The Top 15 Must-See Things to Do in Verona

Castelvecchio next to the Adige River
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Verona is a big tourist destination in northern Italy’s Veneto region. It has an old-world charm due to its medieval old town built by the Adige River and being famous for being the location of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet’. You can even take a day trip to Verona from Trento, as I did. When visiting Verona, it is helpful to know what to see when you come, so; you aren’t overwhelmed with the crowds and end up shuffling with them to destinations that you didn’t want to explore. Here is the list of top 15 must-see things to do in Verona.Medieval Gates in the Wall to Piazza Bra in Verona, Veneto, Italy

Amphitheater ArenaAmphitheater Arena - Things to do in Verona

Verona has over two millennia of history going back to the first century B.C. during Roman times. Back then, it was a major political, and commercial hub for the Romans and part of that history still exists today with the Arena. The Amphitheater Arena was built around the middle of the 1st century A.D. and is the fourth-largest Roman Amphitheaters in Italy and is the eighth largest in the Roman Empire. Back then, it could hold 30,000 people to watch the duels between the gladiators, but today for musical performances/concerts, it can only hold half that amount. When I was visiting, they were setting up for a pop music rewards show. The entrance fee is 10€ or free with the Verona Card. The Arena is open to the public on Tuesday to Sunday from 8.30 a.m. to 7.30 p.m. and on Mondays in July, August, September, from 8.30 a.m. to 7.30 p.m.Panoramic View of the Inside the Amphitheater Arena

House of JulietCrowds at Juliet's House in Verona, Italy

Juliet’s House is an absolute must-do when you are in Verona. But, be forewarned, the crowds will be massive. Just getting to the statue of Juliet in the garden took over 20 minutes. Then another 10 minutes to get a photo without people in it. When getting your picture with Julia, you need to be quick, get in, and get out. I found that coming back later in the day, there were fewer crowds and was able to go through the museum at a slower pace and even get my photo on Juliet’s balcony (alas I don’t have a copy of that pic). Make sure to check out the Letters to Juliet wall; most of the wall is filled with post-it notes when I was visiting. There is still a group today that answers the letters to Juliet, just like in the movie.

For Shakespeare fans, this isn’t Juliet’s House. The house belonged to the Dal Capello family, commonly known as the Cappelletti, which is very similar to the Capulets name. With a little imagination, this house became her family home and is now a huge tourist destination. The house even has a balcony, although it wasn’t added until the 20th century. Casa di Giulietta is located on Via Cappello and is open on Tuesdays to Sundays from 8:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. and on Mondays from 1:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The entrance fee is 6€ or free with the Verona Card.Juliet statue at Juliet's House in Verona - Things to do in VeronaLetters to Juliet wall at Juliet's House in Verona

CastelvecchioOutside of Castelvecchio in Verona, Italy

Castelvecchio has been restored to a modern-day museum. The castle is an imposing symbol of the Scaliger-era Verona, built by Cangrande II dell Scala in the second half of 1300. This was probably the most fun museum to walk through. There are so many twists, turns, stairs, hallways, and ramparts for you to explore. The museum itself is filled with a collection of sculptures from the Romanesque period, statues, paintings, and ancient weapons. You could easily spend a couple of hours exploring this entire medieval castle. Open hours are Monday from 1.30 p.m. to 7.30 p.m. and from Tuesday to Sunday from 8.30 a.m. to 7.30 p.m. The entrance fee is 6€ or free with the Verona Card.Inside Castelvecchio in VeronaCastelvecchio Ramparts

Archaeological Museum at the Roman TheaterView of Verona from the Archaeological Museum at the Roman Theater

The Roman Theater is an ancient theater on the banks of the Adige River. The Museum is located within a convent built in the fifteenth century. This is where you can see Roman artifacts, columns, and other archaeological finds in a splendid location (Grand Terrace) where you can get a panorama of Verona and the Adige River. You can also see what is left of the “promenades,” architectural elevations that ended towards the top of the hill, the Roman theater. The Roman Theater is open Monday from 1:30 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. and from Tuesday to Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. The entrance fee is 4.50€ or free with the Verona Card.Archaeological Museum at the Roman Theater

