Sight Seeing in Verona
Verona arose from mighty Roman origins, the legacy of which thankfully you can still enjoy in the city today. Its most prominent piece of stonework, the Verona Arena, has stood proudly in the expansive Piazza Bra since 30AD. The third largest Roman amphitheatre in the world, it is still used for soaring operas and live concerts today, demonstrating the Romans’ absolute mastery of creating designs built to last! Listening to the shrill sounds of sopranos under the twinkling midsummer stars is a special experience indeed.
Incredibly, the Arena is not the only Roman attraction of ageless allure. The Roman Theatre still retains a cascade of seats set by the burnished emerald waters of the Adige River. Yet more beauty from the BC era survives in the form of the undulating arches of the Ponte Pietra, a bridge over 2,000 years that astoundingly still functions today.
After such great beginnings, Verona then revelled in its resurgence from the early medieval period. Impossibly ornate Romanesque churches began to sculpt beautiful silhouettes on the skyline, such as the Basilica of San Marco. Indeed, the pink marble and svelte symmetrical patterns of this 14th century structure soon captured the imaginations of literary masters like Dante and Shakespeare, an atmosphere you can still immerse yourself in today.
The heightened spiritual feeling in the city saw many churches built around the medieval times, and you’ll relish acquainting yourself with the glittering, gilded splendour of Sant’Anastasia, or the ornate romance of Santa Maria Antica.
Such resplendence in the approach to architecture soon began to spread throughout the city, at the soaring bell tower of Lamberti. Climb to its top and you’ll enjoy incredible views stretching into the pristine white peaks of the Italian Alps to the north – a site almost as sublime as the orange-capped rooftops of Verona interspersed with the tips of tall cypress tress.
Fun Seekers in Verona
Just 28km east from the charming city of Verona lies the enduringly beautiful Lake Garda. The largest lake in Italy, just arriving and taking in the breathtaking beauty of its ruffled Alpine ridges and azure sheet of shimmering water is enough. Yet should the fancy take you, the lake is lined by a boardwalk offering stunningly scenic views. However, truly active enthusiasts will find paragliding from the lofty heights of Monte Baldo all too appealing. Sailing is also an incredibly popular pastime on the lake, allowing you to venture from one idyllic waterfront village to the next.
The rich history of Verona infuses countless museums and galleries spread across the city. The Museo di Castelvecchio can certainly lay claim to be one of the most prestigious of these, housing elegant frescoes and sculptures by medieval masters such as Bellini and Pisano. Connected by the beautiful Ponte Scaligero, the Castelvecchio was one of the grand designs of the great Scala family that presided over the city in the 14th century.
Built as it is on the foundations of Roman rulers, Verona sits above artefacts embedded into its very soils. Such a historic location means the city lends itself well to the Archaeological Museum, which features an embarrassment of riches found in the area. Sitting by the prestigious site of the 1st century BC Roman Theatre, coal black statues and glittering mosaics dating as far back as 500BC combine to dramatic effect.
Once a place of shelter for the supreme poet Dante, and with a long legacy of medieval composers, a creative strand runs through the entire city. Today, such cultural connections reveal themselves at the Arena Museo Opera. Serving as a companion piece after you’ve enjoyed a stunning operatic performance in the curving oval dome of the Verona Arena, the museum will take you on a tour of the composition of opera, from the development of its soaring music and emotive libretto to the elaborate costumes of tenors and sopranos.
Family Fun in Verona
With its enduring heritage and history and a distinct taste for fine arts, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Verona doesn’t have anything to offer families. In fact, this is far from the case, as inventive attractions offer something to suit all ages.
Make a great start with Gardaland, set in the southern area of Lake Garda just 26km from Verona. One of the most popular theme parks in all of Europe, Gardaland features soaring, spiralling rollercoasters such as Blue Tornado and Magic Mountain, as well as somewhat calmer river plume rides and children’s playgrounds. With live performances, a 4D cinema and even a Sealife Aquarium on site, there’s bound to be something to captivate minds both young and old.
Continuing on the theme park ‘theme’, Movieland is also in the vicinity of south Garda, around a 29km journey from Verona. Much smaller in size and stature than Gardaland, the site nevertheless captures the spirit of Hollywood with rides based around classic movies like Police Academy and Back to the Future.
And the fun doesn’t stop there! Additionally, the neighbouring site to Movieland is known as Caneva World Aquapark. This thrilling waterpark is just perfect for making the most of the enduringly bright Italian summers, with wave machines, volcano slides and the scary black hole! The Pirates’ Lagoon water playground offers splashing good fun for children, whilst the six-slide typhoon means that the whole family can take on the speedy descent together!
After such plentiful action in great supply at so many parks, if you fancy slowing the pace a little, the Fossil Museum of Bolca is certain to inspire young minds. This compact museum is crammed with fascinating finds, including the fossilised imprints of ancient sharks and crocodiles. Children can even get involved in their own recreated dig, with a special tractor in the quarry!
Romantic Breaks in Verona
Serving as the setting for the ‘star crossed lovers’ Romeo and Juliet, Verona has an enduring legacy as an undeniably romantic city. The mood for love in the city has since been amplified further by the tourist attraction Juliet’s House. Intriguingly, this 14th century house only began to draw onlookers after the creation of its stone balcony in 1936. However, it is indeed a great likeness for one of the most famous scenes in the play, where Juliet utters the immortal words “O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?” Hopeless romantics are sure to melt at the site of Shakespeare’s lovers words etched into the walls, and you can even add your own romantic love letters on to Juliet’s Wall.
Continuing the Shakespearean story is Romeo’s House just a few streets away, while Juliet’s Tomb (another unusual construct where fiction meets reality in Verona) is also a point of pilgrimage at the Capuccin Church.
After enjoying your fill of the world’s finest romance, you and your partner can fill your bags at the Via Mazzini shopping street, known as Verona’s ‘Golden Mile.’ It’s here you’ll find luxurious Italian labels such as Gucci and Armani, as well as famous international brands and more offbeat shops offering antiques and unique couture designs.
Verona is a naturally beautiful city too, making a perfect place for strolling around its heart, hand in hand. Wandering through the open, charming expanses of Piazza Bra and Piazza dei Signori, eventually you’ll uncover Giardino Gusti on the eastern edge of the centre. Here, acres of rich green hedges, trim, tall cypresses and milk-white statues create a mesmerising, unforgettable effect.
Top Tips for Verona
The city centre is easily traversable by foot, and a great way to explore the many historic piazzas, bridges and castles that compose the heart of Verona.
If you wish to travel to Lake Garda, it’s perfectly possible by bus instead of hire car. It will take you slightly longer (around 2-3 hours) that it would by car, as the bus takes a somewhat scenic route, but it’s still a perfectly viable option.
- Yes - Si
- No - No
- Excuse me – Mi scusi
- Hello – Buon giorno
- Goodbye – Arrivederci
- Thank you – Grazie
- Please – Per favore
- Where is the nearest…? – Dov'e il…piu vicino?
- Do you speak English? – Parla inglese?
- How much is this? – Quant'e per favore?
- What time do you open/close? - A che ora apre/chiude?
- I would like… – Vorrei…
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