It’s time for my annual trip to Verona! This time I will be visiting Mantua for the first time, travelling by train to the city Romeo was banished to.
I shall also be attending the 50th Anniversary Concert at Arena di Verona to celebrate Placido Domingo’s career – evening dress packed in tissue and ready!
Verona is a wonderful city to visit – August is hot, hot, hot weatherwise, but June can be cooler and also quieter. By the beginning of July the crowds have arrived, but this vibrant little city is a model of decorum and is wonderfully peaceful to walk around at night and soak in the magic of the ancient architecture and monuments.
There is also a wonderful shopping mall full of designer shops and some very affordable boutiques. If you like markets, Piazza Erbe is in full swing every day with market stalls selling clothing, souvenirs, fruit and vegetables and snacks.
The hot places to visit in Verona are Casa di Giulietta (Juliet’s House), the Roman amphitheatre, which is open during the day – and Juliet’s tomb. There is also the smaller site of a Roman theatre across the River Adige – en route is my favourite gelateria by Ponte Pietra! There are more Roman ruins at Porte Leoni, where you will also find the department store Coop and lots of independent boutiques and stylish homeware shops, as well as bars and cafes to relax in.
Verona is also well provided with museums and art galleries if you love history and art.
Verona is a compact city but with plenty to interest visitors of all ages – the city is mainly flat terrain, apart from the gently cobbled streets, but generally it is easy to access if you have small children, or have mobility issues, or use a wheelchair.
There are plenty of taxis and organised tours you can take to make life easier – plus trains will take you to Venice, Milan or Mantua for the day. Make sure you catch a fast train to Venice, as the slow train takes two-and-half-hours. The fast train will takes you there in around and hour and the last part of the journey will find you being whisked across the fabulous Venice Lagoon. There is a bus to Lake Garda also, which leaves near the amphitheatre – Lake Garda is a centre for watersports, or enjoy a boat trip across the lake.
Verona is also a very courteous city – even when full of tourists, the atmosphere is buzzy but polite. It is probably not the place to go for a riotous hen or stag do, or if you are looking for a debauched clubbing vibe. When the opera is over for the night, everyone flocks to the restaurants for late-night dining – or to the nearest gelateria for gelato, which is then eaten during a communal passeggiata along Via Mazzini’s mall, taking in some designer window-shopping as you go!
If you want a relaxing holiday, just browsing the lovely streets of Verona and sitting with a gelato, coffee or drink in the many cafes and bars can be a wonderful way to enjoy the city. Piazza Bra is full of cafes and bars, plus the amphitheatre and art gallery. In the central garden is a cooling fountain and a small bar which sells gelato and iced granita in four flavours for around 2 euros. Highly recommended on a hot day – and there are plenty of shady benches to slump on when the heat gets too much.
It is hard not to enjoy Verona – because it is near the lakes and mountains there can be drizzly days and thunderstorms, but the city has a magical atmosphere and it is well policed, so very safe. And that is why I visit every year – and, of course, for the opera season at Arena di Verona! I hope you will, too!
Want to go to Verona now?
Download the ROME ALONE series at Kindle and set off for a trip to Rome and Verona from the comfort of your sun lounger! Read more about the ROME ALONE series here.
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