Welcome to beautiful Verona, Italy! This Northern Italian city is famed for being the home of Romeo and Juliet, close location to Lake Garda and its fair share of pretty piazzas.
In May I took an extremely impromptu trip to the city of star-crossed lovers as I was lucky enough to have a place to stay for free and Ryan Air flights came to around £40 return from London Stansted. I didn’t spend much whilst dotting around Verona either, it’s not a particularly expensive city if you don’t want it to be, and with tons of flights every weekend from the UK, it’s the perfect city for a weekend getaway.
Here are a couple of things I’d recommend doing in the city.
Explore the amphitheatre
Unless you can one up this and go see a show there. I was travelling with a friend’s family who had a spare ticket to Sam Smith’s show in the amphitheatre. I’m not a big Sam Smith fan, but seeing him in a theatre of this magnitude was pretty incredible. The theatre dates back to 30AD, just a couple years shy of being 2,000 years old. That’s absolutely wild to me. Keep an eye out for concerts, operas and theatre productions going on in Verona Arena, if there’s nothing that you fancy, you can explore the theatre during the day for a few Euros.
Visit Juliet’s Balcony
It’s hard to think of anything more iconic about Verona that Romeo and Juliet. Yes, it may be extremely touristy, but Casa Di Guiletta is a lot of fun and feels almost necessary to visit. Yes, the closest connection this house has to Shakespeare is that a family with a name that was sorta similar to ‘Capulet’ lived here. Yes, the balcony was only added in the 1900s, long after fictional Juliet had died. It’s all fake but just buy into it for the day.
Entrance to the courtyard is free, though you’ll be paying €6 to go into the museum if you want the shot from the balcony. The museum is pretty much empty as people just want that picture, and you can’t re-enter after you leave, so you’ll have to coordinate with your photographer for that photograph.
The courtyard fills fast, so go as early as you can. It was the first thing we visited in the morning and even then it was busy and only got more packed as time ticked on. If you want a photograph with Juliet, you’ll have to be ruthless and get in there quickly! There’s no real queue system so act fast and use those precious moments she’s alone to get your perfect shot. People say it’s good luck to hold her breast as you take a picture, she might be a statue but the character of Juliet is 15. Please keep that in mind if you visit the courtyard, it’s really quite unnerving watching people take those pictures.
Indulge in Italian food
This is an absolute no-brainer. Get to streetside cafes and buy yourself some coffee, in Italy it’s tradition to only drink milky coffee in the mornings as to not have warm milk on a full stomach, so to avoid some strange looks you may want to follow that rule. Plus it will genuinely mean you feel less ill. Buy an espresso every now and then, they’re super cheap and always amazing.
Pizza, gelato, tiramisu – all the best foods are Italian. I have a bit of an issue with dairy but did that stop me from going to Lidl and slowly working my way through a 1kg box of tiramisu by eating it for breakfast every day? Sure as hell not. Make the most of this place.
Get lost in the streets
Verona is beautiful, I feel like that goes without saying as Italy is just bloody gorgeous all over. Take your time to walk down backstreets, make sure to look up at the architecture and always take the scenic route to your next stop. Most things in the city are rather close, so opt to walk instead of taking public transport. I always force myself to walk (if possible) when travelling, you’ll often get more out of the journey than you will in a cab.
Cross Castelvecchio Bridge
As you can see by my face, the weather was taking its toll. Castelvecchio bridge extends from a castle-turned-museum of the same name and makes you feel like you’re in Game of Thrones. It doesn’t offer the best views of the city, but it’s a unique piece of architecture that gives you a different perspective of Verona. Plus you can pose uncomfortably when you’ve only brought summer clothing and there’s a flash thunderstorm.
Catch the city from above
The roofs of Verona seen from above are ridiculously beautiful. It’s so pretty that it makes me want to vomit. This place is just idyllic.
Lamberti tower offers my personal favourite view of the city, though there were long queues, they moved pretty quickly and it’s not too expensive to go up to the top of the tower, even cheaper if you have a student ID. Ticket price also includes entrance to the gallery, though I skipped this due to time constraints. I’d love to have visited it though.
Lamberti tower is centrally located, provides amazing 360-degree views of the city and isn’t too busy despite the queues at the bottom. You can take the lifts or the stairs if you fancy a (tough) challenge. Beware for the bells tolling at intervals throughout the day, it is an operating bell tower after all!
Castel San Pietro is a nice way to view the city from afar, located just outside of the city centre and a few hundred stairs up is a beautiful viewpoint of the city through trees. This area is rather busy with people spending the day relaxing under the sun. It’s definitely worth the walk and is completely free.
Take your time
Take those stairs to nowhere to take some dumb pictures. Enjoy the city and enjoy your life there. In the UK we all move at such a high speed, we live life at a high-stress level and don’t really ever relax. I found the pace in Verona to be such a jarring transition. It was a welcome one too. Throw your uptight travel plans out of the window and take every day as it comes.
Thanks for getting to this point and I hope this is helpful for any budding trips to Verona.
If you’re looking for more Italy related posts, catch my first post on Milan.
Next stop: Edinburgh, Scotland!
Bonus Verona pics: