Last Updated on January 17, 2024 by Michela
Verona, Italy is known for storybook-worthy romance, but the most surprising thing about it? It actually lives up to the dreamy fairytale location we all picture in our heads! And that makes it a must-stop on any northern Italy itinerary. Take inspiration for planning your perfect visit from the best things to do in Verona!
Now, because I live in northern Italy, I want to dish out everything I know and love about the city of Verona. So beyond all the top things to do, scroll on to discover must-know tips (you’ll thank me later for tip #2), the best way to reach Verona for your personal itinerary, and epic destinations close to Verona worth adding to your dream Italy trip!
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The Best Things to Do in Verona
Being one of the most romantic places in Italy, Verona is a must-do destination for couples. But the city is also the perfect mix of warm and quaint charm and young and vibrant energy that solo travelers and bucket listers will enjoy. And the best things to do in Verona reflect that!
1. Explore Castelvecchio & Castelvecchio Bridge
One of Verona’s most important attractions is the Castelvecchio, a medieval castle toward the edge of the bustling city center. It was the palace of the Della Scala family, rulers of Verona in the Middle Ages, later turned fortress. The castle is now home to Museo di Castelvecchio which has historic exhibits and galleries. The cost to visit is 6€.
Meanwhile, the Castelvecchio Bridge is one of the most beautiful bridges in Verona. It is a walled, fortified bridge with alcoves every few feet that are perfect to sit in, take photos at, and look over the river and the edge of the city. It’s also huge and wide, the widest at the time of its construction in the medieval period.
2. Attend an Opera or Tour at Verona Arena
The Arena di Verona, or Verona Arena, is the ancient Roman amphitheater that dominates the city center. Similar to the Coliseum in Rome, the round shape and hollowed-out windows. However, the difference between the Coliseum and the Verona Arena is that the Verona Arena is still in use today for concerts and special events
If you don’t have time to attend a show, you can also tour the arena when it’s empty and hear firsthand the history of the structure.
While you’re there, you must enjoy the bustle of the Piazza Brà, Verona’s main square.
3. Visit Piazza delle Erbe & the Mercatini
Piazza delle Erbe is the highest-energy square in Verona and is unique in so many ways. The square is the oldest in Verona in centro storico (the historic city center.) Another fun fact? It was built over the ancient Roman forum.
The square is also in the middle of so many famous monuments that characterize the city – the Lamberti Tower, Casa di Giulietta, Arco della Costa. There is also a famous fountain at the square’s center called the Fontana Madonna Verona.
Piazza delle Erbe is the perfect spot for people-watching and a traditional Italian aperitivo thanks to the many open-air seating restaurants.
The square is also known for its market, which happens Monday-Saturday (and sometimes Sunday), where you can buy local products and souvenirs.
Pro Tip: Piazza delle Erbe is sometimes chaotic but also one of the most exciting places to be in the city! That being said, keep an eye on your belongings. I never felt unsafe but with an enormous influx of people at times, you never know what could happen.
4. Explore the Scaliger Tombs
One of the coolest unique things to do in Verona is visit the Scaliger Tombs. This is a small cemetery in the city center with incredibly ornate and elaborate gothic-style tombs celebrating the Scaliger family, who ruled Verona during the 13th and 14th centuries.
The tombs are actually known as some of the most incredible examples of gothic art in the world. Entering to see the tombs up close is not currently possible, as the exhibit is temporarily closed. However, you can see them from the street and still get quite close from outside an intricate iron wall.
Next to the tombs is the Santa Maria Antica church, the Scaliger family’s private chapel.
5. Watch the Sunset at Castel San Pietro
The prettiest viewpoint in Verona is the Castel San Pietro.
This fortress sits upon a hilltop that overlooks the entire city. The fortress can’t be entered, but the view is worth the climb.
You can reach Castel San Pietro by taking one of several paths of stairs and stopping at other viewpoints along the way. If you’ve been walking all over Verona and getting tired (I got you), you can also take the funicular for 2.50€.
Good to know: There is also a restaurant next to the fortress called Re Teodorico with the same stunning view over the city. The price is mid-range so even if you are taking a budget-friendly trip to Verona, this could be a worthy splurge for aperitivo and a meaningful experience without completely breaking the bank!
6. Marvel at Juliet’s Balcony at Casa di Giulietta
The Casa di Giulietta, or Juliet’s House, is the most famous of all the things to do in Verona, which makes sense since Verona is the setting of Shakespeare’s most famous play.
Now, of course, it’s not really Juliet’s house, but it is said that the 14th-century house inspired Shakespeare. You can enter the building for 6€ or for free with the purchase of the Verona Card – find out more about my recommendations for these two options by scrolling to my tips for visiting Verona near the end of the post.
From the outside, you can see the house for free, including Juliet’s balcony and a bronze statue of Juliet. Don’t get weirded out if you see visitors participating in a particular tradition – legend says that if you cup the breast of Juliet’s statue, you’ll have good luck in love!
Pro Tip: Be aware that long lines form quickly at Juliet’s House in the middle of the street off of Piazza delle Erbe! It’s actually easy to miss since the house is tucked away, but the people gathered in the street should let you know you’re in the right place!
