Nestled in the picturesque region of Veneto in northern Italy, Verona is a city steeped in history and culture. The city is a hidden gem that is often overlooked in favour of more popular destinations like Rome and Florence. However, as the setting for Shakespeare’s famous tragedy Romeo and Juliet, Verona has long been associated with romance and love. But this charming city offers so much more than just a romantic tale. From ancient Roman ruins to stunning medieval architecture, the city has a range of fantastic attractions.
In this article, you will explore 13 of the best things to do and see in Verona, from iconic landmarks like the Arena di Verona and Juliet’s House to lesser-known gems like the Museo Lapidario Maffeiano and the Gavi Arch.
Whether you’re a history buff, an art lover, or simply looking to soak up the charm of this beautiful Italian city, Verona is sure to captivate you with its rich cultural heritage and stunning beauty.
So, let’s dive in and discover the top 13 things to do and see in Verona!
1. Castelvecchio and Ponte Scaligero – A must-see for history buffs
Castelvecchio and Ponte Scaligero are two iconic landmarks located in the city. Castelvecchio, which means ‘old castle’ in Italian, is a medieval fortress built in the 14th century by the ruling Scaligeri family.
Ponte Scaligero, or ‘Scaliger Bridge,’ is a beautiful medieval bridge spanning the Adige River in Verona. It was built by the Scaligeri family as a means of connecting their castle to the city. It is considered a masterpiece of medieval engineering and is one of the most photographed landmarks in Verona.
Together, Castelvecchio and Ponte Scaligero offer visitors a glimpse into the rich history and culture of Verona.
Castelvecchio has a museum that you can visit with 29 exhibition halls with art and historic items. The castle provides a fascinating insight into medieval architecture and art, while the bridge is a testament to the engineering skills of the time.
2. Arena Di Verona – An iconic Roman amphitheatre
The Arena di Verona is a world-famous ancient Roman amphitheatre. The arena was originally used for gladiator games and other public spectacles, but today it is primarily known for its annual summer opera festival, which attracts music lovers from around the world. You can get tickets here.
The festival has been held since 1913 and features some of the world’s most famous opera singers, conductors, and orchestras.
Visitors can explore the structure’s interior and the arena also offers stunning views of the surrounding city.
The Arena di Verona is a top attraction for anyone visiting Verona, offering a unique blend of ancient history.
3. Basilica Of San Zeno Maggiore – The finest Romanesque building in northern Italy
The Basilica of San Zeno Maggiore is a magnificent Romanesque church. The church is dedicated to Saint Zeno, the patron saint of Verona, and is considered one of the finest examples of Romanesque architecture in Italy.
The interior is equally impressive, with a beautiful wooden ceiling and intricate frescoes. The church is also home to the tomb of Saint Zeno who was buried here.
The Basilica of San Zeno Maggiore is not only a religious site but also a cultural landmark. It has inspired many artists over the centuries, including Dante Alighieri, who mentioned the church in his famous work ‘The Divine Comedy’. Visit the church to see its beautiful architecture and artwork.
4. Casa Di Giulietta – A Romantic spot for couples
Casa di Giulietta, or Juliet’s House, is a historic building located in the center of the city. The building dates back to the fourteenth century and features a Gothic-style facade with a balcony overlooking a small courtyard.
The interior of the house has been transformed into a museum dedicated to the story of Romeo and Juliet, featuring artwork, costumes, and props from various adaptations of the play.
Visitors can climb the famous balcony and take photos with a bronze statue of Juliet located in the courtyard below.
Despite the building’s association with Shakespeare’s play, there is no historical evidence to suggest that Romeo and Juliet were real people, nor that this was the actual home of the Capulet family.
Nonetheless, Casa di Giulietta remains a popular tourist destination, especially for romantic couples, drawing visitors from around the world who are captivated by the tragic love story of Romeo and Juliet.
5. Piazza Delle Erbe – A lively square in the heart of the old town
Piazza delle Erbe is a beautiful square and has been the city’s main market square since Roman times. The square includes various historic buildings, such as the Torre dei Lamberti, a medieval tower where you can enjoy great views of the city, as well as the Domus Mercatorum (Casa dei Mercanti), a beautiful Gothic-style building that was once the headquarters of Verona’s powerful merchants’ guild.
Piazza delle Erbe is also home to a lively market that sells a wide variety of goods, including fresh produce, flowers, clothing, and souvenirs. Visitors can stroll through the market, sample local products, and soak up the vibrant atmosphere of this historic square.
The Piazza delle Erbe is a top place to see when visiting Verona. With its beautiful architecture, historic landmarks, and lively market, it offers a glimpse into the rich history and culture of this beautiful Italian city.
6. Palazzo Della Ragione – A Grandiose building housing the city’s law courts
The Palazzo della Ragione is a historic palace located in the heart of Verona. The palace is famous for its large, open-air ground floor, which is one of the largest medieval halls in Europe.
The upper floors of the palace were used as a courthouse for many years and feature several beautiful frescoes and paintings.
Today, the Palazzo della Ragione is a popular tourist attraction, drawing visitors from around the world who come to admire its beautiful architecture and learn about its rich history.
