Hello lovelies! So, keeping with the theme of love since I am still so giddy about Valentine’s Day, I decided to write about Verona, one of the most romantic and quaint little cities in Italy. I’m sure it sounds familiar, as I think everyone and their mother has read Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet, which takes place in Verona. To me, Verona was so incredibly beautiful, yet so full of history. Nestled between the Adige river and Lake Garda, I feel as though this place is one of the more underrated tourist destinations compared to some of Italy’s more famous regions like Rome, Milan, Naples, etc. There is something so romantic and charming about Verona, just strolling along the alleyways and seeing the beautiful arches and churches. There was really something breathtaking in every nook and cranny. I really wish I was able to spend more time exploring this city. If you are ever in Italy, I highly recommend taking a day or weekend to walk through the infamous streets of Verona.
Since it is most well-known for Romeo + Juliet, it only makes sense that they have many monuments and odes to this famed play. For example, Juliet’s house where you can see the symbolic balcony (for a small price), or stand next to the Juliet monument where legend has it if you touch her right breast, you will have good fortune bestowed upon you. You’ll also see here the walls where lovebirds write their names . I can’t even imagine how many couples have written their name here. Also down the street, they have Juliet’s tomb, which you are able to walk around as it seems like a garden, but there is an entrance fee to see the actual tomb.
Sant’ Anastasia Church
There are so many beautiful and historical churches all throughout Italy. The Sant’ Anastasia church in Verona was so ornate and beautiful that my sister and I couldn’t resist just walking around and taking in all of its beauty. The detail that went into creating the ceilings, the murals, the statues, it was all just unbelievable. HINT: if you are wearing spaghetti straps or revealing clothes, definitely have a shawl or scarf handy to cover your shoulders.
Castel San Pietro
Okay for the best view in all of Verona, I don’t care what anyone else says, the best view is at the top of Castel San Pietro. Bring your water and your walking gear because there are about a million steps to the top, but it is worth every step. I believe there is a trolley or bus of some sort, but what fun is that? The real way to take in all a city has to offer is by foot. You get to walk past houses and yards, and little caverns and balconies, there really are no words for it. And once you get to the top, you will just be completely awe struck. You really feel like you are looking out into the entire universe.
Although there are many plazas within Verona, the one I liked most was Piazza Erbe. There are so many stalls and stands, from food to clothing to souvenirs, it is basically one giants market square and flea market.
Castelvecchio is a beautiful, ancient castle from the Middle Ages. It costs about 6 euro to tour the entire museum, but you can also walk around some of it for free. Constructed back in 1354, it was used to protect the citizens of Verona from attack. The Ponte Scaligero bridge is also said to have served as a quick escape route to the country-side.
My sister and I crossed both the Ponte Scaligero and the Ponte Pietra. Built originally with wood and then with white and pink stone, the Ponte Pietra is absolutely beautiful, but the history behind it is even more beautiful. Since the bridge has been around since 1 B.C., it seems only normal that it has collapsed several times since then. What makes this bridge so fascinating is that every time it collapsed, architectures of that time rebuilt it in the style of that time. For example, the right side of the bridge dates back to the Middle Ages and in 1298, features such as towers were added on and then the arches were renovated again in 1520.
The Verona Arena is an expansive structure that resembles the Colosseum. I believe it is the third largest of its kind in Italy. Eros Ramazzotti was performing the night we were there which was pretty amazing. If you can attend an event here I would certainly do it – and if you do show me pictures! I’d love to see what it looks like on the inside, if it is just as beautiful on the outside! Also to the left of the arena, is the town hall which is called Barbieri Palace. With the Grecian columns, it certainly resembles the White House!
This arch also reflected the Venetian influence as it is built in white marble. When the French took over, it was completely dismantled as they believed it messed with traffic patterns and such. They discarded the pieces under the arches of the arena. In 1932, it was finally reassembled, piece by piece.
Portoni della Bra
Right behind the arena is Piazza Bra, the largest square in Verona, and some say the largest in Italy. Lined with cafes and shops and stands, there is a ton of people-watching to be done here. There are also little fountains with lush plants spotted here and there throughout the square. In the square you will also notice two large arches with a clock in the middle. This gateway is called the Portoni della Bra.
Or you simply just wander around, you never know what beautiful sight you may come across 🙂