7. Climb the Torre dei Lamberti
High above the Piazza delle Erbe soars the unmissable Torre dei Lamberti or Lamberti Tower. You’ll notice if you climb to Castel San Pietro or anywhere that looks over the city of Verona that the skyline is dotted by tons of towers and church bell structures – the Lamberti Tower is the most famous.
The Lamberti Tower dates back to the Middle Ages, the 1100s to be exact, and it’s the tallest building in Verona. You can climb to the top (or take an elevator) and have 360° views of the city. The ticket costs 6€ and you can book it ahead of time.
8. Discover a Hidden Gem Staircase
One of the prettiest hidden gems in Verona is tucked around the corner from the Lamberti Tower and Piazza delle Erbe in the “Cortile del Mercato Vecchio,” which means Courtyard of the Old Market.
A huge cascading staircase makes the perfect place for a unique photo and a break from the crowds in the major squares and streets. The stairs are called the Scala della Ragione, or the Stairs of Reason, and belong to the old town hall.
9. Embrace the Historical Architecture in Piazza dei Signori
Also near the Lamberti Tower is the Piazza dei Signori, a smaller square full of historical elements to marvel at. It helps to understand the history of Verona to also understand the famous buildings in this square.
The Piazza dei Signori was one of the squares where the Della Scala family, aka Scaliger, constructed several important buildings. Remember, the Scaliger family ruled Verona and Venice (and surrounding areas) throughout the 13th and 14th centuries.
Some of the most notable buildings are the Palazzo di Cansignorio, where the political operations of the family were held, and the Palazzo del Podestà, which hosted important figures like Dante. Dante’s presence in Veronese history doesn’t stop there – there is a statue of him at the center of the square.
10. Visit all the Arches and Doors to the City
You’ll notice so many unique structures that complement the historic buildings around every corner. Verona is actually a partially walled city, which you can see at Porta Nuova and Porta Palio, which serve as gateways to the city.
Near Castelvecchio is the Arco dei Gavi, another arch that was used as an entrance gate to the city during Medieval times. However, the construction of the arch dates back even further to Ancient Rome.
Porta Borsari is the most unique looking Roman gate in the Città Antica. It is practically a stone wall with mini-arches as windows and two big arches that serve as the entrance gates.
Then there’s the mystery of the Arco della Costa. You can barely tell in the photo (on the right), but a bone hangs from underneath the arch. It is supposedly a whale rib, but it’s also believed it could belong to an ancient dinosaur-like creature. Whatever it is, it’s managed to hang there at least since the 1700s and makes the arch one of the most intriguing curiosities to see in Verona.
The most fascinating thing is that you will spot these arches, “doors”, and overhead structures everywhere you turn, constantly reminding you of Verona’s ties to ancient Rome.
11. Cross Ponte Pietra & Stroll the Adige River
The Ponte Pietra is another unique arched bridge connecting the Città Antica (city center) to neighborhoods across the Adige River. The bridge is the oldest in Verona, first constructed in 100 BC.
I highly recommend walking along the Adige River on the side opposite Città Antica to get an incredible view of the charming, rose-hued buildings along the river’s edge.
12. Visit Ancient Roman Ruins
Verona makes no secret of its powerful Roman history and another monument awaits you while on the opposite side of the river that many overlook! Here, in the neighborhood of Veronetta, you’ll find an ancient Roman theater and the Roman Archaeological Museum.
It’s one of the best budget-friendly things to do in Verona to get closer to the city’s history, at only a 4.50 € entrance fee. You’ll be able to visit exhibits with Roman artifacts and tour the theater, which dates back to the 1st century BC. And from the top of the ancient Roman theater, you also get a bit of a bird’s-eye view of the historic city center.
13. Shop Italian Style on Via Giuseppe Mazzini
You’ll know Verona’s main shopping street when you see it – the luxury stores and opulent window displays take over the narrow pedestrian road and so do the crowds!
Nonetheless, even if you don’t have the budget or need for Italian designer clothes, Via Giuseppe Mazzini is still one of the most trafficked streets in Verona to catch the latest in Italian style.
14. Indulge in a Cultural Experience
It’s pretty obvious by now that Verona has so much to offer – and it doesn’t stop at just the buildings and views. Having a cultural experience is one of the best and most unique things to do in Verona.
First of all, Verona is surrounded by some of the finest wine regions of Italy like Valpolicella and Franciacorta, which makes it a haven for wine lovers. For those making Verona an extended one or two-night stay, consider venturing out into the countryside for a traditional wine tasting.
And Verona also boasts its own traditional cuisine and a particular plate everyone loves: tortellini! You can eat it at a restaurant or go a step further and go on a Verona food tour!
And of course, Verona is the City of Opera. Anyone who loves or is curious about the arts should take the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend a show in the storied and stunning Arena.
15. Do a Walking or Bike tour
I’m usually the kind of traveler who likes to explore on my own. But, if there’s one city where I actually feel it would be worth exploring with a local guide, it would be Verona.
Everywhere you look there is a grand, historic building and it is evident that the city’s storied past is intricate and, therefore, intriguing.
