Filled with history, quaint little streets, and buzzing cafés, the captivating city of Verona is definitely worth spending at least one day. Surrounded by cypress-covered hills, this Italian city became the symbol of love thanks to Shakespeare’s tale of Romeo & Juliet. The city of romance has way more to offer than just Juliet’s balcony and their tragic love story. While most tourists would only spend one day in Verona on a trip from Venice or Milan, you surely can take more time wandering around here. This place is just filled with photogenic historic buildings on every corner you turn and comes with an extraordinary panoramic viewpoint. To top it off, you can even attend an open-air opera at the Arena during summer. Aside from the many stunning architectural treasures, Verona is also the place to feast on delightful dishes and shop in local boutiques in hidden alleyways.
Looking to spend one day or more in the charming city of Verona? In this travel guide, we will not only take you along all the best things to do but also some tasty places to try out local dishes and of course to have Italian coffee or Aperitivo. Lastly, we packed some useful & practical travel tips to make your trip go smoothly. Read on to get the most out of your one day in Verona.
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City Guide to One Day in Verona
Verona is often overlooked as a travel destination by its famous neighbors Milan & Venice. However, the city of romance deserves more attention than just a stop on the Italian itinerary. In our opinion, Verona has somewhat the same flair as Florence, only a bit smaller and more relaxed. Although it doesn’t have an equally impressive cathedral, it offers an impressive Roman arena and its fair share of charming squares.
Sometimes referred to as “little Rome” (or Piccola Roma ), Verona was founded in the 1st century BC as a Roman settlement and held much importance during the Roman times. Verona possesses the most Roman structures after Rome itself. You will find Roman ruins and stunning churches all over town. Because of its strategic location at the intersection of many medieval routes, the city was often fought over by many kingdoms. It flourished most under the rule of the Scaligeri family during the 14th century. During this period Verona knew many vicious feuds between the two dominant families of the city. These served later on as the inspiration for the tale of Romeo and Juliet.
It was only in 1866 that Verona became part of Italy’s kingdom. Tragically, the city suffered much damage during World War II. It was bombed around 30 times, damaging most of the buildings, which were later restored. The many well-preserved monuments of Verona made it a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000.
Things to know before visiting Verona
Travel Basics for One Day in Verona
Language? The official language of Verona and Italy in general is Italian. Most people that we encountered spoke English, but it’s always useful to learn a few phrases.
Currency? Italy uses the Euro €. For the exchange rate, check out xe.com website.
How to pay? To our surprise card payment is widely accepted even in markets or small coffee bars. There are usually enough ATMs around, but make sure to have some cash on you.
Plugs? In Italy, you can find three associated plug types, types C, F, and L, with a standard 230V voltage and a standard frequency of 50 Hz. So if you come from outside of Europe, make sure to check for a travel adaptor.
Safety? Verona is a very safe city, we never felt unsafe during our trip. We do always emphasize being aware of our surroundings and using common sense. Pickpocketing can always occur in tourist areas of bigger cities, just like all over Europe.
Culinary Tips for Verona, Italy
Make a reservation | Just like in Bologna, we recommend making a reservation if you have your eye on a particular restaurant. Chances are there are no tables if you walk by during high season and you will need to wait for a while.
Tipping | Unlike many other countries, it’s not common to leave a tip at a restaurant or café in Italy.
Coperto | You will notice that in most restaurants you are paying for something called ‘coperto’. This is a little extra fee, a cover charge per person that is part of the bill. Usually, this is around €2 per person and is kind of seen as an automatic “tip” and mostly covers the given bread basket and the table service. So it’s up to you if you want to give extra tips in the end, but it’s not needed. Others might add a servizio, or service charge, calculated as a percent of the final bill (We have never seen that). Usually, the amount of the servizio or coperto is mentioned on the menu. So don’t be surprised to see this popping up on your receipt.
Espresso | It’s common for Italians to drink their coffee or caffè while standing at the counter. Italians love to bond and socialize over coffee. Usually, an Italian coffee ritual only takes around 7 minutes. It’s important to know, if you order a coffee or caffè, you will be getting espresso in Italy!
How many days should I plan for Verona?
It might not seem like it on the map, but Verona is a rather compact city. Theoretically, you can easily do all the highlights in the center of Verona in one day. Since most major sights are just a stone’s throw away from each other, it’s no problem to explore them all on foot. We ourselves only booked two nights in Verona right near the river, and only had one full day. During this day we were able to see all the above-mentioned sights except for the Giardino Giusti and Julia’s house (we only passed by). Like many people, we only stopped by Verona from our road trip to Bologna & Cinque Terre. Many tourists only visit Verona as a day trip from Lake Garda.
