Verona trip planner

image. (Photo by TK)

A guide to help you plan the perfect vacation in Verona, Italy, the fair medieval city where Shakespeare set Romeo & Juliet

Why Verona?

Verona is probably the loveliest city in the Veneto after Venice.

Tucked into a hairpin bend of the Adige River, Verona retains its locked-in-time character that recalls its medieval and Renaissance heyday, and the magnificent medieval palazzi, towers, churches, and stagelike piazzas you see today are picture-perfect testimony to its centuries-old influence and wealth.

Verona reached a cultural and artistic peak during the 13th and 14th centuries under the powerful, often cruel, and sometimes quirky Della Scala, or Scaligeri, dynasty that took up rule in the late 1200s. In 1405, it surrendered to Venice, which remained in charge until the invasion of Napoléon in 1797.

During the time of Venetian rule, Verona became a prestigious urban capital and controlled much of the Veneto and as far south as Tuscany. You'll see the emblem of the scala (ladder) around town, heraldic symbol of the Scaligeri dynasty.

The Arche Scaligeri family tombs, some of the most elaborate Gothic funerary monuments in Italy, lie just down the street from the bustling marketplace of the central Piazza Delle Erbe—on the former site of the Roman Forum and where chariot races once took place.

Then there are the sights, ranging from the Museo Castelvecchioa fairy-tale medieval castle filled with Old Masters paintings from the Renaissance—to the Arena di Verona ancient Roman amphitheater that still hosts amazing outdoor operas and rock concerts.

But none of that's why every tour bus on its way to or from Venice stops here. No, half a million visitors flock to fair Verona, where we lay our scene, for the most famous town residents who never existed: Shakespeare's doomed lovers, Romeo and Juliet.

For some reason, visitors spend remarkably little time in this beautiful medieval city. While it has a short list of attractions, it is a handsome town to stay in and visit at a leisurely pace. Statistics clock most tourists stopping for a mere overnight stay (or less)—I'd say try for at least two nights.

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How long does Verona take?

Planning your day: You could knock off the major sights (plus lunch) in six hours or so, and thus visit Verona as a day trip from Venice (or en route to or from Venice, as Verona is one a main rail line).

However, Verona truly deserves an overnight of its own. Its sights are a bit spread out around town, so it sakes a little while to see them all, plus it is simply a lovely place to spend the evening, with the liveliest shopping, restaurant, and nightlife scene of any town in the Veneto region, along with some great hotels.

» A day in Verona

Verona tours
Definitely stay for any Arena concert

If the ancient Arena is hosting any sort of show whatsoever—opera, hopefully, but even a concert or other performance—even if it is one that would not otherwise interest you, buy a ticket and go. It is an experience not to be missed. » more

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Tourism info
Verona tourist information
Via degli Alpini 9 (in city wall, just off SE corner of Piazza Bra)
tel. +39-045-806-8680

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Train tix

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