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Verona for the Weekend

Italy's unmissable destination for romance, piazza-life, Shakespeare and opera.


Verona's Piazza

Verona is a sunny 1970s postcard or even an Italian romcom. It oozes golden style and romance from every renaissance statue and gurgling marble fountain. Cypress-lined river-banks and tucked-away piazze with a serenely content air make you realise why Shakespeare chose this city for his most romantic lovestory of all time.


How to get there

Verona may be overshadowed by Venice as another large city in Italy's north province of Veneto, it's just as easy to get to! Regular 2 hour flights from Gatwick via Easyjet, Birmingham, with Ryaniar and Manchester with Jet2, or trains from Venice's transport hub, Mestre, mean you can be in Verona much quicker than you thought, making it the perfect weekend getaway.


Piazza delle Erbe's marble fountain with the daily market in the background and the Lamberti Tower.

What to see and do

Think open-air opera in the arena, lazy piazza lunches, long walks on the river bank and opulent theatre concerts. Think summer spritzing looking over the city, lush, cypress gardens, glorious Veneto cuisine and Romeo and Juliet's love busting from every corner.


Two days is the perfect amount of time to get to know beautiful Verona. See the main sights but also explore the less-glitzy quarters where a deep-rooted music and foodie scene brings a richness to the city.


Piazza delle Erbe

Verona is a walled city so the first piazza you'll most likely step onto through the old gates will be Piazza Bra. And while this is an impressive square with a fully-functioning roman amphitheatre and pastel palazzi restaurants lining the sides, it is grand, but there's one even grander, especially in nature and history, Piazza delle Erbe.


'Piazza delle Erbe is Verona's beating heart. Underneath it lies the ruins of a rectangular Roman Forum, built smack bang in the middle of the city and double the size of the current piazza. At the head of the forum once lay the main temple of the city, the capitolium, dedicated to Jupiter, Juno and Minerva while on the side of the forum, town planning had included a basilica and tabernae - food stalls where you could eat and drink.





2 millennia later, the piazza is lined with Osterie and beautiful restaurants where you can still eat and drink to your heart's content - taste Truffle or Amarone risotto and a glass of Durello, Verona's sparkling white wine. The piazza is abuzz with a daily market, historically selling spices and vegetables, which is where it gets it's name - 'delle Erbe', of the herbs.'

From our blog post: True Love in Verona


This is a good place to start for a weekend in Verona, packed with osterie, nightlife and a collection of monuments and buildings you can feast your eyes on. There are a couple of towers on the square: the Column of Saint Mark which stands to prove the power of the Serenissima Republic of Venice who ruled Verona in the 15th century, The Gardello Tower - oldest clock tower in Verona and The Lamberti Tower which you can climb 368 steps up for gorgeous views over the city (or take the lift for 1 euro). Note the arched entrance to Piazza delle Erbe near the Municipal Commune with a curious giant whale rib suspended beneath. There's all kinds of legend about the bone in Arco della Costa but it was simply brought to Verona by a spice merchant in medieval times and hung here at the market.


This is a special place with history beneath your feet which you can sense in the ancient stones; it's worth spending a long, lazy lunch under one of the porticoes just to gaze upon the buildings including the painted Mazzanti houses which will no doubt catch your eye.


Verona's alleyways connect the piazze with wooden beams, bicycles and sculptures

Verona 'centro' (centre) is all pedestrianised - it's a favoloso city to explore on foot with each piazza linked to the next via archways and passages.


See the spacious Piazza dei Signori with a statue of Dante Alighieri, lined with arches leading to museums, churches and art exhibits you can explore. Make sure to visit the fascinating Arche Scaligere - elaborate, gothic tombs for the nobles of the Scaligeri family who governed the city during the 14th century.


Corso Porto Nuova in Verona with shoppers walking their dogs and cafes on the street.

Corso Porto Nuova is Verona's wide shopping strip where the best designer boutiques, big brands and small coffee shops all jostle for a spot. Amble the chic marble-paved streets where Christmas shopping takes on a whole 'nother level with mesmerising twinkly lights and festive displays that draw visitors in their thousands!





