How to get there
By plane. For example, you can have a direct flight from London to Verona by EasyJet (a return ticket from 128 €). You can have a flight with a single change by Lufthansa through Munich, and by Alitalia through Rome. The flight time is 3 h 35 min. The return ticket costs from 155 €.
By train. From the bigger Italian cities, you can take a bullet train such as Italo, Frecciarossa, Frecciargento, and a simple suburban train. The route from Rome will take you more than three hours, and the ticket will cost 40 €. From Venice it’ll take from 58 minutes, and the ticket will cost 10 €. You can get a ticket using a special machine on railway stations and on the web sites of Italo and Trenitalia.
From the airport to the city center
The Verona Airport is called Valerio Catullo Villafranca and is 10 km from the city. You can take a bus, a taxi or a transfer booked beforehand to get to the city center.
By bus. The bus number 199 from the airport to the central railway station Porta Nuova comes every 20 minutes. By taking it, you can get to the city center from 5:35 to 23:10. The bus stop is on the left from the terminal 2 exit. The ticket is 6 €, and you can get it on the ATV transport company website, using the machine in the airport or from the driver.
By taxi. They don’t use Uber in Verona, they have their own company that is called Radio Taxi. This app is called AppTaxi, and it allows to order a taxi, but you can’t specify the destination point there. In the airport, taxi cars are standing near the arrivals terminal. The ride will cost 30-40 €, and even more during the holidays. You can find out the exact ride price on Radio Taxi website.
By transfer. You can book a transfer beforehand that will take you to a certain place if you don’t want to wait for a taxi. It costs more, the price for a ride to the center is from 40 €, but you won’t have to explain the route to the driver.
When is the best time to come
The best time to come to Verona is from the beginning of May to the end of June, and from the end of August to the end of September. These months are not that hot, in the crazy Italian style that melts the asphalt, and there are fewer tourists on the streets than in July and at the beginning of August. It is also great to come here with your partner on February 14 if you celebrate the Sent Valentine’s Day. The city is usually decorated for this holiday, the celebration program lasts from the 9th to the 17th of February. These days, there are different fairs, in restaurants, you can find romantic menus, and the art gallery prepares the special exhibition. In winter, you should take some warm clothes with you: there is no central heating system so that it can be really cold.
Where to stay
The Old City is the central district that is situated near the Adige River. There are Verona main landmarks, the major part of restaurants and shops. Città antica is a historical development with narrow stairs and lots of tourists. It’s going to be comfortable for you to stay there if you want to listen to the concert on the Arena-di-Verona or if you don’t want to walk towards the main architectural landmarks.
To the South from the Arena-di-Verona, not far from Porta-Nuova railway station, there is a bit more modern district of Verona — Cittadella. Here, the hotels are cheaper than in the Old City, and it will take 10-15 minutes to reach the landmarks. It’s comfortable to stay here if you’re going to go to other Italian cities by train.
This is a small district situated in the East from the city center on the coast of Adige. There are fewer restaurants and tourists, but there are enough bars and students from the University of Verona. It’s still not far from the city center, you just need to go through the bridge.
The Valdonega district adjoins Veronetta in the North-West. There are not many hotels and tourists, but it is possible to find a place to stay with the incredible view from the window.
The district with its own atmosphere near San Zeno Basilica: children are playing on the square, families are having a walk, and friends are meeting. On Sundays, there is a flea market with books, jewelry, and trinkets.
How to move around the city
There are no other kinds of public transport but buses. The city is small, so nobody really needs them. It is much easier to walk because all the main landmarks are not very far from each other.
Day 1. By the tracks of Shakespeare characters
You should start exploring Verona in a real Italian way, you need to have a leisurely breakfast. Emanuel cafe is on Bra square, it has an amazing view of the ancient amphitheater of Arena-di-Verona. This cafe is relatively cheap among the other ones in the city center, it has breakfasts, excellent coffee, and fresh orange juice. The breakfast containing the cheese and bacon omelet, fresh bread with butter and jams of your choice, and a drink will cost 11-15 €.
Arena-di-Verona was built in the year 30 A. D. for gladiatorial battles and circus performances. This is the third biggest well-preserved amphitheater, its capacity is 30 000 spectators. It’s well-preserved indeed, the Italian artists give their concerts here, and every summer, from the end of June to the beginning of September the Opera festival is held there. In 2019, on the amphitheater stage, there will be “La traviata,” “Aida,” “Carmen,” and “Tosca.” The tickets without a place attached will cost from 26 €, and the place near the stage will cost 208 €. When there are no concerts, you can have an excursion inside Arena-di-Verona. An adult ticket costs 10 €.
Except for the amphitheater, Portoni-della-Bra, the entrance gate in the form of two stone arches, and Victor Emmanuel II equestrian monument are also very popular places to visit. Portoni-della-Bra used to be the part of the city fortress wall which is obvious because of the battlements in the form of the swallow’s tail typical for the Italian architecture. Gran Guardia and Barbieri palaces facades also face the square.