That being said, Verona is definitely worth an extra day. We regret not spending one more day to see everything at a more relaxed pace, soak up the city’s ambiance, and see it more thoroughly. This city of romance lends itself to slow morning strolls in its little alleyways and spending long afternoons in its quaint cafés. That’s why we definitely recommend spending two full days here. The city might not be as big as Florence or Bologna, but it’s absolutely stunning. So if you want to explore the city in a leisurely way, make sure to book those three nights.
When is the best time to travel to Verona?
Like many European destinations, Verona comes most alive during the warmer summer months. However, just like many other Italian places, it can get rather crowded and way too hot then. As mentioned, only during the summer months you will be able to attend the opera at the Arena. As such, we recommend visiting Verona more during the shoulder months. If you want to make the most of it, and still have nice weather, lower prices, and fewer people, September might be the best option.
In general, we prefer to travel through Europe during the months of September or May, since the weather is more reasonable and the big hordes of tourists have left. Good to know that Verona is exceptionally popular during the month of February. As the city of romance, Verona attracts many couples for Valentine’s Day, who want to spend this holiday in the setting of Shakespeare’s love tale.
Should you buy the Verona Card?
With the Verona Card, you can get either free entrance or a reduced fee to all top attractions, free transportation, and discounts on opera and theater tickets. The card costs you only €20 for 24 hours or €25 for 48 hours and gives you access to most of the sights mentioned below from the first use.
Though we only spent one full day in Verona, the Verona Card was really worth it! Even if you only plan on visiting the Verona Arena, climbing the Torre dei Lamberti, and visiting the Castel Vecchio you already got your money’s worth out of the card.
A major plus of the card is the priority entrance to Verona Arena. Really comes in handy when you are traveling to Verona in high season! The card also includes access to public transportation. Perfect, when you are staying a little out of the center or you are time bound to see everything in a day. So just check the costs for each individual attraction you would like to visit and see if the card makes sense for you.
You can purchase the Verona card at every participating attraction or at the tourist information center in Piazza Bra. Through Get Your Guide you can book the Verona card online in advance.
How to get to Verona?
Verona is located in the northern part of Italy in the Veneto region. It’s close to many other popular travel destinations such as Bologna, and Venice (both approx 1.5 hours by car) and only 45 minutes from Lake Garda.
If you are planning on spending only one day in Verona, it’s likely you are traveling from another city in Italy. The good thing is that Verona is easily accessible by train.
The main train station is Porta Nuova Station, where most trains arrive from other big cities such as Florence, Bologna, or Venice. You can book and check timetables for Verona on the Trenitalia website. The Freccia trains are regional high-speed trains, the fastest way to get from Verona to other big cities. To give you an idea, the train ride from Bologna only takes around 50 minutes, and from Venice just over an hour. So it’s easy and feasible to do a day trip from another city here.
There are also numerous direct connections to Verona from other European destinations, such as cities in Germany and Austria. We advise to book tickets in advance, especially during peak seasons. To book tickets, and check availability or departure times, check the Rail Europe website.
Once arriving at the train station you can reach the city center with a 15-minute walk, by taking the bus or a taxi.
A popular & cheap mode of transport within Europe is taking the Flixbus. There are direct services running from many cities to Verona. It will take you a bit longer than the train and definitely longer than a plane. But it’s a budget-friendly option for exploring Europe. Check out the Flixbus website for timetables and prices.
Since we were planning on visiting multiple destinations on our Italy trip (we passed Bologna on our way to Cinque Terre and afterward visited Verona), we decided to travel by car. When you come from Austria or Germany, traveling by car is definitely an option. Verona is about 7 hours from Vienna and a good 5 hours from Munich.
A few things you need to keep in mind when traveling by car though:
- You should look into a parking space in advance. You will want to avoid the ZTL (limited traffic Zone), which is mostly the old town. Just like in many other Italian cities, you don’t want to drive here in order to avoid a fine. So the best is to find a parking spot outside the center. There are many secure parking lots within 5-minute walking distance. We parked our car here, a secure parking garage at decent prices.
- Also, keep in mind you need to pay a highway toll in Italy. Unfortunately, they don’t work with Vignette, you have to pay per usage of the highway (calculated in distance and region) and it’s not really cheap. To give you an estimation, for using the highway from Verona to Austria we paid around €20 (not including the fee for the Brenner). You will pass a toll booth when going on the highway where you get a ticket, once you leave the highway at your destination you pass a toll booth again at the exit where you will have to pay (via card or cash).
Verona has its own international airport if you are flying to Italy. Many people also arrive here as a getaway to the nearby Dolomites. From the airport, you can take the blue shuttle bus which stops in front of the terminal. This bus will take you to the main train station (Porta Nuova). Tickets cost around €6, which you can buy directly from the driver and the journey only takes around ten minutes. From the station, you can either walk to the city center (10 minutes), take a bus towards Piazza Bra (line 11, 12 or 13) for around €2, or grab a taxi (but this will easily cost you €30 for just a short ride).
How to get around Verona?
