Have you ever visited a new place and instantly fallen in love with it? For us, that was Verona.
Verona may not be as popular as other Italian cities like Florence and Venice, but don’t let that fool you. Verona is underrated as an Italian destination, as we just discovered.
Tim and I only had a few hours to tour Verona. We visited this city as a quick side trip while traveling between Cervia (for Ironman Italy) and Venice.
Verona is gorgeous, similar to Venice but without the canals, the decay, and the huge numbers of tourists. We were pleasantly surprised, and we were here just long enough to know that we can’t wait to return again someday.
If you have plans to visit Italy and are not sure if Verona should be included in your itinerary, keep reading. In this post are lots of photos and ideas of things to do. I have a hunch that if you include Verona in your travel plans, you will be thrilled you did so.
12 Best Things to Do in Verona
#1 Wander through Centro Storico
Centro storico is the historic center of Verona. This is where you will find many of the main sights in the city, like the wide piazzas, Juliette’s house, and churches galore. This part of the city is made for wandering (and for taking tons of photographs). Wander the side streets, have lunch in an outdoor café, and have fun exploring Verona.
#2 Piazza Bra
This is main piazza in Verona. It’s a huge open square lined on one side with outdoor cafes. Many people start their tour of Verona in Piazza Bra, as this square sits on the edge of centro storico.
Piazza Bra | Best things to do in Verona
#3 The Verona Arena
The Verona Arena sits adjacent to Piazza Bra. This is one of the best preserved Roman ampitheaters and it is still is use today. You can purchase tickets to tour the inside of the arena or, if your timing is right, see a performance here.
Verona arena | Best things to do in Verona
For the performance schedule, visit the Arena’s official website.
Tickets to tour the inside of the arena cost €10 and the standard opening hours are Tuesday through Sunday from 9 am to 7 pm with the last admission at 6:30 pm. Opening hours can be reduced when preparations are being made for events. Therefore, it is best to check here for changes to the standard opening hours. That link also outlines who qualifies for a reduced price ticket.
You can also take a guided tour of the inside of the arena, which includes your entrance ticket and allows you to skip the line.
#4 Take in the View from Torre dei Lamberti
For one of the best views of the city, visit Torre dei Lamberti. The quickest way to the top is via the elevator, but if you want to eat more gelato, take the steps to the top.
Torre dei Lamberti | Best things to do in Verona
Overlooking Piazza delle Erbe | Best things to do in Verona
The tower is open everyday of the year except December 25th. Get hours and pricing on the official website. It is located next to Piazza delle Erbe.
#5 Piazza delle Erbe
This is another scenic spot in Verona. It’s also a great place for people watching, to go shopping, or to dine at an outdoor café if the weather is nice.
Piazza delle Erbe | Best things to do in Verona
#6 Join the Crowds at Juliette’s House
Worth it? Maybe.
Verona is home to Shakespeare’s legendary love story, Romeo and Juliette. While in this city, you have the chance to see the famous balcony of Juliette’s house. Thousands of people cram into this small square everyday to see this balcony and to have their picture taken with the statue of Juliette. Just be aware that the balcony was built in the 20th century and this really is nothing more than a tourist trap.
But if you know to expect the crowds and the tacky stores that sit all around the square, it can be a short but entertaining visit. Tim and I had fun watching people eagerly waiting in line to have their photo taken with Juliette.
You can pay to tour the museum and stand on the balcony, if you want the full experience.
Get hours and pricing on the official website.
#7 Walk across Ponte Pietra
This is one of the prettiest bridges in the city. Ponte Pietra connects the old city of Verona with Teatro Romano and Castel San Pietro.
Ponte Pietra | Best things to do in Verona
#8 Piazzale Castel San Pietro
For another great view, climb up the stairs or take the funicular to Piazzale Castel San Pietro. From here you get one of the best views of Verona.
The view from Piazzale Castel San Pietro | Best things to do in Verona
Just down the hill, sitting near Ponte Pietra, is Teatro Romano, an ancient Roman theater and Archaeological Museum you can tour.
#9 Basilica of St. Anastasia
Also located near Ponte Pietra is Santa Anastasia church. This is a 13th century Gothic church featuring famous frescoes and a stunning interior.
Visitors are asked to pay €4 to enter. Click here for hours and to double check pricing.
#10 Basilica di San Zeno Maggiore
Remember when I said that Tim and I had just a few hours in Verona? With our limited time, we did not get to see everything on this list. This Basilica is one of those places that we missed, but I wanted to include it in this post simply because other visitors to Verona rave about this place.
Why is this basilica worth a visit? For one thing, the crypt is the location of the wedding in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. This basilica was also recently renovated and is home to stunning frescoes and ornate bronze doors.
The Basilica di San Zeno Maggiore is located a little outside of the main city center, which is why we missed it with our limited time. But if you enjoy visiting churches, this may be the best one in Verona.
Get hours and pricing on the official website.
#11 Arco dei Gavi
This Roman gate was constructed in the 1st century over the Roman road leading into Verona. It stood for centuries until French engineers destroyed it during Napoleonic rule. It was reassemble in 1932.
Arco dei Gavi | Best things to do in Verona
#12 Ponte Scaligero and Castelvecchio
This old, medieval bridge is one of Verona’s iconic spots to visit. This is also a great spot for a photo-op.
Ponte Scaligero | Best things to do in Verona
You can also visit the museum in Castelvecchio, a medieval castle that was constructed in 1354. Get hours and pricing on the official website.
Should You Buy the Verona Card?
