Verona Travel GuideEdit This The best resource for sights, hotels, restaurants, bars, what to do and see
The tragic story of the love of Romeo and Juliet, which Shakespeare situates in the Verona of the Scala seigniory, makes the city a preferred destination for lovers and tourists seeking emotions.
You experience a serene and relaxing rhythm in the historical centre, marked by the placid current of the Adige River, which crosses the city, forming a wide and soft S, with a suggestive network of bridges. During the summer months a stroll through the ancient city can reach a climax of emotions, in an evening at the Arena, Italy’s largest opera theatre. The Roman amphitheatre can seat 15,000 spectators and put on a show with scenery designed by the greatest artists in the world: an evening at the Arena is unforgettable and reason enough alone to make a trip to Verona.
There are visual memories and suggestions for travellers stopping over in Verona, not only due to the ancient architecture and its testimonial value, which pervades the entire city; not only thanks to the suggestive atmosphere of the narrow streets and squares, but also because of the tastes and flavours of an inimitable traditional territorial cuisine that has been perpetuated, unaltered through time, which creates insoluble ties with Veronese wines, which are famous and highly appraised throughout the world.
Verona is one of the most ancient and beautiful Italian cities. It has 250,000 inhabitants and is the largest Venetian city after Venice. Near Lake Garda, the city spreads out from the shores of the Adige River, at the feet of the Venetian pre-alpine hills, enjoying a fortunate climatic position. Verona is at the centre of the most important national and international routes of communication, so it has always been an important centre of commerce, fuelled – among other things – by the important industrial and agricultural production of the province.
The origins of the city are uncertain, as is the meaning of the name of Verona itself. In the III century B.C., it was populated by the Venetians, but as early as 89 B.C, Verona became a Roman colony and was an important crossroads: the Claudia-Augusta road, the Postumia and the Gallic road all passed through the city. In the period of the barbaric invasions, Teodorico made Verona the headquarters of his reign and built a sumptuous castle on the hill of St. Peter. Berengario, who had been elected king of Italy, chose Verona as his residence. In medieval times Verona became a free municipality and reached its maximum splendour with the dynasty of the Scala family.
After a brief dominion under the Visconti and Carraresi, in 1405 the city spontaneously accepted the rule of the Serenissima Republic. Venice’s dominion thus lasted about four hundred years, until the French invasion of 1797. With the Treaty of Campoformio (October 1797), Napoleon consigned Verona and much of its territory to Austria.
Under Austrian dominion, Verona became one of the strongholds of the Quadrilateral. Finally, Verona was united to the Reign of Italy in 1866 by popular vote.
The most important monuments of Verona can be found along five itineraries, which are flexible and conventional.
The monuments indicated in bold type are described in detail on the following pages; they concern the religious and civil architecture. Of course, to consent rapid and easy consultation of this guide, a drastic selection was made: in addition to those indicated, Verona also has many other religious (churches, oratories, convents) and civil monuments (the patrician and seigniory villas, for example).
Itinerary 1 – the Historical Centre
The Duomo, in Romanesque style, was built in the XII century in the vicinity of the Adige River, in the area that the Romans had earmarked for the hot springs. Although it was remodelled in successive periods, it represents a monument that is rich in history and works of art.
The complex includes the churches of S. Elena and St. John at the Fountain, as well as the Square of the Bishopric. The seat of an important Capitulary Library is located in Duomo Square.
The church of St. Anastasia is located not far from the Duomo (XIII-XV century). It was built in the gothic style and is adorned with many works of art. Continuing along Corso St. Anastasia, you reach the lively Piazza delle Erbe (the vegetable market square), situated at the centre of the ancient Roman Court and dominated by the high Lamberti Tower. The square is surrounded by stupendous palaces built in various periods, some of which are adorned with frescoes that are still visible.
Adjacent to this is Piazza dei Signori (Lords' Square), which bears important signs of the Scala Seigniory and the Venetian domination. At the centre of the square, the statue of Dante Alighieri recalls the divine poet’s long sojourn at the Court of Cangrande.
The ancient City Hall (also known as the Palazzo della Ragione), the Captain’s Palace, the stupendous Loggia del Consiglio, built in 1400 and the Palace of the Government. In the immediate vicinity there are the Romanesque church of St. Maria Antica, whose portal bears the tomb of Cangrande I della Scala, and the monumental complex of the Scala Arches, with the tombs of Mastino II and Cansignorio.
Itinerary 2 – Modern Centre
From Piazza delle Erbe, along the central, elegant Via Mazzini, you can reach the wide and suggestive Piazza Bra’, dominated by the enormous Arena (1st century A.D.). Numerous places face the square, dating mostly from the Venetian era, the Palazzo della Gran Guardia and Palazzo Barbieri, which is now the City Hall.
Continuing along Via Roma, you come to Castelvecchio.
The imposing structure was built along the shore of the Adige River during the reign of Cangrande II; it is now the seat of the Civic Museum of Art.
At the end of Corso Cavour, there is the church of San Lorenzo and the Roman Porta Borsari (1st century A.D.). Beyond the gate, you can walk down the avenue, which has the same name, which winds its way back towards Piazza delle Erbe.
Halfway down the avenue is the beautiful Romanesque chapel of San Giovanni in Foro.
Itinerary 3 – Juliet and the Right Bank of the Adige River
This itinerary touches the localities where the story of Romeo and Juliet took place, the characters in the Shakespearian tragedy of the same name. Entering Via Cappello from Piazza Erbe, you encounter the so-called House of Juliet, with its famous balcony, overlooking the courtyard, and the bronze statue of the girl.
Not far away is the House of Romeo.
Continuing along Via Leoni, in the vicinity of Navi Bridge, is the church of San Fermo Maggiore, which admirably unites the Romanesque and Gothic styles.
Just a short walk away is the Tomb of Juliet, situated in the vicinity of an ancient convent: it is the sentimental cemetery of the city and is visited by romantic tourists from every part of the world.
Itinerary 4 – Veronetta and the Left Bank of the Adige River
Coming from the Duomo in the direction of the hill, cross Pietra Bridge, which was built by the Romans in 89 B.C., which reaches the left bank of the Adige and the area known as Veronetta.
The grandiose complex of San Giorgio in Braida can be seen even from the bridge. It was started in around 1477: the dome is by Sammicheli and the church contains some very precious paintings.
The church of St. Stephen rises near the bridge. It was built in three phases, the last of which was in Veronese Romanesque style. An Austrian military construction built in 1853 occupies the hillside of Castel S. Pietro, and the complex of the Roman Theatre, built at the end of the 1st century B.C. and recovered in the first half of the 1800’s, lies on the shore of the Adige River; the Archeological Museum is annexed to it.
On the hill on the right the ancient parish of San Giovanni in Valle is located. It was built in the Romanesque style following an earthquake in 1117. The 15th century Giardino Giusti gardens lie at the foot of the hill, and are an annex of the palace that bears the same name. Not far from this location there is the church of Saints Nazario and Celso, which dates from the XII century.
Itinerary 5 – Monasteries and Fortifications
The area to the southwest of Verona is dominated by the Abbacy of St. Zeno Maggiore and its tall bell tower.
The church, which has extremely ancient origins, was rebuilt in the Romanesque style in the XII-XIII centuries. It is dedicated to the eighth Bishop of Verona, patron saint of the city. Near the Abbacy there is the suggestive church of San Procolo.
There are also a series of Scala family, Venetian and Austrian fortifications in the vicinity.