Monday, June 2, 2014

Travel Guide | Italian Charm from Verona

Beautiful Verona, home of the ancient Arena is a city of art, culture and Italian hospitality. Because of its many historic and architectural marvels, the city has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The main tourist attraction and symbol of Verona is the Arena, a Roman amphitheater that could seat 25000 people, the third biggest one in Italy after the Colosseum and the arena in Capua. The games held here in ancient times attracted spectators from far beyond the city walls. The Arena hosts operas and concerts nowadays. Famous musicians and bands such as Laura Pausini, Alicia KeysMike Oldfield, Sting, Pearl Jam, Deep PurpleRadiohead, Peter Gabriel and Paul McCartney have performed here.

For a breathtaking panorama of Verona, climb to Castel San Pietro, overlooking the city from a hill across the Adige river. It's not a long walk from Piazza D'Erbe and the view is worth every step.

Panorama of Verona from Castel San Pietro

As in most Italian cities, there are several big piazzas in Verona. The biggest one, Piazza di Bra, is where the Arena is. Another big square is Piazza dei Signori, also known as Piazza Dante because of the poet's statue in its center. The most charming one is Piazza D'Erbe with its colorful bazaar and numerous small cafes and ristorantes that offer apperitivo.

The fountain at Piazza di Bra

Piazza D'Erbe

Piazza dei Signori and the statue of Dante Alighieri
Verona has several museums, the largest of which is Museo di Castelvecchio, a 14th century fortress, almost destroyed in World War II. It hosts a diverse collection of statues, frescoes, jewelry and paintings by Pisanello, Bellini, Tiepolo and Veronese. The bridge that connects Castelvecchio to the city is Ponte Scaligero, built in the 14th century and later destroyed together with Ponte Pietra by the Germans in the end of WWII. Both bridges were rebuilt and are now landmarks of Verona.

Ponte Scaligero

As in every Italian city, there are many churches here. Some notable ones are Verona's 12th century cathedral, the biggest church in the city - Basilica di Sant'Anastasia, Basilica di San Zeno Maggiore and Chiesa di San Lorenzo.

Santuario Madonna Di Lourdes

A magnet for tourists is an old 14th century house with a small balcony hidden in an alley in the historical center. Casa di Giulietta supposedly belonged to the Capuleti family. Never mind that Romeo and Juliet were fictional characters. There's also a statue of Shakespeare's tragic heroine in the courtyard.

Main attractions:

  • Arena di Verona
  • Castel San Pietro
  • Piazza di Bra
  • Piazza dei Signori
  • Piazza D'Erbe
  • Castelveccio
  • Ponte Scaligero and Ponte Pietra
  • Verona's Duomo
  • Basilica di Sant'Anastasia
  • Basilica di San Zeno Maggiore
  • Chiesa di San Lorenzo
  • Casa di Giulietta