Verona is such an amazing Italian city – perhaps in no small part due to the fact that some of the best things to do in Verona are centred around one of the most celebrated works of Shakespeare – Romeo and Juliet.
Thing is though, even without Romeo and Juliet is in and of itself quite the Italian gem. There’s so much history everywhere you look and the architecture here is nothing short of stunning. In some ways, a visit can leave you feeling like you’ve just stepped onto the set of some oldie Italian Hollywood movie.
Even from a more practical perspective, the city is relatively easy to visit (it’s got a decent airport which connects it to other major cities) and it’s such a walkable city (for the most part – it’s flat so pretty easy to wander around in).
Anyway, I could really go on and on extolling the virtues of Verona and why it’s such an amazing city (blah, blah, blah…) but rather than do that, I figured I might as well show you with the very best things to do in Verona and where you need to visit when you’re in the city!
Let’s get started, shall we?
1.) Arena di Verona
This is an easy one. It’s a gorgeous place and is smack in of one of the busiest squares in the city so you’re not likely to miss it.
Visiting this ancient Roman amphitheatre is one of the best things to do in Verona because it’s so much more than a static historical sight. It’s actually a concert venue and is one spot worth experiencing properly by attending a show here.
You’ll need to act fast though, tickets for many things can be sold out here so it’s probably worth booking in advance.
And don’t worry, even if you can’t book an evening here, you can still visit during the day. My advice would actually be to do both. Visit during the day so you can take it all in at your own pace and then attend a show here at night so you can full experience the amphitheatre, in some ways, like it was centuries ago.
2.) Verona Cathedral
This impressive cathedral is another must- do when you’re in the city. Tucked down a relatively quiet (quiet at least compared to the main squares) inside the cathedral’s relatively ‘simple’ facade lies an intricately designed architectural masterpiece in the city.
We visited when there were some works going on inside so you can’t really explore everywhere but even then, the bits you could explore were absolutely gorgeous.
Italians sure do know how to build their churches! 😀
3.) Piazza Bra
Remember how I said the Arena was in one of the busiest squares in the city? Well that square is Piazza Bra and is one of the best things to do in Verona for the hungry traveller, which, lets face it – we all are (it’s always only a matter of time before our thoughts turn to food).
There are loads of restaurants to choose from here – if you want to be right on the square, Ristorante Caffe Vittorio Emanuele is a pretty good spot to head to though, if you’re willing to venture to one of the side street (literally one of the streets just off the square) – you’ll find Cangrande Ristorante & Enoteca and Ristorante Pizzeria Nastro Azzurro, both of which are absolutely amazing (those last two are REALLY good so I’d probably go for one of those two first before deciding on one in the square.!
4.) Basilica di San Zeno Maggiore
This one is a bit further out than the others (it’s really not that far though – ‘further out’ in Verona means it’s like a 15 minutes walk as compared to being right next door) but is definitely one of the best things to do in Verona for Romeo and Juliet enthusiasts as the crypt here is the setting where Romeo and Juliet got married in the books.
Again, it’s an impressive spot to visit in and of itself and is perhaps one of the more impressive churches to visit in Verona (which is saying a lot as Verona is certainly not short of rather impressive churches to visit).
5.) Torre dei Lamberti
Overlooking the Piazza Delle Erbe, this tower is one of the best things to do for in Verona for the incredible views over the city (unsurprisingly after all – it is a tower 😀 ). It’s got such a brilliant position overlooking the city and is a great spot to visit to get a proper sense of how expansive (and how relatively flat) the city is.
Now, you can either climb up the many stairs taking you to the tower or you can take the lift right up. Eager to make the most of our time in the city (and not-so-eager to climb up several flights of stairs) we took the lift up which cost barely anything and has you up there in seconds.
(Photo below of Piazza Delle Erbe is actually taken from the Torre dei Lamberti)
6.) Piazza Delle Erbe
Downstairs from the Torre dei Lamberti lies Piazza Delle Erbe another great square in the city for food, drinks and general people watching. If you’re here on the right day, there’s also a market here with bargains just waiting to be had (I actually ended up getting a hat from here on a whim).
Near here (like 2 minutes walk away), on the way the next spot below (Casa di Giuletta) is a restaurant called Trattoria al Pompiere, an amazing place for delicious local food.
It’s a spot treasured by locals (and visitors who’ve been let in on the ‘secret’ by the locals) so much so that you’ll probably find it’s always busy and you’ll need a reservation in advance to eat here.
It’s definitely worth it so be sure to make a reservation for this spot when you’re in the city (perhaps even in advance of arriving here).
7.) Casa di Giulietta
Arguably one of the most famous spots in the Verona, Casa di Giulietta is Juliet’s House (literal translation) and is home to that famed balcony Juliet calls out to her lover from.
