Although it’s most famous as the setting for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Verona has much more to offer. Verona isn’t short of sights besides Juliet’s “balcony” and “tomb.” Northern Italy is full of beautiful towns and UNESCO World Heritage sites, and Verona is definitely on the top of that list.
The small city is located between Venice an Milano at the southeast corner of Lake Garda. It takes 4.5 hours by car from Munich on a Thursday afternoon in March. If you plan to drive Brenero at a busy weekend between May and September, it will take at least one hour longer. Actually we only stop at the toll stations along the way (€8,90 for Austria, €9,00 for Bridge of Europe and €19,00 for Italy). Please keep in mind the only Austria also covers the way back, Italy will charge that one again.
After a goods night sleep we head into the city on a beautiful sunny Spring day. The temperature already shows 16 degrees in the morning. Equipped with a tourist map, which will later proof it’s incompatibility. First sight we find is the amphitheater, Verona’s answer to Rome’s Colosseum. Built in the 1st century A.D., it actually predates the Colosseum by almost 50 years! It sill is remarkably well preserved, today it’s home to Verona’s summer opera festival. The plaza in front of the arena is filled with little stands that sell mostly souvenirs. There also is a fountain in the middle of tiny park. Just look around and you will see historic buildings and simply feel this mediterranean vibe. From here on out, we basically wander through alleyways filled with little shops of sometimes world famous brands. The map is of no use, because hardly any street is charted. Somehow we reach Piazza delle Erbe. Again, just look around you and suck in the flair of the architecture: Ancient houses, with old balconies overgrown by flowers and a lovely central fountain, this might just be the prettiest piazza in all of Italy.
Verona’s main cathedral, or Duomo, is stunning. But it is closed due to renovation. From here it is only a 5 minutes walk to the (!) best bridge across the river , Ponte de Pietra. Up the hill at Castle San Pietro, the view over the city is magnificent. Unfortunately it is very hazy today. As we learn later that day, Lake Garda is the source of all the mist. One can spot Ponte de Pietra, Duomo, Arena and also Castlevecchio, where we go next. Alongside the river we walk for 15 minutes until we clearly see the fortress from 14th-century with its seven towers.