My first encounter with Verona is through reading Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. When I read the famous play, I often imagined what Verona would look like during that time. I had my answer when Hollywood decided to film the 2013 version in actual Verona, Italy and the surrounding areas.
Earlier this year, I traveled to Verona for a few days and finally understood the charm and the seduction of this city in northern Italy.
Verona is a small renaissance city and will take only the weekend to see it all. The city is best to explore on foot as there are many old alleyways, town squares and bridges to see. There are numerous historical sites to visit, places to shops and restaurants to try.
Here is La Vie Partagee’s list of must do’s.
1) Walk around the perimeter of the city along the river and explore the castle and monuments lining the walk path.
2) Take the elevator all the way up to the tower at Torre Dei Lamberti (Via della Costa, 1, 37121 Verona) to take in the entire city view.
There is an elevator that goes up to the base of the bells. The magnificently crafted bells are worth admiring. You can also go up the set of stairs to the top but the view is the same as the level below it.
3) Walk up the marvelous staircase at Scala Della Ragione Verona (Piazza dei Signori, Verona)
The staircase is right next to Torre Dei Lamberti and was also used in the film.
4) Grab a drink or meal and people watch at Piazza delle Erbe.
The square is lined with cafes and restaurants to enjoy refreshments or meals. We came during truffle season and was lucky enough to eat truffle stuffed raviolis with truffle sauce. The price was incredibly well priced (30 Euros) for the amount of truffles that were on the plate.
5) Stroll around the renaissance garden at Giardino Giusti (Via Giardino Giusti, 2, Verona) and take a break from the bustling city life.
The garden is reachable by walking across the bridge to the other side of town and away from the city center. The garden is majestic and worthy of taking selfies and pictures.
6) Walk across Ponte Scaligero and enjoy the views of both sides of Verona.
The best time to view the bridge is at night when the lights are illuminating the fort wall and bridge. It is a majestic sight and very romantic for couples on an evening stroll. The bridge was also used in the movie.
7) Take in the outdoor opera performance at Arena di Verona (Piazza Brà, 1, 37121 Verona).
Opera season starts in the warmer months and tickets can be purchased at http://www.arena.it/arena/en/shows/aida.htm. This is a can’t miss event when visiting Verona so be sure to book your tickets well in advance.
8) See the beautifully sculpted funeral monuments at Arca di Cangrande (Via delle Arche Scaligere, 1, 37121 Verona).
There is no need to go into the church and pay the entrance fee as the mausoleum displaying the best craftsmanship can be seen right outside the door.
9) Walk through the courtyard for “Juliet’s balcony” at Casa di Giulietta (Via Cappello, 23, Verona) The steep ticket fee to go upstairs and have a “view” from Juliet’s balcony (which is not even a real place) is not worth the price or wait. The courtyard looking up to the balcony is better for taking photos and is free for all visitors. Go early in the day before the crowd arrives.
There is also a tradition to rub Juliet’s statue for luck with your love life.
Verona has the standard selections of high end and mass retailers. Via Giuseppe Mazzini is the main shopping corridor of Verona.
This street is lined with shops that are housed in historic buildings. It does get very crowded during tourist season. There are many smaller streets that split off from Via Giuseppe Mazzini to explore.
Verona has two stores that are worth browsing and they are located off the main shopping avenue.
Hidden Forest Market
Via Pescheria Vecchia , 2, 37100 Verona, hiddenforestmarket.com
This store has a great selection of structured, high fashion pieces to add to any fashionista’s closet. Prices range from $50-$300.
Piazza Erbe, 33, Verona, www.amelia-store.it
The store featured a great selection of whimsical, feminine pieces to satisfy the romantics in all of us at a mass merchandiser’s price point.
Verona has no shortage of restaurants and cafes to try. Food is guaranteed to be great wherever you go. Here are the ones that left a lasting impression:
Dolce Locanda SRL
Via Valerio Catullo, 12/14, 37121 Verona, Dolcelocanda.it
This bakery served delicious, hand crafted pastries and desserts.
Ristorante Il Cenacolo
Via Teatro Filarmonico, 10, 37121 Verona, www.ristoranteilcenacolo.it
Food is outstanding and gorgeously presented The pan fried buffalo mozzarella and risotto are not to be missed. Also try their selection of meats and seasonal vegetables expertly grilled on the open flames in the dining room.
Vicolo Cieco S. Pietro Incarnario, 37121 Verona,045594034, http://mariacallas.it/site/
This is a great traditional Verona restaurant specializing in seafood. The location is difficult to find as it is tucked inside a non-descriptive building.
This octopus and radish salad was perfectly executed and has a balance flavor profile.
Corso Porta Nuova 2, 37122 Verona, Italy, +39 045 800 9031, http://www.signorvino.com/it
This cozy wine bar and cafe is tucked inside a wine store near the center of town. The food was delicious and the wine was very well priced starting from a few Euros. SignorVino also has a selection of free appetizers and breads when you order a glass of wine. It’s a great way to start or end your day to visit this little jewel.
Locanda 4 Cuochi
Via Alberto Mario, 12, 37121 Verona, Italy, 0458030311, http://www.locanda4cuochi.it/
Locanda 4 Cuochi is a modern Italian bistro that puts a playful twist on Veronian cuisine. The ambiance is surprising relax and quirky. They have crayons for diners to doodle on the paper table cover while you wait for food. The price is also a good value for the level of culinary dishes that are created at this bistro. Their appetizers and desserts are more inventive and worth sharing a la tapas style.
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Author: Thai-Anh Hoang
Featured photo source: http://www.flickr.com by Giacomo Bernardi