You might be wondering if you should visit Verona during your trip to Italy. We would recommend putting this romantic city on your Italian itinerary.
Verona is known as one of the most romantic cities in Italy. Shakespeare’s love story of Romeo and Juliet took place here, the famous balcony and quadrangle are now one of the top attractions in Verona. The city is also renowned for its ancient and historical roman buildings.
There is more than only romance in Verona. In this article, we will tell you all about the famous landmarks, the best restaurants, and renowned food, how to get to Verona and the best day trips around the city. Let’s find out what you can’t miss during your visit to Verona!
Famous Landmarks in Verona
Verona is a great city to wander around and to explore its extensive history and typical Italian vibe. The city center is not very big, but there’s a lot to explore. You’ll need at least one day to see all the historical and famous landmarks. And when you have enough time during your trip, two days in Verona is even better. This way, you’ll get a chance to explore the city like a local.
We made a complete list of the famous landmarks we think you should visit during your city trip to Verona. Also, we made a map with a walking route through the center. This way, you can easily find all the highlights.
Let’s start with the world-famous story of Romeo & Juliet and their landmarks in Verona.
The most visited house in Verona, Casa di Guileta. The house of Juliet from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is located in the center of Verona. Although Shakespeare never visited Verona, and Romeo and Juliet are fictional figures, this house, with its stone balcony, became a symbol of the world-famous love story.
There are several stories about how this house and its balcony became the symbol of this love story, where Romeo overheard Juliet declaring her love for him from her balcony. Some say this house was the inspiration for Shakespeare to create this scene. Shakespeare never visited Verona, though.
It is more likely it is in the name. Originally this house in Verona belonged to the Dal Capello family, widely known as the Cappelletti. Juliet’s family name was Capulet, which is similar. Probably a great marketing trick to link this family house to this world-famous love story.
Funny fact though, in the original story Juliet appears for a window instead of on a balcony! The balcony added to the story in the 20th century!
The house is located at a small quadrangle in the city center. You can enter it passing a gate. The entrance to the square is free, but if you want to enter the house and walk up to the balcony, you’ll need to pay an entrance fee.
Although it is a must visited while in Verona, I thought it was not that spectacular to see. It is fun to see the house and balcony. But at times it is getting swamped with tourists. It is so busy you can’t enjoy the place.
We certainly recommend going here, but make sure to go early in the morning or at the end of the day when it is less busy.
It feels a bit like a tourist trap, but some tourist traps are just fun to visit. And for Verona, it is an important place which attracts millions of tourists every year. And if you’re a bit superstitious, you can leave a note for Juliet at the walls, asking for guidance in your love life. Or when you touch the right boob of Juliet’s statue, they say you’ll get lucky in love!
After visiting the courtyard with Juliet’s balcony, you might wonder, ‘where did Romeo live?’. In Shakespeare’s love story, Romeo lived closeby Juliet. And around 300 meters further down the road, you’ll find a medieval building which people say is Romeo’s house. The building is not open to the public. It’s nice to walk by and look at the outside walls.
When you get a closer look at the façade, you might even find an inscription which says Oh Dov’è Romeo?… Taci, ho perduto me stesso: io non sono quì e non son Romeo, Romeo è altrove.
Translated: Where is Romeo?, I have lost myself, I am not here: This is not Romeo, he’s somewhere else.”
Referring to the love story, but probably encrypted a few years ago? Nobody knows.
When you’re visiting Verona and following Romeo and Juliet’s story, you also want to visit Juliet’s Tomb. It is not the real tomb, because it is a fictional love story, of course. According to the tale, Juliet gets buried in the Abbey of San Francesco. Soon after the story became popular, people placed a sarcophagus in the monastery. It is quite a walk to visit, but the church is a beautiful historic building which is also worth a visit.
Luckily there’s much more to explore in Verona besides the story of Romeo and Juliet!
This Roman Amphitheater is located at Piazza Bra, the biggest square in Verona. The theater opened in year 30 AD, and it is one of the best-preserved Roman amphitheaters. After the theater was built, it could hold 30.000 spectators and became an essential place for the region, and people from all surroundings came to visit the plays and sports in the theater.
You can visit the theater as a museum, but there are also many concerts, performances and opera’s which you can attend. It is impressive to see a theater performance or opera at this historical site. The official website of the theater has all the latest information about the scheduled performances.
While visiting the Roman Amphitheater, you’ll also visit Piazza Bra. It is the biggest square in Verona. You’ll find many restaurants and shops here, but also some famous landmarks in the city. Verona’s town hall and Palazo Barbieri are the other two main buildings at this square.
