What not to love about romantic nights in Verona?
The famous lives of Romeo and Juliet didn’t take place in Verona for no reason: romance, drama and fatal family feuding have been the city’s hallmark for centuries. If you visit Verona to see Juliet’s balcony, you will be going home talking about everything else. From the third century BC Verona was a roman trade centre with ancient gates, a forum (Piazza delle Erbe) and a grand Roman arena, which still serves as one the world’s great opera venues. Verona is perfect for star-crossed lovers.
Situated in the north of Italy, Verona is the third largest city with approximately 265.000 inhabitants. The city has been awarded World Heritage Site status by UNESCO because of its urban structure and architecture. Verona is easy reachable by plane, the Verona-Villafranca airport is only 12 kilometres outside town and accessible by ATV Aerobus (6 euro).
Standing on the Pizza Brá, Verona’s main square, many historic buildings from various eras from ancient times to the present can be seen. From your coffee table in one of the bars you can enjoy two thousand years of history at a glance. The impressive Roman amphitheatre rises high above the square. Built in the first century it is still in use today. You can visit the legendary open-air opera house year-round, though it’s at its best during the summer opera festival. In recent times, the arena has also hosted several concerts of international bands.
After a delightful coffee in one of the bars at Piazza Brá it’s time to discover the rest of the city’s remarkable highlights. As mentioned the imposing lives of Romeo and Juliet took place in Verona. Not only the romantic atmosphere is still left in the city, it is still possible to visit the balcony that became famous because of Shakespeare’s play. “Casa di Giulietta” is located on Via Cappello close to Piazza delle Erbe. You can get there via Via Mazzini, Verona’s best shopping street, or take a stroll through the city’s interlocking streets, ducking into Verona’s many small churches on the way.
Contrary to her literary reputation, Verona is not a city caught in the wild throes of love, but one that drips with old-time romance. The summer opera, world-famous balcony and Renaissance galleries bring in the tourists. But it’s the secret gardens, underground remains and hidden churches that offer the most mystique. Sit down for an aperitivo with a local and they will talk dreamily of Ponte Pietra or, if you’re lucky, give directions to the town’s best gelateria. Verona is the most romantic city in the world. And love bird or not, you may find yourself agreeing with them.
The city’s highlights will be elaborated even more in a following blog post. When I visited the city myself three years ago I truly felt the magic. In Verona there is a golden hour during the languorous days of summer. Bathed in the gilded light of dusk, the squares fill with couples and elderly locals for a dinner. In Piazza delle Erbe, the bell tolls, glasses chink and Verona truly comes to life.
When you think you’ve seen everything of Verona it is still not time to leave. Veneto, the region in which Verona is situated is still to be discovered. Most visitors to the Veneto devote all their time to Venice, the capital, itself. Which is perfectly understandable until you discover the rich variety of experiences that await just an hour or two away. All are easily reached by train from Verona. It is definitely worth it to do a daytrip to Venice or Lago di Garda.
The Garda lake, Italy’s largest lake, is less than an hour away from the city. It is perfect for a refreshing swim and some sight-seeing. I would suggest to visit Sirmione, a picturesque peninsula. For me, the Scaliger Castle is one of the best things to visit in Sirmione. The historical castle is located in the centre of town, surrounded by water and still open for visitors.