Visit the palace and explore the open-air hall, admire the frescoes and paintings on the upper floors and learn about the palace’s history and cultural significance.
The Palazzo della Ragione is a top attraction for anyone visiting Verona so be sure to add it to your list when visiting the city.
7. Santa Anastasia – A stunning gothic beauty in the heart of Verona
The iconic and breathtaking Basilica of Saint Anastasia (Basilica di Santa Anastasia) is a Gothic-style church located in the oldest district of Verona, near the Ponte Pietra.
The Basilica features twelve solid pillars made with red Veronese marble. Inside, a stunning entrance leads to the Giusti chapel that once served as an oratory for the monastery there.
Of special significance is Pisanello’s fresco St George and the Princess placed above the Pellegrini chapel – it’s a marvellous sight!
Santa Anastasia remains a supremely important religious site as well as a popular tourist destination today; visitors come from all over to explore its illustrious architecture and history.
8. Porta Borsari – A well-preserved Roman gateway in the city walls
Porta Borsari is an ancient Roman gate located in the historic city. The gate was built in the first century AD and served as the main entrance to the city during the Roman era. Today, it is one of the best-preserved Roman gates in Italy and is a popular tourist attraction.
Visitors to Porta Borsari can walk through the gate and explore the surrounding area, which features several historic landmarks and cultural attractions.
The gate is located near the Arco dei Gavi and the Verona Arena, two other important historical sites in Verona.
9. Teatro Romano – A Roman theatre dating back to the first century AD
The Teatro Romano di Verona is a brilliant reminder of the Roman Empire, right here in Italy. Located at the base of Colle San Pietro, this spectacular structure has been standing for centuries and dates back to the late first century BC.
This unique theatre has welcomed performing artists since 1948 for the Estate Teatrale Veronese — a festival that features many of Shakespeare’s classic plays.
You can Visit Verona’s most important archaeological monument in the daytime or evening for a show. Expansive views of the Adige River make it an unforgettable experience, whether you’re watching one of the performances or simply taking in the beauty during daytime hours.
In addition, the shows have become incredibly diverse over time — extending far beyond just Shakespeare to now include comedy acts, musicals, and more. Many of Italy’s most famous comedians have had stages here and jazz concerts can often be enjoyed on its old steps.
With incredible views over the Adige River and an atmosphere that never fails to impress, it’s one destination you won’t want to miss!
10. Verona Cathedral – The city’s impressive 12th-century Romanesque basilica
The Duomo di Verona (Verona Cathedral) is a Romanesque basilica that dominates the skyline of the city.
The Verona Cathedral is one of the most revered Catholic landmarks in Verona, located on the banks of the Adige in northern Italy. Thousands of people come to worship and take in the cathedral’s stunning architecture.
A previous basilica that was badly damaged by an earthquake in 1117 was replaced by this remarkable building. Any tourist to the city must see the Duomo di Verona, one of the most significant specimens of Romanesque architecture in all of Italy.
You’ll feel rejuvenated and motivated after a trip to Duomo. Daily services are held at the Verona Cathedral every day of the week.
11. Lamberti Tower – Get the best views of the city from the top
The tower was built in the twelfth century and is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks. You can climb to the top of the tower to be rewarded with stunning panoramic views of the city.
The tower has undergone several renovations and restorations over the years, including the addition of a clock and bells. The bells still ring adding to the tower’s unique charm and character.
In addition to its stunning views and historical significance, the Lamberti Tower is also home to a small Gallery of Modern Art which could also be visited while you’re there.
With its impressive height, stunning views, and rich history, it offers a unique glimpse into the city’s medieval past and is an important landmark in Verona’s cultural landscape.
12. Gavi Arch – An elegant triumphal arch from the 18th century
The Gavi Arch, also known as Porta Gavi, is an ancient Roman gate. Over the years, the Gavi Arch has undergone several renovations and restorations and today, the arch remains an important landmark in Verona and a testament to the city’s rich history and cultural heritage.
Visitors to Verona can admire the Gavi Arch from the outside, taking in its impressive size and intricate details.
The Gavi Arch is a must-see attraction for anyone interested in the history and culture of Verona.
With its impressive Roman-era construction and rich cultural significance, it offers a fascinating insight into the ancient past of this beautiful Italian city.
13. Museo Lapidario Maffeiano – One of the oldest public library museums in the world
The Museo Lapidario Maffeiano is a museum located in Verona, that is dedicated to the study and preservation of ancient Roman inscriptions and artefacts.
The museum’s collection includes a wide range of ancient Roman inscriptions, including funerary monuments, public decrees, and other important historical documents.
Many of these inscriptions are written in Latin and provide valuable insights into the history and culture of ancient Rome.
Verona is a beautiful city that offers a wealth of cultural and historical attractions. From its Roman amphitheatre to its medieval castle, Verona is a city that is steeped in history.
So whether you are interested in art, architecture, or ancient history, Verona has wonderful things to see and do. Add some of our suggestions above when planning your trip to ensure you don’t miss out on some of the best the city has to offer.
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