The 14 Best Things to Do in Verona, Italy

Juliet's balcony and statue in Verona, Italy

TripSavvy / Christopher Larson

Considered one of the most popular travel destinations in Italy for romance, Verona is located between Milan and Venice in northern Italy's Veneto region. Verona is famously known as the setting for William Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet," but it's also home to several historic and contemporary attractions. From touring the original home of the Roman Forum at Piazza delle Erbe to watching the opera inside an authentic Roman arena, you're sure to find plenty of inspiring activities on your trip to Verona at any time of year.

01 of 14

Ride the Funicular to Piazzale Castel San Pietro

A young woman admires the view of Verona old town from Castel San Pietro
Andrea Comi / Getty Images
Piazzale Castel S. Pietro, 37129 Verona VR, Italy

The Castel San Pietro sits at the top of the hill and is accessible by foot or by a very modern automated funicular. From the top of the hill, you can capture one of the most picturesque views of the city. If you do choose to walk, it's a great opportunity to appreciate all the small houses and quiet streets on the way up. Visitors are allowed to enjoy the views from the square, but the castle is not open to the public. Still, it has an interesting history worth learning about, from its origins as the site of a Roman fortress to the existing building's 19th-century construction.

02 of 14

Take a Walking Food Tour

Cozy cafe found in the city of Verona, Italy

Don White / Getty Images

Typical dishes of Verona include everything from Risotto with minced pork and pasta with beans, and you could spend weeks here trying all the different specialties. If you're working on a much shorter timeline, a walking food and wine tour is in order. Ways Tours offers a top-rated tour led by a guide who will show you the city's main landmarks while guiding you through tastings of espresso, pastries, and Valpolicella wine. Going with a guide ensures you get a behind-the-scenes look at real Italian kitchens to see how pasta is made and a local expert on hand at the wine shop to help you decide on the best vintages to take home.

03 of 14

See the Roman Forum at Piazza delle Erbe

Piazza delle Erbe in Verona, Italy

TripSavvy / Christopher Larson

Piazza Erbe, 46100 Mantova MN, Italy

To start your trip with a bit of history, head to the original site of the Roman Forum, Piazza delle Erbe. This rectangular piazza is located in the heart of historic Verona and is surrounded by beautiful medieval buildings and towers. In its center, you'll find a 14th-century fountain topped with a Roman-style statue.

Although once used as a central location to sell produce and handmade goods, most of the stalls at Piazza delle Erbe now offer tourist souvenirs instead. However, you'll also find small cafes where you can have coffee in the morning or a glass of wine to end the day along one side of the piazza.

04 of 14

Step Through an Arch to Piazza dei Signori

Piazza dei Signori old Verona, Italy
Izzet Keribar / Getty Images
Piazza dei Signori, 37121 Verona VR, Italy

From Piazza delle Erbe, walk through the Arco della Costa, an arch with a whale rib hanging from it, into Piazza dei Signori, a small square surrounded by monumental buildings. In the center is a statue of Dante, and perched atop buildings around the square are more famous signori. This square was once the seat of the city's public institutions, and you'll see the tower of the Palazzo del Capitanio, the 15th-century Loggia del Consiglio that was the town hall, and the 14th-century Palazzo della Prefettura, formerly the Palazzo del Governo that was a residence of the Scaligeri family.

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05 of 14

Pay Respects at the Scaliger Tombs

The Scaliger Tombs, Verona

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Via S. Maria Antica, 4, 37121 Verona VR, Italy
Phone +39 045 806 2611

Perhaps one of the most influential families in the history of Verona, the Scaligers ruled the city throughout the 13th and 14th centuries. As a result, several monuments were constructed around Verona, including the Scaliger Tombs. This group of five Gothic funerary monuments is located in a courtyard outside the church of Santa Maria Antica, and each tomb is dedicated to a different Lord of Verona: Cangrande I, Mastino II, Cansignorio, Alberto II, and Giovanni. The Scaliger Tombs are free to enjoy and open every day of the year; however, each tomb is separated from the street by a wall with iron bars that prevent tourists from disturbing the dead lords that rest there.

06 of 14

Climb Lamberti Tower

Lamberti Tower in Piazza del Signori, Verona, Italy

TripSavvy / Christopher Larson

Via della Costa, 1, 37121 Verona VR, Italy
Phone +39 045 927 3027

Located just off Piazza delle Erbe near Palazzo della Ragione, Lamberti Tower (Torre dei Lamberti) is a good place to get an overview of Verona. Climb the stairs to the top or pay to take the elevator most of the way, and you'll have fantastic views of the city and beyond. Construction for its medieval bell tower started in the 12th century; it was raised a few times since then until it reached its final height of about 275 feet in 1436. Additionally, Count Giovanni Sagramoso added a clock to the tower in 1798 to replace the one on the nearby Torre Gardello that had stopped working.

07 of 14

Tour Juliet's House and Balcony

Juliet's House (Casa di Giulietta) in Verona

TripSavvy / Christopher Larson

Via Cappello, 37121 Verona VR, Italy

Perhaps the most popular tourist destination in Verona, the 13th-century building known as Juliet's House is home to a museum dedicated to the titular female protagonist of Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet." The house is a great example of Gothic architecture in the city, and inside the museum, you'll find a collection of period furniture meant to replicate what Juliet would have had in her home during the time. Located in a courtyard off Via Capello, Juliet's House also features the famous balcony where Romeo professed his love to the young Juliet and a statue of Juliet herself. Visitors can see the balcony and bronze statue for free, but access to the museum requires a small fee.