Torre dei LambertiView of Verona from Torre dei Lamberti

The Tower of Lamberti was built in 1172. Originally it was only 37 meters high but was struck by lightning. When they restored the tower, they added to the tower resulting in today’s 84-meter high tower. The Torre dei Lamberti is located in the heart of the historic center of Verona. After climbing 368 steps to the observation deck, you will have some incredible aerial views of the city of Verona. If you want a magical evening in Verona, schedule an Aperintorre evening where you can toast with an aperitif during sunset on select evenings. The Lamberti Tower is open from Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The entrance fee is 8€ or free with the Verona Card.Bells in the Torre dei LambertiHeather in the Torre dei Lamberti

Complesso del DuomoCathedral Complex - things to do in Verona

The Cathedral is the central structure in the complex of architectural buildings that include the Church of St. Elena, San Giovanni in Fonte (Baptistery), and the Canons’ cloister. During the Roman Empire, this complex probably had villas with private thermal baths and small temples in the place where the present-day church is located. Open hours are from March to October from Monday to Friday 10 a.m. – 5.30 p.m. and on Saturdays and the day before a religious holiday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Sundays and religious holidays the complex is open from 1.30 p.m. – 5.30 p.m. During November to February the complex closes at 5 p.m. The entrance fee for visitors is 3€, although it is free to enter to pray.

BaptisteryBaptistery at the Cathedral Complex

The baptistry of the Cathedral, St. Giovanni in Fonte, was rebuilt in 1123 A.D. The highlight to see is the octagonal Baptismal Font, which is situated in the center of the church and is a magnificent piece of Romanesque sculpture. The font was carved out of one huge marble block. The scenes carved in it depict the Gospel episodes from the Annunciation until Christ’s baptism.

St. Elena ChurchChurch of St. Elena in the Cathedral Complex in Verona - things to do in Verona

The Church of St. Elena was built in the 9th century A.D. and renovated after a destructive earthquake in 1117. Besides seeing the remains of the previous churches’ mosaic floors underneath, St. Elena has some impressive woodwork chairs from the 15th century by the altar. This little church is the third basilica on this site.

DuomoCathedral Duomo

The Cathedral is dedicated to S. Maria Assunta. Within the Cathedral, you can see multiple chapels, which include amazing paintings and sculptures. Expect to spend an hour and a half to two hours going through this entire complex. I saved the Duomo to the end and glad that I did. This was an impressive cathedral and one of my favorites in Italy to visit.Inside the Duomo - things to do in Verona

Archaeological Areas of the Palaeo-Christian BasilicaArchaeological finds at the Archaeological Areas of the Palaeo-Christian Basilica

The first paleo Christian basilica was built between 362-380 A.D on the site of St. Elena’s Church. The church ended up being too small and had to be replaced. The wider second basilica was built in the 5th century and was active through the 7th century. I really enjoyed seeing the remains of the mosaic floor of two Paleo-Christian basilicas that can be seen under the church of St. Elena.Archaeological Areas of the Palaeo-Christian Basilica

Basilica di Santa AnastasiaBasilica di Santa Anastasia

The Basilica of St. Anastasia is one of the first churches I visited in Verona as it is an easy walk along the main road that goes past Castelvecchio. This church is an excellent example of Italian Gothic Architecture built between 1290 and 1481. The outside is unfinished, but with a lovely Gothic portal. Walking inside, you see altars and chapels with incredible works of art, including the famous “Saint George and the Princess” painted by Pisanello. There are also some neat hunchback sculptures of the holy water stoup by the entrance of the church. Open hours are from March to October from Monday to Friday 9 a.m. – 6.30 p.m. and on Saturdays and the day before a religious holiday 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Sundays and religious holidays it is open from 1 p.m. – 6 p.m. During November to February the church closes at 6 p.m. The entrance fee for visitors is 3€, although it is free to enter to pray.Inside the Basilica di Santa Anastasia- things to do in Verona

