attractions – Juliet’s balcony. A much-hyped attraction, it’s worth a brief visit to get a picture of the famous balcony and Juliet’s statue. To get a great view of it, go upstairs in the gift shop right next to it; they have a window where they allow you to take photos.
After getting your snaps of the balcony, wander through Verona’s quaint streets, past Romeo’s house and head towards Ponte Pietra, the oldest bridge in Verona offering some amazing views of the city.
When it’s time for lunch, Verona boasts an array of fantastic authentic restaurants, whether you want a quick bite to eat or a longer affair. I can highly recommend La bottega della Gina, a hole-in-the-wall joint where you can get a variety of delicious Italian pasta to take away in a cup – perfect for sitting outside in the sun.
After a lunch stop, head to the Castel Vecchio Bridge (Ponte Scaligero), an arch bridge offering some lovely views of the river and city.
After taking in the surroundings, head to the Museum Castelvecchio, an amazing building housing a wide collection of sculptures, paintings, statues and more.
Before leaving Verona, do take the opportunity to take an aperitivo in one of Verona’s numerous cafes or bars and unwind after a busy day sightseeing. I can highly recommend the local Amarone wine, a rich, dry red or an Aperol spritz (my new favourite drink!), a popular cocktail hailing from the Veneto region.
For longer breaks…
If you have longer in Verona, I recommend the following attractions as also being worth a visit…Basilica San Zeno
– a beautiful Romanesque church said to be the setting where Romeo and Juliet were married.
Castel San Pietro
– fantastic views of the city, well worth the walk up the steps!
– beautifully maintained gardens composed of manicured hedges, which feel like a peaceful oasis in the city and boast some lovely views.