Alternatively, you can also see the house attributed to Romeo's family on Via Arche Scaligere. Afterward, sample the traditional food of Verona, including horse or donkey meat, at ​Osteria al Duca next door.

08 of 14

Visit the Roman Theater and Archaeological Museum

Roman Theater and Archaeological Museum in Verona

TripSavvy / Christopher Larson

Rigaste Redentore, 2, 37129 Verona VR, Italy
Phone +39 045 800 0360

Built into a hill overlooking the Adige River, the Roman Theater and Archaeological Museum is easily accessible from Juliet's House via Ponte Pietra, a picturesque stone bridge that crosses the river. The 1st-century Roman theater found here hosts outdoor performances in the summer, and the museum—which is housed in the former Convent of Saint Jerome—features Roman mosaics, Etruscan and Roman bronze sculptures, and Roman inscriptions. Both attractions are open seven days a week, and tickets are required to get inside each one.

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09 of 14

Explore Castelvecchio Castle and Museum

Inner courtyard of Castelvecchio
John Freeman / Getty Images
Corso Castelvecchio, 2, 37121 Verona VR, Italy
Phone +39 045 806 2611

Built as a residence and fortress in the 14th century, Castelvecchio now serves as a museum dedicated to medieval life in Verona. The building complex includes several towers and keeps as well as a brick bridge crossing the river, and the former parade ground inside is now a nice courtyard for the museum, which features 16 rooms of the former palace filled with sacred art, paintings, Renaissance bronze statues, archeological finds, coins, weapons, and armor. Tours are available daily throughout the year, and tickets are required to explore the museum.

10 of 14

See the Opera at Fondazione Arena Di Verona

Overhead of 1st-century Roman arena.
Krzysztof Dydynski / Getty Images
Address Bra, 1, 37121 Verona VR, Italy
Phone +39 045 800 5151

The biggest and most imposing monument in the city, the Fondazione Arena Di Verona is the third-largest Roman arena in Italy after the arena in Capua and the Colosseum in Rome. Built in the 1st century, the amphitheater holds up to 25,000 spectators and now hosts a variety of musical concerts including Verona's leading opera companies and the prestigious opera festival known as the Festival lirico all'Arena di Verona since 1913.

However, the best time to visit this Roman arena is during the daytime when the sun shines brightly on the stage. Although part of the seating is now covered in bright orange and red chairs, it's still easy to imagine the original look of the amphitheater when it was used for less savory activities than watching a play or opera.

11 of 14

Wander Through Giardino Giusti

Giardino Giusti, Verona, Italy

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Via Giardino Giusti, 2, 37129 Verona VR, Italy
Phone +39 045 803 4029

Located on the grounds of a large castle complex on the eastern shores of the Adige river, Giardino Giusti is a sprawling garden designed in the Italian Renaissance style and known as one of the best examples of Italian gardens in the country. Along with eight separate sections of gardens, this famous attraction also features a hedge maze and a walking trail through a small, wooded area on the edge of the grounds. Throughout the year, the Giusti Garden also opens its doors to a variety of events including the Festival of Beauty, the Singing Garden, and rotating contemporary art exhibitions.

12 of 14

Take a Day Trip to Lake Garda

Lake Garda in Italy

TripSavvy / Christopher Larson

Lake Garda, Italy

If you have a bit of time to explore around Verona, consider taking a day trip to Lake Garda. Known as Lago di Garda in Italian, Lake Garda is one of the biggest lakes in Italy and is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike thanks to its crystal blue waters, pleasant climate, and clean beaches.

The town of Sirmione, located at the south end of the lake, is home to the towering fortress known as Rocca Scaligera, which was once owned by the influential Scaliger family, as well as Grotte di Catullo, the remains of a Roman villa that used to exist on the peninsula. On the western shore in the town of Gardone Riviera, you'll also find the former home of poet d'Annunzio, known as Vittoriale degli Italiani.

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13 of 14

Say a Prayer at Duomo di Verona

Duomo di Verona in Italy

TripSavvy / Christopher Larson

Piazza Vescovado, 37121 Verona VR, Italy
Phone +39 045 592813

The Romanesque Cathedral, also known as Duomo di Verona, is a complex of buildings that includes a 12th-century Baptistery, the Canons Cloister, Saint Elena Church, and the remains of a 4th-century paleo-Christian basilica.

The octagonal Romanesque baptismal font, decorated with carved Biblical scenes, was carved out of a single block of marble, and the Baptistery has frescoes from the 13th to 15th centuries. The cathedral's frescoes are from the 15th to 18th centuries and the exterior is decorated with 12th-century reliefs. the Cathedral Complex is open on Sundays through Fridays year-round, with varying hours by season, and tickets are required to tour the facilities. However, you can also see the inside of the cathedral during religious services on Sundays for free all year long.

14 of 14

Stoll Around Piazza Bra

Piazza Bra, Verona, Italy

TripSavvy / Christopher Larson

Address Bra, Verona VR, Italy

Once a suburban braida (field), Piazza Bra is a huge piazza located inside the main gate entering Verona. You'll see the Roman Arena on one side of the piazza, next to the neoclassical Palazzo Municipale, and several porticoed buildings with cafes and restaurants along a broad walkway on the opposite side. Piazza Bra is also home to an extensive garden with a central fountain, which makes for a great place to take a picnic lunch or bring your carryout from one of the restaurants nearby.

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The 14 Best Things to Do in Verona, Italy