Verona is the home of star crossed lovers. It carries lore in its name and is an astonishing remnant of the Roman and Renaissance age.
With only 24 hours in Verona expect to be dazzled by vast piazzas, discover Roman amphitheatres in pristine condition, and fall in love with the Shakespearean tale of Romeo and Juliet.
If sites, art, and legend aren’t enough for you; prepare yourself for the food! The Adige runs down from the Vento Hinterland’s and brings with it intoxicating mixes of tomato-heavy goat, crepes stuffed with ricotta, and the best tiramisu Italy has to offer. My mouth waters in memory of Verona and soon yours will too!
Verona is located less than 2 hours drive from Venice or Milan, it is in the middle of both! If you are travelling between these two beautiful Italian cities, definitely consider stopping by in Verona for a day.
This is a city for romance; for food lovers; for history buffs. And it rests only an hour away from the crystal clear waters of the famed Lake Garda!
You’ll find yourself wishing you could stay, but with this 24 hour Verona itinerary, you will have seen the best and most prominent Verona has to offer!
Today we will walk our way around the historic city centre, before heading 1 hour away to the glorious Lake Garda.
Prepare yourself for Roman architecture as we walk through the Arena di Verona. After that, drift through time to the Medieval Castelvecchio Bridge. The Basilica di San Zeno and subsequent sights feature more contemporary time periods.
Throughout all of this visit, you will be reminded of the story of Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare may never have visited Verona, but his tragic romance has left an undeniable mark on the city.
Welcome to Piazza Bra, a bustling meeting point of modernity and history.
Flanked by the famous Arena di Verona, this beautiful paved square once served as a welcoming ground for new arrivals to Verona. It is tucked just inside the city gates and is one of the biggest squares in Europe.
The Piazza is packed with eateries and patio seating, giving you plenty of breakfast choice! Enjoy the shady park benches, breathe in the Verona air, and gaze in wonder at the Roman architecture that lines the streets.
I once spent a good long morning simply watching people from the Pasticceria Barini next to the gorgeous square. Pasticceria Barini is an authentic pastry shop where you can expect delicious tarts and croissants followed by a shot of coffee, all from the classic Italian standing bar. Tuck in your elbows, rub shoulders with locals, and prepare yourself for the history and architecture seeped day ahead in our 24 hours in Verona itinerary.
The Arena di Verona was built in the first century AD. It is widely considered one of the best conservations of a Roman amphitheatre and regularly hosts operas and other shows.
If you can’t grab a ticket to the Opera (though there are plenty- the amphitheatre holds up to 22 000 spectators), you can walk the stadium on a guided or independently walked tour. The stairs inside are carved from granite, and it is possible to walk down onto the theatre floor.
The Verona Arena was used for Roman ‘games’, attracting visitors from across the Roman Empire. Evidence of gladiator fights is still seen in the lower levels of the amphitheatre.
Nowadays, however, the Arena is world-famous for its large scale Opera performances. If you are visiting for a day or more, it is worth looking for tickets online. Each Opera will have ‘unreserved’ tickets for budget rates. These are standing/ seating room on the Arena floor, exactly as Roman citizens would have seen performances making it the perfect way to cap a day in Verona.
The Castelvecchio Bridge or Scaliger Bridge spans the Adige River. On one end it connects to the Castelvecchio ‘Old Castle’.
Castelvecchio Bridge was once the most important military construction of the Scaliger dynasty that ruled the city in the Middle Ages. Legends tell us that the designer of the bridge presented himself at the inauguration riding a horse, he was ready to bolt in case anything went wrong!
The Castelvecchio Bridge ends in an impressive 14th Century house which plays home to a vast collection of exquisite religious art. If you want, take an hour to wander the Castelvecchio galleries. Tickets cost just 6 Euros, and with rooms dedicated to renaissance, roman, and Medieval history it is well worth the money!
The Castelvecchio Bridge is also an excellent choice for the sunset! In the dusk, the bridge glows gold and red and makes for a very romantic vista! Afterall, Verona is known as one of the cities of love!
The Basilica di San Zeno is a short 5-minute walk from Castelvecchio Bridge and Museum.
