Verona tends to be underrated as a destination, which is a grave mistake. It’s both a lovely city full of character and things to do, and a great base from which to visit Venice, the Palladian villas and the lakes.
It might be known as the world capital of daunted love, but really what stays with you after a trip to Verona is the incredible meshing of 2000 years of history, set in a vibrant, green and well-organised city. We recently used the city as a base to visit Frantoi Riva on the banks of Lake Garda where we tasted their new season oils as well as a quick trip to the 2019 Venice Biennale to take in the best contemporary art the world has to offer. But Verona was much more than that, it impressed us hugely and has left us with a great desire to visit it again soon.
The River Adige defines both the historic centre and the immediate city, which surrounds it. Both in the historic centre and outside you can find fine examples of Roman, medieval, gothic, renaissance and even modern deco. The Arena, which is still in use after 2000 years is one of the best preserved coliseums that remain, the square surrounding it a fun mesh of cafes and people. Other squares to note for dining, shopping and people watching are Piazza delle Erbe and Piazza dei Signori. Outside the centre the Piazzale Castel San Pietro gives you outstanding views, and is reached via a funicular, which is always quite fun.
Crossing back into the historical centre on the Ponte Pietra takes you into a maze of streets, which occasionally open to show a great church, or narrow alley housing some lovely trattorias. The Porta Borsari, which dates back to the 1 Century AD reminds you how many layers of history this city has. The Scaliger Tombs show you the ambition of people and magnificence of the gothic period. Of all the things Verona is famous for Juliet’s balcony is probably the most underwhelming, which is a measure of just how many things there are to do.