Travel tips and info on Verona, Italy
Verona, Italy is a charming city that is said to be home of Romeo and Juliet (you can visit Juliet’s house and see the famous balcony). Verona is a great pedestrian city and you can easily see the main sights in a day if that is all the time you have.
How to get to Verona, Italy:
1 – Well this blog post follows my post on Mantua, which is an hour train ride away. I was staying in Mantua for a couple of nights and made a day trip to Verona.
2 – Verona is very easy to get to by train. From Mantua it is an hour ride. From Milan main train station it is an hour and a half ride. For schedules and fare, I suggest the easy to use and helpful raileurope website.
When to visit Verona, Italy – I would recommend the spring as summers tend to be very warm and winters are cold and grey. You definitely want to see the city of Verona with the flower pots full, trees that are green and blue skies. My first visit to the city was in the winter, and while beautiful, it was rather gloomy. Visiting Verona again in the summer was almost like seeing a whole different city.
What to see in Verona, Italy:
1 – Verona Arena – If you are coming into the city from the train station you will most likely make your way right up the street, Corso Porta Nuova to the Piazza Bra where you will find the Arena. The Roman amphitheater was built around 30AD and is the 3rd largest in Italy. The arena is still used today for theatre, opera, fairs, and more. If you want to see a performance you need to buy tickets in advance and you can see the schedules and prices on the official site for the arena (click here). You can also visit the arena without having to see a performance, ticket offices are inside.
2 – Juliet’s House – It’s a must see when in Verona. Just a few years ago you could walk over to the house and see the balcony with no problem, but now there are crowds of people and you just have to fight your way through. The famous balcony, which looks so small, was built in the 1930’s while the actual house in much older, built in the 13th century.
3 – Plazas – Verona has many plazas that are all gorgeous. Piazza Bra has the Arena, a lovely park in the center, and it is all mostly pedestrian. Piazza Erbe is a narrow rectangle lined with beautiful buildings including the Renaissance palazzo. Piazza dei Signori is just next to the Piazza Erbe. Piazza Duomo, which is dominated by the Duomo but the walk to and from this plaza will lead you through charming narrow streets with lovely buildings!
4 – Get a view – The Lamberti tower is one tower you can climb that will give you a wonderful view of the city and on a clear day you can see quiet far! The Lamberti tower is part of the Scala della Ragione, a stripped building on the Piazza dei Signori. I highly recommend this! See my view of Verona from the Lamberti tower by clicking here.
5 – Ponte Pietra – If you visit during the spring or summer, make sure to have some gelato and stand on one of the many bridges on the Adige River for views of the city and surrounding areas. One bridge in particular, the Ponte Pietra, is a popular spot with wonderful views and right between the Duomo and the S. Anastasia churches.
6 –Churches – To say that there are a lot of churches to see in Verona would be an understatement. I suggest getting a pass for one fee (buy this when you buy your ticket to see the Arena or at any of the churches listed below) to see four churches (ticket is just 5 euros). The churches you will see with this pass are the main attractions, although watch the time for when each church closes as they are all different (I sadly missed out on two churches as one closed an hour before the others, and one is a bit farther away then the rest). The churches will include:
Basilica di Santa Anastasia – The church is just down the street from the Piazza Erbe (turn left at the building with the lion in front of it at the end of the plaza). Sant’Anastasia was built between the 13 and 15 centuries by Dominican friars. The façade is mostly unfinished, as you can see from the brickwork. The interior has elaborate ceilings and intricate paintings. Notice the two figures in the front, right at the base of two columns which are rather unique! Make sure not to miss the frescos to the left of the apse, with scenes of the Annunciation and the famous painting by Pisanello of “Saint George and the Princess.”
Verona Cathedral or Duomo – The Cathedral in Verona was built in the late 12th century. The portico in the front is supported by two griffins, which have humorous expressions and designed by the sculptor Nicholaus who contributed to other churches in Verona. The main doorway is surrounded by sculptures of the prophets, the three theological virtues, and other symbols. The interior has undergone many renovations, mainly during the 15th century.
Basilica di San Zeno – The Basilica was actually rebuilt after the 1117 earthquake. The large rose window and the bronze doors are the two most notable features. Inside you will find frescoes from the 13th and 14th centuries. (This is the church that is a bit farther away and in the opposite direction of the other three.
Chiesa di San Fermo – This is an 11th century church with a stunning façade and a beautiful interior. Unfortunately this is the church that closed a bit early and I fully intend to go back one day and see it! The lower church is rare architecturally because it has four naves. Also notable is the upper church, which has a wooden ceiling and 14th and 15th century frescoes including works by Pisanello.
If you only have one day in the city of Verona, these are the main sights to see. It is a bit of a rush, but you can do it!