Summer isn’t here yet and the holidays still seem far away! What if we took a break? One or two days, even in the middle of the week, so as to recover our strength and get into the idea of being on vacation.
Verona is a city that really lends itself to a short visit: with its contained historical center where everything is within reach, the concerts, and the sports events that will be taking place during these weeks, all make this a great time to visit. Let’s try to organize a logical path, passing through history, art and good food.
What should you visit on the first day? My suggestion is to start with the beautiful Piazza Bra, which is just 400 meters from our hotel. You can enter Piazza Bra through the arch with the clock, which is also a popular meeting point for many people in Verona.
The center is a restricted traffic area, so we recommend leaving your car in one of the many city car parks, and to set out on a long and pleasurable walk, on foot or with one of our bicycles, which are at our guests’ disposal.
In Piazza Bra it would be impossible not to see the Roman Arena, the symbol of the city and the third largest amphitheater in the world, after the Colosseum and Santa Maria Capua Vetere in Naples.
These days the Arena is at the center of everyone’s attention also thanks to the lyrical season, which takes place every year from June to August. It is also a prestigious location for light and pop music, and hosts many concerts.
A visit to the Arena is a must, so as to admire its beauty. Access to the Arena is possible every day of the week, from Tuesday to Sunday from 8:30 am to 7:30 pm, while on Monday the hours are from 1:30 pm to 7:30 pm. The price is quite low: the full price is € 10.00, while the reduced price is € 7.50. In order to solve the problem of prices, my advice is to purchase the “Verona Card”. This way, with one ticket you can visit all of Verona’s main attractions.
After visiting the Arena, which – during the summer days – we recommend you do early in the morning, you can then proceed toward via Mazzini, where you will find Verona to be as fashionable as any shopping street in the country.
The street is lined with elegant buildings, such as the Palazzo dell’Accademia and the Loggia Arvedi. If you were able to get through via Mazzini without being too distracted by the splendid window displays, you can turn onto the crossroad of via Cappello. Here, on the right, you will find Juliet’s house, which is very popular with many visitors. In this case as well, it is basically impossible not to pay it a visit. You will see the crowd surrounding the gate, which will tell you that you’ve arrived. The walls, which lead to the internal courtyard and to its bronze statue of Juliet, are “murals with phrases of love” containing promises and hearts which, overlapping each other, give rise to a contemporary abstract work of art dedicated to love.
In the courtyard, you will find the small and romantic marble balcony, from which first emanated the whispers of the love story between Juliet and her beloved Romeo. Take your obligatory photo before passing into Piazza delle Erbe. When leaving the building, Juliet’s home, returning toward via Mazzini and surpassing it, you can access Piazza delle Erbe, the ancient Roman forum, but also a symbol of power of the Scala family. These days, Piazza delle Erbe is the city lounge, the ideal location for a coffee, a quick snack or a classic Spritz.
Palazzo Maffei has a baroque style, the Casa dei Mercanti, and the column that holds the Venetian lion (a symbol of the bond with the Venetian empire), which are all attractions of the piazza that you can see at one glance.
Your walk could then feature a visit to Piazza dei Signori, which is in the immediate vicinity. Passing the Arco della Costa, we find, at the center of the piazza, the statue of Dante, with the Loggia del Consiglio, the Palazzo del Capitano, Palazzo della Regione and the Achille Forti Modern Art Gallery all in the background, and all dating back to the 1300’s.
Still in the vicinity, you can access the Lamberti Tower. It is best to do this in the late afternoon, so you can see the first evening lights and the view of the entire city. This tower is 84 meters in height and it can be accessed on foot or with a more convenient elevator, every day from 9:30 am to 7:30 pm. The Tower is also one of the monuments that can be visited with the Verona Card.
Beyond the piazza lie the “Arche Scaligere”, or the Scaliger Tombs (14th century), which are extravagant vertical constructions decorated with majestic statues and spires, as tributes to the lords of the city.
Continuing on this street, via delle Arche Scaligere, you will arrive at the so-called “Romeo’s house”, which can be recognized by a plaque on the façade that literally quotes the verses taken from the Shakespearian drama. We cannot enter Romeo’s house, and so we can only imagine it as the place where Romeo abandoned himself to his lover’s dreams.
Head toward the Adige river, where you will encounter the Church of Sant’Anastasia, inside of which you will find the fresco of Pisanello “St. George and the Princess” and, beyond the Duomo, Santa Maria Matricolare with the magnificent façade, occupied largely by a Romanesque portal and by the “Assumption”, a canvas by Titian.
This should be enough for the first day. You can then finish it off with a stop on one of the bridges from which you can admire the beautiful sunset. Maybe Ponte Pietra, which tells a piece of Verona’s Roman history. If, however, you finish your journey on Ponte Nuovo, if you then leave it on your right, in Via Quadrelli, we recommend “The Soda Jerk”. Even if, from the outside, it may seem somewhat non-descript, we recommend it just because here you can forget about your classic, trivial cocktails, and instead get some really special preparations, created by the bartenders Claudio and Tommy.
The second day’s itinerary could slowly lead us out of the historical center, but still within the ancient walls. In this case, if you are a good walker you won’t have any problems, but if walking isn’t your strong point then our advice is to take a bicycle…. Or a car. By following the Adige river and its course, we arrive at the first curve that outlines the path to Verona: in Piazza San Zeno we can admire the Basilica Maggiore of San Zeno. Vescovo Moro – in addition to being the patron of the city, is also the protector of fisherman.
The church is one of the most decorated of its time (1120 to 1130) of all of Northern Italy, but the reason for its notoriety lies in the altarpiece by Andrea Mantegna.
You are then invited to move on to via del Pontiere, to see the Tomb of Juliet, which – it should be clarified – does not contain the mortal remains of Juliet, but her myth. And young couples often come here to get married and to make wedding portraits. Accessing Juliet’s Tomb will allow you to admire the frescoes taken from Verona buildings from the Middle Ages to the sixteenth century, as well as sculptures from the eighteenth century, while the church of S. Francesco houses large canvas works from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century.
You can conclude your second day by picking one of the museums that are covered by the Verona Card, or from among the exhibits that are periodically set up between Palazzo Forti and Gran Guardia.
Verona always gives you a good reason to stay two nights or more, and we at the Grand Hotel recommend you take advantage of this immediately by using our “City Break” rate, which combines the idea of a brief but intense stay with a discount of 15% on our usual rates.
Book the Grand Hotel now.