Wander the Adige river banks late afternoon to see the amber light fall on Veronetta - the city's picture-perfect, mini version on the other side of river. It's steep hill dotted with cypresses and golden palazzi hosts a network of smaller, quieter streets where locals love to meet for dinner and aperitivi. They say, "If you haven't crossed the river, you haven't seen the city," because this is true Verona where the crowds dissipate and tourism takes a step back.


Veronetta seen from the banks of the Adige River

Cross the river on any of the bridges, and if opulent Italian gardens are your cup of tea, make a point of visiting the beautifully-landscaped Giardino Giusti.


I love to head upwards in a city to truly take in its full scale and get a sense of space. While you're on the other side of the river in little Verona, Veronetta, to enjoy some elevated views, find the newly-restored cable car station near Ponte Pietra which will take you up to Castel San Pietro. The castle is not a massively impressive structure and probably still undergoing restoration but the nearby Ristorante Re Teodorico invece boasts a massively impressive terrace which seems built especially for sunset aperitivo time. Stay up here for dinner if you don't want to leave and then wander the zig-zagging path all the way downwards and back into town across the ancient Roman bridge Ponte Pietra.


The Arena of Verona and side streets busy with people in the amber afternoon light

The Arena is Italy's second most conosciuto (well-known) amphitheatre after the Colosseum. It holds up to 15 000 people these days but was built for 30 000! The acoustics are truly incredible - we catch a concert here as often as we can because to sit where millions of bottoms have sat, watching an ancient stage transform while the stars shine above you is truly magical. To see what's on, here is the Arena's events page.


Music lives on after the Arena's summer program here in Verona! There is the beautifully decadent Teatro Filarmonico in the city which continues the opera theme well into the winter after September. Productions like Swan Lake and opere by Verdi take the stage and if you're after something a little different, the smaller Teatro Ristori has a varied programme from the Nutcracker Suite to Gospel Choirs and Jazz inbetween with lavish dinners and drinks included in some shows.


The city of Verona framed from a window in the Castel Vecchio Bridge

Finally, make a point to walk the dramatic Castelvecchio Bridge, built as an escape route from Castel Scaliger by Cangrande II della Scala, lord and ruler of Verona in the 14th century. Its fortified battlements frame the afternoon sun over the river like a fairy tale scene.


A Note on Shakespeare

Most claim he never set foot in Italy but still chose Verona to set Romeo and Juliet as his ideal location. Has the city adapted to the tale, or was it the other way round?


Colourful Shakespeare art in the back streets of Verona

Believe what you may but here, fiction has become fact in an abundance of locations from the masterpiece, within, and without, Verona. Casa di Giulietta is the Capulet home where the iconic balcony can be visited and even stood upon! Signs are posted all over the city directing you towards the quaint courtyard.

The church where the lovers tragically died is Chiesa di San Francesco al Corso where Juliet's tomb can be seen, as the church in which they were married, Basilica di San Zeno Maggiore. Romeo also has a house nearby and many a plaque throughout the city links relevant scenes to Verona's squares and alleyways.

Enough to make you a believer?


Where to Stay

With an endless amount of options to suit your travel style and budget, Verona offers her visitors excellent hospitality. Our advice is o stay within the old city loop of the Adige River, anywhere within walking distance to the old town. Make the most of your weekend on foot to truly enjoy this unmissable destination. Taking the side streets, you'll notice romantic graffiti, lovers' locks and find tiny, tucked-away trattorie just waiting for you to sit down and take a load off.



What to Order

Verona stocks all the specialities the region of Veneto is famous for but puts their regional take on every one. Risotto all'Amarone is the city's signature risotto made with Amarone, a dry red wine of the area.

Horse is Verona's prized meat, if you're not phased, try the meatballs or the Patissada stew with polenta.

Torta Russa is a thick pastry tart filled with a sponge of almonds and Amaretti di Saronno biscuits.

And did you know that Pandoro is originally Veronese? They're proud to remind us that Italy's star-shaped Christmas cake belongs to the home of her star-crossed lovers.

