We caught a very sunny day in Verona (maybe too sunny, it was downright hot), so we enjoyed all the sights in the city to our heart's content.
Because in September the weather is changeable, and because I had some rainy experiences in March in Rome, and then in Bologna and Florence, I had some emotions. Which proved to be bottomless, and we spent a fantastic half-day in Verona!
The old center is relatively small and all the sights are there, so half a day is enough to visit Verona in my opinion, but we didn't go in anywhere, we just wandered around the streets and admired the beautiful buildings from outside.
If you have time and want to visit the sights, stay a whole day in the city and enjoy everything at your leisure.
I will tell you one by one about what to visit in the fascinating Verona, and how to discover the city of love step by step.
1. Panorama of Castel San Pietro
It's always a good idea to climb somewhere high where you can admire everything freely. And the panorama from Castel San Pietro over Verona is incomparable and in no case should you miss it!
The castle is across the Adige river from the old town, right next to the Ponte Pietra, and you can climb the stairs to the panoramic terrace, or there is a funicular up to the top, which costs €2 return. The funicular takes you from here and you can see the schedule here.
2. Ponte Pietra
Ponte Pietra, or stone bridge, is a bridge from Roman times built in 100 BC. I find it absolutely fascinating, and that's why I love Europe so much, we have an impressive cultural heritage with ancient vestiges everywhere. Especially in Italy!
The bridge has been maintained over time, one of the arches was rebuilt in 1298, and four arches were bombed during World War II by retreating German troops. But they were rebuilt in 1957 with the original materials.
3. Duomo di Verona (Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta)
It is a Roman Catholic cathedral and the episcopal seat of the Diocese of Verona. It was built in the 12th century in the Romanesque style, being later modified during various renovations. It is close to Ponte Pietra and can be visited, but it is not clear to me if there is an entrance fee or not.
4. Basilica of Saint Anastasia
The Basilica of Santa Anastasia is a Dominican church, it was finished in 1400 and has Gothic influences (see the broken arch entrance), and its construction was made possible by the Della Scala family, who ruled Verona in the 13-14th centuries.
It is the largest church in Verona, and inside it has 12 fabulous columns of red Verona marble. The entrance costs €3 and includes an audio guide.
5. Arche Scagliere
The scagliere tombs are actually five funerary monuments for the Scala family, and are superb examples of Gothic art, having been built in the 15th century. You can visit the complex for €1 from Tuesday to Sunday, between 10:00-13:00 and 14:00- 18:00.
6. Piazza dei Signori
Piazza dei Signori is a large and beautiful square, as only the Italians know how to build, and in its center is the statue of Dante Alighieri. Dante found refuge in Verona, where he was received by Cangrande I della Scala. As a reward, Dante included his noble host as a character in the Divine Comedy.
7. Torre dei Lamberti
In Piazza dei Signori, towards Piazza delle Erbe, you will find the magnificent Torre dei Lamberti. We had planned to climb it, but I don't know how we did it because we circled around it and let ourselves be stolen by the medieval landscape in the old center, so we missed it (well, I didn't even have it in the pictures caught properly).
But I advise you to organize yourself better and climb the tower, because the view is very beautiful and it would be a shame not to see Verona from up here, with its reddish roofs.
It was built in 1172 by the Lamberti family, but in 1403 it collapsed due to a lightning strike and in 1463 it was rebuilt.
The ticket costs €8, you can buy a skip-the-line ticket online here and it also includes entrance to the Galleria d'Arte Moderna. The tower is 84m high and has 368 steps, but I read that there is also an elevator, if you have more details please let me know in the comments.
8. Piazza delle Erbe
Piazza delle Erbe is a full square with stalls selling various things. We got some strawberries from here and some souvenirs. In the middle of the square is a fountain built in 1368 by Cansignorio della Scala, on which a Roman statue from 380 called Madonna Verona was placed.
9. Juliet's house
After leaving Piazza delle Erbe turn left, and you will soon reach Juliet's house, perhaps the most famous tourist attraction in Verona. Reality mixed with legend in this place, and thus the famous balcony was born, a place of pilgrimage for lovers from all over the world.
Even though this building has actually belonged to the Dal Cappello family since the 1200s (hence the name Capulets, Juliet's noble house), and has been visited since the 1800s, the balcony was added around 1940, when the building was renovated, and he believes it was part of an ancient sarcophagus. A bronze statue of Juliet was created by a Verona sculptor in 1972 and placed in the middle of the elegant courtyard.
It's not really a lens to our taste, mostly because of the masses of people who are here at all hours, writing love notes or caressing poor Juliet's already polished breast, I don't know why either.
On your way to the house, you pass through a small gangway, where large sheets of paper have been installed on which visitors pour their amorous gush.
I've read that attempts are being made to restore the facade to its original medieval state, with exposed brick, without the masses of love notes and graffiti left by visitors. So far they haven't really managed to get rid of them.
Inside the house is a museum with art objects from the 13th-17th centuries and period furniture. The ticket to enter the museum costs €6, but it is free to enter the courtyard.
10. Verona Arena
The Verona Arena is a Roman amphitheater built in the 1st century AD, with the highest degree of preservation, thanks to constant restorations since the 1600s.
It is one of the largest amphitheaters in Italy, and its elliptical shape produces perfect acoustics in any place, which is why many concerts and opera performances are held here. If you don't want to go to a show, you can visit the arena during the day for €10.
11. Arco dei Gavi
The arch was built in the 1st century AD. by the Gavia family, a noble Roman family. It was located at the end of the Via Postumia, the Roman road leading to the ancient city of Verona. In the Middle Ages, when it was decided to surround the city with walls, it acted as the gateway to the city.
The arch was demolished by the French during the Napoleonic occupation and was rebuilt in 1932 with some of the original stones, based on a wooden model. Reconstruction took place under Mussolini, who wanted Italy to identify with its Roman past.
It is a castle built in the 14th century by the Scala family, as a military fortress, as intimidation against Verona's powerful neighbors, such as Venice or the Gonzaga and Sforza families. It has a moat around it, which was once filled with the waters of the Adige River. It was Napoleon's residence when he came to Verona.
Now the building houses the Castelvecchio Museum which can be visited for €6. However, the gardens are free, we walked a bit through them, and crossing the Ponte Castelvecchio is also free. The bridge is very special, with imposing M-shaped battlements and exposed brick, and offers views over the Adige river.
13. The fascinating streets of Verona
Italian streets have something special, that dolce far niente flows from every corner and always leaves us enchanted. We were staying on the other side of the Adige River, so the moment we crossed the Ponte Pietra and entered the old center we were struck by the charm of the city!
As we had just come from the Dolomites, where we told you before that we felt more like in Austria, here we knew for sure that we were in Italy. We let ourselves be enchanted by the aroma of coffee and focaccia and we walked delightedly through the cobbled streets, some more elegant, others full of medieval charm.
Verona, the city of love - Somehow we didn't expect Verona to turn its back on us, but we really enjoyed it. It has an authentic feel of old Italy, a glorious Italy with powerful families who ruled over the cities and invested in them because they were an expression of their power.
My advice is to be somewhat goal-oriented, but try to let yourself be carried away on its cobbled streets, let yourself be called by the different aromas, and try to feel a bit of the Italian dolce vita. Yes, I am forever in love with Italy!
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