Dante Statue in Verona || creative commons photo by Dimitry B.

Dante Statue in Verona || creative commons photo by Dimitry B.

Verona is well-known as the setting for Shakespeare’s famous story of ill-fated lovers, “Romeo and Juliet.” There’s some historic truth to the Bard’s tale, and of course the city has embraced (and, some might argue, embellished upon) those stories to further its reputation among travelers. Whatever brings you to Verona, whether it’s Shakespeare or something else entirely, there’s far more to this pretty northern city than “Romeo and Juliet.”

Among Verona’s many other charms is a gorgeous Roman arena in the historic center that serves as the setting for the city’s highly-regarded opera festival each summer. Verona is also a great base from which to explore the nearby Valpolicella wine region.

How to Get to Verona

The Verona-Villafrance Airport (VRN) isn’t far from the city center, but it’s relatively small – if you’re coming from overseas you’ll likely have better luck finding cheaper fares on flights to Venice Marco Polo Airport (VCE), which is roughly 75 miles away.

From within Italy, you can get to Verona easily by train. The train station is just outside the historic center, but city buses connect the two regularly.

What to Do & See in Verona

As mentioned, Verona is synonymous with “Romeo and Juliet.” One of the city’s most popular attractions is Juliet’s House – nevermind that the balcony on the building was added in the 20th century to draw more tourists – and the Juliet statue that stands in the small courtyard beneath it. Personally, I like Verona’s many other charms better than that cramped courtyard. Seeing an opera in the Roman Arena is mind-blowing, even if you’re not a major opera fan.

Here’s an incomplete list of some of Verona’s most popular attractions:

  • Roman Arena
  • Juliet’s House
  • Romeo’s House
  • Basilica of San Zeno
  • Duomo
  • Piazza delle Erbe
  • Giardino Gusti
  • Roman Theater and Archeological Museum
  • Ponte di Pietra

Guided Tours in Verona

Where to Stay in Verona

Although lodging in the historic center typically costs a bit more than it does in the more modern parts of the city, I’d still recommend staying within the center if you can. It’s compact and easily explored on foot, so once you’re settled into your hotel you’ll be glad that you can walk to all the sights. Staying in the historic center can be problematic, however, if you’re driving – parking is quite limited. Check with your hotel about any parking arrangements they may have, or stay just outside the city center in a hotel (with better parking) that’s right on a bus line that will get you wherever you need to go.

Here are a few things to keep in mind about Verona accommodation:

  • Star ratings for hotels in Italy don’t correspond to the ones you may be familiar with. Historic buildings that have been converted into hotels naturally have smaller rooms, and this means they have fewer stars – even if they’re top quality and have a good location. Don’t be afraid to check out two- and three-star hotels if the location looks good.
  • There are hostels in Verona as well as hotels, and some have private rooms, which is another great way to save money on lodging.
  • For those staying longer than a few days or traveling with a group, you might want to consider an apartment rental instead of a hotel room. These can be an especially good idea if you’re keen on having your own kitchen – either to experiment with Italian cooking or to save money by making some of your own meals.

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