Via degli Alpini and Via del Pontiere lead from the city heart to Julietta’s tomb. It’s an empty stone sarcophagus surrounded by a small garden and a temple. The entrance ticket will cost 4,5 €. It’s a popular place among tourists, but a lot of them are usually disappointed as they expect to see something more magnificent and romantic.
From the tomb, it’s not far to the Adige coast going along Via Shakespeare. San-Fermo-Maggiore church is 10 minutes walk along the Adige coast. It is one of the most beautiful temples of the city, its architecture includes the Roman and Gothic elements, and as part of the interior, there are the gravestones and murals of XII-XIV centuries.
To get into this temple, and also into many other ones in Italy, you’ll have to pay. And it would be much better for you to buy the special pass that allows visiting four Verona temples: San-Fermo-Maggiore, the Cathedral, Sant’Anastasia’s church, and San-Zeno-Maggiore Basilica. You can buy this pass in any of these temples, and it will cost 6 €. Separately, the entrance in each of them will cost 3 €.
From the left of San-Fermo-Maggiore, there is Porta-Leoni, the fragment of the ancient city gate. Nearby, the architectures dug up the basement of the defense tower and the remains of the pavement just in the middle of the street. The ruins are surrounded by metal fencing. In the shop on the right of them, you can buy the famous Italian ice-cream “gelato” for 2,5 € and start your way to Juliette’s house eating it.
Juliette’s House is the building of the XIII century with a little courtyard and the balcony from which the young Juliette listened to Romeo’s declarations of love according to the piece. In the courtyard, there a bronze statue of the girl. The strange fact is that a lot of tourists touch her right breast for luck.
Although there are no historical prototypes for Shakespeare characters, this is a landmark that attracts the attention of all tourists. In the building itself, there is a museum with murals, antique furniture, costumes, and decorations from the movies based on the piece. The entrance is 6 €.
Letters to Juliette
Tourists used to leave notes for Juliette with their love stories and their loved ones’ names, for luck. But the number of notes got very huge, so the city authorities offered the tourists the alternative – to leave their notes on the arch on the way to the courtyard to not to spoil the landmark appearance. You can still write to Juliette, to the email address [email protected], or in a traditional way, on the paper. Letters are put in the special boxes in the courtyard with the «posta di Giulietta» inscription.
Tourists usually ask Juliette for a piece of advice about their love issues. From her behalf, the volunteers of Juliette’s Club respond to these letters.
To reach Romeo’s house, you should go through two famous city squares, Piazza delle Erbe and Piazza dei Signori. The facades of buildings of different historical epochs with statues and murals face Piazza delle Erbe, in its center, there is Madonna Verona’s fountain. There’s also the highest Verona’s tower, Lamberti Tower. You can go up this tower for 6 €, and see the whole city from a height of 84 meters. Piazza dei Signori is also famous for its architecture. There are three palaces and Dante’s monument.
Romeo’s house is in private ownership, it’s closed for visitors. So the only way to have a look at it is only outside. It is a brick mansion of the XIV century surrounded by the battlements. A very beautiful Sant’Anastasia church is in four minutes’ walk from there. It is a big basilic made in the Gothic style with naturally made murals on the ceilings, with sculptures and paintings that you definitely must see.
The pass price also includes the audio guide that will inform you about the church interiors.
You can have a rest and a meal in Pizza e Caffe in Via Scala 2. This place is relatively cheap, and the choice of pizza for 8-9 € and of aperols for 3,50 € is huge. Still, pasta is not the best here, the best one is in La Taverna di Via Stella in Via Stella 5C. This is the place where you can taste a huge range of local cuisine dishes, and there’s a huge wine list. But you should mind the time, it works for two hours, from 12:15 to 14:15. The pasta is 10-12 €. A bottle of house wine costs 5,8 € for a half bottle, and a whole bottle costs from 15 €. Porta Borsari and Gavi Arch is in 10 minutes walk from the restaurants. Both these monuments appeared in the first century A. C. Porta Borsari is a triple-decker facade of disarmed barracks made of white stone. Here it used to be the city entrance. Castelvecchio Museum is near Porta Borsari inside of the medieval castle on the Adige coast. Art lovers are going to love the medieval sculptures and paintings collection. The entrance is 6 €. Those who are not huge fans of art can go through the castle to Scaliger Bridge. It has an amazing view of the fortresses and the river.
This bridge leads to San-Zeno-Maggiore Basilica, the church made in Roman style in the X century. It used to be decorated with relief illustrating the Judging Day, but now it’s hard to recognize. The panels outside illustrate Saint Zeno of Verona’s wonders whose tomb is inside the basilica and the Bible scenes. Inside, you should pay attention to the “Ognissanti Madonna” mural and the sculpture of Jesus Christ surrounded by Apostles.