Church of Saint FermoChurch of St. Fermo

The Church of St. Fermo is another example of Italian Gothic architecture. This church has two levels; the lower portion was done by Benedictine monks in the Romanesque style and had several XII-XIV century frescoes. Inside the upper church, you can see a fantastic ribbed vault wooden ceiling with 14th and 15th-century frescoes. The wooden ceiling has saints painted in every little niche. The Church of Saint Fermo is a beautiful church to visit, especially if you love art. Open hours are from March to October from Monday to Friday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., and on Sundays, and religious holidays, it is open from 12:30 p.m. – 6 p.m. During November to February check the open times here. The entrance fee for visitors is 3€, although it is free to enter to pray.Wooden Ceiling at the Church of St. Fermo

Basilica di San ZenoOutside the Basilica di San Zeno

The Basilica di San Zeno rebuilt after the 1117 earthquake in the Romanesque style originates around the 4th or 5th century. On the outside is the impressive rose window called the “Wheel of Fortune.” This church is unique in that it has bronze doors instead of wooden ones. Inside, you will be able to see 13th and 14th-century frescoes, the baptismal font, the ribbed vault ceiling, the crypt where the remains of San Zeno are kept, along with many sculptures. Make sure to take a walk around the Cloister, which was built in the tenth century. Open hours are from March to October from Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m., and on Sundays and religious holidays it is open from 12:30 p.m. – 6 p.m. and on Saturdays the day before a religious holiday 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. Sundays and religious holidays it is open from 12:30 p.m. – 6 p.m. During November to February check the open times here. The entrance fee for visitors is 3€, although it is free to enter to pray.Inside the Basilica di San ZenoLooking toward the altar of the Basilica di San ZenoBasilica di San Zeno

Castel San Pietro Funicular RailwayCastel San Petro Funicular Railway

Another place to get beautiful aerial views of the city is at Castel San Pietro. Take a ride up the funicular, especially at sunset, to get some fabulous views of the Verona, the bell towers, and the Adige River. The journey takes less than a minute to get to the top of Colle San Pietro. The funicular was opened in 1943, but closed for the war in 1944 and wasn’t reopened until 2017. Open hours during the summer are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and during the winter, it closes at 5 p.m. The roundtrip fare is 2€.View of Verona from Castel San Petro

Scaligeri Tombstomb of Cansignorio Mastino II in Verona

The Scaligeri Tombs are a group of 5 Gothic funerary monuments celebrating the lords of Verona, the Scaliger family, who ruled from the 13th century to the late 14th-century. You can find the tombs located in a court outside the church of Santa Maria Antica. The largest hexagonal tomb is for Cansignorio, who had his own tomb designed by the Lombard sculpture Bonino da Campione. Cansignorio was less powerful than his ancestors, but the design glorified himself as a monarch, surrounding his image with saints, warriors, and kings. Open hours are Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. The entrance fee is 1€ or free with the Verona Card.tomb of Cansignorio Mastino III in VeronaScaligeri Tombs in Verona - Things to do in Verona

Food

LoackerStrawberry Waffles for Breakfast at Loacker in Verona

Loacker is a great place to grab breakfast before you head out and start exploring the city. Located on Corso Sant’Anastasia, it is easy to find right in the heart of Verona. I stopped in to grab a quick breakfast and instead found these strawberry waffles on the menu that I just had to try. Yummy!

BuonoHam Piadina at Buoono in Verona

Buoono is located right by the Amphitheater on Via Anfiteatro. I ate here a couple of times and used this cafe as a coworking space a couple of times. Although far warning, the last time I did get kicked out right when I was eating my lunch as it became busy. I think they could have handled that a little better or at least let me finish eating my lunch I bought there before I was asked to leave. Regardless of the customer service here, they do have great sandwiches. I had a ham Piadina for lunch one day. The Piadina (pronounced pea-ah-DEE-nah) is a thin flatbread from the Romagna region of north-central Italy. The Piadina was initially considered a poor man’s food because it was the quickest bread to make that would carry a family over between batches of yeast bread (which were made once a week).

