The beautiful and romantic city of Verona is situated in the Veneto region of northern Italy and is famous for it’s setting as Shakespeare’s tragedy of Romeo and Juliet and millions of visitors flock to see the Balcony on which Juliet was said to call out to her lover, earning Verona the name of City of Love, but Verona also has so much more to offer – Centuries of History in one City.
The countryside surrounding Verona is quite varied with plains to the south, hills in the centre and the mountains to the north. Close by is Lake Garda, Italy’s largest lake with its mild climate its shores are green and rich in vegetation. Lake Garda’s shoreline is planted with cypress, olive trees, lemon trees, palms, lauels and other exotic plants which give it its own characteristic beauty. The Baldo mountain chain stretch along the western side of the lake and descend steeply down towards the water. Monte Baldo has many legends attached to it, with stories of fairies,witches and goblins. The magic of Monte Baldo is in its rare medicinal herbs. It is a reserve for precious ornamental, aromatic and medicinal plants. There is a cable car ride to the top of Monte Baldo from which you are able to see the entire lake, on a clear day, and have 360° veiws of the wonderful scenery. On the other side of the Adige valley are the are the Lessini mountains which are an important group within the Dolomites, which in turn are part of the pre-Alps of the Veneto. The area around Verona is famous for its wines and there are acres of vineyards, the most beautiful being the Valpolicella in which there are fruit groves and vegetable farms as well as the vineyards. From this region comes the famous Valpolicella wine. Other valleys around Verona and in the Lessini range, include Val Pantena, Valle do Squaranto, Valle d’Illasi and the Valle dell’Alpone. Verona sits on the banks of the Adige River, the main river of the Province of Verona, it begins life in the Trento region and after Verona heads offf towards the Provinces of Padua and Rovigo. The river Adige winds itself around the city and is therefore a main feature with its wonderful bridges. Verona is at the centre of a beautiful panorama, and with its wonderful selection of buildings and rooftops attracts increasing numbers of visitors each year who will undoubtedly fall in love with this amazing city.
”There is no world without Verona walls”: the pen of William Shakespeare has lent Verona fame and immortality with his tale of two star-crossed lovers, Romeo Montecchi (Montagu) and Juliet Capuleti (Capulet). Juliet’s House is located in the Via Cappello, which runs off the Piazza delle Erbe. The house is a tall building with a fine brick facade and dates back to the 13th century. Tradition has it that this was the house that belonged to the Capulets, whose coat-of-arms is visible above the inner arch-way of the court-yard, the powerful Veronese family to which Juliet belonged.
The Arena di Verona is situated on the Piazza Bra and was built in AD 30. At that time this area was outside the city walls, the Emperor Gallienus later extended the walls so to protect the arena. The arena (or Ampitheatre) could seat more than 30,000 spectators who would come from far and wide to see the gladiatorial games, hunts and other spectacular events which ,even in those days were famous. The round facade of the building was originally built from pink and white limestone from Valpolicello but following an earthquake in 1117 which destroyed most of the structure, the stone was quarried for other uses. In size and importance it is only second to the Colosseum and it is one of the best preserved ancient structures of its kind
The Theatre sits overlooking the river Adige across to the historical centre of Verona,on the hill of St Peter at the north-east of the city. Built in the 1st century BC, two walls were constructed along the river Adige between the Ponte di Pietra and the Ponte Postumio to protect it from floods before work began. Work stretched out over several decades which was not surprising considering the size of the undertaking
Castelvecchio, meaning “Old Castle” in Italian, is an imposing castle and its appearance and shape shows that it was once a military building. It has seven towers, six smaller and one large, and is accentuated by battlements along the walls. It has a superelevated keep, the Torre del Mastio, with four main buildings inside and was once surrounded by a moat, which is now dry but into which the waters of the Adige once ran. Evidence of former residential use is evident in the remains of the original frescoes which can still be seen in some of the rooms