The best way to finish the day is to go to a little bar Grande Giove. You can listen to vinyl music there and have a nice drink from the menu and by special request. The bar is open till midnight and works from Wednesday to Sunday. Those who like loud music and don’t want to go far can visit Duchi Cafè, the cocktail bar with DJs playing. A cocktail will cost 7-10 €.
Day 2. The birds-eye view of the city
I’d recommend having breakfast on a quiet and secluded street Via Giosue’ Carducci in Café Carducci. It’s close to Juliette’s House, it works from Tuesday to Saturday and opens at 7:00 which is unusual for Italy. You can have a cup of coffee here with some pastry or a sandwich for 7-10 €. Up to the street, there is the Gusti Garden, the Verona corner of nature and calm. It is a small palace on the top of the hill with sculptures and fountains. You can go through the labyrinth made of accurately cut bushes, have a look at ripening lemons and listen to birds singing.
Usually, there are not many tourists here, which is strange. The stairs inside one of the towers lead to the top of the hill that has an incredible view of the city. The entrance is 7 €. The street on the right from the garden exit leads to another landmark, to the Santa-Maria-in-Organo church. It seems very ordinary-looking outside, but inside there are murals and choruses cut of wood designed by incrustation master Fra Giovanni da Verona. The entrance is free.
The Roman theatre of Verona is an antique theatre of the first century situated on a hillside. Archeologists dug up the amphitheater with the seats for spectators, the remains of the stage and the arch not long ago, in the XIX century. Now jazz festivals and concerts are held there. In the summer of 2019, there will be Glenn Miller’s orchestra’s performance and the one of Fiorella Mannoia, an Italian singer. Here’s also the Archeological Museum in the building that used to be the San-Gerolamo cathedral. In the museum, there are murals, sculptures, and ceramics of Roman times. The entrance is 6 €. Upstairs, there’s the best observation area of the city near San-Pietro castle. After 10 minutes of going up the stairs or the cable car ride for 2 €, you’re going to take a great picture.
A bit further, the oldest bridge of the city Ponte Pietra crosses the river. On the way through it, you’re going to see the watchtower that is situated near the Verona Cathedral. You can enter it using the special pass or by paying 3 €. The cathedral gateway is decorated with prophets’ sculptures and the chase scenes, and inside, there’s a Titian’s work “The Assumption of the Virgin.”
If it’s earlier than 14:30, you can have lunch just on the next street, in Trattoria Al Duomo. You can have the incredible pasta there for 12-15 € and a glass of home wine for 5 € for 0,5l. If you’re late, then you should go to Osteria Caffè Monte Baldo that is open all day long. There, you can taste different kinds of bruschetta, the octopus salad, and risotto with Amarone, the famous wine sort of Veneto region. A single bruschetta costs 1,5 €, and a set of 10 costs 12 €. The average bill for a person is usually 30 €.
You can spend the rest of the day walking around the suburban shops. Leather bags of excellent quality can be found in the shops called Borsi, and they cost from 40 €. In Vivavino Wine Shop, not far from Julietta’s House, you will find a wide range of Italian wine from 12 €.
The trip to the Garda Lake
In 40 km from Verona, there’s the Garda Lake, the biggest one in Italy. The main reason to go there is its amazing views, with azure water surrounded by the Alps and green gardens. Here you can find olive trees, grapes, citrus trees, and tall cypresses. On the coast, there is the Sirmione resort, with the medieval fort, the resorts of Salo, Bardolino, Malcesine, theme parks, and the aquarium.
You can get to the lake from Verona by train or by commuter buses of the ATV company.
The train leaves from the Porta Nuova railway station and makes stops at Peschiera del Garda, Desenzano del Garda. The ticket for the direct train to the first city costs 3,55 €. The route time is 15 minutes. The ticket to the second one costs 4,45 € , and the route will take 25 minutes.
You can take a commuter bus and reach the East coast of the lake which is impossible to do going by train. Buses # 162, 163, 164, 165, 185, X05 going to Garda auto station leave from the Porta Nuova bus station or from Piazza Bra and Corso Milano bus stops. The ticket prices are published on the company’s web site, the prices depend on the route. The route to the final stop will take 50 minutes and will cost 4 €. You can buy the tickets at the Porta Nuova bus station or from the bus driver, but in the second case, the ticket will be more expensive.
You can go to the lake for half of the day or several days. The trip duration depends on the number of cities you’d like to visit. Tourists often go to Peschiera del Garda, Sirmione, or Malcesine. You’ll need a couple of hours to see one city. You can get to the other ones by boat or by the same bus.
Verona is famous for Shakespeare’s characters’ houses, but it’s still much more interesting because of its cultural heritage. In a small square, there are lots of beautiful architectural monuments of different epochs. Verona is called the city of lovers for a good reason because even when you come here alone, you leave with love in your heart.