In the middle of the square, there’s a garden with a big marble fountain and a statue of Victor Emmanuel II (the first king of United Italy). Piazza Bra is a great place to spend some time and relax with some drinks, after visiting the buildings.
Roman Theater & Archaeological Museum
Not to confused with the Amphitheater which is called Verona Arena nowadays. This ancient theater is also built in the 1st century AD but located at the other side of the town. Next to the Agide river. Situated at the side of the hilltop, overlooking a big part of Verona’s old town. Great place to visit, and during the summer months, attend a concert.
The Roman Theater is part of an archaeological museum which gives you great insights on how people used to live during the early ages. A fascinating place to visit
Castel San Pietro
This Medieval fortress is only a few hundred meters higher located than the Roman Theater, on the same hill. Overlooking Verona city, you will have splendid views while visiting the castle. The castle was built around 1389. There are several ways to reach the top. You can either walk up a few hundred meters and also visit the Roman Theater. Or you can take the cable car, and save yourself some energy.
Either way, once on top you’ll have the best views of the city!
Osteria Sottocosta – Piazza Erbe (Main Square)
This historic town square is the center of the old town of Verona. Surrounded by several cafés and historical buildings. And in the middle a market with street food and beautiful souvenirs. It is a great spot to walk around and have some drinks or a pizza.
Some of the unique buildings you’ll find on this square are:
- Palazzo Maffei which was an old palace and nowadays functions as a hotel.
- Torre dei Lombarti which is the famous clocktower and highest building of Verona.
Translated in English Old Castle, is another famous historical landmark of Verona. The castle was built between 1354 – 1356 by order of the Scala Family, which ruled the region at that time. The purpose of the castle was both to live in and as a fortress for protection against rebellion. Over the years the castle always had a military function, as a fortress, a warehouse or military training complex. Nowadays it is a museum which combines exhibitions of modern art with the tremendous medieval history of Verona.
Ponte di Vecchio
Also known as the Castelvecchio Bridge or Scaliger Bridge. Built initially as a fortified bridge which connects the castle with a safe route out of the city. It is one of the seven important bridges that connect the old center of Verona.
Ponte di Vecchio looks like it’s still in its original state, however during WWII the bridges were destroyed. Later they were rebuilt for their essential functionality. Also, they give the city renowned medieval looks.
Another bridge that’s worth mentioning is Ponte Pietra. It’s the oldest bridge in Verona. There was already a bridge here around 89 BC. However many bridges collapsed, were destroyed or bombed, but always rebuilt. The bridge that you can visit nowadays was rebuilt in 1957, a copy of the Stonebridge that was built around 1503.
Torre dei Lombarti
When you’re looking for the highest spot in the city, this tower is the place to go. With a height of 84 meters, it is the highest building in this medieval city and overlooks the historical center. Visiting the tower, you can either walk up using the 368 steps or conveniently take the elevator.
The tower was constructed in 1172 ordered by the Lamberti family. The family was banished from the city a few years later. It became a belltower in 1295, when two bells were placed for calling up the army when necessary.
After a heavy thunderstorm in 1403, the tower was heavily damaged, and the top collapsed. It took until 1448 before they started with the reconstruction of the tower. The clock was only added it 1798.
Basilica di San Zeno Maggiore
A small church in the city of Verona, but one of the best-preserved churches you’ll find. The church is named after the Bishop Zeno of Verona. Interesting story about this saint was that he was born in Mauretania. Very uncommon for that period (340 – 371 AD).
It is a group of five funerary monuments in Gothic style, erected by the Scaliger family. The streets separate the tombs with iron grills. The tombs are for the five notable leaders of the Scaliger family, who ruled Verona during the 13th and the 14th century.
A relatively small church, but the most important cathedral in Verona. An earthquake destroyed built-in 1187 after two other churches. The church is built in Roman/ Gothic style, dedicated to the virgin Mary.
Renowned renaissance gardens planted in the late 16th century. Many people refer to these gardens as the most beautiful renaissance gardens in Europe. You’ll find these gardens next to Giusti Palace. The attention for detail is what makes this garden so spectacular to visit.
This ancient Roman gate dates back to the 1st century AD. It was built over another gate, which was even older. It was the city’s main entrance.
Lapidary Museum Maffeiano
It is one of the oldest public museums in Europe and contains a great collection of Greek and Roman stone carvings and art. When you’re into history and love to see what people used back in the day, this museum is a great place to visit.
Palazzo Della Ragione
This palace was built at the end of the 12th century to accommodate the new judiciaries of Verona. Over centuries the castle was the heart of political power.
Nowadays, this historic building has a ceremonial function and is used during events and weddings.
