Italy is known for its many romantic cities, and you can’t get any more romantic than the city of Romeo and Juliet. Located near Venice in northern Italy, Verona is most famous for serving as the setting for the 1968 film Romeo and Juliet. Dating back to Roman times, Verona is packed with many historic and artistic treasures, including a spectacular first-century Roman amphitheater.
What makes Verona even more appealing is that it is less crowded than other major tourist destinations in Italy. If you are looking for the perfect romantic getaway, look no further than Verona. Check out all the exciting things you can see and do in Verona.
Once you enter the main gate into Verona, you will be immediately enveloped with Verona’s romantic beauty and charm as you walk into the Piazza Bra, a large plaza where you can see the Roman amphitheater in the near distance. Piazza Bra features a lovely garden with a fountain at its center. All around are elegant Romanesque buildings that house souvenir shops, restaurants, bars, and outdoor cafes where you can enjoy a cup of coffee, a glass of wine, or a cup of gelato while you people-watch and take in the atmospheric scene.
Piazza delle Erbe
As you meander beyond the main entrance, you will arrive at the city’s historic center, the Piazza delle Erbe. Once the busy Roman Forum where ancient Romans once gathered to socialize and trade at the market, this rectangular plaza today is still a bustling scene of Renaissance statues, shops, cafes, and historic structures like the 14th-century BC Gardello Tower. As it is also central to most of the city’s main attractions, the plaza makes an ideal place to begin exploring Verona. Just a short walk from the Piazza delle Erbe, you can visit significant buildings like the 15th-century town hall, Loggia del Consiglio, as well as the Arco della Costa, a unique arch that features a whale rib dangling from it.
Juliet’s House and Balcony
Not far from the Piazza delle Erbe is one of Verona’s top tourist attractions, the house, and balcony where the 1968 film Romeo and Juliet was filmed. Although not the actual home of Shakespeare’s fictional Juliet, this 13th-century house is nevertheless a site well worth visiting. You can tour the inside to see a collection of Renaissance frescoes and a variety of antique furnishings such as the bed that was used in the 1968 film. You can also have your photo taken on the iconic balcony which overlooks a quaint courtyard highlighting a bronze statue of Juliet. All around Juliet’s House and Balcony, you will see a large amount of graffiti, love notes, and little trinkets. If you have ever seen the 2010 movie Letters to Juliet, you will know that this is a tradition for visitors to leave these mementos.
You can’t go to Verona and not visit its Roman amphitheater, which is one of the largest in the world. Built in a hillside during the Ist century to host gladiator fights, the arena can hold up to 25,000 spectators. Today, the arena is the scene of outdoor opera and theatrical events. Next to the arena is the Archaeological Museum, which is housed in the historic Convent of Saint Jerome, where you can view a collection of Roman relics and artworks.
Located just off the Piazza delle Erbe is the city’s highest tower, the Lamberti Tower. This structure was built in 1463 with a bell tower that can be seen from the piazza below. You can choose to climb the 238 steps, or you can opt for an elevator ride to the top of the tower where you will be rewarded with incredible views of the city.
Another attraction you don’t want to miss in Verona is Castelvecchio, a splendid 14th-century fortress. Situated on the banks of the Adige river, this red-brick complex contains several towers, ramparts, a courtyard, and a museum that covers numerous rooms of the former castle where you can view Renaissance artworks, weapons, armor, and archaeological objects. You can even walk along the ancient walls and over a brick bridge that crosses the river to get amazing views and photographs of the castle.
The Verona Cathedral, or “Duomo,” is also well worth a visit. Built in the early 12th century, this cathedral offers many ornate features such as a marble facade and baptismal font, medieval stone reliefs, carvings, oil paintings, and much more. Close to the cathedral is a walking district where you can take a break and relax with a drink or bite to eat in one of the many cozy cafes or wine bars.
Shopping in Verona
If you are up for some shopping while visiting Verona, one of the best places is the Via Mazzini, a strip known as the “Golden Mile,” stretching between Piazza delle Erbe and Piazza Bra. Here, you will find many major Italian name brands. Some of these stores may be expensive, but it is worth it just to window shop. Corso Santa Anastasia and Corso Porta Borsari are other good shopping districts where you can find antiques, artworks, and a number of other treasures.
Arts and Culture
Verona would not be a quintessential Italian city without its art galleries, museums, and cultural venues. You will find museums here such as the City Art Museum, the Modern Art Gallery, the Natural History Museum, and the Museum of Technology. If you want to enjoy a live music performance, you should attend the Philharmonic Theater, one of Italy’s oldest performing art venues.
Verona, Italy, offers it all, from famous lovers to fascinating historic sites, stunning architecture, premier shopping, and excellent arts and culture. If you are planning a trip to Italy, don’t miss out on a visit to this beautiful city. It may just take you back into a romantic period that you may never want to leave.