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Revision as of 08:11, 29 August 2008
- For other places with the same name, see Verona (disambiguation).
Verona  is a city (pop. ~250,000) in north-eastern Italy's Veneto region most famous as the setting for Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Though close to the more popular tourist destination of Venice, many people consider Verona a more relaxed and pleasant place to visit. There are many tourists, but the number of tourists per square meter is lower.
- Catullo Airport(IATA: VRN) (ICAO: LIPX), . Verona's closest airport, 12 km from the city.
- Budget airlines fly to D'Annunzio Airport(IATA: VBS),  of Brescia/Montichiari, some 50 km west of Verona. This is sometimes referred to as Verona Brescia airport.
- Buses will take you from Brescia Airport direct to Verona.
- The standard car rental chains are located within Brescia Airport, and it is an easy drive along the Autostrada A4 to Verona.
Airlines also fly to Venice's Marco Polo and Ryanair to Treviso's Al Angeli
- If you have a rental car the trip to Verona isn't difficult: take the A4 towards Padova (Padua) and follow all the way to Verona (approx 150km).
You can reach Verona Porta Nuova by train from Milan (1 hour and 50 mins by regular train, 1 hour and 30 mins by InterCity), from Venice (1 hour and 30 mins by regular train, 1 hour and 15 mins by EuroStar) with the necessary connection 30 minutes longer from Treviso, from Bologna(1 hour and 40 mins by regular train), or from Munich (5 hours and 30 mins by EuroCity).
Buy the Verona Card which allows you access to all churches, monuments and museums of the city as well as to the public transport for 9 Euros.
Verona was a Roman city, and many Roman ruins have been preserved, notably the Arena. Most of the historical sights to see today date from the past 800 years. If you are keen on art history, Verona offers a golden opportunity to see the transition of Western European art from late medieval to early renaissance styles, with its rich offering of 12-Century churches and art museums. Verona's military importance has also left city fortifications and an excellent castle. Look out for architectural details related to the Scaligeri (or della Scala) family, who ruled the city from the 12th-14th Century - their family emblem is a ladder, and appears in many places around the city (scala is Italian for 'ladder').
- The Arena, www.arena.it. An enormous, spectacular Roman amphitheatre, crumbling on the outside but still functioning today. It was erected in the 1st Century AD in an elliptical shape, and is the world's third-largest amphitheatre to survive from antiquity. Much of the outer ring was damaged during the earthquake of 1117 but the inner part is still intact. If you can, plan your trip during the Opera season and see a performance in the Arena. Ouside the opera season you can visit it during the day.
Juliet's House and Balcony
- Juliet's House (Casa di Giulietta), Via Cappello, just off the Piazza delle Erbe. Supposedly the location of the famous balcony love scene from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. The house is a major destination for tourist pilgrimage, as the tiny courtyard is normally packed with lovestruck teenagers photographing each other on the famous balcony. In fact, the house has no connection with Shakespeare's fictional characters - although the house is old, the balcony was added in 1936 and declared to be "Juliet's house" to attract tourists. You can visit the house itself (€4 entry) - it contains a sparse collection of Renaissance frescos rescued from other demolished palaces, and the bed from Zeffirelli's 1968 movie, but not a lot more.
The balcony overlooks a tiny courtyard containing a statue of Juliet. There is an unbelievable amount of graffiti and general scrawling on the walls, floor, seats, anything that will hold ink - there is a tradition of writing love messages to Juliet, and visitors leave notes, trinkets and bits of chewing gum fashioned into love hearts. Juliet's house is a popular romantic shrine, but its popularity belies its value; compared to some of the treasures around Verona, Juliet's house has very little to offer.
- Roman amphitheatre (Teatro Romano), across the river on the hill, in the north-east of the city.
- Castle Scaligeri.
- Castelvecchio. A 14th-century, red brick, fortified castle on the banks of the river Aldige. The main castle buildings house the city art museum which is packed with a rich collection of medieval sculpture and Renaissance paintings. As well as the museum, the extensive castle ramparts are great for exploring - ideal for families with children who enjoy running around castle fortifications. The Castelvecchio has an adjoining bridge over the river which is open all the time - walk over the bridge for some fantastic views of the castle on the river.
- Piazza delle Erbe. Home of the Forum in Roman times this is still a focal point of the city. Contains the 'Madonna Verona' fountain, 14th century 'Gardello Tower', and a market that, while picturesque, seems to have become another tourist cliche during its recent refurbishment.
- Lamberti Tower (Torre Lamberti) - completed in 1463, this is the tallest of Verona's towers. The unmistakable clock tower looms over the Piazza delle Erbe, and you enter via the palace courtyard. Although there are 238 steps to the top, there is a lift! Views from the top are breathtaking.
- Porta Borsari. The remains of a Roman gate, dates to at least the 2nd Century AD, but is almost certainly older.
