VERONA

Verona might be the most overlooked little city in Northern Italy. Sandwiched halfway between Milan and Venice, most travelers opt for the bigger cities and skip over Verona. It’s understandable if you’re on a tight schedule, but the city is definitely worth a day trip if you’re already in Northern Italy. The city is smaller and more residential, so it’s very walkable. No public transportation is required other than getting from the train station to the city center (although that is walkable too, but could be tiring at the end of the day). The streets are clean and the architecture is absolutely charming. And best yet, it’s a city where most of the fun is free!

There’s just something a little magical about Verona that makes your heart happy. It tends to have a way of making your eyes light up when you turn the corner and see yet another beautiful view. Even after visiting Venice, Florence, Siena and other well-known cities in Italy, I somehow always found my way back to Verona. I semi-joked with my parents that I would up and move to Verona when I finished college. Now they’re terrified that will become a reality. Sorry, mom.

10 REASONS WHY YOUR NEXT DAY TRIP IS TO VERONA

The Arena DSC_0112No need to travel all the way to Rome to see a Roman arena. Built in the 1st century, the amphitheater is still strikingly beautiful and one of the most well-maintained of its kind. Today, it’s known for hosting huge operas and concerts (recently including One Direction, holla). You can pay around 10 euros (or bring your student ID/a copy of your student visa to get a discount) to go into the arena, hang out in the center, or climb to the top for a great view of the city. By the time you reach the top, you’ll definitely feel like you had your workout for the day.

Piazza BraDSC_0010 As you can see in this picture, Piazza Bra is located next to the Arena (you can see it in the background). It’s the biggest square in the city, so it’s hard to miss. Surrounded by the old courthouse, touristy restaurants and hotels, and the arena is a beautiful garden area with fountains, benches, walkways, etc. It’s a great place to people watch, so grab a gelato from a nearby shop and take in the scenery.

The Golden MileDSC_0019Located directly next to the Arena and Piazza Bra is Verona’s own Golden Mile, although locals don’t refer to it as such. Here you’ll find colorful buildings hosting many charming boutiques and some of Italy’s biggest designers: Gucci, Armani, Prada, Dulce & Gabbana, etc. The street will take you in the right direction to visit Juliet’s House, Piazza Erbe, and Piazza Dante. Although the street is usually jam-packed with shoppers, it’s a must and basically unavoidable, as it’s the quickest way to some of the city’s best areas.

Juliet’s HouseDSC_0044 Juliet’s House (or La Casa di Giulietta) is a must see for any hopeless romantic or, like myself, appreciator of Shakespeare. Most people only know Verona as the home of Romeo and Juliet. Although the story is fictitious, it is said that Romeo and Juliet really lived and Shakespeare found inspiration from their story. Anyways, visiting Juliet’s House is completely free. Write your name on her wall, touch the left breast of her statue so you will meet your true love, write Juliet a letter and leave it in her post box (if you leave your address, Juliet will write you back), leave a lock for you and your lover in her courtyard, or go up to her balcony to take a picture.

Piazza delle ErbeVerona-piazza_delle_erbeFirst of all, this picture is from Wikipedia because I was too busy being overwhelmed by the charm of this piazza to actually take any pictures. Piazza Erbe is the preferred dinner (apertivo) spot for locals, and it’s a hot spot for live music, street shows, street vendors, etc. It provides rustic Italian personality and beauty, and the Christmas markets here in December are so much fun. Eat outside at one of the restaurants for a meal with a view.

Piazza Dante (Piazza dei Signori)DSC_0070 Piazza Dante, as it’s colloquially referred to by the people of Verona, is connected to Piazza Erbe, so you might as well stroll on over if you’re already in the area. Check out the statue of Dante in the center of the square, and then roam around to look at the palaces surrounding the piazza: Palazzo della Ragione, Palazzo del Podesta, and Palace of Cansignorio. There is also a beautiful little Catholic church, Santa Maria Antica, nearby. Sneak through the doors and attend mass, or simply walk around the inside and admire its beauty.

CastelvecchioDSC_0091Castelvecchio is a Gothic, red-brick castle with a bridge crossing the Adige River. While it’s more of a dominating, medieval structure when compared to the rest of the city, it’s still beautiful. Today, it’s home to Verona’s Officer Club and the Castelvechio Museum, which is open to the public. There are a few places on the bridge where you can climb up to overlook the river through the slits (which were originally for canons). It’s just a short walk from Piazza Bra.

Lamberti TowerTorre-Lamberti-Gallery This picture is taken from Verona’s tourism website, which gives you hours and prices for admission into the tower. Here you’ll find the best views of the city. It’s the tallest tower in Verona, and you can either take the stairs or an elevator (partially). It’s located just off of Piazza Erbe so it’s close to most other areas on this list. Personally, it’s worth the few euros I paid to go to the top for an amazing view.

Palazzo Guisti800px-Verona-giardinogiusti01Yet another Wikipedia picture (sorry not sorry but sometimes I like to appreciate places without a lens in front of my eye). This place is a must-see for anyone willing to walk from the city center. The gardens at Palazzo Guisti are some of the most beautiful and finest in Europe. The gardens include a park of terraces as you climb the hill and a hedge maze, so it’s easy to spend at hour or two exploring this area.

Duomo di VeronaVerona_Duomo3_tango7174Finishing the list strong with my final Wiki picture. But really, the duomos (cathedrals) in Italian cities are usually some of the most beautiful buildings, and the duomo in Verona is no exception. The building has had many renovations since it was first erected in the early 1100s. There main chapel is surrounding by three smaller chapels, so the interior boasts gorgeous views. As always, try to stay quiet when you’re walking around inside, and make sure you’re dressed appropriately (try to have your shoulders and knees covered).

So there you go. 10 undeniably good reasons to visit Verona. If I didn’t convince you to visit, surely this video will:

Amazing, right? You can take a regional train (12.50 euros) or a frecciabianca (fast train – 21 euros) with TrenItalia from Venice or from Central Station in Milan to Verona’s Porta Nuova station. It takes 1.5 hours on the fast train or a little under 2 hours on the regional train. Once you get to Verona’s train station, there will be an ATV office to buy bus tickets for the city. You will want to buy two per person so you can travel both to and from the city center. Tickets are 1.30 euro a piece. The bus station will be right across the street once you walk out of the train station and you will want to take Bus 11, 12, or 13 to Piazza Bra. Alternatively, you can exit the train station and walk 15 minutes down Corso Porta Nuova until you reach Piazza Bra. It’s not too long of a walk and it’s pretty, but again, it could be tiring after a day of exploration. If you prefer to walk to the city center, then take the bus back to the train station at the end of the day, you’re more than welcome to do so. You can buy a ticket on the bus for 1.50 euro.

And there you have it, folks. Thanks for reading and as always, comments and suggestions are encouraged. A presto đŸ™‚

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