What to see in Verona?

Towards the northeast of Italy is Verona’s city, exactly in the region called Veneto. We are talking about the twelfth most populated city in the country, with about 258,031 inhabitants and 206 square kilometers. Many have heard of it thanks to the story written by the playwright Williams Shakespeare, Romeo, and Juliet.

The story of this loving couple, whose families lived at odds, made Verona the most romantic city in Italy. Even today, tourists are still very attracted to Verona to see Juliet’s famous house. 

But this city has much more to show, and most do not know it. It is a city that can be visited in very few days, even in just one if you organize yourself well, hire a private tour that knows the city and start the tour early in the morning; but if you have 2 days, it would be perfect. Nowadays, it is a very prosperous city, and it is ideal for those people who love history, art, and culture.

Summary of the History of Verona

At the time of the Romans, Verona was located in a strategic place of great importance for the empire because it converged the 4 most important routes of communication. It was a very attractive city, to the point that Julius Caesar, after his military campaigns, took refuge in this place to get the rest he needed.

The greatest apogee of the city is known to have been between the XIII and XIV centuries when the Scala family governed it; their works can still be seen throughout the city. By the following century, the 15th, the city of Verona passed to the domain of the Venetian territory. Later, in the 18th century, the city was occupied by Napoleon Bonaparte, and after the signing of the Treaty of Campo Formio, it became part of Austria.

Later, in the 19th century, it became part of the country of Italy, together with the Veneto area. As we can see, it has an interesting tour and a historic center, where you can see both Renaissance and medieval buildings, which has allowed Unesco to consider it a World Heritage Site.

Some interesting squares in Verona, Romeo and Juliet’s houses, and other interesting places

The Piazza Bra or Bra Square:

It can be said to be the entrance to the historic center of the city, it is quite large and has a Roman-style amphitheater, almost as big as that of the city of Rome, and is known by the name of Arena of Verona, which dates back to the first century; in its time it had capacity for about 30,000 people.

But its capacity today is less due to the earthquake of 1183, where a part of it was destroyed. It currently hosts opera and contemporary music concerts. There is not only the amphitheater; in its surroundings, there are beautiful gardens surrounding the famous Fountain of the Alps and important buildings in its surroundings.

Such as Los Portales de la Plaza Bra, where you enter the square, both on foot and by car, as they are 2 arches of Renaissance type and are located next to another building of interest, called the Palace of the Guard, dating from the seventeenth century and was built so that the troops could take refuge if the weather were bad. But the construction was not finished until the following 200 years; today, it is a place for meetings, conferences, or exhibitions.

There is also the Barbieri Palace from the 19th century, which today is the Town Hall of the city of Verona. The Capitol of the Square is also located, a column dating from the fourteenth century, made of stone and where you can see carved the Patron Saints of Commerce. We end in a pink marble sidewalk called El Listone, which is used for walking and is full of restaurants and cafes. 

Piazza Delle Erbe or Piazza Delle Erbe or Herbs Square

This is considered the main square of Verona, as it is the social center of the city and the heart of its historical center, where you can visit many places; it is also where the vegetable and fruit market is held and is located approximately where the Roman Forum used to be. Among the buildings surrounding the square are located:

The palace of Reason: where the City Hall is located. Next to this palace is located the Tower of the Lamberti, with a height of 84 m and medieval-style; and in this tower, you will find 2 bells, one was to mark the hours of work or alarm of a fire, and the other to call to arms or to meet the Communal Council.

We will also find the Casa de Los Mercaderes, a Romanesque-style building in front of the Palacio de la Razón, which served as a meeting place for merchants to discuss the economy in medieval times.

Also, the famous Lion’s Column winged St. Mark’s as a reminder that Verona once belonged to Venice. The Maffei Palace also dates back to the eleventh century and is located behind the Column of St. Mark.

If we continue walking, we will find the Gardella Tower, next to Palazzo Maffei, also called Tower of the Hours, due to the presence of a mechanical type clock. Also, the Mazzanti Houses are ancient palaces of Verona and are known for their characteristic facades.

Finally, in this square, we find the Fountain of Madonna Verona, which dates back to the fourteenth century, but was somehow rebuilt thanks to the recycling of a statue of a young Roman girl, becoming the city’s symbol.

Piazza Dei Signori or Square of the Lords: 

It is located next to Piazza delle Herbe, and to reach it you must cross the famous Arch of the Coast, which has the bone of a whale hanging; insignia of one of the stores of the place; in addition, this square functioned at the time of the Scaligeri as a center of politics. Among the most important places of this square we can name:

The famous Dante’s Monument: which is dedicated to the author of The Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri, and which is located in the central part of the square, since he lived for a long time in Verona due to his exile from Florence, his hometown.

The Council Palace or Loggia: it was where the political activity of the sixteenth century took place in the upper part of the palace, which has 8 arches with beautiful pink and gray columns made of marble material. 

Other places of interest: you can also visit the Cansignorio Palace, the Captain’s Palace, or the Cangrande Palace. Therefore, we can observe the number of palaces that existed at the time and that have left traces of their past.

Romeo and Juliet’s houses

One of the places that attract many tourists is this house. Although it is a fictitious story, it is difficult not to visit it on tour. It is very easy to get there: from Piazza Delle Erbe you will find Mazzini street, then on the right, you will find another street, the Cappello. It is a palace dating back to the 12th century, in medieval style; the Dal Capello family owned it.

It is currently used as a museum, which can be visited because all the details of the time have been recreated, such as sixteenth and seventeenth-century furniture, paintings on the story of Romeo and Juliet, ceramic objects, Juliet’s dresses. Most importantly, the balcony was added to reproduce the site close to Franco Zefirelli’s film. Also, there is a statue of Juliet made of bronze on the outside. 

Now, if you want, you can see the house of Romeo or the house of the Montecchi, but you can only see from the outside the wall of the same, dating from the thirteenth century, as it is now a private property. It is located in the historical center of the city of Verona, exactly in Via Arche Scagliere, number 2.

To this day, it is not known why it was said that this medieval palace was Romeo’s house, but it is said that this place was the home of Cagnolo Nogarola, a distinguished aristocrat of the time. 

Verona’s largest castle, the Castelvecchio

Over 120 years, the great Della Scala family created a great empire, and this castle is proof of that power. It was built on the banks of the Adige River in 1354 by Cangrande II Della Scala to defend the city’s population and have an escape to the north, where his Austrian relatives lived.

It was restored in 1957 and currently functions as a museum with about 29 rooms with the exhibition of certain collections of art between 1300 and 1700, such as goldsmiths, sculptures, paintings, and some weapons.

The Cathedral of Santa Maria Matricolare

In the historic center of Verona, you reach this cathedral, also called Duomo of Verona, which was built over two other churches of early Christian origin, which were destroyed in 1117 by an earthquake. 

Externally to its west side, it retains original features, such as the portico with its Solomonic columns resting on griffins; internally, its vault is striking, reminiscent of the Pantheon in Rome. 

There are many more places to visit, including the Basilica of San Zeno, known for its relationship with Romeo and Juliet, where they were secretly married. Also, the Church of San Fermo Maggiore contains 2 churches, one on top of the other and of Romanesque style. Likewise, the Church of Santa Anastasia, the largest church in Verona, is also made up of 2 temples.

Posted in Europe, Italy, Verona.