Destination Verona: “In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,”

ByAndrea Thompson

February 26, 2024
Sandwiched between Milan and Venice, Verona is somewhat understated but one of the most romantic cities in Italy in my opinion.Sandwiched between Milan and Venice, Verona is somewhat understated but one of the most romantic cities in Italy in my opinion.

Sandwiched between Milan and Venice, Verona is somewhat understated but one of the most romantic cities in Italy in my opinion.

With an interesting history and fantastic location.  It lies to the left of the wonderful Lake Garda, has its own airport and within an hour’s drive of two national parks.

Verona has had a tumultuous history and changed hands many times over the years.  The reason being it lies on an important intersection for trade routes.  Because of this, it has been left with incredible architecture, museums, culture and of course churches.

Verona is surrounded by ancient walls along the Adige River. The winding waterway is laced with ponti (bridges), to connect the centre with the rest of the city. Listed in 2000 as a UNESCO World Heritage site, it’s not surprising that city officials want to preserve the unusual and brilliantly preserved monuments from antiquity, medieval and Renaissance periods.  Having been described as “an outstanding example of a town that has developed progressively and uninterruptedly over 2,000 years, incorporating artistic elements of the highest quality from each period” By UNESCO.

Of course, the most romantic reason for Verona being famous is of course Shakespeare and he certainly appreciated its loveliness, from afar.  Although he set three of his plays, The Taming of the Shrew, Two Gentlemen of Verona and of course Romeo and Juliet in this region he never actually got to visit Italy.  Visitors flock to the courtyard of the casa di Giulietta to rub the bronze for love and luck and the balcony where Juliette spoke to Romeo and if you have seen the film “Letters to Juliette” where heartfelt letters are written and left in the courtyard to seek comfort and advice in matters of love .  This theatrical history is just one reason people flock to Verona, but also, this romantic city is less crowed then its near neighbour, Venice and also a smaller version of Florence.

It is home to an open aired amphitheatre over 2000 years old and which is superbly preserved natural disasters including an earthquake in 1117.  A tiered arena made from local pink limestone originating from Valpolicella built around 30CE and having been restored several times, it is still preserved in its original shape and structure but still in the Roman style where 30,000 spectators would watch gladiator games.  Now the arena is used for tours, concerts, and operas.  Surrounding the outside of the arena is a market and a semi-circle of restaurants and shops.

With a population of just over 250,000 it is a perfect location for travellers who want to immerse themselves in the culture, art and history that Italian cities have to offer.  I would recommend visiting Verona before Florence as on a smaller scale with many outstanding restaurants giving you the wow factor once you visit Florence.  You can also take day trips to the beautiful lakes, awe-inspiring Alps, Milan and Venice all of which are easily reached by train, car or bus.

Verona is compact and famous for its food.  Simply walking through the back streets uncovering the city’s hidden gems in numerous bars, pizzerias, restaurants and high end shopping.  Verona is ringed by vineyards, olive groves and mountains, it’s not surprising this area has been inspiration to Ernest Hemingway, DH Lawrence and poets Shelley and Byron.

Verona is the epitome of romance, it captures the heart and one visit is not nearly enough.