Most of the sights within the Centro Storico (the old town) and its surroundings are easily walkable. We walked everywhere in Verona, which is the easiest way to get around in the old town and soak up the atmosphere. Our stay was just across the river, so it didn’t make much sense for us to use public transport. However, if you are arriving by train or plane and you booked a hotel outside of the Centro Storico, you might want to use the bus system once in a while. As mentioned if you purchase the Verona Card, public transportation is free during the card’s validity.
Book a walking tour of Verona
To get the most out of your one day in Verona and learn more about the city and its historic sights, you can always join one of the many walking tours. This specific guided tour takes you along all of Verona’s highlights. Numbers are limited to 12 people on this small-group tour, ensuring a more personalized experience.
Best places to eat & drink in Verona
What better way to explore an Italian city like Verona than by sampling as much delicious food as you can? The region of Verona is known for gnocchi, risotto all’Amarone, polenta, Pastissada de caval, and so much more! Local traditional dishes you simply have to try. Below you can find our personal recommendations for lunch & dinner spots, coffee & Italian aperitivo, and of course the best gelato for your one day in Verona.
Quick Bites for One Day in Verona
Foccaceria Ponte Pietra – For a quick bite stop by this foccaceria near the River Adige. This tucked away place has many different types of focaccia to still your hunger and that for only €2. Take a seat on the bench outside or grab a slice and sit along the river. An easy, but delicious budget option for your trip.
Focacceria La Figaccia – If you are hungry while being on the other side of town this Focacceria is a good alternative. Delicious straight from the oven and made with local fresh ingredients! Perfect mid-day snack for a cheap price.
Dinner spots for One Day in Verona
Trattoria La Molinara – Local cuisine prepared with regional products, such as the famous Veronese horse meat stew. This is a beloved place amongst locals and the perfect location for an authentic experience.
La Taverna di Via Stella – The setting of this restaurant gives you old-school vibes, with some amazing ambiance. The staff is especially friendly and helpful and offers a wide selection of local dishes. We had the Risotto al Amarone here for the first time, and it was a great choice. As the main dish, we tried the horse meat stew (Pastissada de Caval) and rabbit, both served with polenta. We can highly recommend this place to try out typical Veneto dishes. Make sure to leave some space for tiramisu!
Il Vicoletto Cucina e Pizza – Our favorite restaurant in Verona and still truly a hidden gem. We loved the traditional tagliatelle al ragu and carbonara here. We recommend making reservations upfront and asking for a table outside. Their setting is just wonderful with the little tables on the side of the little quiet alleyway. We had an amazing evening here!
La Bottega Della Gina XXL – For handmade tortellini and other fresh pasta this place is worth a visit. In the evening you can enjoy a nice dinner at the place itself, but it’s actually a shop. In case you are staying at an Airbnb or rented apartment you can pick up some delicious freshly made pasta to cook at home.
Other places that we have heard and read great things about and might try out on our next visit:
- Café Carducci
- Osteria Il Bertoldo
- Enoteca Segreta
- Osteria Trattoria Al Duomo
- La Lanterna
- Sapore Downtown
- Nastro Azzurro
Coffee Spots for One Day in Verona
Caffè Borsari – A lovely quaint coffee bar with friendly staff and some amazing coffee at good prices. Best coffee hands down to get your daily fix in Verona.
Caffe E Parole – Lovely location on the square near the Verona Cathedral to enjoy a nice breakfast or lunch.
Gelato Places for One Day in Verona
You simply cannot visit Italy without sampling the countless gelato flavors. And after all that sightseeing, who doesn’t deserve a little treat? You will probably encounter a Cremeria around every corner to get your daily sugar fix. However, we took the daunting task of trying out many local places, after which we can recommend the below ones:
Gelateria Ballini – This place has two branches in the city, one conveniently located near Piazza Dei Signori (update: temporarily closed). The other one is on the other side of the river near the Ponte Nuovo, this is where we went. Their flavors are really rich & intense and have a creamy texture, just how we like it! Portions are quite big, so don’t go all out on the number of balls when ordering. We can as always recommend getting their pistachio, but they also have amazing fruit sorbets. Delicious and refreshing, at affordable prices. Worth making the little detour!
L’arte Del Gelato – Close to Casa di Giulietta, this place is a favorite amongst many tourists. They use high-quality ingredients for their delicious artisanal ice cream at really reasonable prices.
Gelateria La Romana – This one is located outside the tourist center, more southwest, so a little off the beaten path but worth the visit. A lovely place where you can enjoy tasty gelato in cozy decor. They have many options in flavors, cones, and sizes. If you fancy something else than gelato they also offer a beautiful assortment of pies and cakes, as well as crepes!
