Located about halfway between Milan and Venice in northern Italy, Verona can be visited as a day trip from those locations, but this magical city deserves more time than just a day trip.
Although Verona is most famous for being the setting of the story of Romeo and Juliet (Giulietta in Italian), the city has much more to offer, like all of Italy.
Of course there are reminders of Roman times, including a huge arena which is still in use, a bridge, a gate, and walls and foundations underneath the streets and churches.
It is easy to see why the Romans chose this spot – Verona sits on a u-shaped bend of the Adige River, providing a natural defensive setting, an ample supply of water and a central location that would become a hub for major trade routes across northern Italy, through the Alps and into the rest of Europe.
The only tourist sight that was crowded in Verona was the (supposed) house of Juliet, with its famous balcony (O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?). There is no confirmed link between this building and the story of the two doomed lovers.
The rest of this city with its multiple treasures was pretty quiet. In Verona, one can find beautiful piazzas, interesting churches, a castle and huge city walls, along with the magnificent natural setting.
Of course you can find fantastic gelato and even British-like chips (french fries). Just about everything a tourist could want!
Finding spots with fewer tourists was part of our quest on this most recent trip to northern Italy. Most tourists concentrate their time in Rome, Florence and Venice, and while I understand why those spots are popular, there is so much more to see in this stunning country. In future posts, I will share some additional less-visited gems, all hiding in plain sight.
Put Verona on your list of places to see in Italy, it is just 115 km (or 71 miles) west of Venice or 156 km (or 97 miles) east of Milan.