Rome, Venice, Lake Como…these are just a few of the names you often hear when people are asked where they would like to travel in Italy. A name you don’t hear very often…Verona, Italy…but I’m hoping to change that! Don’t get me wrong, Verona, Italy is a popular travel destination, but because it’s not one of Italy’s “main” cities, it is often overlooked and underrated when people are planning their trips.
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With history and architecture dating back to Roman times, the fame of being the fictitious setting for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, and a gorgeous amphitheater – one of the best preserved ancient structures of the 1st century in existence in the heart of the city – Verona is definitely worth a visit! Hopefully this Verona Italy Travel Guide with all the best information about where to eat, stay and things to do will tempt you to put it on your next Italy itinerary.
WHERE IS VERONA ITALY LOCATED
Verona is situated in between Milan and Venice in northern Italy’s Veneto region. It’s stunning medieval city center built along the wandering Adige River boasts wide piazzas, gorgeous cathedrals, high end shopping, and delicious restaurants.
After spending a few different trips traveling around many parts of Italy, (we still have SO much to explore) we have really fallen in love with the Northern Italian Lakes region. We spent a recent trip there driving around and exploring this area more in depth through Venice (always a favorite stop), Bologna, Riva del Garda, and Verona.
We always love to drive because it affords us the opportunity to get off the beaten path and explore all kinds of things along the way, but if you are not feeling adventurous enough to drive, Verona is a quick and easy train ride from both Milan and Venice. It’s also very easy to do day trips by train to Venice, Padua, Vicenza, Mantua, Bologna and even Florence from Verona, making it a great place to stay for a bit.
WHERE TO STAY IN VERONA ITALY
For our stay we rented an AirBnb in the heart of Centro Storico…the historic center of Verona, just steps from the Verona Arena and most of the main sites in the city. The entrance to the building was right next to an Amorino, which was a huge plus too. 😉
The Air Bnb was perfect for our family with two large bedrooms (one with a king sized bed and one with two twin beds) a full kitchen, living room and dining room. Most importantly it had parking and air conditioning. I cannot stress enough the importance of these two things. Obviously, if you aren’t driving into town, the parking won’t matter to you, but if you are visiting Italy in the summer, the air conditioning is a non-negotiable for me.
Temperatures have reached well over 100 degrees every time we’re in town in the summer months and when you are surrounded by concrete buildings and cobblestone streets, it can really feel like an oven. Opening windows does little good with very limited air flow in crowded city centers. Just a tip when you are booking accommodations. Unless a hotel or Air Bnb specifically mentions that it has air conditioning, it almost certainly does not. That is something we often take for granted here in the US.
If you prefer a hotel instead of an AirBnb (I’ll do a post on how we vet our AirBnb stays soon), here are the places I would recommend to stay in Verona:
THINGS TO SEE AND DO IN VERONA ITALY
CENTRO STORICO – Centro Storico is the historic medieval center of Verona. Cobblestone streets, cafes, and TONS of shopping line the streets of the entire district. As soon as you enter the ancient gates of this old Roman town you will find yourself wandering the same streets that people have for centuries. The Piazzas with their farmer’s markets and shops, restaurants and Roman ruins will make you so glad you decided to visit this gorgeous city.
PIAZZA BRA– This is main piazza in Verona, right where our AirBnb was located. It’s a huge Piazza, home to the Verona Arena.
VERONA ARENA – The Verona Arena sits adjacent to/inside Piazza Bra. In my opinion this is a MUST see….and if you are able to, see it by attending a performance in the arena.
We happened to luck out and planned our trip to coincide with a Sting concert being held at the arena the same weekend we were in town. This was one of the most incredible experiences we’ve had while traveling. To be at a completely modern event with thousands of people, sitting in an arena that has literally been used by people since 30AD for similar events of their time was amazing.
PIAZZA DELLE ERBE – A long rectangular Piazza lined with gorgeous historic buildings, ancient sculptures and vibrant farmer’s market full of colorful fruits and vegetables, this is one of the most beautiful Piazzas around. Break out the camera, you are going to need it!
JULIETTE’S BALCONY – Verona is the fabled backdrop to Shakespeare’s tragic love story Romeo and Juliette, and Verona has capitalized on that fame. One of the biggest tourist attractions in Verona is Juliette’s balcony.
Thousands of people crowd the tiny courtyard to see climb up to the balcony (for a fee of course), see the Juliette statue and leave a love note on the walls of the corridor leading to the courtyard.
John and I visited early one Monday morning, just to take a look, grab a few pictures and get out before the crowds arrived.
It’s all made up, so it’s kind of funny that so many people flock here, but it’s fun to see if you have a minute. You can visit the courtyard, see the statue and the balcony and leave a note for no cost. You only have ot pay if you want to take your picture ON the balcony.
BASILICA OF ST. ANASTASIA – Construction on this gorgeous Gothic style cathedral began in 1280. The cathedral is located in the oldest part of the city and is the largest in Verona. It is definitely worth a peek inside.
I am always in awe of the art and design of these gorgeous Cathedrals. It i mind blowing to think of how they built these magnificent buildings so long ago without modern tools and construction aids.
And the outside…while not fancy in any way, has such gorgeous texture and color. The striped stone and incredible wood doors. Just wow.
PLACES TO EAT IN VERONA ITALY
Our AirBnb host recommended a great spot – Ristorante Boccondivino – that was a little outside of the touristy area close to the river with some yummy Lobster pasta. I love it when locals recommend something. Getting out of the tourist traps and really experiencing the city as a local is our favorite way to travel!
L’antica Pizzeria Da Michele – Our favorite pizza spot fresh from Naples. You can find them in the states now too, but it’s still worth a trip for some amazing pizza!
Gelateria La Romana– The cutest and yummiest gelato spot in town.
In case you aren’t convinced to visit Verona yet, here are a few more pictures to push you over the edge. 😉
The streets are just stunning. I could wander them for ever.
The summer nights are SO fun and busy. The piazzas really come to life when the heat of the day passes.
I am such a sicker for pretty store fronts.
I love to go out early on Sunday mornings to take pictures when the streets are quiet and I have the place to myself.
Old doors…a total obsession.
So many pretty details on these centuries old buildings. It’s just incredible and SO beautiful.
Love this view of Piazza Bar at night. The arena just hanging out there amongst all the people and buildings. It’s a very ancient/modern urban hub so amazing that people lived like this all these years ago too. And look at the details on the patterned cobblestones. Can you even imagine how long it took to cut all those stones and lay them?
Convinced yet? 😉
I hope that this Verona Italy travel guide will help you make the most of your days in this beautiful old city.
Heading to Italy? Check out more of our Italy posts here:
If you’re heading to other places in Europe, here are some more posts you don’t want to miss! You can check out our entire Europe Travel Gallery to see all of our posts and helpful info.
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