Best places to stay in Verona
Even though the city of Verona is rather compact, there are many great accommodation options. Just like with Bologna, we however noticed that hotels are less common and it’s easier to find a bed & breakfast, guesthouse, or apartment. Depending on the time you are visiting Verona, make sure to look for accommodation at least 3 months upfront. For us, the months of June to September were almost fully booked 3 months upfront. Also, keep in mind guesthouses often have shared bathrooms, so be sure to check for that specifically when booking. For apartments, check-ins are often done remotely, via a code to enter and communication is via Whatsapp.
Our accommodation in Verona
We stayed in a self-hosted apartment called La Casa Sui Portici located just across the river from the old town. The location was perfect for us, in a quiet street, only ten minutes from the main sights. We were able to do everything in the city on foot. The overall apartment was cozily decorated, we felt taken back in time, in a typical Veronese setting. However everything was modernly updated, so very comfortable.
The apartment size was bigger than we expected, especially for two people. It comes with a cozy seating area, a lovely kitchen with all the utilities you need, and a dining area. The host foresaw little snacks and small things like jam & tea for breakfast. The bathroom is a bit on the smaller side, but we already knew this from the reviews and wasn’t a dealbreaker for us (not for two nights at least). The only thing we totally overlooked in the pictures and description was that the bedroom is upstairs, which is accessed by a rather steep staircase. All in all, it was doable, but not ideal if you need to go to the bathroom at night (which is downstairs). I would definitely not recommend it if you are not good on foot.
Budget Accommodations in Verona
The Hostello – This hostel is located a little outside the city center and comes with a shared lounge and garden. The property includes facilities such as a 24-hour front desk and shared kitchen, and every room comes with a desk, private bathroom, and air-conditioning.
Nuova Opera Rooms – This lovely guesthouse is located in the Borgo Trento area of Verona, which is a pleasant 20-minute stroll from the Arena. The eco-friendly place has a panoramic terrace view of the city and comes with elegantly decorated rooms. Each includes a private bathroom and air conditioning.
Midrange Accommodations in Verona
B&B Santo Stefano – Located in the heart of Verona, B&B Santo Stefano offers some amazing river views only 120 meters away from Ponte Pietra. Every room comes with a private bathroom, air conditioning, and a fridge. There is the possibility to have breakfast each morning and also a bicycle rental service is available.
Enjoy Verona – A whole apartment to yourself in the center of Verona? Enjoy Verona provides all the needed amenities in their one-bedroom apartment and fully equipped kitchen. Close to the arena and many restaurants and bars, this place is the perfect base to explore the city of romance from.
Luxury Accommodations in Verona
Relais Balcone di Giulietta – At this beautiful place you will feel like stepping into a romantic movie yourself. Luxurious modern rooms with some authentic details give their rooms a glamorous feeling. This guesthouse offers air-conditioned rooms with all the needed facilities, some even with a city-view balcony. A hot tub and a bicycle rental service are available for guests.
La Corte Di Giulietta – Unbelievable, but true, this bed & breakfast is just opposite Juliet’s Balcony with views over the courtyard. Their rooms look like they come straight out of the famous love tale with their wooden design furnishing. You can enjoy an Italian-style breakfast in your room.
Corte Realdi Suites Piazza Erbe – A more authentic stay you will not find, this guest house is set in a historic building in the center of Verona. The romantic designed rooms with balcony views overlook Piazza Delle Erbe.
Things to do in Verona in One Day
These days the town is mostly known as the decor for Shakespeare’s famous love story of Romeo & Juliet. Millions of tourists find their way to Verona each year to experience the city’s magic or maybe to find love themselves. Not only literature lovers but also history buffs and opera enthusiasts will fall in love with this Italian destination. Do you want to shop the latest Italian fashion trends or are you the ultimate foodie that wants to try out all that tasty Italian food? There is something for everyone in Verona!
Below we list all the top sights and things to do in Verona for a one-day trip. You can use our Verona travel guide as an inspiration and tailor it according to your personal interests. We were able to visit most of the sights below in one single day, except for the Giusti gardens and the Romeo & Juliet sights. Indeed you read that right, we decided to skip those, keep reading to find out why. Anyways it’s possible to explore all of Verona’s highlights in one day, although it might feel a bit rushed. You can easily spread everything over two days to see things at a slower pace.
We are starting right off with the iconic landmark of Verona, the ancient Roman Arena (or Arena di Verona). No visit to Verona would be complete without visiting this architectural highlight. The arena is located right in the heart of the city on the lively Piazza Bra. The impressive Roman amphitheater was built in the year 30 AD, which makes it older than the Colosseum in Rome and it’s one of the best-preserved structures of its kind. The spectacular construction traces back to the end of the empire of Augustus and the beginning of Claudius’empire. In ancient times the arena was the center for “bread and plays” (or ludi) for 30.000 Roman spectators. Gladiators would be the main attraction, fighting for their lives (think of the movie to get an idea).
TIP | Depending on the time of day the arena can have really long queues. With the Verona Card, you can skip the lines (VIP!). You can also join the following skip-the-line guided tour of Verona Arena to learn more about its history and the gladiator tales.