Surprisingly, (especially so given how tragic their story ends), this place is a huge spot for lovers visiting the city who see it as one of the most romantic spots to visit. You’ll find many inscriptions on the walls here from lovers and even a statue of Juliet that’s worn at the bust from so many people constantly rubbing it for good luck.
It’s actually free to visit the courtyard outside here but if you want to step onto the balcony, you do have to pay a fee. There’s a museum in here as well (which showcases the architecture here as well as the films that have been set here) so your money isn’t just spent trying to get onto that balcony.
Right in the city lies a castle – Castle Vecchio, a grand structure that date sback to the 14th century and is one of the best things to do in Verona across the board. It’s perhaps one of the biggest sites here in terms of sheer space to explore (right up there with the Arena) and is worth setting aside a decent amount of time to visit it properly.
Cumbersome as they can get sometimes, it’s worth getting yourself an audio guide here as there’s a fair bit of ground you can cover here and you’ll probably need some context to fully appreciate the space (I only mention this as I’m not usually one for audio guides – and not for any other reason actyally than the fact that juggling 2 cameras, a phone and the audio guide is such an exercise in frustration ergo why I tend to avoid it generally, except of course for places like this).
9.) Ponte di Castelvecchio
Right next to the castle is an pretty bridge Ponte di Castelvecchio, built by the ruling Della Scala family (the Scaligeri a.k.a the Scaligers) so they could escape from attack should their empire crumble – which, of course, it eventually did.
A great spot to check the bridge out from is actually when you’re in Castelvecchio itself so be sure to do that there.
10.) Arco dei Gavi
Right next door to Castelvecchio is the Arco dei Gavi, an ancient arch built by the noble Gavia family, which was once upon a time a gate into the city.
The arch was actually not next to Castelvecchio to begin with and was moved there in later years (much, much later) and makes for quite an impressive sight right next to the river.
11.) Piazzale Castel San Pietro
Piazzale Castel San Pietro is one of my favourite and quite easily one of the best things to do in Verona for its beautiful views over the city. The best time to head up here is around sunset where the already impressive view over the city just gets even more beautiful as the many hues of orange change and wash over the city while the sun simultaneous dips below the horizon.
Long story short – epic sunsets are meant to be had up here. 😀
Remember how I said Verona is relatively ‘flat’ earlier? Well, understandably, this is one of the exceptions to that as there’s a little trek to get up here but fret not, it’s not stressful at all and is very easily scaled.
It is worth heading up here with a picnic (perhaps even a bottle of wine) to watch the sunset over the rather beautiful city (just be sure to take all of your rubbish back with you for proper disposal, of course 😀 ).
12.) Palazzo Giusti and Giardino Giusti
If you’re up for a jaunt around a rather beautiful garden, Giardino Giusti is where you need to head to as it’s not only one of the best examples of Italian gardens in all the land but also right next to the palace which makes for the perfect afternoon in the sunshine in Verona.
There is a fee to get in so leave yourself some time here to actually take it all in slowly and leisurely. (*If you want it all to yourself, visiting early is probably a good idea).
13.) Loggia del Consiglio
This is more one of those spots worth popping by briefly than planning a whole afternoon around as there’s not a whole lot you can do here but check it out from the outside.
It’s a really pretty spot however and it’s right next to Piazza Delle Erbe and Torre dei Lamberti so be sure to swing by.
14.) Piazza dei Signori
…which actually takes me to my next spot – Piazza dei Signori. This square is right next to Piazza Delle Erbe and Torre dei Lamberti and is actually where Loggia del Consiglio is. I’d actually have just put them together as the same thing but there’s a lot more to the square than only Loggia del Consiglio and Loggia del Consiglio is important enough (it dates back to many centuries ago and is an important spot for the city) that it had to have it’s own separate call out.
15.) Scaliger Tombs
This is another “swing by” spot in the city as there’s not a whole lot you can do here except check out the tombs. Remember how I said the Scaligers were once upon a time the ruling family here?
Well, these are the tombs built by the Della Scala family (right next to Santa Maria Antica) and are still today still regarded as some of the finest pieces of Gothic architecture in the city and in Italy as a whole.
16.) Teatro Romano
The Roman Theatre (very different from the Amphitheatre – a fact which tends to confuse a fair few visitors to the city) is actually another one of those spots that’s fairly elevated over the city.
It’s right next to Castel San Pietro and is one of the best things to do in the city when you’re looking to get a better understanding of the city’s history.
Similar to the Amphitheatre, the theatre is actually still used till this day for some performances except on smaller scale due to its relatively smaller size.
This turned out to be one of the most impressive churches in the city and arguably, one of the best things to do in Verona (and trust me, we visited a lot of churches here) thanks to it’s rather beautiful and intricate design.
It’s one of those spots in the city that had just “Wow”ing as soon as we stepped in! (Quite literally too). It’s such an amazing spot in the city and definitely worth checking out when you’re in the beauty that is Verona.
The full video from this trip is also available on our YouTube Channel here.
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