Piazza delle Erbe
The central feature of the old town of Verona is the elongated Piazza delle Erbe, one of the most picturesque squares in Italy, on the site of the Roman forum (now a fruit and vegetable market). In the center of the square is the Berlina (16th century), a canopy borne on four columns, formerly used for the election of the Signori and the Podestà. To the north of it is the Market Fountain (1368), with the "Madonna Verona", an ancient marble statue (restored). At the north end of the square the Marble Column bears the lion of St Mark, the emblem of Venetian authority. At the northeast corner stands the Casa Mazzanti, originally built by the Scaligers; like many houses in the town, it is adorned with Renaissance frescoes. On the north side of the square is the Baroque Palazzzo Maffei (1668), and to the left of this the Torre del Gardello (1370). The Casa dei Mercanti at the corner of Via Pellicciai was rebuilt in 1878 in its original form (1301). Opposite rises the 84m/277ft high Torre del Lamberti, with a medieval bell, "El Rengo", used as a storm warning (lift to the top; fine view).
Piazza dei Signori
The short street to the left of the Torre del Comune in Verona runs east into the Piazza dei Signori (a name recalling the rule of the Scaligers), surrounded by palaces. In the center is a monument to Dante (1865). Recent excavations have uncovered Roman mosaics and other remains.
Opening hours: Closed: Mon
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), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25), Feast of the Immaculate Conception (Dec 8), Day after Christmas, St Stephen's Day, Boxing Day (Dec 26), Easter - Christian, Easter Monday - Christian
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The Palazzo della Ragione (Town Hall), on the south side of the Piazza dei Signori, was begun in 1193 but much altered in later centuries; the main front is Renaissance (1524). In the courtyard are a Gothic grand staircase (1446-50) and the entrance to the Torre del Comune. Also in the square are a battlemented tower and the Palazzo dei Tribunali, formerly the Palazzo del Capitano with a Renaissance doorway by Michele Sammichele, converted in 1530-31 from a Scaliger Palace. On the east side of the square we find the Palazzo del Governo (Prefecture), originally another Scaliger palace, rebuilt in the 16th century (doorway by Sammichele, 1532).
Loggia del Consiglio
On the north side of the Piazza dei Signori stands the Loggia del Consiglio, one of the finest Early Renaissance buildings in Italy (by Fra Giocondo, 1486-93), crowned by statues of famous citizens of Verona in antiquity.
Tombs of the Scaligers
The passage between the Prefecture and the Tribunal leads to the church of Santa Maria Antica (12th century), with a Romanesque campanile. Adjoining it are the imposing Gothic Tombs of the Scaligers (Arche Scaligere), with the ladder (scala) which was the heraldic emblem of the family frequently recurring in the elaborate wrought-iron railings. Above the church door are the sarcophagus and a copy of an equestrian statue of Cangrande della Scala (d. 1329); to the left are seen the mural monument of Giovanni (d. 1359) and the sarcophagus of Mastino I (d. 1277). Within the railings, under a canopy, are the sarcophagi and equestrian statues of Mastino II (d. 1351) and Cansignorio (d. 1375).
To the north of the tombs in Verona, at the end of the Corso Sant'Anastasia, on the Adige, is the Dominican church of Sant'Anastasia, a brick-built Gothic structure (1290-1323, 1422-81) with a magnificent interior (richly decorated altars of the 15th-18th centuries, frescoes, etc.). The nearby Palazzo Forti houses the Galleria d'Arte Moderna.
From Sant'Anastasia in Verona it is a short distance northwest to the cathedral, a 12th century Romanesque basilica with a 15th century Gothic nave. Adjoining it is a campanile on a Romanesque base, designed by Sammichele but not completed until 1927. On the beautiful main doorway of the cathedral are figures of Charlemagne's two paladins Roland and Oliver (c. 1139-53). Within the church, on the first altar on the left, is an "Assumption" by Titian (1525), at the end of the south aisle the Gothic tomb of St Agatha (1353). Note also the red marble pillars and marble choir-screen. To the left of the cathedral is a Romanesque cloister (1123), with an Early Christian mosaic pavement on a lower level.
From the cathedral we continue towards the river and cross the Ponte Garibaldi to the left bank.
Corso Porta Borsari and Corso Cavour
On to the right bank of the Adige, we go upstream along the Lungadige Panvinio and then turn left past the church of Sant'Eufemia into the Corso Porta Borsari, which begins at the Piazza delle Erbe. At its west end is the Porta dei Borsari Porta dei Borsari, one of the Roman city gates (A.D. first century; restored in 265).