Wine-speaking, the local area boasts a few of note: Amarone di Valpolicella made from sun-dried grapes, crisp, white Soave, bubbly local Durello and fruity Lugana which everyone drinks with everything.


Osteria La Fregola front windows in Verona with a girl riding a bike in the foreground

Extra-special Eateries (and drinkeries)

Osteria Sottoriva is a popular like place with the locals where meaty dishes like horse meat patissada, meatballs, veal tagliata and horse tagliata are scribbled onto boards and served up with beautiful local wines chosen by Michi, under the porticoes. With glasses of wine from 3 euros and dishes from 10 - this place is a bit of a gem.


Pizzeria da Salvatore near Ponte Nuovo has chic, modern decor mixed with classic pizzeria style, it's the Veronesi's go-to place for a reason. Serving piazza napolitana since the sixties, you'll always have to queue but trust me, it's worth the wait.


Bottega della Gina XXL makes fresh pasta before your eyes as you stand outside for your turn. Try the tortellini, with all different fillings if you can't make your mind up.


Osteria a la Carega will delight your senses with small plates, antipasti and a wonderful wine list. The tables aren't many and those outside are balanced haphazardly on the cobbles, you don't get more authentic than this.


Salumeria Gironda is positioned perfctly on the banks of the Adige with a view of the Ponte Pietra Bridge. Besides the array of local affettati, salumi, truffle cheeses and pickles, the Bottega has a surprise up its sleeve - step outside the back into the cutest courtyard with a terrace right on the river where you can enjoy the delights you've just purchased with a view. Just in case you weren't feeling the Italian atmosphere, they even hand you a wicker basket and suggest a bottle of wine to complete the experience.


Pasticceria Caffetteria San Zeno is said to have some of the best torta russa ( see what tto order) in Verona but there's so much to choose from including incredible pasticini! Sit outside 'al fresco' or find a spot inside the stunning vaulted rooms.


If you're a coffee-lover, Caffe Borsari near Piazza delle Erbe is for you! They offer coffee tasting of both their own roasts as well as interesting ones from afar. The culture of un caffe sospeso is popular here, where you order un caffe al banco and pay for two so that the next person who comes along and can't afford a coffee can claim it.


And if you're after a different kind of buzz, head across the river to Osteria ai Preti. It's a simple bar with a great vibe where everyone is welcome. Wine is flowing, the terrace is packed and live music features most Thursday nights until 2am.


Arco della Costa whale bone hanging under the arch in Verona

Travel Tips

Verona Card will grant you access to the main sights in a 24 or 48 hour period for £20 or £24 respectively, it's worth considering if you're planning to see a lot. Purchase yours online here in person at the Tourist Information Centre near the Arena or find Verona Card at most museums.


Stay longer if you can! There are tours out to wine farms where you can spend the afternoon with full-tasting paired lunches and then be driven back! Or visit the gorgeous Lake Garda nearby.


VisitVerona is the city's brilliant website with all the information you may need including where to book tours, find acomodation, concerts and festivals or 'what's on'. They suggest walking itenararies and tours and will direct you to whatever your heart may desire in a weekend.


Lake Garda's tunnels with a view of the lake's mountains

If you have decided to drive, we can heartily recommend enjoying the entirety of Lake Garda, it is a wonderful experience and makes the perfect extended weekend. Here's our guide.


Make the most of those walking shoes and escape the city into the Torricelle Hills. Named as such because of the squat towers built to protect the city, the well-signposted Passeggiata sulle Torricelle leads from the top of Veronetta hill beside Castel San Pietro and takes you in a lush, 3 mile loop along the battlements, past the park and down to the majestic Opera Don Calabria buildings where you can admire the vista. VisitVerona website describes the route clearly.

Our advice?

Pick up some beautiful bread, salami, cheese, olives and a bottle of Durello from Salumeria Gironda and head for the hills with a picnic and a view like no other.


Have you tasted Verona's specialities? What about horse meat?

Share your experience in the comments below, we'd all love to hear from you!

And remember, for any travel queries, advice or translations, always get in touch, we're happy to help.


Buona permanenza!


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