I’m not known for being an extremely sentimental person, there’s even a running joke about how I received a wonderful, lengthy handwritten Christmas card from my boyfriend last year – in return, I wrote “Merry Christmas, Love Flo” on the wrapping paper around his present. Oops. So when I visited Florence, Burano and Venice in Italy with my mother earlier this year and she asked if we could visit Romeo and Juliet’s “hometown”, I snorted. “Verona? Why would we want to go there?”
It is said that Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet was based on two lovers from feuding families in Verona. In the story, they are both in their early teens, and their relationship ends in despair and tragedy because of some questionable drama-filled decisions. Yikes. I told you I wasn’t a romantic. This may give you a glimpse into why Verona wasn’t really on my radar, and why I didn’t feel strongly about visiting the city in the beginning. But this all changed once we arrived.
My geographical knowledge of Italy is pathetic, and when we found out it was only an hour away from Venice by train, I had no excuse not to go on a day trip with my die-hard romantic mother. So we hopped on a train from Venice to Verona’s Porta Nuova station (there is at least one, if not two or three trains to Verona every hour) and set off to explore the city. Wondering what to see in Verona? You can easily spend one day in Verona and explore the city’s historic attractions on foot – trains back to Venice are so frequent that you don’t necessarily need to pre-book a seat.
Did you know that you should validate your train ticket in Italy if there is no assigned seating? Click here for 14 things you should know before you go to Italy!
If there’s one thing you take away from this article, let it be that there is so much more to Verona than an old Shakespearean tale of teenage love ending in tragedy. Read on for how to spend 1 day in Verona and how to plan your Venice to Verona day trip!
1. Begin your visit at Castelvecchio
From the Porta Nuova train station, head north and you will reach Castelvecchio in about 15 minutes. This castle was build using distinct red-colored bricks and has an adjoining bridge that connects the two sides of the city divided by the Adige River. There is a museum attached to the castle that you can visit (6 Euros).
2. Walk across the Ponte di Castelvecchio
This bridge is also referred to as Ponte Scaligero and is reminiscent of castle fortifications. Once you’ve crossed the bridge, glance back for a view of the castle and stroll along the river until you reach the next bridge over Ponte della Vittoria. Walk along the bridge to head back to “downtown” Verona.
3. Stop at the Porta Borsari
The Porta Borsari is an ancient Roman gate dating back to the 1st century AD; in Roman times, you would have to enter the city of Verona via these gates. It used to be called the Porta Jovia and was re-named as this was where travelers paid their tolls to enter and exit the city.
4. Climb the Torre dei Lamberti
The Torre dei Lamberti is the tallest tower in Verona, coming in at 84 meters and as such, offers incredible views across Verona. There is an elevator up and then a short climb to the final platform at the very top. Entrance costs 8 Euros but believe me when I tell you that the views are worth it.
5. Visit Casa di Giulietta, the famous Romeo and Juliet balcony
SO MANY PEOPLE OMG. People visit this balcony which supposedly inspired Shakespeare to write the famous “O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?” scene. There is a bronze statue of Juliet in the courtyard and hordes of people line up to take a picture of themselves rubbing her breast for good luck. Completely and utterly baffling. You can also pay to enter the house and stand on the balcony if you really, really want to. I won’t judge (actually I might).
Apparently it’s cool to scribble love notes on this wall. I don’t get it.
6. Move on swiftly to the Arena di Verona
That’s right! The Coliseum in Rome is not the only amphitheatre in Italy! Say what?! It’s these types of structures that fascinate me about Verona. The Arena di Verona still hosts massive-scale performances and is one of the best preserved structures of its kind – after Rome’s Colosseum and the amphitheatre of Capua it is the third largest amphitheatre in Italy. It was built in the first half of the 1st century AD and has hosted live concerts of The Who, Whitney Houston, Paul McCartney, Kiss and…One Direction.
Impressed by the Arena di Verona? You need to visit the Coliseum in Rome if you haven’t already! Head on over here for my city guide to Rome, Italy!
Where to stay if you’re visiting Verona
Verona is an easy day trip destination if you are staying in Venice. We stayed at the Hotel Bel Sito, a lovely little hotel located steps away from the Giglio vaporetto stop. The rooms, while on the smaller side, were clean and comfortable, the breakfast spread was good and most importantly, it is amazingly convenient to get anywhere – just hop on the Line 1 Vaporetto to head to the main train station to catch a train to Verona!
Alternatively, I also recommend Ca ‘degli Oresi, especially if you are traveling with friends or family to Venice. These family-run apartments are a stone’s throw from the Sam Samuele vaporetto stop (2 stops before the Giglio stop) and within walking distance to the Accademia bridge. The apartment is extremely spacious and comfortable – we loved having access to the full kitchen, beautiful private terrace and 2 separate bathrooms. However, there is no elevator (which is standard for most buildings in Venice), so you need to walk up several flights of stairs. Click here to book your stay at Ca’ degli Oresi!
Tip: If you want to stay close to the main attractions, the best areas to stay in Venice are San Marco or close to the Ponte dell’Accademia in Dorsoduro. Click here to view other accommodation options in Venice’s city center!
Conversely, if you’re not keen on paying near extortionate prices for accommodation in Venice, Verona is a good place to base yourself instead and you can do a day trip or two to Venice as well as explore the region of Veneto (including the colourful island of Burano!). Click here for accommodation options in Verona’s historic centre or read even more Italy hotel booking tips and recommendations here.
Heading to other destinations in Italy and need some travel tips and recommendations? Head on over here!
I hope this list of places you have to see in Verona in a day helps you plan your day trip! What are some of the other must-see places in Verona? Comment and tell me all about it below!
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