ENTRANCE TICKETS | Adults €10 (With the Verona Card you can enjoy free entrance & priority entrance).
OPENING HOURS | Mondays from 1.30 PM – 7.30 PM; Tuesday – Sunday from 8.30 AM – 7.30 PM (ticket office closes at 6.30 PM).
Arena Opera Festival during the summer
Unlike the one in Rome, this Colosseum is actually still functional today (no worries, not for gladiator fights anymore) and is the best-preserved Roman amphitheater in the world. During the summer months, you can attend one of the daily concerts or operas that are being held inside. The amphitheater has excellent acoustics thanks to its elliptical shape and can seat up to around 15.000 visitors. Enjoy one of the famous plays at the Arena such as Aida, Carmen, Nabucco, or Madama Butterfly, with an amazing historical backdrop.
Joining a performance makes up for quite an unforgettable travel memory and is definitely one of the best things to do in Verona. Even if you don’t intend on attending one of the operas, you can still walk by in the evening and catch some parts. Around the arena are parts of the stage sets stored and possible to see. These plays only run during summer, but the arena is open all year long to visit. For more information on the operas, their calendar, and tickets, check out GetYourGuide. Currently, you can save up to 10% if you book online!
The arena is located right in the middle of the main square of Verona, Piazza Bra. Even though the arena is the main showstopper here, the colorful square is also a beautiful sight to see with its bustling cafés & restaurants. While in Italy, one of the best things to do is to enjoy a coffee or Aperitivo on one of the many terraces around. It’s all about La Dolce Vita! However, as in most central squares, it’s usually better to avoid drinking and eating here, unless you are ok with paying high tourist prices for – let’s be honest – more mediocre cuisine.
Since this is the beating heart of the town, you can bet it gets crowded here during the day. If you want to explore the piazza in a more serene way, come first thing in the morning or in the evening. The area is beautifully lit then and maybe you can even enjoy a hint of the opera from a distance.
Piazza Bra is home to some stunning monuments, that include the Roman Arena, Palazzo Barbieri, Portoni Della Bra, and the 17th-century Palazzo Della Gran Guardia. The whole area is fully pedestrian-free, so you can wander around freely admiring all its beauty without having to watch out for traffic.
Historic buildings on Piazza Bra
Palazzo Barbieri | When you glance over to the right from the arena you will spot Palazzo Barbieri. This beautiful neoclassical palace from the 19th century was designed by Giuseppe Barbieri. Today it serves as Verona’s municipality place or “Palazzo del Comune”.
Palazzo Della Gran Guardia | When we turn further clockwise on the square you will see the magnificent Palazzo Della Gran Guardia. The building was designed by Domenico Curtoni in the 17th century but was only completed mid the 19th century by Giuseppe Barbieri. Originally the palace was used as barracks during the revolution, now it’s a venue for events and art exhibitions.
Portoni Della Bra | Adjoining the Palazzo Della Gran Guardia is the beautiful 14th-century Portoni Della Bra. This medieval city gate with a clock in the middle used to be one of the entrances to the city, through which horse carriages arrived. Today the ancient gate still stands and instead is being used by modern-day cars.
If you are a fan of historical & medieval activities such as castles, then Castello Vecchio is a place you shouldn’t miss. The former moated castle can be found on the west side of the city just outside the medieval city walls. Dating back to the Middle Ages under the rule of the famous Scaligeri family of Verona, Castello Vecchio was built as a defense fortress for the city. After the fall of the Scaligeri family, the castle was used by the Venetians merely as a weapons depot.
During the French and Austrian rule, it became a barrack and suffered major damage during the Napoleon Wars and WWII bombings. Only in 1926 was the place restored in Gothic and Renaissance style by architect Carlo Scarpa.
Nowadays Castello Vecchio is a museum holding a huge collection of Veronese paintings from the Gothic period going all the way to the 17th century. The museum exhibits are mostly interesting for art lovers, but the whole building itself is quite exciting to visit. You are able to walk on the fortress walls and access the two guard towers which offer some nice elevated views of the city and its riverbank.
ENTRANCE FEE | €6 per person, free with the Verona Card
OPENING HOURS | From Tuesday – Sunday 10 AM – 6 PM (last entrance at 5.30 PM). Closed on Mondays.
Castel vecchio’s Ponte Scaligero
When you are exiting the museum, turn to your right and walk towards the Ponte Scaligero, the bridge right next to Castel Vecchio. The architecture of this fortified medieval bridge is quite striking and unique to any other bridge I have ever seen. The bridge was mainly built to be functional, less as an architectural masterpiece. Many of the historic buildings that were built at the time in Verona were made from red bricks, which has quite the contrast against its city landscape.
