Length of stay: 1 day
Visited: August 2022
Verona is located in northern Italy along the Adige River. It is famously known for being the setting of William Shakespeare’s tragedy, Romeo and Juliet. It is often referred to as Little Rome as it was once a Roman colony and contains many ancient Roman relics and ruins, including an amphitheater, which now hosts an opera festival every summer.
While visiting Venice we planned a day trip to Verona, which is just over an hour away by train. We walked to the station first thing in the morning, hopped on a high speed train and arrived in Verona shortly after 9 a.m. From there it’s about a 15 minute walk to the historic downtown. First things first, we went to the Verona Tourist Information Office to pick up a Verona Card, which granted access to all of the attractions we had on our list and it allowed us to skip the line in a couple of places.
We started with the Verona Arena, an amphitheatre that was built by the Romans in 30 AD. Today it is internationally famous for its open-air opera performances. It is located across from the Tourist Information Office, except it wasn’t quite clear where the entrance was as there was a lot of construction around the exterior as they were working on a set for the upcoming opera. The inside of the arena was pretty rustic. There were a few signs that provided more information about the history of the arena, including how it’s been conserved and restored.
Afterwards we went to Juliet’s House, which has become associated with William Shakespeare’s, Romeo and Juliet, and is rumoured to have been where Juliet once lived. The real draw is the balcony outside where the star-crossed young couple declared their love for each other. There is a small museum inside the house. Since our Verona Card granted us access, we decided to give it a whirl. There really wasn’t much to see though, just some costumes and bed from the set of one of the Romeo and Juliet movies. We could also take our picture on the balcony.
We then went to the Scaliger Tombs, a series of five funerary monuments of the Scaligeri family, a rich and powerful family who once ruled in Verona from the 13th to end of the 14th century. The monuments are built in Gothic style and are located in an enclosed courtyard outside of the Santa Maria Antica.
The Lamberti Tower was about to open, so we decided to join the queue. The tower is 84 metres high and is the tallest building in Verona. There are two options to reach the top, either by elevator (which includes an extra fee) or stairs. Naturally we opted for the more challenging route and climbed up the 368 steps. The top of the roof provides a glimpse of the bells, along with a panoramic view of the city.
We started to make our way to the Adige River, stopping at the Basilica of Saint Anastasia, the largest church in Verona that is also beautifully decorated.
We continued to make our way to the river and crossed the Ponte Pietra, a Roman stone bridge that was completed in 100 BC and is the oldest bridge in Verona.
Located nearby is the Archaeological Museum at the Roman Theatre. The Roman Theatre is another amphitheatre that was built in the late 1st century BC. While it is significantly smaller than the Verona Arena, in the summer it hosts numerous theatrical and music events.
We climbed up the steps to reach the archaeological museum, which is located on top of the theater in the building of a former Jesuit Monastery. The museum showcases a collection of marble statues, frescas, mosaics and old artifacts. It also provided a lovely view of the city from across the Adige River.
After stopping for a bite to eat, we headed to the Verona Cathedral. The cathedral is part of a larger complex of connected religious buildings, which also includes a baptistery, the Sant’Elena church, and a few other areas that are off limits to the public.
We then walked along the banks of the Adige River towards Castelvecchio, a defensive fortress that was built by the Scaligeri family. The inside of the castle contains a collection of art and ancient armour and weapons. The real highlight, however, was walking along the castle walls.
It was then time for us to make our way back to the train station and Venice to pack our bags. The next morning we planned to fly to Spain.