Best things to do in Verona, Italy

things to do in verona

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Heading to the “City of Love” and looking for some itinerary inspiration? There are so many things to do in Verona that it can be hard to know what to prioritize. 

A charming city located in Northern Italy between Milan and Venice, Verona has a rich history dating back over two thousand years. Founded as a Roman colony in the 1st century BC, the city flourished as an important trade center in the middle ages thanks to its strategic position on the Adige River and witnessed the rule of various powers, including the Goths, Lombards, and Venetians. 

In 2000 Verona was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site for its well-preserved Medieval and Renaissance architecture. The city boasts many attractions like the 1st-century Verona Arena and the 14th-century Torre dei Lamberti in its historic center.

But perhaps most of all, Verona is known as being the setting of Shakespeare’s tragic tale of Romeo and Juliet. The play is said to have been inspired by the real-life rivalries of two noble families who lived in the city. 

So, with a history so extensive and exciting, let’s have a look at all the things to do Verona has to offer. 

TIP: While planning your trip, have a look at this guide on where to stay in Verona

Discover Verona’s Old Town

verona things to do

Verona’s historic center, also known as the Città Antica, is packed with many of the city’s top attractions. Here’s a look at some of the highlights. 

Arena di Verona

Built in the first century AD, the Verona Arena is one of the world’s best-preserved amphitheaters. It sits in the heart of the city’s old town next to the large Piazza Bra and is still in use today. 

What once served as the site of gladiator fights and medieval games, today is as an open-air theater where operas and concerts are held during summer. 

The ancient Roman arena was built with Veronese marble, a regional type of limestone with a distinctive reddish color and had capacity for up to 30,000 spectators. For safety reasons, the capacity is now reduced to around 15,000 people and remains an impressive venue to see a live show.

You can buy tickets online at the official ticket site or purchase a Verona Card, which grants you access to the arena as well as multiple attractions throughout the city. However, for the best experience and insight into the amphitheater’s history, consider a guided Verona Arena tour

Juliet’s House (Casa di Giulietta)

what to do in verona

Casa di Giulietta is, of course, not the true house of Juliet, as Shakespeare’s tale is fiction. However, there’s no harm in enjoying a bit of fantasy, and this charming property offers the perfect opportunity to imagine yourself in the two lovers’ world.  

The house draws thousands of visitors yearly, who pose on Juliet’s famous balcony or admire the statue of Juliet in the courtyard. Others leave notes and graffiti on the walls, asking for guidance on matters of love. 

If you’d like to further immerse yourself in the city’s romantic side, consider this Romeo and Juliet guided tour. Your guide will take you to various historic points in the city, delving into the feuds and legends of Verona that inspired Shakespeare’s iconic tale. 

Piazza delle Erbe

Literally translating to “Herbs Square,” the Piazza delle Erbe is the bustling heart of Verona where the Roman Forum used to be. It has always served as an important political and economic center and a space of gathering for the Veronese people.  

The square is framed by various historical buildings, like the frescoed Case dei Mazzanti and the 17th-century Palazzo Maffei. In the center stands the beautiful 14th-century Madonna Verona Fountain. 

There are various restaurants and cafes where you can stop for a drink and to admire the surrounding architecture. The square also hosts a daily market where you can shop for some souvenirs, fruit and vegetables.

Piazza dei Signori

verona sightseeing

The Piazza dei Signori, also known as Piazza Dante, is steps away from the Piazza delle Erbe. The Medieval square is framed by stunning buildings, including the former town hall, Palazzo della Ragione. The beautiful 12th-century Santa Maria Antica church is also just around the corner.

In the center of the square stands a brooding statue of the influential poet Dante for which the piazza is best known.

To learn more about the history of Verona’s various squares and sights, consider taking a small-group city highlights walking tour with a knowledgeable guide. 

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verona activities

The Castelvecchio (Old Castle) is a 14th-century palace-turned-fortress built by the Della Scala (Scaliger) Family. The riverside castle suffered a lot of damage during the Second World War but received impressive renovations by the architect Carlo Scarpa in 1957.

Today, the castle hosts one of Verona’s most important museums, the Castelvecchio Museum. It houses Medieval, Renaissance, and Gothic sculptures, as well as a vast collection of paintings from Veronese and Venetian artists. These include works by names like Pisanello, Girolamo dai Libri, and Stefano da Verona. 

You’ll also see frescoes, Medieval jewelry, and ancient armor and weapons, like Cangrande’s sword. You’ll also come across the statue of Cangrande della Scala, one of Verona’s most influential lords who welcomed Dante during his exile. 

You can visit the vast and intriguing museum with your Verona Card or pay about €6.00 at the door. 

Torre dei Lamberti

torre things to do in verona

Towering above the Piazza delle Erbe, the Medieval Torre dei Lamberti was built in the 12th century by the Lamberti Family — of whom little is known. The 276-foot (84-meter) tall clock tower is still functional today and offers some of the most breathtaking city views.

It boasts two original bells — named Marangona and Rengo. Marangona was used to signal the end of the work day and alert citizens of fire. Rengo was used to call city gatherings in case of danger or external threat. 

