Verona Tourist Attractions
SituationVerona, capital of the province of the same name, lies at the point where the River Adige emerges from the Alps into the north Italian plain.
The main part of the town is situated below the Alpine foothills of the Altipiano dei Lessini on a peninsula enclosed on two sides by the rapidly flowing Adige and linked with the districts on the left bank by ten bridges. Verona, a city rich in art and architecture, lies about 80km/50mi from Venice and the Adriatic. It is also a considerable commercial center, handling the produce (particularly fruit and vegetables) of the province's fertile irrigated soil.HistoryVerona, which still preserved the name of the prehistoric settlement on this site, became a Roman colony in 89 B.C. and thereafter developed into a town of considerable importance, as the remains of the amphitheater and other buildings testify. In the sixth century the Ostrogothic king Theodoric (d. 626) made it one of his royal residences, together with Pavia and Ravenna. During the Frankish period Charlemagne's son Pepin reigned here as king of Italy, and later the Saxon and Hohenstaufen emperors found the town, situated at the end of the road over the Brenner, a convenient base from which to control Italy. From the middle of the 13th century Verona was ruled by the Ghibelline family of Della Scala (the Scaligers), but in 1387 they were expelled by the Viscontis. In 1405 the town passed into the hands of Venice. During the Austrian period (1814-66) Verona became a fortress town, forming with Peschiera, Mantova and Legnago the famous defensive "quadrilaterial". In 1866 it was incorporated in the united Kingdom of Italy.ArtVerona is notable for its fine Romanesque churches (11th century), but is was also a considerable artistic center in the Renaissance period, particularly in the field of architecture. Its leading architects were the Dominican monk Fra Giocondo (c. 1433-1515) and Michele Sammichele (1484-1559). Sammichele sought to embellish his works of fortifications by the use of classical architectural forms, erected numerous splendid buildings and built the bastioned town walls (1530 onwards).
From Corso Cavour to the Amphitheatre
At the end of the Corso Cavour, on the banks of the Adige, stands the Castelvecchio, built by the Scaligers in 1354-55; from the platform of the main tower (completed 1375) there are extensive views. The castle now houses the Civico Museo d'Arte, which contains Veronese sculpture, applied art and an excellent picture gallery with works of the 15th-16th century Veronese school.
Address: Corso Castelvecchio 2, I-37100 Verona, Italy
Opening hours: 8:30am-7:30pm; Closed: Mon
Entrance fee in EUR: Adult €6.00, Concession or reduced rate €4.00
Disability Access: Full facilities for persons with disabilities.
Below the Castelvecchio in Verona the Adige is spanned by the fine Ponte Scaligero (14th century; restored 1949-51 after wartime destruction).
To the south of Corso Cavour in Verona and linked with it by a number of streets is the spacious Piazza Brà (from Latin pratum, "meadow"). On the north side of the square, near the end of Via Mazzini, is the Palazzo Malfatti, by Sammichele. Opposite it stands an equestrian statue of Victor Emmanuel II (1883).
On the south side of the Piazza Brà is the Palazzo Municipale or Town Hall (1836-38, semicircular extension built after 1945). To the right the long building of the Gran Guardi was the old guard-house (1614), and adjoining this the Portoni della Brà, an old gateway and tower. Beyond this are the Museo Lapidario Maffeiano (Lapidarium) and the Teatro Filarmonico (opera).
The Roman Amphitheater (Arena) in Verona, one of the largest of its kind, was built in the reign of Diocletian (about A.D. 290). Of the outer wall only four arches on the north side have survived. With its 44 rows of seating it can accommodate some 22,000 spectators; from the top rows there are fine views. The overall length of the structure was 152m/176yd, its height 32m/16ft. In July and August a famous opera festival is held in the Arena.Verona is part of the summer festival circuit which also includes Bayreuth and its Wagner operas and Salzburg. The Verona performances usually run from mid-July to mid-August.
Address: Piazza Brà, I-37100 Verona, Italy
Always closed on: Epiphany (3 Kings' Day ) - Christian (Jan 6), New Year's Day (Jan 1), Liberation Day - Italy (Apr 25), May Day / Labor Day (May 1), Assumption Day - Christian (Aug 15), All Saints' Day - Christian (Nov 1), Day after Christmas, St Stephen's Day, Boxing Day (Dec 26), Feast of the Immaculate Conception (Dec 8), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25), Easter Monday - Christian, Good Friday - Christian
Useful tips: Hours vary during opera season.
Disability Access: Partial facilities for persons with disabilities.
Guides: Interpretive sessions sometimes available.
