Verona doesn’t always make it on to the first-timer visitor’s Italy itinerary, but that definitely doesn’t make it off the beaten path either. Over five million tourists from all over the globe flock to this beautiful little city every year, in no small part thanks to Shakespeare setting Romeo and Juliet here. “In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,” ring any bells? Aside from the totally fictional love story, Verona is totally worth a visit, so keep reading for exactly what things to do and see in Verona.
Pssst! Verona is super easy to explore on foot, so I’ve ordered the below attractions in the route of a convenient walking path. Think of it as your own self-guided tour.
Pro tip: If you’re keen to enter all of Verona’s best attractions in one day, definitely purchase the €20 Verona Card. It allows entry into absolutely everything listed below that requires payment, unlimited city bus travel, and more. You can purchase the Verona Card at the entrance booth of monuments and museums, as well as at newsstands and tobacconists in the city center.
Now, let’s get to it! Here’s everything you definitely should not miss while in Verona.
Castel San Pietro
While the Castel San Pietro (Saint Peter’s Castle) is a historic Veronese landmark in and of itself, the main reason it tops this list is for the epic views it grants. From Verona’s old town, cross the Ponte Pietra bridge over the Adige River, and follow the road directly across the street up to the fortress. The walk is not too bad, and your efforts will be rewarded with the absolute best view of Verona.
The Ponte Pietra (Stone Bridge) is a beautiful bridge that you’ll probably cross to and from the Castel San Pietro. Expect musical performers and the like, as well as lovely views on either side of the bridge of colorful buildings along the Adige River.
Cattedrale di Santa Maria Matricolare
The Cattedrale di Santa Maria Matricolare or Duomo di Verona (Verona Cathedral) isn’t too far from the Ponte Pietra, so I recommend heading there next. It sits in a rather peculiar position, given that it’s a decently large attraction… it’s at the edge of a parking lot! I didn’t enter, since I’ve seen quite a few churches during my Italian travels, but it’s really pretty from the outside. If you do want to enter, you can purchase a joint ticket for this plus three other Verona churches for just €6, rather than paying €3 for each separately.
Chiesa di Sant’Anastasia
The Chiesa di Sant’Anastasia is Verona’s largest church and is just a couple blocks down the street from the Duomo di Verona. Like with the Duomo, I didn’t enter and just admired it from outside. But if you want to see inside, this church is included in that same €6 four-church ticket I mentioned above.
Next, head to the Arche Scaligeri (Scaliger Tombs), which are just a couple blocks from the Chiesa di Sant’Anastasia. They are a group of five funerary monuments from the Scalifer family (who once ruled Verona) outside the Chiesa Rettoriale di Santa Maria Antica (Church of Santa Maria Antica). Like with all the other churches, I simply admired the Arche Scaligeri’s exquisite Gothic style from outside, but tickets to enter are just €1. Right across from the Arche Scaligeri is Casi di Romeo (Romeo’s house), in case you’re interested. It doesn’t draw quite the same crowd as Juliet’s place!
Piazza dei Signori
The Piazza dei Signori (Square of the Lords), also known as Piazza Dante (Dante’s Square), is home to all the former government buildings of Verona. It’s honestly such a beautiful square (what in Verona isn’t beautiful, though?), so I recommend spending some minutes taking in all the details.
Loggia del Consiglio & Statua di Dante Alighieri
The Loggia del Consiglio (Lodge of the Council) is the former city council building, which sits in the Piazza dei Signori. In front of it is a statue of a man named Dante (Statua di Dante Alighieri). You miiiiight have heard of this guy back in high school when reading his famous work, Divine Comedy. It includes Dante’s Inferno, which tell’s Dante’s story through the seven levels of hell. While Dante was born in Florence, he was exiled and thus spent some years living in Verona.
Piazza delle Erbe
If you think the Piazza dei Signori has a lot going on, just walk some feet over to the Piazza della Erbe (Square of Herbs, or Market Square). It stands on what used to be Verona’s Roman Forum. If you’ve been spared of tourist swarms thus far in your walk of Verona, prepare for them here. In this beautiful square, you will find food and souvenir stands, as well as several noteworthy monuments and buildings.
Case Mazzanti & Fontana Madonna Verona
One of the main things to see in the Piazza delle Erbe is the frescos adorning the Case Mazzanti (Mazzanti Houses). The painting is in pretty good condition considering it was commissioned by the wealthy Mazzanti family in the 16th century! In front of the beautiful artwork stands the Fontana Madonna Verona (Lady Verona Statue). It’s the square’s oldest monument and the symbol of the city Verona herself.
Torre dei Lamberti
The Torre dei Lamberti (Lamberti Tower) or the Tower of Love sands tall above the Piazza delle Erbe. It offers panoramic terrace views from the top, which visitors can reach via stairs or elevator. Tickets to do so are €8 and include a visit to the Modern Art Gallery, except on Mondays, when tickets are €5 and the gallery is closed.
Palazzo Maffei & Colonna di San Marco
The Palazzo Maffei (Maffei Palace) sits on the far end of the Piazza della Erbe. Its banister is adorned by statues of Greek and Roman gods, such as Hercules and Apollo (the facade was covered when I visited), and in front of it stands the Colonna di San Marco (Saint Marco’s Column). This column, with the iconic Lion of Saint Mark, might look familiar if you just came from visiting Venice! Verona and Venice are both in the region of Veneto, which was once part of the Venetian Republic, so expect to see similarities like this throughout Verona.
Casa di Giulietta
Just off to the side from Piazza delle Erbe is Case di Giulietta (Juliet’s House). Don’t worry about locating this one; you can just walk in the direction of the large crowd! Once you slowly push your way through the short tunnel, you’ll arrive in the infamous courtyard where Romeo climbed up the vines to Juliet’s balcony. Well, in the make-believe story, of course. This site, just like Romeo’s house, is entirely a touristic fabrication, but it’s still
absolutely necessary kind of fun to visit nevertheless. If you want, you can even leave a letter for Juliet or have someone down below take your picture from her balcony. Entering the building to get to the balcony will set you back €6 (plus €0.60 for pre-booking online via the official site), so make sure you’re camera ready!
Arena di Verona
From Casa di Giulietta, walk the glitzy and car-free Via Guiseppe Manzzini to the Arena di Verona (Verona Arena). This Roman amphitheater dates back about 2000 years, and while it’s obviously less iconic than the Colosseum in Rome, it’s actually the first true open-air opera theater in the world! Today, you can enter in the day for €10, or enjoy an evening musical performance, if there’s one during your visit.
Piazza Bra is not only the largest square in Verona, but actually one of the largest squares in all of Europe. It’s a lovely place to enjoy a meal or a coffee and admire the Arena di Verona at the end of the square.
Castelvecchio & Arco dei Gavi
Castelvechhio (Old Castle) is a medieval fortress with a connected bridge over the Adige River. You can walk through the courtyard and onto the super-cool bridge for free (which I highly recommend!), but entry into the castle’s interior will set you back €6. On the way to the castle from Piazza Bra, you’ll likely pass the large, white limestone Arco dei Gavi (Gavi Arc).
Any questions before your own trip to Verona, Italy? It’s an absolute gem, and once of several easy day trips from Milan or Venice. Let me know in the comments below if you need help planning your Italy itinerary. I could seriously talk about this stuff all day!