Arco Della Costa
At first sight, it’s just an average gate to the main square of Verona. But with a closer look, you’ll see a whalebone hanging on top. No one knows how it gets there, but it hangs there since at least early 1700s. A bit strange, because Verona is 75 miles (120 kilometers) from the sea. The myth goes that the bone was hanged on top and will fall at the first honest person (one whom never told a lie) that crosses the gate. A bit ironic, considering the gate used to be a hallway passing from the old town hall to the living quarters of the judges and judiciaries.
Verona’s Famous Food
Verona is also known for its famous Italian cuisine. But it’s not only Italian pasta as one might expect. Rice is widely grown in Northern Italy, and even in Verona, the typical Italian risotto rice is used in many dishes.
Risotto is rice cooked in broth derived from meat, fish or vegetables until it becomes creamy rice. Most of the times it contains butter, onions, and parmesan cheese. The renowned Verona rice is called Vialono Nano. Typical rice is known for its creamy texture and therefore perfect for making risotto.
Risotto comes in many variations, often eaten as a starter, which is called ‘primi’ in Italian. The most famous risotto dishes in Verona are;
- Risotto all’ Amarone:
Cooked in a stock of Amarone Della Valpolicella wine; a local red wine which gives a typical flavor to the rice. There are many variations on this recipe, but they all contain the local Amarone wine.
- Risotto al Tastasal:
A basic risotto with meat, parmesan cheese and lots of pepper. Almost the same ingredients as a Pasta Carbonaro, except with rice instead of pasta. The meat that’s used in this dish is always pork.
- Risotto al Radicchio:
A basic risotto, the most important ingredient here is the red lettuce. The rest is the same as a standard risotto.
Pasta and Italy are inseparable. Don’t worry. You’ll find a lot of pasta in Verona as well. But the local pasta’s are a bit different then the standard spaghetti’s we know all over the world.
Bigoli is the spaghetti of Verona, and it’s a bit thicker than regular spaghetti. Bigoli is used in many dishes, and the sauces vary. Most of the time, sauces are pasta sauces are meat-based. Duck, Donkey, and Horsemeat are widely served in Verona. Gnocchi is also widely served in Verona, and these potato dumplings are very popular combined with stew, often donkey or horsemeat.
Eating horse and donkey meat became popular around the 5th century. During this period, there were many wars around Verona with starvation as a consequence. To overcome this starvation, people started to eat the meat of horses that died in during the war. Over the year it became a sort of traditional dish in the area.
Verona wine region
Verona region is a great wine region. For centuries it produces its wine, and the surrounding areas are renowned for its unique wines. The most famous wine of Verona is the Amarone wine. A typical red wine, which is widely used for cooking as well. Other famous wines are Bardolino and Soave. Most of the vineyards are located between Verona and Lake Garda.
Lake Garda is the biggest European lake which is only one hour drive from Verona. Lake Garda is one of the most popular holiday destinations for Europeans. It is beautiful to visit the lake and its small villages and surroundings. I wrote this article about Lake Garda, which we recommend to read if you want to visit Lake Garda.
Best restaurants in Verona
There are many restaurants to find in Verona. It is easy to go for some food at one of the many squares in the city. But probably more fun to spend your day in some places that are known as the best local restaurants. We lined up a few of the best restaurants in Verona to make your experience in Verona even more special.
- Cangrande Ristorante & Enoteca
This restaurant is #1 on Tripadvisor for restaurants in Verona. It is located at Piazza Bra and offers a menu with seafood, meat, vegetarian, and vegan options. It is advised to reserve a table when you want to have dinner here. You can book and check their menu (which changes from time to time) on their website
- Trattoria dal Taio
Known for its great ambiance, lovely grilled dishes, and freshly made pasta. You must reserve here before you go.
When you’re looking for a great coffee place, make sure to visit Caffe Borsari. Their wide variety of coffees and tea’s are exceptional. They know what they’re doing, a great experience!
These two restaurants are just a selection of the many choices you’ll have while visiting Verona. You can’t go wrong while going to a restaurant in this city.
Getting Around Verona
The medieval city of Verona is not big. The center is comfortable to walk around, and if you’re want to go the hill and don’t feel like walking, you can easily take the cable car to the top. The city bus connects all the important landmarks in the city that are not in the historical center.
While visiting Verona, we recommend buying a Verona Card. This tourist card is only € 20,- for 24 hours and € 25,- for 48 hours and gives you free or reduces admission to many cultural sites. You can also use the city bus for free during this time period.
With the Verona card, you can visit all the landmarks mentioned in this article for free. Except for Garden of Giusti, where you need to pay € 5,- entrance fee instead of € 10,-. You can easily buy the Verona card at one of the cultural sites or the tourist office in the center.
