Those in search of Renaissance romance and a culinary treat will fall deeply in love with this city break. In fair Verona, where we lay our scene (sorry, I couldn’t resist!), there are so many delights to be observed. Should you have a day or a week to pass, you’re certain to find plenty of things to do.
The Northern city is alive with everything from bustling marketplaces and tourist hubs to quiet backstreets and intimate eateries. There’s something to please most any person in this Italian destination. Here’s a small taste of what you may expect.
Must See: Arena di Verona
The beating heart of Verona is undoubtedly the Arena di Verona — an astronomically large amphitheater in the Piazza Bra. Rather surprisingly, this grand structure dates to the first century and remains in impeccable condition nonetheless. It’s also a major tourist-trap and one of the main points of interest in the entire area. When you head to see it for yourself, be sure to set aside an entire afternoon.
Throughout the year, there are various events and concerts, perhaps the most famous of which is the Verona Opera Festival. Should you wish to see one of the events, you’ll get a chance to check out the arena while you’re there. However, there are also tours you can book that will let you snoop around in the daytime for the full historic experience.
Pro tip: You can take pictures in front of the area for free!
Must Eat: Ristorante Flora
When you cast your mind to the delights of Italian cuisine, there’s one word that is unlikely to come to mind — vegan. The cheesy, meaty goodness that is the national food here doesn’t exactly equate to anything remotely resembling that word. And yet, one of the must-try restaurants in Verona is exactly that. Tucked away on an otherwise unassuming city street, Ristorante Flora is an eatery like no other, offering dishes that you’ve probably never even imagined before now, let alone eaten.
The colorful meals served up here range from fresh beetroot ravioli to grated carrot falafel and come with extra details such as matching drinks as sides and the like. Every dish is reimagined in terms of fresh vegetables and, as the name suggests, other flora. What’s more, the staff go out of their way to ensure that you have a truly wonderful experience; we didn’t book in advance and were given a secluded table in the overspill area of the restaurant where we received flawless service. Oh, and if you’re Instagram-happy, there will be more than enough foodie photo ops for you here to boot.
Must Visit: Ponte Pietra
While we’re on the subject of photo ops, it’d be nothing short of a sin to exclude the likes of Ponte Pietra. The stone bridge is located near the center of the city and is a must-visit place for tourists when staying here. The breathtaking structure itself dates to 89 B.C. when the city first officially became a Latin colony. The reason it’s one of the places that you have to hit up on your visit is simple: it’s a piece of history.
In 1945, during World War II, the bridge was blown up by retreating Germans as they moved through Verona. During the late 1950s, the structure was rebuilt, which means that it now boasts a range of architectural styles. As you wander across it, you can take in the varying stones and the sheer detail of each section. Plus, it just so happens to overlook some of the most scenic views in the city, and crosses the flowing Adige River.
Must Snap: Casa di Giulietta
Until now, you’ve likely been wondering where the mention of Shakespeare’s most famous couple has been. Well, it’s here. Those flocking to the city of Verona will understandably want to walk in the star-crossed lovers’ fictional footsteps. And they can. The Casa di Giulietta (Juliet’s house) is just off the main drag of stores and is well worth a visit. The Gothic style house is now a museum. You can visit for just €6.00 or less, depending on the time of day you head there.
As you walk through the arch to reach the house itself, the walls are adorned with plasters, Post-It notes, and basically anything sticky, each of them with a message of romance. In the courtyard of the house, there’s a statue of Juliet herself. The myth goes that should you touch it, you will find your one true love (but hopefully not die so tragically young after doing so). The main attraction here, though, is the balcony. Let’s be real: the main reason people visit this house is so that they can utter, “Wherefore art thou Romeo?” while standing on it. Well, when in Verona….