- Giardino Giusti. One of Italy's most important renaissance/mannerist gardens, with grottos, fire-breathing masks carved into the hillside etc.
- Verona Cathedral. (Duomo) was built to replace an 8th-century church which was destroyed in the earthquake of 1117. Consecrated in 1187, the church features an ornate marble Romanesque façade by the Veronese architect Nicolò; its pillars are supported by two griffins. Stone reliefs around the door include Biblical scenes. The smaller side door is also worth a look - medieval carvings include Jonah being swallowed by a whale. Inside, the nave has many Gothic alterations, and oil paintings arond the side chapels include an Assumption by Titan. The Romanesque baptistery adjoining the chapel of Sant'Elena is preserved, with its exquisite marble font and collection of medieval paintings.
- San Giorgetta. A tiny chapel immediately next to San'Anastasia. Easily overlooked, this church s richly decorated with early Renaissance frescoes depicting the walled garden of the Virgin Mary.
- Basilica of St Zeno (San Zeno Maggiore), located slightly outside the centre. A 10-15 minute walk from the Castellvecchio, but well worth the walk, as it is possibly the richest in devotional artwork and historical preservation in Verona. The church is dedicated to Verona's patron saint, Zeno, a 4th-century North African and a keen fisherman who was ordained Bishop of Verona in 363. Zeno's tomb lies in an atmospheric shrine in the church undercroft, and he is also commemorated with a grinning medieval statue of Zeno in full episcopal robes, dangling a golden fish on the end of a fishing rod. The entrance to the church is graced with a ornate Romanesque façade by Nicolò; like the cathedral, this church was erected after the earthquake of 1117. The church itself was a centre of European pilgrimage for centuries; pilgrims were greeted by huge 10-metre frescoes of St Peter, patron saint of pilgrims. Visitors across the centuries have left their mark - pilgrims happily inscribed graffiti in the frescos, and signatures dating from 1390 survive to this day. There is also graffiti left by the invading Austrians in 1865.
- Other significant churches include: Sant' Anastasia, San Lorenzo Maggiore and San Fermo Maggiore
- Castell San Pietro (St Peter's Castle), across the Ponte Pietra (Peter Bridge). Climb the steps up the hill above the Roman Amphitheatre to the Castell San Pietro. This former Austrian barracks dates back to the Austrian occupation of the left bank, and while the building is not open to the public, the views from the hill over Verona are spectacular. Go up in the early evening and enjoy a romantic sunset for free!
- Roman Theatre. Where theatre performances still take place. It is also the seat of the Archeological Museum.
- Juliet's Tomb, at the Capuccin Church, which also houses the Antonian Fresco Museum.
- Climb to the top of the tower (or take the lift most of the way if you're lazy). Great views out over Verona.
- Shop till you drop on Verona's golden mile.
- Eat gelato in one of Piazza Bra's many bars.
- Take a short walk to Castel San Pietro for a great lookout on the town center.
- Hire a tourist guide for a guided sightseeing tour or a wine tour in Valpolicella or Soave: www.veronissima.com
- The Veronese are keen eaters of horse-meat (cavallo), a local speciality. Pastizada de caval, is a dish of braised horse meat, as is Picula de Caval.
- Pizza is not traditionally eaten locally, but pasta dishes feature widely on restaurant menus. Try Pizzocheri (buckwheat pasta with cheese and sage), casoncelli (a type of ravioli) or bigoli (thick spaghetti).
- Casoela is a pork casserole, and a bollito misto is a mixture of boiled meats, usually served with mostarda, a traditional accompaniment of fruit and vegetables in mustard.
- Al Carro Armato Vicolo Gatto, 2/9 Verona tel. 045/8030175. Opening 11AM-2:30PM and 6PM-2AM. Chiuso il Mercoledi.
The Armoured Car (Leonardo's, not Mussolini's) is a charmingly atmospheric and good value restaurant/wine bar in the 'ancient canteen' style with shared tables and paper place mats. Food is authentically Veronan but unpretentious. There is an enormous, equally good value wine list, which can however rise to meet all budgets.
'Cat Alley' is not entirely easy to find. Best to face the (nominal) west front of S. Anastasia on via Massalongo and then turn right towards v. Trotta. Vicolo Gatto is a few tens of yards down on the left. There is also an entrance on Via Massalongo itself.
Opera goers should note the late opening times. Highly recommended, but it helps if you can speak Italian. Not that they're stuck up about trying to understand one, they're not Venetians after all.
- Al' Duomo, Via Duomo 7, tel: 045 800 4505. Excellent family-run restaurant, (as its name suggests) just next to the Cathedral. It's popular with the local Veronese (a good sign) and with a menu full of traditional local specialities. You'll find this is a good place to blend in with the local scene, and has welcoming staff who will help you with unfamiliar items on the menu. On Wednesdays, Al' Duomo plays host to a local mandolin ensemble, so if you're on a traditional music tour, put this on your list. As it's a popular place, booking is advised. Menus are not overpriced, so for about €15-20 a head (plus wine) you'll come away glowing with gastronomic satisfaction.