This Basilica is no Duomo but instead is famous for two reasons: first, the Romanesque architecture is stunning, and secondly, the crypt was the setting for Romeo and Juliet’s marriage and death.
No matter how many days in Verona you have, the Basilica di San Zeno Maggiore is a must-see.
Romeo and Juliet is essential reading before visiting Verona. The lore and legend of this story are interwoven into the city’s history and fame. Accordingly, the crypt is the highlight of many people’s visit to the Basilica!
The Basilica was originally constructed between 967 - 1398 AD and houses the body of St Zeno, Verona’s patron saint. For this stop, we recommend investing in a Verona Card City Pass, which allows you to skip lines and allows one flat fee to cover all Verona attractions.
When inside the Basilica, make sure to examine the bronze door panels! These are from the Medieval period and feature a series of religious reliefs that document Saint Zeno’s life.
Just a short walk down the Via Capello is the Casa di Guilietta, or Juliet’s house. Crowds of tourists flock to this quaint courtyard to see the famous Juliet balcony.
Of course, Romeo and Juliet are fictional characters, but the lore of Romeo and Juliet is so linked with Verona that the house was bought and preserved by the City of Verona in 1905.
The courtyard is famously covered in small scraps of paper where visitors write and paste their declarations of love. You can even have a tile engraved and placed on the wall to immortalise your relationship. Besides, there is a statue of Juliet in the centre of the courtyard. Touching the right breast of the bronze statue will bring luck to all who are trying to find their true love.
Apart from Shakespearean import, the house is a delightful example of 14th Century Gothic Architecture. Take your time to wander through the various rooms exploring what Verona would have been like in Shakespearean time.
Piazza Delle Erbe is a short walk onwards from Casa di Giulietta. This busy, thriving Piazza is the heart of Verona! It is filled with markets daily and an array of eateries and cafes.
Surrounding the Piazza are brilliant examples of Roman architecture, as well as Baroque Facades. If you examine the Palazzo Maffei, you can see the ornate buttresses and statues that characterise the Baroque style (which aimed to inspire the masses and leave citizens in awe).
This beautiful Piazza is the perfect place to immerse yourself in Italian open-air markets. Take time to browse the local produce, hear the cries of Italian sellers, and gaze in wonder at the architecture.
Note the winged lion at the end of one courtyard, which symbolises the city’s prowess. With a never-ending stream of locals and changing markets, this Piazza is the perfect place to stop for coffee. Just make sure to save room for our next stop! Your one day in Verona is flying past!
If you visit Juliet’s house, it only seems right to visit Romeos! While Romeo’s home is worth little more than a cursory glance, located right next door is Osteria al Duca; a genuinely delightful eatery that serves up traditional North Italian food, well-priced wine, and a varied menu. The food will leave you full and sated, and, unlike other restaurants in the Verona city centre, this place skips the tourist trap taste!
Beware horse meat is used in several dishes, it’s authentic Verona food! Try fresh pasta in Donkey sauce and the tiramisu for a truly authentic and delicious experience.
While you are eating, consider Romeo’s house next door. This house is not open to the public and is, instead, a Renaissance town fortress of a very wealthy Verona family.
The main reason for it being dubbed fictional Romeo’s home is the family’s similarity in name and position to the Montague family. Either way, while you are dining on authentic Italian food, take a moment to ponder how important the tale of star crossed lovers has become to the Verona and Italian identity.
The Torre Dei Lamberti is located in Piazza Erbe on the corner. This means a five-minute backtrack to the beautiful Piazza square.
The Tower of the City or Lamberti Tower began construction in 1172, with the clock being added in 1779. Both follow the Romanesque period and feature red brick and solid motifs, and can be seen from the airports in Verona.
But the best part of Torre dei Lamberti? You can climb to the top and see the city of Verona with a 360-degree view! Standing at 84 metres high this tower gives you a sweeping view of the red roofs of Verona. You can take the stairs or an elevator to get to the top view.
Back on the ground level, the tower ticket also allows entry to the Gallery of Modern Art. Here you can see the famed Cappella dei Notai (a vaulted ceiling alfresco that details 17th Century Biblical Art).
