Oh, Verona. Such a lovely small city and perfect for a weekend getaway. Three of Shakespeare's plays are set in Verona: Romeo and Juliet, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, and The Taming of the Shrew. Verona has also been awarded World Heritage Site status by the UNESCO.
Filled with culture and the arts, but also with great food, a charming city center and (surprisingly) great prices!
Here are some tipps and links for you, if you plan to visit Verona. Which you totally should.
Good to know
- Verona is so small and there are signs everywhere, you won't get lost. Especially when you take the mighty Arena di Verona as the location you are familiar with. You will always find your way back.
- When you arrive at the airport, you take the shuttle bus to the main train station of Verona. A single ticket costs 6 Euros and can also be used with the regular bus. Once you arrive at the train station, there are various busses that take you to the city center. Get off the bus as soon as you see the Arena. You are now in the middle of Verona.
- Download the Verona Smart App in advance. It does contain a map, but more importantly, you will be able to log into the public wifi for free.
- Prices in Verona are great! Especially when you are used to the prices in other Italian cities like Venice. The restaurants around the Arena are really good. You can get a big pizza with prosciutto (my favorite!) for 7-10 Euros. Sometimes even less. An Aperol Spritz (my go to drink!) is between 5-6 Euros. I had the "most expensive" Aperol at Piazza Erbe for 6,50 Euros. Very resonable. Keep in mind: I once ordered a latte at St Marco Square and paid 8 Euros.
You will get a great meal for a great price.
- I was surprised to see that only 2-3 vendors have a stand on the Piazza Brá, right around the Arena and they sell cushions. Yes, there are vendors that sell cheap toys and other stuff, but they don't have a stand on the Piazza.
- Yes, if you do want to listen to the opera, you will have to get a ticket. On our second day, we thought we could sit on the Piazza and listen to the opera while we have a drink, but you will hardly hear a sound. The accustic inside is amazing. Outside, you won't hear a beep. I guess the neighbors are happy about that!
Where to stay
There are many hostels, hotels and Bed & Breakfast in and around Verona. We suggest to make your reservations well in advance, because many hotels get booked quickly during the opera festival. You will find a place to stay for every budget.
We want to recommend our Bed & Breakfast. We stayed at Bed & Breakfast Oberdan18 and we cannot praise it enough (not paid content, we are fans!). My friend Mela, pr maven and travel blogger extraordinaire, found it for us. B&B Oberdan18 is located in a small gallery in a residential house in the Via Oberdan. As a matter of fact, it is a very big appartment with two rooms and a suite.
Everything is new here! Like totally new, premium quality and designed with a great eye for detail. The owner, Giovanni, opened this little gem in early 2017. All rooms, named after churches, are equipped with their own bathrooms with bidet, air condition, tv, safe, minibar and a small balcony to step out on.
Giovanni and his team will go out of their way to make you feel comfortable - Starting with breakfast or sharing tipps with you. This B&B is located less than five minutes from the Arena. It hardly gets better than this! English is spoken.
Next time I'm in Verona, I will stay there again.
What to do (culture and the arts)
- Arena di Verona.
Of course! That's probably the number one reason people come to Verona - to see this glorious amphitheatre. You can walk through it during the day (tickets cost 10 Euros) and/or attend the opera in the evening. The opera festival runs from June until September and about 600.000 tourists come to Verona for the opera during this time alone. It is worth it. During the festival the set pieces are kept on the Piazza and make it all the more impressive.
Read our article about attending Aida at the Arena right
Arena di Verona
From June until September each year
Piazza Bra, 1
Find it on Google Maps
- AMO - Arena Muse Opera
This museum is a must for opera lovers. Located inside a palazzo, you start at the very top and work your way through the exhibitions, until you have reached the basement. This is an interactive museum, with videos, sounds and a digital table on which you can see old programms and newspapers. It works like a huge ipad and it makes the exhibitions really interesting. If you only go there to escape the heat, you won't regret it!
AMO ARENA MUSEO OPERA
Via Massalongo 7
On Google Maps
Tickets: 6 Euros, 3 Euros if you have a ticket to the opera or you are a Verona Card holder.
- Juliet's Balcony
Spoiler alert: There are no secured facts, that Shakespeare has ever been to Verona, much less seen this balcony. That doesn't hurt the legend surrounding it, though. And I wonder how many schools have taken a trip to Juliet's balcony?
But what does hurt is the, well, some people would call it vandalism, that surrounds this place.
It is located just of Via Cappello, which is one of the shopping streets. Just follow the crowd of people. You walk through a short tunnel to get to a very small court yard. The tunnel is covered (and I mean covered) in writtings and when people ran out of room they got creative. Or gross, your call. People have also written their names on post its, gum, bandages and in some cases even panty liners. Yuck! There are more writings on gum in the small courtyard and the love locks that are attached to fences.
Casa di Giulietta
Via Cappello, 23
On Google Maps
Tickets: The entry to the courtyard to see the balcony from below is free.
If you want to stand on the balcony and see Juliet's house, tickets are 6 Euros.
- Teatro Romano and Museo Archeologico
Crossing Ponte Pietra from the city center to the other side of the Adige River, you'll find the Teatro Romano. Situated between trees and on a hillside, it is a beautiful open space. During the Veronese Theatre summer you will be able to watch plays in an impressive setting vwith a gorgeous view.
Teatro Romano and Museo Archeologico
Rigaste Redentore, 2
Find it on Google Maps
Tickets: 4,50 Euros. It is free for Verona Card holders.
- Teatro Nuovo
If you still don't have enough of Shakespeare, you should go and see Romeo & Giulietta. Verona is the stage and the backdrop for this play. You'll walk along through the city and follow along. And a drink will be served to you after the play in the courtyard. Giving a new meaning to "hands on" play.
Piazza Francesco Viviani, 10
Find it on Google Maps
Tickets: Adults pay 20 Euros, under 26 years of age gets a ticket for 10 Euros.
Things we learnt along the way
- Wear good shoes. This is an ancient city and not every street is paved smoothly. Especially around the Arena and in Juliet's courtyard, high heels are difficult.
- Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen. 'nuff said! And while we are at it: drink water! You can buy bottles of water for just a few cents. No tourist prices at all.
- Download the Verona Smart app to log into the internet easily.
- When you want to go up to Castel San Pietro you can either walk up the stairs or take the cable car up the hill. Walking up in the summer heat can be a pain. Oh, do I know it! But there is a cable car if you take the street left of the stairs and walk a few meters. It takes you up there and you can enjoy the view over Verona. With much less sweat! The ride up there just costs you a few cents. WORTH. IT.
- Do walk through the streets next to the busy shopping streets and look around into the courtyards. There are small restaurants and beautiful details around every corner. Literally.
Verona is filled with museums and performing arts. But you can also do some serious retail therapy or sit in the Piazza Brá or Piazza Erbe and watch people go by!