I’m lucky enough to say that I’ve been to Verona three times in my life. But on the third time, it was (finally!) for more than just a day. Located in the Veneto region, it might not receive as much foot traffic as Venice but it certainly gets busy in high season and packs a punch with what it has to offer visitors.
People come to Verona to see and experience its art, history and architecture.
It’s also a city that is famous for being the setting of one of the most well known tragic love stories of all time – Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet!
Here are my 5 things to do in Verona.
1. Dine at one of Verona’s Michelin Star Restaurants
Chef Elia Rizzo has long had a name for excellence in Verona and in 1982 he opened Il Desco. Still family-run to this day, it now has a coveted Michelin star. Classic in style, but innovative in its approach, Il Desco’s specialty is seafood. Around 10 courses in their signature tasting menu will set you back €150 (without wine) but will certainly be etched in your memory for years after you leave Verona.
You will be so enamoured with Verona you may not want to leave. Trust me, don’t miss the opportunity to explore the surrounding area, especially the Lake Garda district. This lake is the largest in Italy and there are quaint towns and villages dotted along the lake’s edge.
Hot tip: Go on a boat ride around the lake. It’s the best the way to see its sheer size and beauty. Visit the Lake Garda tourism authority for more information and travel ideas for the Garda / Veneto area. 3. Channel Shakespeare
Juliet’s House, (fictionally) features the balcony where Juliet stood while Romeo declared his love in the Shakespeare classic.
When you walk in, you almost forget that Romeo and Juliet weren’t real characters but figments of Shakespeare’s imagination. But who cares? This place has the power to turn even the most non-romantic, cynical and rational of people into a romantic dreamer in seconds.
The house dates back to the 13th century and the bronze statue of Juliet in the courtyard is what tourists flock here for. Legend has it that you touch her right breast for luck in love!
Hot tip: Don’t waste your entire day trying to get into the house. To be honest, the wait is long enough trying to get up close and personal with the bronze Juliet. The rest is a little overrated! 4. Catch a show at the Arena
Built in 30AD, the amphitheater, Arena di Verona is one of the most well preserved of its kind in the world. Still in use today, you can catch an opera or in my case recently, a concert (Adele!). Anyone who is anyone has performed here from Maria Callas through to Paul McCartney.
For a quick and easy (and relaxing!) day trip out of Verona, head to the thermal springs of Sirmione. Located less than an hour drive from the centre, the area is rich in springs and features a number of day spa facilities. I recently spent the day at Aquaria and recommend it for a day of soaking and relax with stunning views of Lake Garda.
Acknowledgements: this blog post recounts my personal experience in the Veneto region and is published as part of a blog collaboration with the Largo di Garda tourism board. As always, thoughts expressed are my own; this is my blog and nobody tells me what to write.