The Ponte Scaligero or the Scala Bridge is an impressive, fortified bridge in Verona and was built purely as an escape route from the castle to the countryside and the Tyrol and Germany beyond, this was in the event of a rebellion of the population against his tyrannic rule. Built in 1354-56, it has been called “A triumphal Arch of a Waterway”. Mystery surrounds the architect of this magnificent bridge but it thought that it was most likely Guglielmo Bevilacqua, although other names have been mentioned but no evidence to support them
The bustling Piazza delle Erbe or the Square of Herbs, is one of the loveliest Italian piazzas and expresses the vivacious character of the city of Verona. It was once the city’s Forum in the time of the Roman Empire. Today it is filled with market stalls, set under large white umbrellas which are a trademark of Verona. The market stalls are overflowing with colourful fruits and vegetables enticing visitors to buy, there are large cooled containers filled with various fruit juices and plates of peeled chopped fruits to quench your thirst in the hot sun
The Torre dei Lamberti is the tallest of Verona’s towers at 83 meters and looms high over the Piazza delle Erbe. Its construction began in 1172 and took several centuries to complete. In May 1403 lightening struck the top of the tower knocking off the top. It was later decided to raise the tower even higher and restoration work began, this lasted from 1448 to 1463. The octagonal end of the tower contains the two bells the “Rengo”, once used for storm warnings and the “Marangona” used to call the citizens to arms to defend the city or to call a meeting of the council
Both pilgrims and tourists arriving in Verona can not help but admire the view of the historic centre with the large structure of the Cathedral of Verona, crowned with pinnacles and it’s large bell tower rising over the rooftops. The Cathedral of S.Maria Assunta is one of the buildings that make up the unmistakable landscape of the city, along with the Basilica of St Zeno, the symbol of Christian Verona. Located in the oldest Roman suburb
The Basilica of San Zeno is a minor basilica situated in Verona. Not only famed for its architecture it is also known as the setting for the marriage of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. St Zeno is one of the most important symbols of the city of Verona, which together with the Arena stands as testament to the ancient Romans, Romeo and Juliet and the Middle Ages
The Castel San Pietro is located directly above the Roman Theatre and is accessed by taking the stairs right next to the ‘Teatro Romano’. The ruins of this once splendid Austrian fortress sit high above the city of Verona and offer the most wonderful views of the city from one of the terraces of the fortress and amazing sunsets make it an ideal location for a romantic evening stroll
The Tomb of the ill-fated Juliet lies inside the monastery of San Francesco al Corso in Verona. Following the legend of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, it was here that it was indicated as the place where the final events in this tragic story took place. The grave lies in the crypt which is accessed from the cloister. The red Verona marble sarcophagus was discovered in the monastery’s vegetable garden, empty and devoid of a cover, it is here that Juliet lay after drinking the poison
The ancient structure of the Arco dei Gavi in Verona was built by the family Gavia, and is a rare example of an honorary arch dedicated to private citizens. The arch was placed in a very prestigious position at the beginning of the Via Postumia, the Roman Road leading to the city. In the Middle Ages it was used as a gateway to the city. During the Napoleonic rule in Italy the Arch was dismantled in one day, the 29th August 1805
The Casa dei Mercanti or Domus Mercatorum is situated in the Piazza delle Erbe in Verona, Italy. The building, of 1210, was originally constructed in wood but in 1301 Alberto I della Scala began construction in stone. This was intended to be the wool trading centre as the Scaliger family were merchants before becoming rulers of the city. The Scala family worked hard to promote the economic life of Verona. The Domus was expanded by Albert’s successors, especially Can Grande and Cansignorio and underwent several restorations over the years,
The Palazzo Canossa is a palace built in classical style, with a notable portico at the entrance, by the architect Michele Sanmichelin in around 1530 on the commission of the Marquises of Canossa. In the 18th century a loggia and statues were added plus a large courtyard overlooking the River Adige. Inside there was once a large fresco by Gian Battista Tiepolo
The Palazzo Maffei is situated across the west side of the Piazza delle Erbe in Verona, Italy. Built in the Baroque style, it is a very rich and ornate building. The Maffei family was one of the most prominent in Verona, and were of German origin, they had close ties to the city of Rome and this explains the sophisticated style of the palace which was so much in contrast to other buildings in Verona at the time. A building had exsisted on this spot in the 15th century
