Shakespeare aficionados will likely think first of Romeo and Juliet’s ill-fated love affair when they think of Verona, and the city definitely doesn’t shy away from this affiliation. As is the case with most places, however, Verona is far from a one-note city – and some (including me) would argue that the best things to do in Verona have absolutely nothing to do with Romeo and Juliet.
Verona can be an excellent day trip from nearby cities like Venice, Vicenza, and Padua, but it’s also a destination in and of itself (and makes a good homebase for exploring all those cities and more). It’s also well-loved by Italian wine enthusiasts, since the famous Valpolicella region lies just to the north.
On this page, you’ll find some basic information to help you plan your Verona trip, with links to other articles for more details.
Where to Stay in Verona
Verona is not large, and the historic central area is even smaller. It’s easy to explore on foot, which is a huge bonus, but that also tends to lead to higher prices on accommodation that’s right in the middle of everything. If your budget is tight, look for hostels or hotels that are aren’t right in the historic center but are still well-connected by the city’s good bus system. That makes getting around easy, even if you’re not a stroll away from the center.
Another thing that might make staying outside the city center a good idea is if you’re using Verona as a homebase for exploring the Veneto by car. Parking anywhere in Italian cities can be a hassle, but it’s even more so if you’re in a crowded historic center. If you’re concerned about finding a place to park (and your hotel doesn’t offer parking, or the parking lot is too expensive), choosing a hotel that’s a bit further from the city center could be a good alternative. Just be sure to ask the hotel about parking options when you’re booking so you know what you’ll be dealing with when you arrive.
Here are a couple resources to help you find accommodation in Verona:
Quick search for hotels in Verona:
What to Do & See in Verona
Like many cities in Italy, Verona’s landscape includes Roman ruins – and in this case, there’s an enormous Roman arena right in the middle of the historic center. Far from being a roped-off museum piece, the arena is still in use today – so while it’s a tourist attraction for its historic value by day, it turns into a concert venue (among other things) most nights. Opera fans in particular should make note of the annual Verona Opera schedule – every summer, the arena is the place to be to see great opera.
Other sights in Verona include:
- Piazza delle Erbe – This square dates back to Roman times, and today it’s home to a small market.
- Giardino Gusti – Across the river from the arena, this garden complex includes a (small) hedge maze and a grotto, and it’s a lovely spot for a stroll in nice weather.
- Churches & Cathedral – Verona has lots of beautiful churches, including the city’s cathedral (Duomo) and the Basilica of San Zeno. Some churches have an admission fee, but many are free to enter.
- Juliet’s and Romeo’s Houses – Nevermind that the balcony on “Juliet’s house” is a 20th century addition to the building, this is still one of the most popular spots in Verona. The statue of Juliet just below the balcony has one very shiny breast, as the legend is you’ll have good luck if you rub it. Romeo’s house is a newer addition still to the Verona tourism scene, and although it’s nearby it’s a private home – so there’s nothing really to see.
How to Get to Verona
Verona’s main train station is outside the historic city center, but city buses run into the center regularly – even on weekends. Trains connect Verona to bigger hubs like Venice (just over an hour away), Milan (about an hour and 20 minutes away), and Bologna (under an hour on the fast train).
As mentioned earlier, Verona can be a good homebase for exploring the Veneto by car – and it’s easy to get in and out when driving. Again, your best bet if you’re driving is to avoid a hotel in the historic center (unless it comes with a parking space that isn’t too expensive for your liking) – locate any potential hotels on a map so you can see where they are in relation to the highways leading in and out of the city.
If your first stop in Italy is Verona, you can try your luck checking flights directly into the city’s closest airport – Catullo Airport (VRN), about 7.5 miles from the city. Otherwise, the nearest major international airport is in Venice, and many of Europe’s low-cost airlines fly into Treviso’s airport as an alternative.
Quick search to find cheap flights to Venice