Take your time to stroll along the bridge, and jump on the elevated sidewalks to peep through the openings. From here you can enjoy some views of the Adige River as well as the green hills surrounding the city. You can also spot a wall of love locks at the entrance of the bridge. As the city of Romance, of course, this trend can be found here too.
Wander the streets of Centro Storico
Like in most Italian cities, walking through Verona feels like you ended up in a postcard or movie set. The historic center of Verona (or Centro Storico) is like one big open-air museum and exploring its streets on foot is easily one of the best things to do on your one-day trip. Simply get lost in the many cute cobblestone alleyways, soak up the ambiance and the stunning medieval architecture that is surrounding you. No wonder the well-preserved Centro Storico has been designated as UNESCO World Heritage Site. Verona is really a feast for the eyes and it’s hard to put your camera down. I absolutely fell in love with its photogenic balconies and window designs with those typical Italian shutters.
TIP | Make a small detour towards Porta Leoni, one of the many ancient gates you can find all over town. The unique sight here is Verona Vecchia, an opening in the middle of the street giving you a view of the ancient ruins of Verona.
Piazza Della Erbe
Piazza Della Erbe is the main market square in the city and has been the central meeting place for locals since Roman times. The name literally means Square of Herbs and used to be the main forum of the settlement during the Roman Empire. Today you will find many important buildings surrounding the piazza, such as the Torre dei Lamberti, Casa Dei Giudici (or Judges Hall), and the beautiful ornate frescoed Mazzanti Houses.
On the west side, there is the Baroque-style Palazzo Maffei, lushly decorated with statues of Greek gods such as Venus, Apollo, and Hercules. In front of the palazzo, there is a white marble column with a St. Mark Lion on the top, which is the symbol of the Republic of Venice. The main eyecatcher of the Piazza is the elegant fountain with a statue of Madonna Verona, which was built in the 14th century.
Not only is the square filled with little restaurants and cafés, but in the middle, there are many market stalls selling souvenirs & trinkets. This lively place is the perfect spot to get a refreshment or an Italian coffee to take a break. During the day this place is full-on busy & bustling. Walking around here gives you the ultimate feeling of an Italian scene in a movie, surrounded by these beautiful balconies and people enjoying the atmosphere.
Climb the Torre dei Lamberti
Towering over the Piazza Della Erbe you have the imposing Torre dei Lamberti, which is hard to miss. The 84m tall tower is one of the only remaining ones in the city today. It was originally built as a defense tower in 1171 by the Scaliger family. If you want to enjoy a bird’s eye view of the city, climbing up the Torre dei Lamberti is a must. Once you are up you can enjoy a panoramic view of the city. Don’t be alarmed, for those who don’t feel like conquering the 368 steps, there is an elevator available to reach the top. (Please note that you will still need to walk the last two floors on foot).
From anywhere in the city you will be able to spot the medieval tower that dominates Verona’s skyline. After visiting Bologna, I do have to say that this tower was a bit disappointing view-wise compared to the Asinelli Tower. Has anybody else visited both? What’s your favorite?
ENTRY FEE | €8 – free with Verona Card (ticket includes entry to the Modern Art Gallery)
OPENING HOURS | Monday – Friday from 10 AM – 6 PM; Saturday, Sunday & on public holidays from 11 AM – 7 PM. (Last admission 45min before closing time)
Piazza Dei Signori
After visiting the tower, pass under the Arco Della Costa (arch) which will take you to the lovely Piazza Dei Signori. It’s definitely way less crowded here than its neighboring Piazza Delle Erbe but is flanked by some fascinating architectural structures. Again most of the buildings that can be found here are from the Scaligari period, such as the former city hall (or Loggia del Consiglio), the palace of the government, and the Domus Nova. In the center of the square, you can admire a statue of the poet & writer Dante. The poet spent seven years in Verona after he was exiled from Florence and was taken in by the ruling Scaligari family.
FUN FACT | When passing under the Costa Arch, look up where you will see a whale’s rib dangling down. According to legend, the rib will fall on the first truly just person to pass beneath it. So far the rib has been going nowhere…
The Scaliger Tombs
Don’t turn back just yet, make sure to keep on walking a bit further from Piazza Dei Signori where you will find the Della Scala family tomb. The funerary monument was built in Gothic style for the noble family of Della Scala, also known as the Scaliger tombs. It’s the final resting place of five lords from the Scaliger family. This name has been mentioned already multiple times previously since they were an important ruling family in Verona during the 13th and 14th centuries.
The tombs themselves are really eye-catching to see and are almost a piece of art. Nonetheless, not many tourists find their way here, unless they join a tourist group. But it’s definitely worth stopping by!
ENTRY FEE | €1 per person, free with the Verona Card
OPENING HOURS | Tuesday – Sunday from 10 AM – 1 PM and from 3 PM- 6 PM (closed on Mondays).