Avoid the hordes of tourists in Piazza Bra and head to Piazza delle Erbe. At least slightly more genuine, this Piazza has a number of good bars where you can sit and enjoy a coffee or aperitivo in the sun. Great for your coffee in the morning and your drinks into the evening.
- Caffè delle Erbe, Piazza delle Erbe. Great coffee and brioche.
- Rain, Via Stella 13A. Be sure to check out Verona's newest wine bar and jazz club. Located in the heart of Verona, this bar provides a great atmosphere to enjoy a glass of wine, nibble on some food, and listen to great music. The owners, brothers Giuseppe and Riccardo Zambelli Rain, provide visitors the warmth that one expects in Italy. Giuseppe (you can call him Joe) is fluent in English. Ask for him if you have any questions about the area.
- Via Mazzini is Verona's golden mile of shopping, taking you between Piazza Bra and Piazza delle Erbe. Most of the major Italian labels are represented, and even if you can't afford them it's great to wander and window shop.
- Corso Porta Borsari is another elegant shopping street in Verona. There are very nice shop, like Lo Scrittorio, an old fashioned shop selling papery and elegant pens and pencils.
- Corso Santa Anastasia, This street is the centre of antiques shops' zone. Narrow streets where you can find authentic masterpieces.
Verona is frequented annually by millions of tourists, so you'll be able to choose among a lot of different accommodation options, all a lot cheaper than nearby Venice. However it is essential to have booked hotel accommodation on days when the annual arena opera performances fdsa are taking place. Turn up on spec or late and it is possible to find every bed in the city taken.
In the city you'll find famous luxurious hotels, such as Due Torri or Accademia. In the nearby province there are a lot of enchanting small B&B and holiday farms.
There are three youth hostels in Verona, all of which are within walking distance of the town centre and a short bus ride from the main train station (Porta Nuova). A tourist map, available from the station's tourist information centre, will point you to their locations. The northeasternmost hostel of the trio, near Piazza Isolo (regular buses from Porta Nuova has a stunning converted Rennaissance complex complete with porticoes, verandas and a huge forested garden, dorm beds for only 15 Euros per person, with a passable breakfast included.
Also consider several small bed and breakfasts in the immediate province, after all a car rental for 30 € / day and a substantial saving on the nightly fee is an acceptable turnaround. Expecially if you need the car to visit the surroundings.
There is also a campsite Campeggio Castel San Pietro with spectacular views over the city and about 15 minutes walk from the centre.
- Hotel Gardenia, Via Unità d'Italia, 350 (San Michele Extra - VR), tel.: +39 45 972122 (Fax: +39 45 8920157, E-mail: [email protected]), . High quality service with rooms from around 80 Euro.
- Hotel Montemezzi, Via Verona, 92, tel: +39 045.7363566 fax: +39 045.7364888, .
- Agriturismo Ca' del Ferro, located 15Km from the heart of Verona, this bed and breakfast (country house) is ideal to relax and enjoy home made jams, cakes and muffins for breakfast! Rooms are very cosy and spacious and the owner is very helpful and friendly. You need to have a car though to reach it and move around, but it's conveniently located if you want to travel around Veneto or if you are thinking of staying in Verona for 1 or two weeks. Single rooms at 45-50 Euro and double rooms from 75 Euro. They all have private beautiful coloured bathrooms .
- *Hotel Siena, Via Marconi, 41, tel:+39 045.8003074 fax:+39 045.8002182 
- Gardaland Resort Hotel, Via Palu’ 1, Castelnuovo del Garda 37014, Verona, Italy, ☎ +39-045-6404000 ([email protected], fax: +39-045-6404444). The official Gardaland theme park hotel, located on the shores of Lake Garda.
The surrounding area around Verona offers access to some of Italy's most spectacular scenery - to the north you have rolling hills with vineyards and small towns, to the west the Lake Garda (Lago di Garda).
- Drive to the nearby valley Valpolicella, famous for its renowned Amarone, Recioto and valpolicella wines as well as for its ancient villas.
- Lake Garda can be easily reached from Verona for a day trip. Buses run by APTV (the regional bus company) leave from Porta Nuova - catch a 62-64 bus in the morning from the railway station or from Corso Porta Nuova (the boulevard just south of Piazza Bra). It takes about 2-3 hours, depending on lakeside traffic (which can be heavy), to reach pretty towns of Malcesine or Torbole. Get a timetable (orario) from the tourist office or from APTV transport website (Lake Garda is in Zone C). Tickets can be bought from the tobacco shop down the road or on the bus.