You can reach the top of the tower with an elevator which takes you about two-thirds of the way up. From there, you’ll climb roughly 300 steps to reach the top of the octagonal tower to enjoy sweeping vistas. 

Be sure to book your Lamberti Tower entry ticket early to avoid missing out. 

Explore Beyond the Old Town

While the Città Antica holds most of Verona’s popular attractions, there’s plenty more to see beyond the old town. 

Ponte Pietra

ponte pietra verona things to do

The Ponte Pietra (Stone Bridge) connects Verona’s Old Town with the lively university district of Veronetta. Spanning the Adige River, this bridge’s history dates back to the first century BC when the Romans built this impressive arch bridge. Archaeologists believe that the stone bridge was predated by a wooden version.  

The Roman bridge, unfortunately, suffered damage during wars and floods. Only the two white-stone arches on the left end of the bridge remain of the original Roman construction. The bridge had to be partially reconstructed during the 13th and 14th centuries and again during the 16th century.

After World War II, the Veronese fished fragments of the destroyed bridge out of the river and painstakingly reconstructed what they could with the remains. 

The result is a multi-colored bridge encompassing the Roman, Medieval, and Venetian eras and the Veronese’s dedication to preserving their incredible monuments. 

Castel San Pietro

what to do verona castel san pietro

The Romanesque Castel San Pietro is one of the best things to see in Verona city and sits just across the Ponte Pietra. The hill on which the fortress stands has always been a strategic and important site, starting with the Romans, who considered the hill sacred. 

The building you see today is actually a soldier barracks built during the Austrian occupation of Verona. You can’t enter the building, but you can ascend the hill — either via a stairway or (the more exciting way) by funicular. A trip on the Verona Funicular costs about €3.

At the top, you can enjoy sweeping views of Verona and beyond with a stroll along the scenic terrace. You can either go back down via the funicular or, if you’re looking for a calm walk, you can take the stairway down to the Roman Theatre. 

The Roman Theatre, not to be confused with the Arena di Verona, is a first-century BC theater at the foot of San Pietro Hill. It’s accompanied by an archaeological museum and hosts many events during the city’s summer theater season. 

Giardino Giusti

giardino giusti verona sightseeing

Also situated in the bustling Veronetta area, 16th-century Giardino Giusti offers the perfect retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city. 

These tranquil public gardens were once a dye-boiling site. Wool dyeing was one of Verona’s main sources of economic wealth during the 13th century, and the wealthy Giusti Family took part in its success. 

By the 16th century, the factory buildings gave way to a beautiful palazzo and ornate gardens modeled after those of the powerful Medici family. The gardens are said to have drawn many influential guests, including Cosimo III De Medici, Carlo Felice di Sevoia, and Mozart. 

The property is full of unique features worth discovering, like the labyrinth, a grotto with remnants of old frescoes, and a tower with a secret staircase. 

Entry costs about €11, or €8 with the Verona Card

Walk along the Adige River

verona activities adige river

The second longest river in Italy, the Adige River, is lined with architectural wonders and spanned by various interesting bridges. Walking along the winding river offers the perfect opportunity to wind down and discover the unique local sights that make Verona so beautiful. 

Take a leisurely stroll along the river banks and bridges around sunset to see the city light up as the sun retreats. There are plenty of lovely riverside restaurants worth stopping at for a drink and a bite. 

Discover Verona’s Food Scene

things to eat in verona

Speaking of restaurants, Verona has a thriving food scene with authentic dishes of the Veneto region you don’t want to miss. 

Local Dishes to Try

Verona has various regional takes on classic Italian dishes and ingredients. Here are a few must-try meals. 

Risotto all’Amarone

This beloved Veronese dish combines the Veneto region’s popular Amarone della Valpolicella wine and Vialone Nano rice to create a decadent risotto dish. 

Pastissada de Cavàl

Pastissada de Cavàl (or horse meat stew) is an ancient recipe that has endured as a hearty meal especially served in winter. The slow-cooked dish is prepared with horse meat, onions, carrots, Valpolicella wine, and various warming spices like cloves and cinnamon. 

Polenta con Sopressa

This simple yet delicious dish consists of Polenta and sausage, most often Sopressa Veronese, a regional type of aged salami made from pork. When placed on the warm polenta, the lard in the Sopressa melts, adding richness to the dish. 

Best Restaurants and Cafes in Verona

verona things to do restaurants

Below are some of our hand-picked recommendations for the best restaurants Verona has on offer. Remember to look out for some of the regional dishes on the menus. 

  • Pasticceria Flego – Quaint cake shop around the corner from the House of Juliet, serving excellent cappuccinos and delightful sweet treats. 
  • Trattoria Pane e Vino – A short walk from Ponte Garibaldi, this restaurant focuses on highlighting regional cuisines, serving local cuisine like Risotto all’Amarone and Pastissada de Cavàl. 
  • Osteria Caffè Monte Baldo – Established in 1909, this osteria serves excellent cicchetti (small-plate dishes) and boasts a wide variety of wines. It sits near Piazza delle Erbe and gets quite busy, so booking ahead is recommended. 

