Things to see in Verona during your visit to the city of Arena


Discover with our guide the must see of Verona!

The beautiful town of Verona, northern Italy, is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Italy. With the temperate weather and gorgeous architecture, it is an ideal place to spend a few days relaxing and taking in the sights.

Verona Arena

Perhaps the most impressive thing to see in Verona is the Coliseum-like Verona Arena. Located in the main square of Verona, Piazza Bra, the arena is a beautifully preserved reminder of Roman rule. Slightly smaller than the Colosseum in Rome, Its construction actually predates the Colosseum by about 50 years, and unlike its more famous cousin, it’s still in regular use. Although the ancient structure once held 30,000 people, today the numbers are held to “only” 15,000 for safety purposes. The other main change is that the amphitheatre no longer hosts the gladiator games, equestrian events, and other assorted blood sports that attracted the Romans. Instead each summer people fill the ancient stands for concerts and and operas. For tickets just check the performance schedule on the Verona Arena’s Web Site.

Casa di Giulietta (Home of Juliet)

Literary lovers and romantics alike can enjoy Verona’s top attraction: Juliet’s house from the Shakespeare’s classic, Romeo and Juliet. Visitors can stop in the courtyard to see a replica of the balcony that Romeo stood under night after night to woo Juliet. It’s said that Verona’s top ruling family during the time period, the Scaligeri, might have been a part of the Shakespeare’s inspiration for the drama. Whatever the case, Verona had a strong pull on the writer: Three of Shakespeare’s plays are likely set in the city: besides Romeo and Juliet there’s The Two Gentlemen of Verona, and The Taming of the Shrew.

Piazza Bra and Piazza delle Erbe

When visiting Verona you can’t skip over its two biggest Piazzas. Piazza Bra is the largest piazza in the city (indeed, one of the largest in Europe) as well as the beating heart of its civic life. Here you’ll find the town hall, Palazzo Barbieri, and the Arena. There are also vibrant examples of Verona’s strong café culture among the dozens of restaurants and coffee shops lining the piazza. Even though, like the establishments along all the squares in Europe, they are a bit overpriced, we love to sip an espresso in any of them while people watching. Once you have gotten your fill head to the Piazza delle Erbe, where you’ll see the famous Mazzanti Houses whose facades are decorated with 16th-century frescoes.

While in the Piazza delle Erbe, look for the arch with a large whalebone dangling from it. Nobody knows exactly why the bone was hung or who hung it from Arco della Costa, (Literally: Arch of the Rib) but it has been there for centuries. Some say it’s a religious relic, others that it’s simply an ad for the ancient pharmacy that is still operating underneath it. The most popular legend, however, is that it will fall only when someone walks under it who is pure of heart. This person is sometimes described as one who has never told a lie or alternately a virgin. Either way, it’s still hanging – perhaps all the more ironic because it connects the Piazza with the city’s magistrate offices, Palazzo della Ragione, or House of Reason!

Basilica di San Zeno

The Basilica of San Zeno houses the tomb of St. Zeno, Verona’s first bishop. Construction on the church began in the 10th century but the Romanesque-style building that you see today wasn’t completed until the 14th. It’s creamy white tuff stone facade became a model for many other buildings in Verona and its influence extends far beyond the architectural: Dante mentioned its bell tower in Canto 18 of Purgatory in the Divine Comedy and it is also said to be Romeo and Juliet’s wedding church. Aside from the exquisite beauty of the interior, the main attraction is the rose window that has its roots in Greek/Roman mythology. Called a Wheel of Fortune or Ruota della Fortuna, it is a tool of the goddess Fortuna (Tyche, in Greek) who spins it at random. In medieval christinaity it was used to remind people of the difficulties of life that arise from sin and the short time we have on earth.

Scaligeri Family Tombs