Undoubtedly most well-known as the setting of Shakespeare’s famous tragedy “Romeo and Juliet,” Verona has a lot more to offer visitors than just that. If you’re starting to look into everything there is to do in Verona, it can be challenging to pin down what’s most important so you can be sure you get to have the best trip possible. To help you out with this, we’ve compiled a list of the best things to do in Verona, Italy.
Verona is rich with history and always buzzing with tourists and locals alike. Whether you like to explore historic buildings, interact with locals in the public squares, or relax on the coast of the second biggest lake in Italy, Verona’s got you covered. With everything the city has to offer, your trip to Verona can easily be one of the most memorable ones of your life.
So it’s time to get planning, so here are the best things to do in Verona, Italy!
Spend Time at Piazza Bra
Verona’s main public social center is the Piazza Bra. From here, you can venture out in any direction and see the incredible architecture, find a delicious restaurant or coffee shop, or spend some money at one of the many nearby boutiques. It is the perfect spot for food and wine tours in Verona.
Some of the structures that line the Piazza Bra include the Arena di Verona, the Gran Guardia, and the Palazzo Beriberi. If you’ve looked around and have taken in all the gorgeous structures all around you, relax and grab some lunch or a quick drink and just take in the Veronian culture.
Check Out the Verona Cathedral
Like you’ll find in many Italian cities during your trip to Italy, churches and cathedrals are a mainstay of the culture and skyline of Verona. Standing as one of Verona’s oldest religious buildings, the Verona Cathedral was dedicated to the Virgin Mary after its consecration in 1187. The huge structure stands tall over much of the city, and the stone construction and stunning stained glass windows can be seen from all over Verona.
The massive cathedral is amazing to look at from the outside of course, but once you step inside, prepare for your mind to be blown even more. The grandiose decorations combined with the massive columns leading to the high ceiling will take your breath away. There’s artwork all over the inside as well, and a massive golden organ will catch your eye.
Visit the Arena di Verona
You’ve probably heard of the Colosseum in Rome, with its remains standing tall as one of the most prominent landmarks in all of Italy. Well, if you want to avoid the long lines and crowds of tourists, travel to Verona to see its better-preserved little brother, the Arena di Verona.
Although it’s only two levels high rather than the massive three levels of its Roman counterpart, the Arena di Verona is still a massive structure that will leave you awestruck. Inside its immense exterior walls, the Arena di Verona has somehow managed to remain near-perfectly preserved. All of the original seating and overhead arches are still in place today, nearly 2,000 years later. Book a skip-the-line ticket in advance.
Visit Piazza Delle Erbe
Although not as popular as the aforementioned Piazza Bra, Piazza Delle Erbe is another one of Verona’s important social centers. This unique diamond-shaped public space, different from the typical squares seen in Italy, will take you to the historic part of Verona and force you to take in the timeless beauty that the city has to offer.
Around the “square” — remember, technically a diamond! — you’ll find a slew of restaurants, cafes, and shops. This makes it a perfect location to just relax, grab a coffee, and experience the historic center of Verona. When you want to start exploring the city, branch off in any direction, and you’ll find something worth doing or some building worth checking out!
Walk Through Centro Storico
After visiting Piazza Delle Erbe, take your journey through historic Verona to the next level by walking through the rest of Centro Storico, or the center of historic Verona. Piazza Delle Erbe makes up just one area of historic Verona, and there’s much more to see and do. Old Verona has many of the city’s most famous attractions, including Casa di Giuletta (Juliet’s house) that you’ll read about shortly.
You’ll journey through a few different piazzas, see countless examples of old Italian architecture, and have more photo ops than you’ll know what to do with. So take advantage of all of historic Verona while you’re here. You won’t get to experience anything quite like it anywhere else in Italy.
Walk the Ponte di Castelvecchio
As you make your way to Castelvecchio — more on that very shortly — you’ll want to be sure you journey over the adjoining bridge, the Ponte di Castelvecchio. Similar in design and construction to the castle itself, it feels as though it really is just an extension of the fortification. Lined with thick battlements and guard towers, walking along the bridge will make you feel as though you’ve gone back in time to the days where Verona was at risk of being under attack.
When it was built nearly 700 years ago, the Ponte di Castelvecchio was actually the longest bridge of its kind anywhere in the world. It’s a true feat of both architecture and engineering and is one that can’t be truly appreciated until you see it in person and walk along its fabled footpath.
One of the oldest and most important buildings in Verona, Castelvecchio, has stood on the banks of the Adige River for nearly 700 years. It was originally designed as the most important aspect of the city’s defense mechanism, with the main gatehouse comprising two guard towers looming overhead and battlements all around.
The fortified walls and incredible architecture make Castelvecchio truly a sight to see and explore. As the castle is no longer needed to defend Verona, it has been transformed into a museum on the inside. Sprawling with historical displays and exhibits, the museum will take you back in time to show you how important and impressive the Castelvecchio was during its prime. You can explore Castelvecchio on a segway guided tour.
See the Famous Casa di Giulietta (From Romeo and Juliet)
Have you ever heard of the play Romeo and Juliet? Of course you have. One of William Shakespeare’s most famous plays, we’ve all heard the story of the romantic tragedy. Well, if you want to experience part of the famous story in person, take the time to visit Casa di Giulietta located on Via Cappello.
As the story goes, this is the house where Juliet stood out on the balcony and spoke to Romeo on the street below. Although it’s not exactly known how much of its history is accurate, you can still see the supposed famous balcony to this day. And inside the house, you’ll find a bunch of exhibits and displays about the famous play. It is one of the sights to see on Verona Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour. So for any fan of Shakespeare, this attraction is an absolute must-do!
Take a Stroll Through Giardino Giusti
Whether you’re interested in visiting the Giusti Palace or not, taking time to stop by the gardens outside are something you don’t want to skip. The Giusti Gardens (Giardino Giusti) is one of the most beautiful and lush areas in the city. Filled with perfectly-manicured grasses and hedges, as well as gorgeous sculptures and walking paths, taking a stroll through Giardino Giusti is a great way to wind down and relax.
Located at the back of the palace, the gardens are taken care of to the same high standards that you’d expect from such a regal place. The gardens are separated into eight different squares with distinctly different designs and structures in each. So you will want to visit all eight areas to get the full experience.
Relax on the Coast of Lake Garda
Not only is Lake Garda one of the biggest lakes in Verona, but it’s also one of the most amazing lakes in all of Italy. This massive lake takes up a surface of over 140 square miles. This makes it nearly three times the size of the much more famous Lake Como!
While visiting Verona, you will want to spend at least one day out on the lake, and it’s a great experience any time of year due to the mild temperatures of the Mediterranean. Take a boat tour out on the water and peer out and the incredible views of the hills and mountains that make up Verona. Relax in the sun along the shorelines. Visit some of the quaint little coastal towns that pop up around the lake. No matter how you decide to spend your day at Lake Garda, you’ll find plenty of attractions and amazing views to keep yourself busy!