And because Verona has these qualities, it also means there is no shortage of options for local tours. You can do one for an hour or spend your whole day with a city expert! You could walk in the footsteps of historical figures (and actually learn about them) or feel the pulse of the city on a bike tour.
Map of the Best Things To Do In Verona
To wrap up the all the best things to do in Verona, here’s a map of all the locations mentioned (and then some!) for planning your perfect walking itinerary.
Tips for Visiting Verona, Italy
- Consider buying the Verona Card. This tourist card comes in two forms – 24 hours and 48 hours – to allow you to use all public transportation, as well as gain access to attractions in and around Verona for free like Casa di Giulietta and the Roman Archaeological Museum.
- Wear comfortable walking shoes. Verona is beautiful and is also very walkable. That doesn’t mean walking the whole city (especially in a day) is easy on your feet! Actually, the cobblestones can really do damage if you’re not wearing supportive shoes. My favorite are Vionic slip-on shoes.
- Skip paying for Juliet’s house. You can see the outside of the Casa di Giulietta and the famous balcony for free. The entry fee is 6€ , which isn’t much to tour the inside but, in my opinion, the attraction is overrated. You’re better off spending your money to do something more exciting – like getting to the top of Lamberti Tower!
- Expect lines and crowds (especially in the summer.) Verona has the energy of a quaint hidden gem but it unfortunately is not. The city, even though its not the biggest or most famous in Italy, is a popular stop, so you can expect lines for Juliet’s house, for example, as well as crowded streets and squares in the very center of the city and famous spots like Castel San Pietro at sunset.
- Looking for even more Verona ideas? Visit the famous Basilica di San Zeno Maggiore, one of the most well-preserved examples of Romanesque architecture, or the pristine Giardini Giusti, Giusti Gardens, outside the city center.
How to Reach Verona
Verona is easily reachable by car via the A4 highway. Check out my full guide to driving in Italy to get comfortable with the various road rules before getting behind the wheel.
There is free parking at the Porta Palio just outside the city center. Input Parcheggio Porta Palio into your GPS.
This means you’ll have to walk ten minutes to the city center but most of the center’s main streets are car-free or paid/resident parking, which is why parking at the edge of the city is the most budget-friendly and stress-free way to go.
You can reach Verona by regional bus using the Arriva bus company or third-party companies like Flixbus.
If you want more specific information about buses, check out my full guide to buses in Italy. Also, feel free to leave a comment with your travel plans so I can help you find the right bus route and time!
Verona has two train stations: Verona Porta Nuova and Verona Porta Vescovo. To reach central Verona, you’ll want to get off at Verona Porta Nuova station.
Verona is quite compact but still a major Italian city and well-connected to all the other cities. This makes it an easy stop on itineraries using trains in Italy. I search for trains, as well as buses, using Omio.
Verona is a fairly popular day trip from Milan or Venice and there are a variety of day trip tours to choose from. If you have a tight itinerary and want to squeeze Verona in or you don’t have your own transportation and would rather someone else handle it for you, then a day tour to Verona could be your best option for visiting.
Did you know Verona has its own airport? Valerio Catullo Airport, also called Villafranca Airport, is 7 miles from the city center.
Flying into Verona could be a perfect city break or getaway on your Europe trip! Budget airlines like RyanAir make it easy to find cheap flights.
You can travel from the airport to Verona city center by shuttle bus or train.
What to Do Near Verona
You can reach Lake Garda from Verona by train, car, bus, and even by tour! You can make the most of your time in the area by doing a day trip from Verona to Lake Garda and Sirmione, which happens to be one of the best towns to visit on Lake Garda.
Borghetto sul Mincio
Borghetto sul Mincio is a storybook village along the Mincio River that streams from Lake Garda. With only 400 inhabitants, Borghetto is tiny in size but has some larger-than-life things to see like the Ponte Visconteo and Castello Scaligero. Plan the perfect trip with my guide to Borghetto sul Mincio.
From Verona to Venice is an hour and 15-minute journey by car, or an hour and a half journey by train.
Venice is one of the most popular cities in Italy, full of famous and unique things to do. And it’s so close to Verona that they are perfect to pair together on your Italian itinerary!
Final Thoughts – Is Verona worth visiting?
Verona lives up to all the storybook hype. Its rose-hued buildings, ancient architecture, and bustling squares all evoke a sense of chaotic romance, a feeling of living and walking in the past while being surrounded by the high energy of the present.
Verona is definitely worth visiting on your trip to Italy because it is not too big or too small, full of history and intrigue, and is authentic Italy. It’s no wonder Verona is both the City of Love and the City of Opera. You feel its unique flair for romance and showing off its beauty from its surroundings.
You can visit Verona in one day and see a lot of the city thanks to its compactness. But if you can stretch your visit into an overnight stay, you’ll be able to see everything without haste and soak in the city’s history to the fullest.
I hope these best things to do in Verona have inspired you to book your trip!
Have any questions about visiting Verona? Leave a comment!
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It’s just as picture-perfect as the fairytales hype it up to be – and you’re set to have the perfect trip with these best things to do in Verona!