How to get to Verona
Verona is easy to reach. The city has two airports, offering international flights from other countries in Europe. When flying intercontinental, it is easier to fly to Milan or Venice and travel from those airports to Verona. Both cities are around 2 hours of travel time from the Airport to the city of Verona.
We recommend you to rent a car to get around, you can easily reach the city, and you also have the freedom to explore the countryside. We always use rentalcars.com for renting a car. The big cities in Italy are well connected.
From the city of Florence, it is about 2,5 hours drive to Verona. You’ll need to take the A22 in Northern direction to reach the city. Rome is a bit further away, about 5 hours drive. But you can easily plan a stop at Florence to make the journey more convenient.
Getting around Italy by car is the most fun way to explore the country. When you avoid tollways where you can and take your time to explore the countryside, you’ll have a great time. I wrote this article on how to get around Italy, where we explain the best ways of transportation in Italy.
Traveling via public transport is also very straightforward in Italy. The big cities are all well connected via train routes. Sometimes it is even faster to travel by train than by car. For example, a fast train van Rome to Verona takes only around 3 hours. Train schedules changing per season in Italy, so if you looking for the latest information make sure to check out the official website of Itala Rail.
Planning your trip to Verona is essential to have a great time. We recommend planning a few things, like your hotel bookings and rental car. Also, we have some great tips on what to bring during your trip. You can find all our tips for planning a trip at our recommendations page.
Recommended road trips from Verona
Verona is centrally located. The city is in Northern Italy, but from Verona, you can easily reach other beautiful Italian places in a few hours. When you’re staying in this part of Italy for a few days, we recommend exploring some other cities and areas during a day trip. Make sure to book a rental car in advance, so you don’t have to worry about arranging that after your arrival.
You can also combine the trips and plan a road trip for a few days!
Verona – Lake Garda/ Sirmione
Distance: 27 miles / 43.6 kilometers – 50 minutes – single trip
Lake Garda is the biggest lake in Europe, and a must-visit while you’re in the area. The lake is known for its beautiful nature, surrounded by mountains. You’ll find many historical villages around the lake, Sirmione is probably the most famous one. Also between Lake Garda and Verona, there are many vineyards where you can taste some of the best Italian wines.
A day trip to Lake Garda from Verona is excellent for sightseeing, hiking, watersports, and winetasting.
Recommend article: What is Lake Garda Famous For
Verona – Milan
Distance: 99.4 miles / 160 kilometers – 2 hours – single trip
Milan is known as the fashion capital of the world. It is one of five cities worldwide that has this title. The city has a great history. Not only for fashion, but it is also the economic heart of Italy. Great for shopping and sightseeing. Milan is home to some of the best historic buildings and artwork in the world.
Recommend article: What is Milan Famous For?
Verona – Genoa & Cinque Terre
Distance: 242miles / 390 kilometers – 5 hours – single trip)
It is probably best to plan 2 days for this trip. We recommend combining it with a road trip around Northern Italy.
Cinque Terre is probably one of the most beautiful parts of the Italian coastline. This region is a Unesco World Heritage site and consists of different villages along the coast. Have you ever seen the images with the pastel-colored houses along the coast? It was probably Cinque Terre. Beautiful to explore and enjoy the best ocean views.
The city of Genoa is an important Italian harbor city. It was the birthplace of Cristopher Columbus. Today it is still an essential city regarding the harbor, but you’ll find some amazing culture here as well. The coastline stretches out of 80 kilometers! When you’re looking for that perfect beach day, you’ll probably find it along this coast.
Verona – Bologna
Distance: 88.8 miles / 143 kilometers – 1,5 hours – single trip
Bologna is a beautiful city to visit, known for its culture and great food. Amazing to spend a day or half-day for exploring the city!
Verona – Parma
Distance: 70.8 miles / 114 kilometers – 1 hour – single trip
The city of Parma is excellent for a day visit. The old city feels a bit like Verona, but because it is a student city, the vibe is different. It is great to walk around and explore the old buildings. A building that’s not to miss is the old Teatro Farnese. A theater built around 1618, entirely out of wooden panels. One of the first modern theaters with a stage and roof. And of course, for lunch try some of the renowned Parma Ham.
Verona – Venice
Distance: 75 miles/ 121 kilometers – 1,5 hours – single trip)
From the city of love to the most romantic city in the world. Venice is one of the most visited cities in the world, and it is a must-visit during your trip to Italy. You can easily spend a day or two exploring the beauty of the city built on water. Make sure to be prepared for massive crowds because every day of the year it’s swamped with tourists in Venice. Nonetheless, it is a great place to visit, something you must see once in your life.
While planning your next trip to Italy make sure to use our booking recourses.