The gateway, the Porta Palio, was designed by Michele Sanmicheli to celebrate the importance of the ancient Via Postumia. It’s name was derived from the horse-race the ‘palio’ which was held here at it’s inauguration. This monumental gateway was built between 1550 and 1561 and was constructed in an area of the walls which was difficult to defend. After many years of difficulties with the construction it turned out to be of little use
The Teatro Filarmonico is the main opera house of Verona and one of the leading opera houses of Europe. Construction of the opera house began in 1716 and lasted 13 years. The opening night saw La Fida Ninfa by Vivaldi performed by the libretto Scipio Maffei. Word spread and the opera season became famous until disaster struck on 21st January 1749 when fire spread through the building. Re-building began and the opera house was re-opened in 1754. Again disaster struck on 23rd February 1945 when
The Scaliger family had their church close to the Town Hall near what is now the Piazza dei Signori, and they placed their cemetery outside. The small church of Santa Maria Antica dates back to the 7th century and has a very striking interior. The Scaliger family ruled Verona from the 13th to the late 14th century. The church is a splendid example of Romanesque architecture and is faced with alternating bands of stone and brick, with a fine small bell tower and a conical tiled roof
Porta Leoni is an ancient Roman gate in Verona, northern Italy. The gate was built during the Roman Republic by P. Valerius, Q. Caecilius, Q. Servilius and P. Cornelius, and restructured in imperial times. It was connected to the road which led to Bologna and Aquileia. The original Roman name is unknown. During the Middle Ages it was called Porta San Fermo, due to the nearby church,
Porta Borsari is an ancient Roman gate in Verona, northern Italy.It dates to the 1st century AD, though it was most likely built over a pre-existing gate from the 1st century BC. An inscription dating from emperor Gallienus’ reign reports another reconstruction in 265 AD. The Via Postumia (which here became the decumanus maximus) passed through the gate, which was the city’s main entrance and was therefore richly decorated. It also originally had an inner court, now disappeared
The Ponte Pietra is a Roman arch bridge which spans the Adige River in Verona, and it dates back to the 1st century BC making it one of Verona’s oldest monuments. It was also known as the Pons Marmoreus – the Marble Bridge. There was once a wooden bridge at this site but due to floods the bridge collapsed on many occasions and constantly had to be rebuilt. Finally in 1508 the Roman stone arch bridge was built. The bridge consists of five arches, all of varying sizes. Four of the arches were blown up by retreating German troops in World War II but it
Located in Piazza Bra, one of Verona’s main squares, Palazzo Barbieri is the Town Hall of Verona. The Palazzo is named after the architect Guiseppe Barbieri who was in charge of its construction from 1836 – 1848. The building was to have been a Gran Guardia Nuova used by the Austrians during their occupation and the Hapsburgs used the Palazzo Barbieri as a base for the Austrian troops. Following the Italian unification it became the seat of the city government
The magnificent Palace of the Gran Guardia is situated in the historical centre of Verona whose history of its construction was a long and troubled one begining in the 17th century and only completed in 1843. On the 26th September 1609, Captain Mocenigo placed a formal request before the Doge of Venice for the construction of the palace. He received permission to go ahead on 30th December 1609 and on the 13th February 1610 some senators from the Republic of Venice came to Verona to bring funds. By 1614 the monies had all been used up and work was suspended
The imposing structure of the Palazzo della Ragione which is situated alongside the Piazza delle Erbe, houses the Offices of the Magistrates Court and the Court of Assize. There are two plaques showing differing dates of construction, 1138 and 1193. It is a large square building with a central paved courtyard. In 1218 a terrible fire destroyed much of the palace but it was quickly rebuilt the following year. It has its own Chapel which sits in
Piazza dei Signori is one of the three major squares in the historical heart of the city of Verona. It is situated close by the Piazza delle Erbe and coming from here you will pass under the Arco della Costa, with its large whale rib, from which the arch takes its name. The Piazza has been the site of administrative and political representation since the Middle Ages. Where the Piazza delle Erbe has been a bustling busy market square since Roman times, the Piazza dei Signori is distinguished and elegant and has an air of peace and harmony about it
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