1. Visit a classic love story
Who cares if Romeo and Juliet is a piece of fiction written by an Englishman who never left his native land? Verona continues to foster the doomed romance of the world-famous lovers. Go see what all the fuss is about (hint: pictures do it justice), then take a step back and enjoy the world-class people watching opportunities. See Hawaiian-shirted Nebraskans posing next to the statue of poor Juliet. Watch as police make good on their promise to ticket those love-struck vandals who smear sharpie ink and chewing gum all over the Capulet residence. If you have €6, head into the museum and go up to the balcony, where you can channel your inner Juliet above the tour groups. But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and you are the sun.
2. Add some Rome to your romance
Long before Shakespeare’s day, Verona was a thriving Roman city with all the essentials. Piazza Brà’s terrific arena is one of the best-preserved buildings of its kind, though (for better or worse) buxom opera singers have replaced the gladiators of yore. Across the river, the ruins of a Roman theater survey the city center. It’s not hard to imagine the ancient people of Verona, all gussied up in their best togas, heading there to watch an enactment of Plautus’s droll new sitcom.
3. Soak in the history at Piazza Erbe
With origins as a Roman forum, Piazza Erbe has been a bustling market square for over 2000 years. It’s still the beating heart of Verona, attracting locals and travelers with vibrant Renaissance frescoes that portray lounging aristocrats and pudgy cherubim. A statue of Venice’s famous lion surveys the scene, a little reminder of past subjugation. The piazza’s restaurants and bars look tempting, but you’ll find better eats, drinks, and deals in the streets and alleyways nearby.
4. Get a bird’s-eye view
If you’re heading to Verona for a bit of romance, don’t miss these picturesque spots for a sunset panorama. The Torre dei Lamberti towers over Piazza Erbe and offers terrific rooftop views to folks who make the 275-foot climb (an elevator achieves the same goal, but provides none of the endorphins). As the sun dips below the horizon, a fiery sky erupts over red roof tiles. Another vantage point not to be missed is in front of Castel San Pietro, which looms above the city from a strategic (and scenic!) hilltop perch. Hike up the steep road to the fortress, then survey the bridges and basilicas of this city of love.
5. Cross ancient bridges
Verona’s outlying neighborhoods are just as charming as the city center, and getting to them is half the fun. Wander across the winding waterway that rolls gently past town, and step over cobblestones rich with history. Ponte Pietra dates all the way back to 100 BC, and has been built and rebuilt after the waves of time took their toll. Most recently, retreating Nazis—having no respect for Roman antiquities—blew it to smithereens. The crenelated Ponte Scaligero is a fortified masterpiece of red brick and white marble; it also was blown to pieces by retreating Germans.
What are some of your favorite things to do and see in Verona? Share with us below or on Twitter (@utrippers)!