The city made famous by Shakespeare attracts thousands of tourists. They come here to see the palaces, squares and streets that witnessed the great love of Romeo and Juliet.
What to do in Verona
The sights of Verona have a special aura. Architecture is an interweaving of styles from different eras. This fusion will impress romantics and aesthetes.
Basilicas and cathedrals, built and painted by great masters, are real treasures in stone, over which time has no power. Every cultured person will appreciate their beauty.
And while walking, you can enjoy nature and the humid air that the wind brings from Lake Garda.
Basilica of San Zeno Maggiore
The temple, founded at the beginning of the 10th century, is considered the best example of the Romanesque style in Italy. The facade is made of pale pink marble and yellow tuff. This alternation of materials creates the effect of discreet radiance even on a cloudy day. The walls are richly decorated with bas-reliefs, and a giant rose window lets in as much natural light as possible.
The interior decoration is luxurious. Particular attention should be paid to the altar, stained-glass windows and the crypt where the first bishop of Verona, Saint Zeno, rests. His relics are exhibited in a glass sarcophagus.
The Romanesque cathedral was built in the 12th century, and already in the 15th century it was rebuilt. A nave appeared, corresponding to the main canons of Gothic. The white marble facade is the epitome of purity. The portal above the entrance is decorated with scenes from the Old Testament, pictures of hunting, as well as figures of the heroes of epic stories: the knights Roland and Olivier. Above the portal is an image of the Virgin Mary.
Inside, you should see the frescoes “The Adoration of the Magi”, “The Entombment” and Titian’s masterpiece “Ascension of the Virgin Mary” (1525). The mosaic floor and red marble columns supporting the high ceiling leave a strong impression.
Basilica of Santa Anastasia
The temple on the central square of the city glorifies the patroness of Verona, Saint Anastasia, who saved dozens of Christians from execution. The basilica appeared at the end of the 13th century. The façade is ascetic, its only decoration being scenes from the life of St. Peter, carved in stone above the entrance.
But the interiors of the church are an example of luxury and splendor. The marble floor, columns and vaulted ceiling look solemn. Figures of hunchbacks perched on a bowl of holy water. The main decoration is the fresco “Saint George Releasing the Princess” by Pisanello.
Basilica of Santa Maria Antica
Santa Maria Antica is considered the oldest church in Verona. It was built in the 12th century on the site of a 7th century temple destroyed by an earthquake. To show the continuity of religious buildings, the architect kept a fragment of the black and white mosaic floor in the new basilica.
Almost 100 years later, a palace was built next to the temple by order of the Scaliger clan. So Santa Maria Antica became the home church of the rulers of Verona. In her courtyard is the sarcophagus of Cana Grande I della Scala, the most powerful member of the family.
Basilica of San Lorenzo
The church, founded in the 8th century, was rebuilt several times, but it managed to maintain its original appearance. It belongs to the early Romanesque style with elements of Byzantine and Romanesque architecture.
The interior has remained unchanged since the 12th century. Its dominant feature is red and white columns. The altar is decorated with a fresco “Virgin Mary with St. Lawrence”. Inside the basilica is the tomb of the once powerful families of Nogarola and Trivell.
“Romeo and Juliet”
An outwardly inconspicuous house built in the 13th century, at the suggestion of local authorities, became the material embodiment of a scene from Shakespeare’s drama. It was on the balcony of Capello’s family nest (at the English writer Capulet’s) that Romeo ardently confessed his love to Juliet.
Tourists in an endless stream go to the courtyard to see the same balcony and touch the right breast of the bronze young lady — they say it brings good luck. Those who are not doing well on the personal front write a note asking for help in finding a soul mate and leave it in the gap between the bricks of the famous house.
Just 150 meters from Juliet’s house stands the family house of the Nogarola family, built in the 14th century. Fans of Shakespeare and his immortal play are sure that Romeo lived in it.
This fact does not affect the owners in any way, so no one is allowed inside. Tourists can see the house only from the outside. It is a symbiosis of Romanesque and Gothic styles. The medieval building is made of red brick, the upper part of the facade is crowned with battlements, similar to those found on the fortress walls.
An obligatory stop on the way of the tourist route of Shakespeare fans is Juliet’s tomb. It is located in the former Capuchin monastery of San Francesco al Corso. In the middle of the medieval crypt stands a large red marble sarcophagus in a very deplorable state.
Once the nameless tomb was located in the courtyard, but after the release of the famous novel “Corinne, or Italy” by Germaine de Stael, in which the writer mentioned Verona and famous lovers, a real pilgrimage to the grave began.
Tourists chipped off pieces of the tombstone, which were then inserted into jewelry. To prevent vandalism, the authorities decided to move the tomb to the building. Now it is part of the museum exposition of the Museum of Frescoes.
This is the largest square not only in Verona, but in all of Italy. The perimeter is framed by historical buildings and palazzos of the 17th-19th centuries, as well as the ancient Roman amphitheater Arena di Verona. The main decoration is a monument to King Victor Emmanuel II.
Once this gate was part of the fortress of Porta Leoni, built approximately in the 1st century AD. The fortification has repeatedly saved the inhabitants from enemy raids. A fragment of an ancient Roman building has been well preserved to this day. Its upper part was once adorned with massive white statues. Alas, they were irretrievably lost in the Middle Ages.
The name Porta Leoni is translated as “lion’s gate”. The thing is that the gates were located near the tombs of the nobility, decorated with figures of marble lions — a symbol of noble origin.
Arches of the Scaligers
These are the tombs of three prominent representatives of the Scaliger family, who ruled Verona in the XIII-XIV centuries. Mastino II, Can Grande I della Scala, Cansignorio and several other members of a noble family are buried here.