The Gallery of Modern Art can be done in a circuit that takes little over an hour.
The second most famous square in Verona is the Piazza Dei Signori- translating to the Square of the Lords.
This piazza is also known as Dante Square for the Dante Statue that was made and erected in 1865.
From here you can make a trip to the Scaligeri Tombs, browse the many eateries for a well-earnt coffee, or admire the statues of prominent Verona figures that decorate the buildings surrounding the square.
On one side of the square is the Loggia del Consiglio, which was built in the 15th Century and served as a city council meeting place. Atop its roof, gargoyles and statues can be seen of politicians from across Italian history.
On the other side of the piazza is the Palazzo del Capitano. From here, Venice ruled over Verona before the unification and nationalisation of Italy. Around this time of the day, we are entering Apertivo territory! Why not sit on one of the many patios and engage an Aperol Spritz in this gorgeous square?
Lake Garda is an iconic destination one that continues to take the breath away of all who visit.
Blue waters, Roman ruins, romantic architecture, and charming scenery make this a once in a lifetime place to visit.
The downside? It needs a fair bit of time to enjoy. We recommend taking a few days for Lake Garda alone, indulging in the wine tasting tours, getting out on the water, and drifting between the romantic towns that pepper its shores.
If you don’t have time for this, however, you can do a day or afternoon trip from Verona. No matter how many days in Verona you have, this glistening natural beauty site is worth the time.
Catch the bus to the nearby lake town of Sirmione. This gorgeous elegant resort town is built on the thin peninsula that spears into Lake Garda.
Spend your afternoon visiting the thermal baths, bathing in the lake, or wandering the Roman ruins of the Grotte di Catullo.
A bus trip from Verona city centre will take you approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes, and return buses are frequent.
Back in Verona, travel down the banks of the Adige River and enjoy the nightlife as the city drifts out for dinner. Head for the Sottoriva Arcade. This arcade is known for its medieval arches- each of which houses an eatery, restaurant, bar, or osterias. This is one of the most popular places to go for dinner in the old town.
This area specialises in Servizio lente or slow service. That is, order a drink, sit and mull as your food comes out in rounds. I recommend the crespelle (crepes) stuffed with ricotta and spinach. You’ll find this area reasonably priced and the smell will have your mouth watering long before you reach your table!
Plus the view over the river, if it is a mild night, is very romantic, making this the perfect location for couples.
Finish off your meal with a granita of tropical urucum fruit, and you are ready to call it a day! Your day in Verona has come to a close.
Verona’s major travel hubs can be reached on the subway lines, buses leaving from Piazza Bra, or through rideshare apps. It is worth mentioning that Uber in Italy is widespread and makes internal travel a breeze.
The Porta Nuova Railway station is found to the south of the city centre and is most easily reached by bus from the Piazza Bra. You will find most ticket conductors speak smatterings of English and can help you stumble your way to the train station. Alternatively, you can use the subway system with a Verona City Card.
The major international airport of Valerio Catullo (Villafranca) can take up to an hour to reach in heavy traffic- so make sure to plan. If you have more time in this beautiful city, why not use it to visit Lake Garda? Or take a stroll down the Adige River to find the more cosmopolitan suburbs surrounding the city centre?
Verona has something for everything, and as you pull away, we hope you take treasured memories with you!
Verona is a city of history and romance. You can find tourist comforts, rub shoulders with locals, dine on divine cuisine, all while wandering it’s historical and enchanting streets.
The cobblestones have inspired Shakespeare, Operas, and Epic tales. The buildings will astound you with their renaissance charm, and you are sure to find love as you follow the legend of the star-crossed lovers.
One day could never be enough to explore this beautiful area and bustling city! However, in only 12 stops, you will have wandered from a first century AD Roman Amphitheatre to a real-life testament to fictional love, to Renaissance art, to a world-class lake resort.
This taste covers the best that Verona has to offer.
When I first walked the streets of Verona, I was so astonished by the smells of Veneto hinterland food- hopefully, you will have taken in more by following this one day in Verona walking tour!
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