If Verona sounds familiar, you may remember it as the setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. But the history of the city extends long before then, traces of which you’ll find in the roman ruins, antique palaces and medieval relics scattered throughout the city. In fact, Verona’s ancient history is so well preserved that is it internationally acclaimed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s no wonder Shakespeare chose Verona as the setting for the greatest, most tragic love story of all time. It’s a city of love stories just waiting to happen, starting with the city that will capture your heart.
If you don’t know where to start, go for the piazzas, castles, cathedrals and museums. Piazza delle Erbe is one of the first places tourists go in Verona. It’s surrounded by historic buildings and stalls of souvenirs, and is connected to the Piazza dei Signori by an arch called the Arco della Costa. From here, you can visit the Lambertini Tower, which is just off the Piazza delle Erbe. Get a bird’s eye view of the city to soak in the entirety of Verona. The Roman Theater and Archaeological Museum holds Roman artifacts and hosts performances during the summer. The Castelvecchio Castle and Museum have more of a Renaissance vibe. Piazza Bra is a huge area with a garden and a central fountain that’s next to the Roman Arena, the third largest of its kind in Italy. The Duomo di Verona is a cathedral complex where you might catch glimpses of 4th, 12th or 18th century influences. Don’t miss Verona’s most popular attraction—Juliet’s house and balcony—as well as the house attributed to Romeo’s family.
If you have to leave Verona, you’re lucky the rest of Italy is such a magnificent country. Take a day trip to Lake Garda or the lakeside towns of Peschiera or Desenzano del Garda. Lake Garda is the largest of Italian lakes, and just a short trip away via bus or rail. Venice is an hour and ten minutes away via the fastest train service, so a day trip is possible, though can anyone see all of Venice in a day? Vicenza is a small town near Verona that is perfect for a mellow, relaxing afternoon. The villas just outside Vicenza are great to explore on foot. Brescia, a large city just a short train ride away. There’s very little tourist traffic in Brescia because of its proximity to so many popular tourist destinations. If you’re looking to avoid crowds but crave history, arts and culture, then Brescia’s the way to go.
Verona has lovely four and five star hotels at surprisingly affordable prices. Whether you’re looking for elegance, romance or luxury, Verona’s hotels will fit the bill. But in the city of love, there are also B&Bs and Guesthouses, called ‘apartementis’ or ‘residenzas’ that are quite impressionable as well. For those on a budget, hostels or rooms for rent are available throughout the city. You might find yourself rubbing shoulders with the locals and trading tips with fellow travellers if you book a group home. A vacation rental, especially an apartment downtown, is a great way to explore the city and feel like a local.
Verona is a pretty compact city, so walking and biking are feasible means of transport. There’s also a bus service in Verona called ATV that connects to outlying cities and different neighborhoods. The bus station is located in front of the train station, and there are bus stops all throughout the city. Bus tickets can be purchased at the station, convenience stores and even on board, although tickets sold on board are more expensive. For travel by train, head to the Verona Porta Nuova station and purchase tickets at the kiosk. There’s also taxi service throughout the city and a taxi area near the train station.
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