The arches, made in the Gothic style, stand on columns, which gives the impression that they are floating in the air. The tombs are located in the courtyard of the church of Santa Maria Antica, which served as a private chapel during the reign of the Scaligers.
Arena di Verona
The amphitheater, built by the ancient Romans in 290 AD, is the third largest in Italy. Of greatest interest is its northern part — it is best preserved. Tourists can see pristine arches and authentic places for spectators.
The arena is built of pink marble, has 44 rows and can accommodate up to 20,000 spectators. It is an active concert venue. Every year in July, the world-famous opera festival Verona Opera Festival is held here.
Piazza delle Erbe
This chamber square is considered the most beautiful in the city. It was built on the site of the ruined Roman forum, which was replaced by a vegetable market. The name Piazza delle Erbe is translated as “Greener’s Square”.
In the center of it is “Berlina” — a canopy on 4 columns of the 16th century, which was used to announce important decisions and hold public meetings. In the northern part there is a marble column, decorated with a lion — a symbol of the former rulers of Verona. In the center rises the fountain of the Verona Mother of God of the XIV century.
Also on the square is the Mazzanti House, decorated with frescoes, and the Baroque Palazzo Maffei. The Lamberti Tower (84 m) is the architectural dominant of the square. At its top there is an observation deck with a panoramic view of Verona.
Castle of Castelvecchio
The fortress was built in the 8th century to protect the city from the river. During the reign of della Scala, it was rebuilt and became their family residence. The citadel is divided into 3 parts: the royal court with a tower and a drawbridge, an armory and a courtyard.
In the 1970s, a museum was opened on the castle grounds. It contains works of art from the Renaissance and the Middle Ages: paintings, sculptures, weapons, ceramics and miniatures. After viewing the expositions, you can walk along the upper tier of the battlement, where the original garden is laid out.
Palace of Maffei
The luxurious palace was built in the 15th century by the influential Maffei family. Initially, it was 2‑story, but soon the owner decided to add another level — the renovation dragged on until the 17th century. Despite lengthy reconstruction work and several successive architects, the façade has retained its harmony.
Made in the Baroque style, it is replete with decorative elements: bas-reliefs, arches, semi-columns and balconies. The upper tier is crowned with 6 statues of ancient gods, and the snow-white figure of Hercules was borrowed from an ancient temple. The interiors are not inferior to luxury. Among the paintings, frescoes and statues, a spiral staircase without supports leading from the basement to the roof stands out.
A massive arched bridge across the Adige River connects the historical part of Verona with the Roman Arena. Built around 89 BC. e., it is the only ancient viaduct that has survived in Verona to this day.
The length of the structure is about 120 m, one of its parts rests against the watchtower. The bridge is considered a popular place for walking, from where you can admire the beautiful surroundings.
Fountain of the Madonna of Verona
The fountain in Piazza delle Erbe was built in the 14th century by order of the ruler of Verona della Scala. The construction is a bowl of a rounded shape, in the center of which is placed a marble figure of the Virgin Mary in full growth.
There used to be deals here. If a merchant needed silk or a batch of olive oil, he simply went to the fountain with the Mother of God. Since then, a belief has appeared — if you throw a coin into a bowl of water, then luck will accompany any business and affairs.
The small Piazza della Signoria is framed by ancient medieval buildings. Houses with arches, columns, covered galleries attract tourists who want to take spectacular photos. The main attraction of this place is the monument to Dante Alighieri. The author of The Divine Comedy came to Verona at the invitation of the Scala family and lived for 13 years in the Podesta Palace in Piazza Signoria.
In ancient times, this square was the political center of the city. Once there was a city council, a court and the “Palace of Captains” — the place where the governors sent from Venice sat.
Forti Gallery of Contemporary Art
The gallery occupies a beautiful 14th-century Palazzo della Ragione. The building stands out from the rest of the buildings with an unusual striped facade. The museum grew out of the private collection of the great art lover Achilles Forti and then replenished with private donations.
The exposition presents about 1.5 thousand works created mainly in the 19th century. Among the masterpieces are the creations of Giovanni Fattori, Medardo Rosso and Ottone Rosai.
The museum, founded in 1923, occupies the ancient building of the monastery of St. Gerolamo. Its funds contain more than 10 thousand artifacts found in Verona and its environs. These are ceramics, sculptures of ancient Greek gods, coins, jewelry, household items and mosaics. A separate room is dedicated to epitaphs. Steles and altars are placed in the courtyard.
The museum complex also includes the church of St. Jerome. It is remarkable for the frescoes of the early Christian period, among which the triptych with the Madonna of the 15th century stands out.
Natural attractions and parks
Garden of Giusti
Located behind the palace of the same name, the Giusti Garden gives you coolness even on the hottest day. The green area is a maze of paths and hedges. The waterfront part has a garden and a grotto overlooking the city. Giusti is not a large park, but it is considered one of the best creations of Renaissance landscape design.
The largest lake in Italy is located at the foot of the Alps in the suburbs of Verona. Its shape, reminiscent of a formidable medieval weapon, gave such an unusual name to the reservoir. The picturesque surroundings are considered an elite resort. And along the banks of the Garda there are chamber towns with a long history.
The park is located near Lake Garda. In 2013, he was recognized as the most beautiful in Italy. Built in the 15th century around the estate of the same name, Sigurta Park acquired its finished appearance only in the middle of the 20th century.
Over 600,000 sq. m. there are alleys of coniferous and deciduous trees, countless flower beds of continuous flowering, a pond with lilies and fish, a petting zoo, a labyrinth of hedges, lawns, benches and gazebos. From the green hills you can see the surrounding area.