Sara Scarpa shares some of the best places to eat and stay in Verona – plus a few of her top things to see and do in the city
Photos by Iain Reid
What to see & do
The arena (left) with its gigantic dimensions dominates Piazza Bra. It is the most famous monument in Verona and the symbol of the city. Built in the first half of the 1st century AD, between the end of the empire of Augustus and the empire of Claudius, it was an arena for gladiator shows for almost 400 years. Nowadays every summer, with thanks to its great acoustics and ideal location, it hosts the famous opera festival.
This begins in June, and has taken place every summer since 1913. The Verona Opera Festival is one of the best opera events in the world and each year it attracts hundreds of thousands of people. This year the festival takes place from June 21st to September 7th June and the operas scheduled are: La Traviata, Aida, Il Trovatore, Carmen and Tosca. There will be some special performances to see as well: Carmina Burana, Roberto Bolle and Friends, and Plácido Domingo 50 Arena Anniversary Night.
Piazza Bra, 1
If you are staying in Verona for more than a couple of days, try and make time for a trip to Lake Garda. You can get a train from Verona to Desenzano del Garda (30 minutes) and from there you can reach Sirmione by car or bus (10km). Sirmione is a charming old town located on this side of Lake Garda in the province of Brescia. It is famous for the thermal springs, for the Roman ruins and for the Scaliger Castle.
The Duomo Santa Maria Matricolare
Verona’s cathedral (right) is a wonderful mix of Romanesque and Gothic elements. Dating back to the 8th century and later modified by several renovation interventions, it is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The cathedral has many beautiful works of art including a stunning Assumption by Titian. Near the cathedral a serious of religious buildings are all linked together: the bell tower, the Baptistery of San Giovanni in Fonte, the Church of Sant’ Elena, the Canonical museum, the cloister, the library and the bishop’s residence.
Corte Sant’Elena, Piazza Duomo, 35
+39 045 592813
Juliet’s tomb is located inside the monastery of San Francesco al Corso, which is believed to be the place where the story ended. The sarcophagus of red Verona marble is kept in a vaulted room in the dark crypt under the church.
Lungoadige Capuleti, 7
Where to eat
Osteria Dal Cavaliere
This typical osteria offers delicious local dishes such as homemade pasta with meatballs, lamb shank, beef fillet and fantastic tiramisù.
Piazzetta Scala, 3
+39 045 2227785 +39 346 8506955
Antica Trattoria Tipica al Bersagliere
Located in the heart of Verona, in the old Filippini neighbourhood, near Piazza Bra, this historical trattoria with a 12th- century cellar offers typical Veronese cuisine such as Valpolicella lard, home-made soppressa, bigoli with duck ragù and baccalà accompanied by a great selection of wines.
Via Dietro Pallone, 1
Chef Andrea Nori (left, with his team) revisits Venetian cuisine, creating fantastic dishes with fresh ingredients from the Veneto region. The Osteria is located in the heart of the city near the banks of the river Adige and Andrea and his team will guarantee a friendly welcome.
Via Ponte Nuovo, 9
Filippo, the fourth generation of the Gioco family to manage the restaurant, has revolutionised both the interiors and the cuisine. Creative dishes by the fantastic chef Mauro Buffo are served in the elegant frescoed dining room home to 12 tables. Down from one of the frescoed rooms of the restaurant, the wine cellar houses important archaeological ruins (roads, stone and marble from ancient Rome) and some excellent wines.
Vicolo Corticella San Marco, 3
Ristorante Oste Scuro
Located between Castelvecchio and Piazza Bra, this is one of the best seafood restaurants in Verona, where you can try the delicious dishes prepared by the chef Simone Lugoboni. It serves fresh, raw fish, carefully prepared, ranging from crudités to clams, oysters and lobsters, as well as hot dishes such as spaghettoni with sea urchins and burrata cheese, trenette pasta with red mullet and tomato confit, dill and pistachio risotto.
Vicolo San Silvestro, 10
Where to stay
Hotel due Torre
The 5-star hotel is located in the heart of the city near the Church of Saint Anastasia and Piazza Bra. The hotel offers elegant and spacious rooms, a great restaurant and a large roof terrace.
Piazza Sant’Anastasia, 4
Located near Piazza Bra, this 3-star hotel offers 32 recently renovated rooms including an exclusive suite with terrace and jacuzzi overlooking the city.
Piazzetta Scalette Rubiani, 3
Grand Hotel des Arts
Located just a few steps from the Arena, this 4-star hotel was originally built in the 1920s in the Liberty style for a private family and then turned into a hotel preserving its architectural quality. It is decorated with valuable furniture and paintings and features a beautiful Verona red marble floor.
Corso Porta Nuova, 105
This 4-star-superior hotel is an 18th-century building overlooking Via Mazzini, the exclusive shopping area of Verona. It offers great location, a private garage and a gym.
Via Scala, 12
Hotel Milano & Spa
This 3-star hotel located in the city centre, near Via Mazzini, offers elegant rooms, an in-house bar, shared lounge, accommodation with a hot tub and free bikes to discover the city. (Cycling is a great way to see Verona.)
Vicolo Tre Marchetti, 11
Teatro Romano The Roman Theatre is actually older than the Arena, by about 100 years, though unlike the Arena it has largely fallen into ruin. It’s not really on the tourist trail but is still very much worth seeing, and has great views.
Ponte Scaligero at sunset
Ponte Scaligero (Scaliger Bridge), which is also known as Castel Vecchio Bridge, was built in the 14th century and had at the time the largest span of any bridge in the world. Its construction affords great places to sit and relax and enjoy the sunset with a views of the River Adige and the city.
Try the tortellini from Valeggio sul Mincio; risotto with tastasal; bigoli with duck and risotto all’Amarone. You can enjoy these in town or travel up river to try the tortellini in Valeggio sul Mincio itself, and then venture further to Valpolicella, on the eastern banks of Lake Garda, to sample the Amarone.
The all-inclusive city-pass that gives free or reduced entry to the main museums, churches and monuments of Verona, as well as free city bus travel. There are two options available: 24 or 48 hours. If you would prefer to make your own way, however, you can walk most of it, or you can hire a bike from the city’s excellent rental service.
Verona Villafranca Airport, aka Valerio Catullo Airport or Villafranca Airport, is 10km to the southwest of the city. The airport is connected to Verona Porta Nuova train station by a Shuttle/Aerobus service that runs every 20 minutes (journey time 15 minutes).
For more Verona travel ideas, read Sara’s 48 hours in Verona article