Casa di Giulietta and Juliet’s Balcony
The most famous attraction in Verona is without a doubt Juliet’s Balcony, known from the tragic love story Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare. There is a particular house in the city Casa di Giulietta that according to legend served as the inspiration for the legendary play. The house once belonged to a wealthy & prominent Veronese family, the Dal Cappello family. During the 13th century, this family was in a rivalry with the Montecchi family. I guess you can see the link.
It’s simply not possible to miss Casa di Giulietta since there is always a long queue in front of it. Also, Verona is not a huge city, so there is a big chance you will walk past this famous tourist spot. The inner courtyard is free to visit and not really big, therefore always fully crowded. Lining the walls of the courtyard you can spot thousands of notes and letters with declarations of love. There is an entry fee though if you want to play Juliet yourself on the balcony and visit the joined interior of the house. Keep in mind that the balcony was only built in the 20th century, so there is nothing historic about it, simply a photo opportunity created by Verona.
Why do so many people touch the Juliet statue?
There is also a bronze statue of Juliet inside the courtyard of the house, dating from 2014 replacing its original from 1969. The original can now be visited inside the museum’s atrium. You will notice that many people are eager to take a picture with it while holding Juliet’s right (often both) breast(s). You might wonder why… Apparently, it became a tradition over the years and is supposed to bring you luck in love touching her right breast. Since we (Moritz & I) already found each other (little cheeseballs that we are), we didn’t really feel the need to go and touch them.
Personally, we decided to skip visiting the infamous House of Juliet. We did pass by and got a glimpse of the balcony, Juliet’s statue, and the many hands touching her breasts. We simply didn’t have the patience or strength to go elbow-to-elbow with the hordes of tourists. To us, it’s just an overhyped attraction, but feel free to drop by and see for yourself what all the fuss is about.
ENTRY FEE | €6 per person, free entry with Verona Card. The inner courtyard is free to enter.
OPENING TIMES | From October till May: Tuesday – Sunday from 9 AM – 7 PM (Last admissions are at 6.30 PM), Closed on Mondays. From June til September: All days open from 9 AM – 7 PM
A short walk from Juliet’s house you can also find Romeo’s house. It’s not open to the public as it’s a private home, however many fans of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet flock to admire the building. The home is marked by a sign as well as an inscription on the gothic facade quoting “Oh! Where is Romeo? … I’m not myself. I’m not here. This isn’t Romeo – he’s somewhere else.“ (Act 1, Scene 1).
Sample local cuisine
Italian cuisine is worldwide known for its mouthwatering pasta & pizzas, good wine, sweet desserts, and creamy gelato. A visit to Verona just wouldn’t be complete without indulging in all of the local delicacies. The Veneto region is mostly known for polenta, gnocchi & risotto.
One of the famous traditional dishes you have to try when in Verona is risotto all Amarone, which is made of Vialone Nano, a typical rice grain from Verona, and with Amarone wine (red wine). I know it doesn’t look super photogenic, but it’s absolutely delicious! You will find this risotto in many restaurants as it’s a traditional dish.
Another common Veneto dish is Pastissada de Caval, which is a horse meat stew. A local delicacy & specialty of Veronese cuisine. The horse meat is slowly cooked in wine together with onions, cloves, and carrots. You won’t find this in every restaurant, we tried it out at La Taverna di Via Stella and can only recommend it!
TIP | A fun way to learn more about Veronese cuisine is by joining a guided food tour of Verona. Here you get to sample a variety of specialties of the region.
Grab some gelato
You simply cannot visit Italy without sampling many of its gelato flavors. And after all that sightseeing, who doesn’t deserve a little sweet? You will probably encounter a Cremeria around every corner to get your daily gelato fix. However, in the meantime, we are both proclaimed gelato connoisseurs, and can absolutely advise L’Arte del Gelato & Gelateria La Romana Verona for some creamy pistachio!
Join a Gelato making class in Verona
Have you ever wanted to make Italian Ice cream yourself? Join the following gelato tour, where you will not only get to sample the best gelato, but a real Italian Chef will teach you how to make it from scratch. In the end, you will also receive a little recipe book so you can make gelato yourself at home.
Verona Cathedral (Complesso della Cattedrale Duomo)
The Verona Cathedral goes by many names, such as Complesso Della Cattedrale Duomo but also Cattedrale di Santa Maria Matricolare. Not to get too confused, you can find its location here. It’s located a bit out of the direction from the other sights, but well worth a visit if you are heading for Ponte Pietra. This interesting cathedral dates back to the 12 century and is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. It’s one of the most sacred Catholic sites in the city and its facade features a mix of Romanesque, Renaissance, and Gothic style components. The cathedral actually comprises several buildings, which include the Canons’ church of Sant’ Elena, the Canons’ cloister, the chapter library, and the baptistery of San Giovanni in Fonte.
Inside you will find a series of different small chapels with beautiful frescoes and sculptures. It has some breathtaking Renaissance details, a giant golden organ, and arched ceilings. The Verona Cathedral is one of the oldest religious buildings in the city and each year it attracts thousands of visitors for worship.
