8 Sights That Will Make You Fall in Love with Verona
“The Big 3 + the A.C.” is the classic combo for an Italian vacation. Rome, Florence, Venice and the Amalfi Coast are popular destinations that never go out of style, nor should they. However, many of their main features can be found in the historic and less crowded city of Verona. Here are eight of our favorite sights that will make you fall in love with Verona.
Fun fact: most of these sites are covered by the Verona Card. It acts as a pass to a variety of sites around the city, so it’s worth checking out!
1. Piazza delle Erbe
Once the town’s ancient Roman forum, Piazza delle Erbe is ringed with Renaissance-era palaces. By day, a market with stalls surrounding it’s central fountain. By night, a lively space where locals and visitors can enjoy Campari at the many outdoor cafes. This might just be the prettiest piazza in all of Italy!
2. Arena of Verona
Next up we have Verona’s answer to the Colosseum. The Arena of Verona predates its Roman cousin by almost 50 years! This 1st century AD amphitheater is known simply as the Arena. Each year it hosts a renowned summer opera festival. This is where maestro Placido Domingo made his debut. In fact, he’ll be celebrating his 50th anniversary here August 4th. And if you won’t be in town, there are no shortages of open-air musical events to choose from.
3. Porta Borsari
This ancient Roman gate once marked the southern entrance into Verona. It’s a great example of the way in which ancient ruins are integrated into the more modern parts of Verona.
4. Torre Lamberti
One of Verona’s most popular attractions, this 276-foot-tall bell tower provides panoramic views of the city and the nearby mountains. Torre Lamberti was built in the 12th century and finished in 1463. An elevator whisks you up two-thirds of the way, but you’ll have to walk the last few stories. It’s worth it, we promise.
5. Arche Scaligeri
Tombs don’t get much more elaborate than these! Just a stone’s throw from the Piazza delle Erbe, sit the five funerary monuments of the Della Scala family. During the 13th and 14th centuries they were the rulers of Verona. The Arche Scaligeri are some of the best examples of Gothic art in Italy. While you’re there, be sure to check out the tiny church of Santa Maria Antica behind them.
6. Castelvecchio & Ponte Scaligero
Bristling with battlements along the River Adige is the impressive Castelvecchio fortress. Inside, you’ll find an art museum among its four 14th century buildings. Paintings by northern Italian masters including Mantegna, Bellini, and Pisanello grace its walls. Ponte Scaligero, the bridge next to the castle, is one of Verona’s iconic spots. It also makes an ideal photo backdrop, so have your camera handy!
7. Giardino Giusti
Forget touristy Juliet’s House, Giardino Giusti is where the real romance of Verona can be found. These sculpted gardens sit across the river from the historic city center. A masterpiece of Renaissance landscaping since opening in 1591. There is a local legend that claims lovers who manage to find each other in the gardens’ labyrinth are destined to stay together.
Just 22 miles from Verona, Lake Garda is Italy’s largest lake. An authentic natural treasure, thanks to its variety of landscapes. From beaches with crystal clear water along its southern shores to rocky cliffs up north. Picturesque villages, medieval castles, and lakeside promenades dot the shoreline creating a magical atmosphere. There are also acres of vineyards planted above the lake. Here, the grapes used in Bardolino, Valpolicella, and Soave wine flourish, making it a wine lover’s paradise.