Experience Verona’s Culture

Wondering what to see in Verona to delve into its rich culture? Here are some enriching sights and activities to consider. 

Opera at the Verona Arena

what to do in verona opera

The Roman amphitheater offers excellent acoustics, making it the ideal site for open-air opera performances during the Verona Arena Opera Festival in summer. Book a ticket to a Verona Arena opera show to enjoy the skillful art in a historic venue that has hosted the likes of Maria Callas and Luciano Pavarotti.  

Juliet’s Club

The Juliet Club is a group that receives and replies to every single letter sent to Juliet, whether by mail, email, or hand-delivered letter. You can drop your own letter to Juliet or browse through the archive (by prior appointment) and even answer a letter if you join the club.

It’s a wonderful stop whether you’re a fan of Shakespeare’s play or the 2010 film Letters to Juliet. You can even buy souvenirs like pendants or notebooks. The headquarters is located at Vicolo Santa Cecilia 9, Verona.

Museums and Art Galleries

verona sightseeing palazzo maffe

There are various wonderful art galleries and museums in Verona. Stop by Galleria d’Arte Moderna Achille Forti near Piazza dei Signori or the Palazzo Maffei Casa Museo for sculptural and painted visual delights. The Shield Gallery, Studio la Città, and La Giarina Arte Contemporanea showcase more contemporary pieces. 

The Museo di Storia Naturale displays all sorts of preserved creatures and is free to enter with your Verona Card. The Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Verona is another museum well worth stopping by, with exhibits of prehistoric items found in the region. This museum is new and still expanding, so you may find more intriguing items with each visit. 

Verona Wine Festival

Each year Verona hosts one of the world’s largest wine festivals. The annual Vinitaly festival draws thousands of wine lovers to Verona around March and April to sample some of the best wines from Italy and beyond at the Fiera di Verona.

You don’t have to join the formal functions to enjoy the festival, however. Verona also hosts “Vinitaly and the City,” a four-day event scattered across the Verona city center for all to join and enjoy. 

Not visiting during March or April? Get to know the regional wine with this half-day Amarone wine trail tour in the Valpolicella valley. 

Christmas Markets in Verona

verona at christmas

Immerse yourself in the festivities by exploring the Verona Christmas Market, which brings with it festive lights and decorations. The market is centered around the Piazza dei Signori and the courtyard of Mercato Vecchio. 

Be on the lookout for popular foods like pearà and meat or sausage and potatoes. You’ll also love delights like ricotta-stuffed doughnuts and pandoro cake — washed down with a cup of vin brulè, of course.  

How to Get to Verona

how to get to verona

Below you’ll find how to get to Verona from Venice or Milan

How to Get to Verona from Venice

The easiest way to get to Verona from Venice is with a roughly 1.5-hour train ride from Venice Santa Lucia Station to Verona Porta Nuova. Tickets cost around €25 but can be cheaper if you opt for a slower, regional train. 

TIP: Use the Omio app to help you navigate transportation in Italy

How to Get to Verona from Milan

You can easily get to Verona from Milan with a train from Milan Centrale to Verona Porta Nuova in about 1.5 hours. Tickets cost around €30.

READ: Our guide to Traveling by train in Italy.

Where to stay in Verona

activities staying in verona

Below are our hand-picked suggestions for where to stay in Verona for every budget. 

Luxury – Vista Palazzo

This 5-star hotel sits a short walk from the River Adige and Juliet’s House in the heart of the historic city center. Rooms are opulent and spacious, and the hotel offers a rooftop terrace with dreamy city views >> Check Rates and Availability.

Mid-range – Hotel Accademia

Set in a historic building, this hotel offers 4-star luxury in the heart of the city. Enjoy roomy accommodation and a complimentary breakfast before heading out to explore Verona >> Check Rates and Availability.

Budget – Le Flaneur Vintage B&B

Located in the Veronetta neighborhood, this budget-friendly bed and breakfast offers a quiet and bright space to retreat to. You’ll be just a bridge crossing away from the historic center and just a few minutes from Castel San Pietro >> Check Rates and Availability.

Verona Things to Do – FAQ

faq best things to do in verona

Still have some burning questions before you visit Verona? Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions. 

Is Verona Worth Visiting?

Visiting Verona is definitely worth it. With a vast history, rich culture, and incredible cuisine and wine, this small city has plenty to keep you busy. 

How Long Should We Spend in Verona?

While Verona is a relatively small city, you’ll need at least a day or two to visit its highlights, as the city has many exciting attractions.

Is Verona Worth a Day Trip?

Verona is definitely worth a day trip, but you may just wish you stayed longer. With everything from museums and galleries to wine-tasting tours and opera performances on offer, one day won’t give you enough time to savor it all. 

What to Do in Verona – Wrapped Up

history and architecture activities verona

As you can tell, Verona packs a punch with all it has to offer. Whether you’re a history buff, an art and architecture lover, a romantic, or an avid oenophile, Verona has something to pique your interest. 

If you’re looking for more dreamy destinations to add to your Italian itinerary, consider this guide on the most romantic cities in Italy.

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