The Verona Card covers most of the main sites in the city. The Card can be purchased for 24 hours (€20) or for 48 hours (€25). If you plan on visiting many of the sites that have an entrance fee (such as the Arena, Castelvecchio, Torre dei Lamberti, the museum at Juliette’s house, Basilica di San Zeno Maggiore, Teatro Romano, etc.) then buying the card is worth it. Once you purchase the Verona Card, it allows you to enter these sites for free.
The Verona Card can be purchased online, at the sites in Verona that accept the Card, and at several hotels in the city.
Click here to learn more about the Verona Card.
Click here to purchase the Verona Card online. You will receive a voucher which you then exchange for the card at the tourist information office located in Piazza Bra.
Timed Entry Reservations
Some of the more popular sites (such as the Arena, Juliette’s House, etc.) have a limited number of entries. Therefore, it is advisable to reserve a specific date and time for entry to these busier sites in advance. You can do this by clicking here.
You should do this even if you purchased the Verona Card. During the timed entry reservation process deselect the default option to purchase the entry ticket and select the Verona Card option since your entry is free with the Verona Card.
If you don’t plan on purchasing the Verona Card then you can purchase your entry to the individual sites at the same time you are making your timed entry reservation.
How Much Time Do You Need in Verona?
One day is just enough to visit all of these sites. We saw everything in just under four hours, only skipping the Basilica di San Zeno Maggiore, Castelvecchio, and a walk across Ponte Scaligero. But we did move super fast, quicker than we would have liked, but we had a plane to catch later in the day.
However, when we return to Verona (which we will someday…how we loved it here!) we will spend at least one night here. There is a tradition throughout Italy called the passeggiata, an evening stroll through the city, and it is quite popular in Verona. Italian families dress up for a leisurely walk through the city. Join the locals or have a glass of wine at an outdoor café and enjoy the view. It sounds like a wonderful way to spend an evening in Italy.
Taking a Tour of Verona
If you prefer to explore Verona with an experienced guide, then here are several highly rated tours to consider:
With More Time in Verona
Take a break from exploring the historic sites of Verona to learn Italian cooking tips and techniques, to learn how to make Italy’s famous gelato, or to indulge in a wine tour of the nearby Valpolicella Valley.
Take a Cooking Class
In this hands-on cooking class you will make fresh pasta and tiramisu. Yum!
Learn how to make Gelato
In this family friendly cooking class you will learn how to make gelato from scratch. If only I could sample your creations!
Take a Wine Tour of Valpolicella Valley
In this guided tour you will visit two wine cellars of the Valpolicella wine region. Just make sure you save some Ripasso and Amarone wine for me!
Day Trip to Lake Garda
Lake Garda is just a short drive or a short train ride from Verona. The easiest place to visit is Sirmione, a tiny, fun to explore town that is located at the end of a peninsula jutting into the southern end of the lake. From Sirmione, Peschiera, or Desenzano, you can take a boat tour of Lake Garda or explore the lake using the ferries.
One Last Place to Visit: Madonna della Corona
Madonna della Corona is not located within the city of Verona. It is one hour north of Verona, just over 45 kilometers away. This church literally clings to the side of a mountain. It is quite the sight to see.
Santuario Madonna della Corona
How to Visit Santuario Madonna della Corona
The walking path to Santuario Madonna della Corona begins at the intersection of Strada Provinciale 8 (SP8) and Localita Gabbiola. SP8 is the main road leading to this area and Localita Gabbiola is a paved pedestrian track you follow to Santuario Madonna della Corona. This walking path is about 0.8 km (0.5 miles) long with about 90 m (300 feet) of elevation change each way. All of the elevation change will be down on the way to the sanctuary and then up on the return.
There is also a bus that runs from Spiazzi to the church.
Hotel Corona serves as a good landmark for GPS devices when driving to this area as it is near the above-mentioned intersection and there are several parking lots along SP8 between Hotel Corona and Residence Stella Alpina Hotel. There is also a track that leads to Santuario Madonna della Corona from Residence Stella Alpina Hotel but just note that it is a steeper track.
Do you have any questions or comments about the best things to do in Verona? Comment below!
More Information for Your Trip to Italy
BEST OF ITALY: In our Guide to the Best Places to Visit in Italy, we list 25 beautiful destinations to consider for your next trip to Italy.
LAKE GARDA: Get started with our article Best Things to Do in Lake Garda. Learn how to plan your time with our Lake Garda Itinerary. We also have information about things to do in Sirmione and Riva del Garda.
VENICE: We cover the top experiences in Venice in our Venice Bucket List. Learn where to get the best views of Venice in our article 12 Beautiful Views of Venice. And to help you plan your time, take a look at our one day in Venice itinerary and two days in Venice itinerary.
ITALY ITINERARY: This 10 day Italy itinerary includes Verona, Milan, Lake Como, the Dolomites, and Venice.
MILAN & LAKE COMO: Learn how to visit Milan on a day trip or while traveling between the Cinque Terre, Florence and Venice. Lake Como and Bellagio are two more beautiful places in Italy that are great day trip destinations.
DOLOMITES: To learn about some great hikes in the Dolomites, check out our hiking guides for the Cinque Torri, Rifugio Averau and Rifugio Nuvolau, the Cadini di Misurina viewpoint, and the Puez-Odle Altopiano. In our article Best Hikes in the Dolomites, we cover 15 epic trails in the Dolomites.
We have TONS more information about Italy in our Italy Travel Guide, including Rome, Florence, Venice, Tuscany, the Dolomites, the Amalfi Coast, the Cinque Terre, and Puglia.
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