After an amazing couple of days on Lake Garda, we set off by bus to the beautiful city of Verona. We only had 24 hours in this city but we still managed to fit in some amazing adventures. Our home for the night was the Romeo & Juliet non-hotel which was a beautiful apartment complete with a proper coffee machine and just a stone's throw from Verona's train station.
The train station itself is a sight to behold with large metal fighting statues marking the entrance. We never did discover the relevance of these but they certainly stood out. Verona of course is most well-known for its connection to Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and that influence is seen throughout the city but there is so much more to see. We , of course took in Juliet's balcony along with the statue of her outside it but in this post we'll be covering so much more.
Verona as a place is full of pretty piazza's lined with designer and budget shops, café's, bars and restaurants. The city is perfect for a pot of people watching but with only 24 hours in the city there wasn't time to sit back and watch the world go by. When we visited Verona the temperature was in the mid thirties so we did stop occasionally for a chance to sit in the shade and enjoy a cold drink. If we could do Italy again we'd visit in the spring when the temperatures have gone down a bit and the crowds have lessened. It was tourist-packed for our visit. But I digress.
When I think of Italian cities in my head, Verona fits the fantasy. It is a bustling cosmopolitan city that is dominated by a huge ampitheatre heralding from the 1st century. There are a wide variety of very Italian and impressive churches. The Italian's are well known for their churches and for good reason. Italian culture is of course intertwined with the Catholic church and as such they have some pretty impressive and ornate places of worship. Verona is no different, while it may lack the splendour of the inside of the Vatican it still retains a high level of decoration and every church we saw was prettier than the last. Verona's bridges also dominate the city. I even learnt that Ponte means bridge, we saw a wide variety of bridges during our stay.
But, if one thing stands out to me it is the food and drink. Verona is well known throughout Italy for it's amazing array of regional food and drink. The city is full of amazing restaurants and they don't disappoint. In this case, the city lives up to the hype.
Verona certainly is one of Italy's most beautiful cities.
Getting to Verona
It is easy to get to Verona cheaply and easily. We flew with Ryanair from East Midlands Airport arriving into Milan. They have regular, very cheap flights. It is well worth to signing up to their mailing list to be informed when they launch a new flight sale. We bought ours in their sale in January and saved a fortune buying them early. We travelled during the school holidays which you usually pay a fortune for. It is approximately a 90 minute drive from Milan airport to Verona. There are a variety of bus routes that can lead you to Verona. Or, alternatively fly direct into Verona. It is more expensive but much easier and quicker.
Getting around Verona
Verona's centre is easily accessible on foot. We only took two bus trips whilst there, one from the station into the centre and another one to return us to the station afterwards. But if you'd like less walking please see the following section on how to get around Verona.
Like most cities in Italy, Verona has a good selection of low cost, reliable public transport. ATV offers bus services across the city all day. Check out http://www.atv.verona.it/ for more info.
Taxis can be found at designated taxi ranks across the city. You can find a rank at the station and at Piazza Bra but taxis are plentiful and can be found in other locations. You can also pre-book a taxi but be warned their system of taxi booking differs from here in the UK. The meter for the booking starts running as soon as you make the booking and not when it arrives. Recommended companies are Taxi & Autoblue and Unione Radiotaxi.
Driving in Verona is restricted in it's historic centre. Pay close attention to parking signs. You will be ticketed if you break the rules. Blue road markings = pay-and-display. You can purchase tickets at the meter or in the nearest tobacconist.
Like most places you can hire cars at the airport. You must be 21 plus and have a credit card plus an EU driving licence.
Verona runs a bikeshare scheme. Verona Bike (tel: 800 896 948, in Italy only; +39 2 4546 7898, internationally;)
Best places to visit in Verona
Arena di Verona
Verona's ampitheatre was built in the 1st century and is a magnificent vision of pink-hued marble. It survived a devestating earthquake during the 12th century and is once well known for being the venue for the city's open air opera house. If you can, stop by on a Sunday during spring when admission is just 1 euro. This building predates the world famous Colosseum in Rome and is huge once you step inside, with more than 50 rows of seating and no roof.
Museo di Castelvecchio
You'll find Castel Vecchio perched on the banks of the River Adige. The castle was built in 1354 and was created to defend for the city. this castle was part of the Scaliger dynasty.
The front of the features a collection of battlements and two towers.
There is a museum inside featuring art and artefacts linked with the history of the castle.
Make sure to check out Castle Vecchio Bridge (Ponte di Castel Vecchio), the views from there are amazing.
These stunning Gardens can be found in the grounds of the Giusti palace on the east bank of the river Adige.
It was built in a Neo-Classical style and the gardens are at the rear.
They were designed in the Italian Renaissance style and are perfect to stroll around in the Italian sunshine.
The gardens are made up of 8 different areas, each contains a central focal part and a different design.
Also features a maze and wooded area.