I admit, I’m not going to be very original; talking about love when referring to the city of Verona is not something unique. However, one is confined to brag about it when it comes to the city of Romeo and Juliet. William Shakespeare managed to change the fate of a whole city. Ever since his play about the tragic love story of two young lovers was written, the story of Romeo and Juliet came to symbolize eros at its fullest and bonded this Italian city to real love for an eternity!
Love is the Key… to Verona
Verona is undoubtedly Romeo and Juliet's city... but not only!
Indeed, Verona is annually welcoming its visitors, all eager to meet the city of Romeo and Juliet, despite the fact that they never really existed and were mere fictional characters born from the marvelous mind of a genius – Shakespeare himself! Must I add, Shakespeare himself never made it either to Verona! Imagination meets no borders, though… Irrelevant details, one could safely argue, as it is the spirit of love and the urge for passion that all of those people are searching for actually when visiting Verona. Who can actually blame the crave for inspiration? Don't we all naturally have it in us, after all!?
Casa di Giullietta
Giulietta .... e Romeo?
I guess it’s quite easy to guess where hundreds of thousands of visitors go the moment they leave Verona airport. They all rush to the Casa di Giulietta, of course! Truth is, Juliet never lived there, as there wouldn't have been actually possible to escape the very book that brought her to life in the first place! Nevertheless, the beautiful house dating back to the 13th century was once owned by the Capello family, a coincidence that might lead many to believe that the house once belonged to the Capulets (Juliet’s noble family, in Shakespeare’s play). Visitors can take a glimpse at the charming building, turned into “a shrine of love” by their own dreams and fascination. The little picturesque balcony is a main point of attraction, especially when the image of the two lovers kissing has been immortalized in paintings, movies, endless works of art in innumerable occasions.
Romeo and Juliet - Verona, Italy
House of Juliet
Piazza delle Erbe
Verona: Piazza delle Erbe
Leaving aside the most spectacular love story the world has ever heard of, Verona is a city of typical classy Italian beauty. At Piazza delle Erbe you will be reminded that Italy is a place where the squares are really the center of a life that is being lived largely outdoors, especially during the warmer months. What better way to organize the daily activities of your Italian holidays other than sitting in a café at Piazza delle Erbe while enjoying an espresso , surrounded by Renaissance style spectacular buildings?
Verona Arena & Castelvecchio
After a hot and energizing Italian coffee, it would be only natural to head towards the Verona Arena. Built around the 1st century A.D., this amphitheater is actually older than the Colosseum, even if less famous and glorified than Rome’s own pride. Nowadays, it hosts the Verona Opera, where every consecutive summer the Arena di Verona Festival takes place. It makes for one of the city’s major cultural events and it is not to be missed, if in Verona at that particular time of the year.
According to my calculations, Castelvecchio should be next on your list. An imposing and impressive castle with seven towers that now function as a museum of art and archeology, this medieval fortress is where one can breathe the air of a glorious Italian (and, consequently, European just as well) long-standing history.
As for historical churches, Verona won’t definitely disappoint you. Duomo of Verona is a must-visit, as it is Verona’s main cathedral, constructed around the 12th century and still standing proudly. In addition, the Basilica di San Zeno Maggiore, which dates back to the 4th century, will overwhelm you with its magnificent interiors, created between the 10th and the 12th century.
Shopping in Verona
After these visits of cultural interest, what comes as an absolute must-do when in a place such as Italy is some good old shopping. Milan might be the center of Italian (and maybe even European) fashion, but Verona’s shopping streets are very elegant and… quite busy! Many luxurious labels are to be found in Via Mazzini. While it’s definitely not the biggest pedestrian street you’ve ever walked on, it will certainly keep you busy staring at the windows, not to mention tempting you to storm inside at the same time!
Castell San Pietro, or the Best View of the City
Verona desde el Castell de San Pietro
To finish your day, a view of the city would be just the perfect way to relax and sum it all up. In order to do so, though, you will need to climb up the hill which oversees the city. At the Castell San Pietro you will see Verona from above. The river, the bridge, the wonderful architecture of the city - everything will be revealed to you at a full extent, while you will be standing in between old ruins that reveal the Austrian contribution to the city’s long and fascinating history.
Just one last thing; after you admire the view, take out your book (what do you mean which book!?) and try to read just a few pages of Shakespeare’s love story… it will finally make much more sense! For certain! Enjoy!