ENTRANCE FEE | €3 per person, free with Verona card.
OPENING HOURS | From March till October: Monday – Saturday 10.30 AM – 5.30 PM, Sundays and religious holidays 1.30 PM – 5.30 PM. From November till February: Monday – Saturday 10.00 AM – 5.00 PM, Sundays and religious holidays 1.30 PM – 5.30 PM.
Stroll across the Ponte Pietra
This stunning bridge runs over the Adige River, connecting the Centro Storico with Teatro Romano and Castel San Pietro. The bridge’s history dates back to 100 BC and it’s the oldest & only remaining bridge from Roman times. If you want to reach the viewpoint of Castel San Pietro this is the bridge you will have to cross. The Ponte Pietro gives you some nice views of both sides of the River and this way you get to see the city from another perspective. Take your time to admire the buildings lining the river bank. Once you crossed the bridge, head west and find yourself a nice spot to sit by the water to enjoy the views.
Castel San pietro for spectacular views
Our next stop is Castel San Pietro, which you probably already spotted from afar on the hill on the other side of the river. On the top, there is a viewing platform that offers some amazing panoramic views of the old town of Verona. The best time of the day to visit Castel San Pietro for the views is sunset.
There are two ways to reach the top. If you still have some steps left at the end of the day you can take the staircase up the hill, Scalinata Castel S. Pietro, which goes by Teatro Romano. The hike is fairly easy and doesn’t take that long, a little over 10 minutes. The other way is taking the funicular (or cable car), which costs €2 for a roundtrip.
From the top, you will be rewarded with some incredible views of the curving river around the city of Verona with its terracotta-colored rooftops. The surrounding green hills with their many cypress trees give a beautiful contrast to the city landscape.
TIP | Do like the locals and bring some snacks like cheese or a panini with wine to enjoy some aperitivo for sunset.
On the way to or down from Castel San Pietro, you will pass by Teatro Romano (or Roman Theatre) ruins. The oval-shaped Roman amphitheater is more than 2000 years old but surprisingly in good shape and spectacular to see. Just like the Verona Arena, this theatre used to host events, games, and gladiator fights. Over time though many religious and civil buildings were built over the ruins. It was only in the 19th century that the ruins were excavated by a rich Veronese merchant who bought the houses in the area. During the archeological diggings, the orchestra pit and stone seatings were uncovered.
Today you can also attend some open-air concerts and ballets in the Roman Theatre during the month of July. Next to the theater is the former convent of San Gerolamo which nowadays houses the Archaeological Museum. Here you can find much more information about these excavations, as well as many Roman artifacts such as sculptures and mosaics.
ENTRY FEE | €4,5 per person (Admission includes audioguide), Free entrance with the Verona Card
OPENING HOURS | Tuesday – Sunday from 10 AM – 6 PM (Last admissions are at 5.30 PM), Closed on Mondays.
Relax in the Giardino Giusti
This activity might be a stretch on a one-day visit to Verona. Depending on your schedule and if you need a break from the old town, you should make a little detour to the tranquil Giusti Gardens. Spend some time in the afternoon relaxing in the shade away from the hustle & bustle of the city. They are said to be one of the most peaceful places in the city and even one of the prettiest in all of Italy. The gardens were originally planted in 1580 in typical Italian Renaissance garden art, which caught the eye of Goethe & Mozart. The gardens contain 8 different areas, each with its own unique design and decoration around a central fountain. Throughout the idyllic gardens, you will find many beautifully trimmed mazes, statues, and fountains to enjoy. From the pavilion, you can also enjoy some incredible views of the city.
ENTRY FEE | €10 per person, €7 for Verona Card holders
OPENING TIMES | Monday – Sunday 9 AM – 7 PM (Last admission at 6 PM)
Enjoy an Aperol spritz or two
We end our one day in Verona in the true authentic Italian style by enjoying some Italian aperitivo. The tradition of Italian Apertivo is omnipresent in Verona and a typical thing to do before heading out for dinner. When asking a Veronese local they would say that it’s the most sacred time of the day! If that doesn’t sound like my kind of person! As you spend some time in the region you will quickly notice that Aperitivo is a tradition deeply embedded in Italian culture. It’s the combination of their love for good food and wine with spending time together at the end of a working day.
One of the most beloved drinks to have is a good old Aperol Spritz, a colorful orange drink to cool off at the end of a full day of sightseeing. Together with some finger food and cozy background music, these are the ingredients for a perfect Veneto aperitivo. Find yourself at a cozy Osteria or Enoteca in one of the many sidestreets in the Old Town or on one of the buzzing piazzas. Catch the last sunrays, and unwind at the end of the day with the beautiful backdrop of the Old Town. If that doesn’t sound like the one perfect day in Verona?
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