San Fermo Maggiore
From the Piazza delle Erbe Via Cappello, with the so-called Casa di Giuletta (Gothic, 13th century - Juliet's House with her balcony), and its continuation Via Leoni (on left, the Roman Porta del Leoni) runs southeast to the church of San Fermo Maggiore, with a Romanesque lower church (11th-12th century; 14th century wooden crucifix) and a Gothic upper church (13th-14th century), its facade beautifully decorated with marble. It contains a number of notable monuments and pictures by Pisanello and others. Immediately beyond the church is the Ponte delle Navi.
Tomba di Giuletta
In the Campo di Fiera, near the Adige in the southern part of the town, visitors are shown, in a cloister built in 1899, a medieval trough which purports to be the coffin of Juliet Capulet (Tomba di Giuletta), Shakespeare's heroine.
From Corso Cavour to the the Basilica of San Zeno
Passing through the Portoni della Brà, we follow the wide Corso di Porta Nuova to the Porta Nuova (by Sammichele), beyond which is the principal railroad station, the Stazione di Porta Nuova.
From the Porta Nuova we follow the tree-lined avenue inside the old walls, past the zoo and come to the magnificent Porta Palio (by Sammichele, 16th century).
From the Porta Palio we go east along the wide Stradone di Porta Palio and then turn left into Via Aurelio Saffi to reach the former Franciscan church of San Bernardino (15th century), with a large arcaded courtyard (gravestones, remains of frescoes). The Cappella Pellegrini (begun by Sammichele before 1554) has fine Renaissance decoration.
San Zeno Maggiore
To the north of San Bernardino is the large Basilica of San Zeno Maggiore (11th-12th century), perhaps the finest Romanesque building in northern Italy, with a beautiful main front flanked by a slender Romanesque campanile (1045-1178) and the battlemented defensive tower (14th century) of a former Benedictine abbey. The bronze doors have Romanesque reliefs with Biblical and other scenes. The interior boasts an unusual timber roof (14th century) and beautiful Romanesque capitals, and in the aisles are frescoes of the 13th-15th centuries. In the choir can be seen a marble figure, ascribed to the 14th century, of St Zeno, bishop of Verona (d. 380), whose reliquary is in the crypt. On the high altar is a "Madonna with Saints" by Mantegna (1456-59) and on the north side of the church an elegant Romanesque cloister.
Sights on the Left Bank of the Adige
Beyond the Ponte delle Navi, going northeast through the Interrato dell'Acqua Morta and then turning right into Via Carducci, we come to the Palazzo Giusti (1580) and the Giardino Giusti, with beautiful old cypresses (delightful views from the terrace).
Santa Maria in Organo
North of the Giardino Giusti is the church of Santa Maria in Organo, originally founded in the Lombard period and rebuilt in Renaissance style in 1481, with an unfinished facade designed by Sammichele (1592). The choir has fine stalls by Fra Giovanni da Verona (1519).
Beyond the Roman bridge, the Ponte della Pietra, on the hillside, below the commandingly situated Castel San Pietro, is the Roman Theater (Teatro Romano), with remains of the stage wall; built in the reign of Augustus, it was excavated between 1904 and 1939.
Address: Rigaste Redentore 2, I-37100 Verona, Italy
Opening hours: Jan 1 to Dec 31: 8:30am-1:30pm; Closed: Mon
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), May Day / Labor Day (May 1), Assumption Day - Christian (Aug 15), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25), Easter - Christian
Entrance fee: FREE
A little way north of the Roman theater stands the Romanesque church of Santo Stefano, a very ancient building (originally fifth-eighth century) with two ambulatories round the choir (eighth century capitals); the choir itself contains an episcopal throne of 1000. The facade bears interesting inscriptions.
San Giorgio in Braida
West of Santo Stefano is the 16th century church of San Giorgio in Braida which has a beautiful dome by Sammichele. The altarpieces are by masters of the Veronese and Brescian schools. On the high altar is "The Martyrdom of St George" by Veronese. In a side chapel is a notable Madonna by Girolamo dai Libri.
In the countryside around Verona are a number of beautiful villas, especially in the north and west towards Lake Garda. These include the Villa Sarego Boccoli near Pedemonte, designed by Palladio and modeled on houses from the ancient world; it was never completed.
Villafranca di Verona
Southwest of Verona, on the River Tione, is Villafranca di Verona (54m/178ft; pop. 25,000), with a ruined castle, part of the "Serraglio", the frontier fortifications of Verona, which extend to Valeggio, 9km/5.5mi west. In 1859 an armistice agreement was made in Villafranca between France and Austria.In Valeggio is the well-tended park of Sigurtà.
Soave & Giazza
East of Verona is the little medieval town of Soave (40m/132ft; pop. 6,000), renowned for its battlemented town walls and towers and fine palaces.An attractive excursion from Verona (north) is to the beautiful uplands of Monti Lessini and Giazza (758m/2,501ft), the only one of the "Tredici Comuni" (Thirteen Communes) inhabited by the descendants of settlers from Bavaria and Tirol, and where German is still spoken.
Map of Verona Attractions