Located in northern Italy, the beautiful old town of Verona has been made famous around the world for its rich history and for being the setting in many Shakespeare plays. From Roman ruins to lively markets, there’s something exciting to see (or eat!) around every corner in Verona, which is why this lovely village in Veneto is one of my favorite spots in Italy. Whether you love great food, fascinating history, rich culture or all of the above, you’re sure to fall head over heels with Verona just as fast as I did.
During my recent trip through Italy, I decided to keep my travel plans flexible, since I never know where my trip will take me. So when I decided to head to Verona, I simply pulled up my HotelTonight app and booked a great last-minute hotel in Verona. Just like that, I had a hotel room waiting for me in the center of this old city, and I was ready to get out and start exploring the beautiful, medieval streets of fair Verona.
When you walk through the historic center of Verona (the Centro Storico), you will feel like you’ve traveled back in time. The buildings are ancient, many dating back over 700 years, the streets are narrow, and the squares are full of life, energy and charm. In the Centro Storico, you’ll come across many old buildings and historic sites, including the Verona Arena, a massive arena built thousands of years ago during the heyday of the Roman Empire. This incredible arena is even better preserved than the Coliseum, so it’s well worth taking a tour of this architectural beast during your stay in Verona. And since it’s so enormous, it’s pretty much impossible to miss when you walk around the city.
Located in the heart of Verona’s old town is Piazza delle Erbe, a colorful square that features architecture and monuments that date back to Roman rule. During the time of the Roman Empire, this square was the site of the town’s forum. Today, it’s filled with shops and restaurants, and it’s a great spot to relax, have a coffee and watch locals go about their daily lives. However, since Piazza delle Erbe is a popular tourist spot, I decided not to eat lunch in the square, as prices are steeper and the quality of food is not as good as it is in restaurants slightly outside of the historic center.
While I like to stay away from ultra-touristy spots when I travel, I just couldn’t travel all the way to Verona without seeing the alleged site of Juliet’s balcony. After all, I am a pretty big Shakespeare fan, so I wanted to see the balcony that inspired one of the greatest tragedies of all time. The love story of Romeo and Juliet was based on a true story that unfolded in the 1300s, and Shakespeare was just one of many writers to adapt the story. His version, of course, is the best known today, which is why so many tourists visit the site of Juliet’s balcony each year. Located in the Casco Storico, Juliet’s balcony is worth a visit for any fans of Shakespeare or the love story between Romeo and Juliet.
Exploring ancient Roman ruins and old medieval streets and feasting on delicious Italian food can be exhausting, so I decided to head outside of the city walls and bask in the splendor of one of Italy’s most beautiful lakes, Lake Garda. This stunning lake is one of the largest in the country, and it’s an easy day trip from Verona. So if you want to experience the laid-back lifestyle Italians are known for, you may want to soak in the sunshine on Lake Garda or wander through some of its charming lakeside villages.
There are so many beautiful piazzas in Verona it’s hard to choose only a couple to recommend, but Piazza dei Signori definitely makes the list. In this square, you’ll find buildings and monuments from a number of different time periods, which creates a unique, interesting aesthetic that architecture lovers (like me) are sure to love. Plus, like any great piazza in Italy, you’ll find plenty of restaurants and cafes with outdoor seating in Piazza dei Signori.
Most people associate Verona with the tale of two star-crossed lovers, but this historic city has so much more to offer than just a tragic tale of young love. Verona teems with history, culture and beauty, and I could spend days on end wandering its old, picturesque streets and learning about its storied past. As I said a sad goodbye to Verona, I promised myself that I would return one day, and I always know it’s easy to plan a spur-of-the-moment trip to Verona when I have HotelTonight on my side. In just a few quick minutes, I could book a last-minute hotel in Verona without any stress or hassle, and that’s something that makes “la dolce vita” so, so sweet.