Congrande Ristorante & EnotecaCANGRANDE Ristorante & Enoteca

Congrande Ristorante & Enoteca was a treat for me. I decided to splurge on a great Italian meal on my last night in Verona, and I wasn’t disappointed. I ordered a pasta dish with an aperitif (which is the standard drink in the summer in Italy). What I received was a lot more than a simple pasta dish. As I was eating, the servers kept coming out and bringing me more treats and plates of food, compliments of the chef. I ate so much that night cause they took one plate and left another. Well worth the time and money spent. This restaurant is located right off the street by the Arena on Via Dietro Listone. The menu is seasonal so, you can keep going back here and being surprised by what the chef prepared for you.

Tigella BellaEating Lunch Outside at Tigella Bella

Tigella Bella was a restaurant that I was taken to with a friend whom I was with. We spent the day exploring Verona and were starving. Opting to sit outside and enjoy the beautiful Verona weather and scenery by the Adige River was a treat. We tried eating here the day before, but you have to pay close attention to the open times. Most restaurants close in Italy between lunch and dinner. We ordered the meat and bread tray with 12  creams, sauces, or cheese to choose from. It costs 11.80€ per person and definitely worth it. The open times are Tuesday to Sunday from 7 p.m. to 12 a.m. and from Friday to Sunday open from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

È Buono Verona – Gelateria ArtigianaleÈ Buono Verona - Gelateria Artigianale

Then, of course, for dessert or practically any time of the day, while you are in Italy, you have to get some gelato. The best gelato places have them stored in containers and not out in the open. Although personally, any gelato is good gelato! This little place we found on our way to the Castel San Pietro Funicular.

Street ArtStreet Art in Verona

And for those that travel with me, know I’m always on the lookout for awesome street art. I was able to capture a few while exploring Verona. Not a lot, which was surprisingly refreshing on how graffiti-free they keep all their buildings in Verona.

Rafting the Adige RiverRafting on Adige River in Verona

Last but not least. If you want something exciting and unique to do while in Verona, check out rafting on the Adige River. While walking along the river, I spotted a large group of rafts heading to Castelvecchio and the rapids that are right after the bridge. It looked like so much fun! If this is something you might be interested in, you can check out all the details here.

Where to Stay in Verona

Booking.com

When traveling through Europe, it is great to have the app Booking.com to find hotels, hostels, or other places to stay. If you want, you can use this deals finder to find great deals for your next trip to Verona.

Booking.com

Airbnb – B&B Maddalena di San ZenoB&B Maddalena di San Zeno

One of the nights that I stayed in Verona, I booked an Airbnb. The B&B Maddalena di San Zeno was located right by the Basilica of San Zeno, which is one of the churches I wanted to explore. Great place for a weekend or overnight visit to Verona. If you click on this Airbnb link and sign up for Airbnb with my link will get $40 off their home-booking. And they get $15 to use toward an experience worth $50 or more. The experience credit is something new that I just tried and worth it!

CouchsurfingCouchSurfing in Verona

The other way to travel cheaply is to sign up for CouchSurfing. I really enjoyed my time staying with Anna that my friend introduced me to. I stayed with her twice on two different occasions, and both times were lovely. This is a great way to meet local people and travel inexpensively. I also was able to go to a CouchSurfing Meetup, which happened to be a picnic in the park. It was a fantastic evening meeting tons of wonderful people that I am still in contact with today.

Summary

Verona is, by far, one of my favorite cities in Italy. When I happened to be in a lousy mood traveling, I took a detour and ended up back in Verona to recharge my batteries. This is a place where you can’t help but smile and enjoy life. There is a lot more to do in Verona, but this is a great start to make the most of your trip. I hope you enjoyed it and if you feel I need to add something, let me know in the comments.

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Further Reading

If you are coming to Italy for a visit, check out these posts for further travel inspiration:

2 Comments

  • Tara 4December2019 at 11:19 PM Reply

    Love this!! Haven’t been to Northern Italy during either trip! I will definitely make it my next stop!

    • Heather 5December2019 at 5:17 AM Reply

      I’m so glad you love this Tara! You should definitely take some time to see Northern Italy. I spent quite a bit of time there this summer. I’m still writing lots of articles on them. So stay tuned for more…

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