Verona – Italy’s Northern Gem
When people travel to Italy they tend to hit what are referred to as THE BIG 3 CITIES OF ITALY – Rome, Florence and Venice. Don’t get me wrong, these cities are definitely not to miss cities, particularly on your first Italian adventure. However, Italy is home to many other cities that aren’t as touristy, are sometimes overlooked and that I also recommend adding to your Italy itinerary. Verona is one of these cities.
Most famous for the setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, the UNESCO World heritage city of Verona will not disappoint. Whether you enjoy literature, architecture, archaeology or the theater, during your visit you will discover that Verona is one of Italy’s loveliest towns. Even if you aren’t a Shakespeare fan, Verona has much to offer during your trip to Italy.
Verona can be visited as a day trip from Venice or Milan or as a pit stop. If visiting from Venice, you can take the Frecciabianca train from Santa Lucia station and arrive in a little over one hour. From Milan the journey takes about 1 ½ hours. You can even take the train from Rome in 2 ½ hours! A day trip is definitely a possibility. Or spend a night or two and experience this charming city. As with many small Italian cities, Verona is most charming in the early morning hours or at night after the day crowds have departed. During these times you can discover your own Verona.
One of the most popular things to do in Verona is to attend the outdoor summer concert series at the Arena di Verona. Here you can attend live concerts, operas, and theater performances in an ancient Roman setting. Originally built to host gladiator battles the arena now hosts many events throughout the year. It is one of the best preserved Roman arenas in existence today.
Seeing a performance of the story of Romeo and Juliet in its actual setting is a highlight for many. If you are visiting Italy in the summer attending the famous Shakespeare Festival with performances by the Royal Shakespeare Company is recommended.
Perhaps one of the most visited attractions in Verona is Juliet’s House. Crowds flock to Verona to see the balcony where Juliet was said to have stood while Romeo declared his undying love. The balcony was actually added to the house in the 20th century but this doesn’t stop romantics from leaning over the balcony looking for their very own Romeo and declaring their love. Will you step out on the balcony and call out to your Romeo?
A visit inside Juliet’s house is not complete until you rub the right breast of her bronze statue. This is thought to bring good luck. Witness for yourself the shiny area that many before you have rubbed.
If you are a fan of the tale of the star-crossed lovers than Juliet’s tomb should also be on your to-do list. Located just a short walk from Juliet’s house, the tomb is located in the medieval cloisters of a Capuchin Monastery.
Climb the stairs of Torre dei Lamberti and you will be rewarded with fantastic views of the city and beyond. This medieval bell tower was started in the 12th century.
There are many more attractions that make a visit to Verona worth a consideration on your Italy itinerary. The famous story of star crossed lovers may bring many to Verona but the churches, gardens, hidden medieval streets bustling with life and the charming old town will tempt visitors to stay just a little longer in this romantic city.