Verona is a very “human” city where art and culture merge with ever step. Still today, there is important evidence of all the epochs characterising the city over its history going back two thousand years: the Roman age, the free “communes”, the Scaliger lords and domination by the Venetians and Hapsburgs.
A visit to the city begins in the large, central Piazza Bra, dominated by the Arena, the 1st century AD Roman amphitheatre famous today as the largest Opera House in the world, with seats for about 22,000 spectators for opera, concerts and other events. The square is also home to Palazzo Barbieri (Town Hall) and Palazzo della Gran Guardia where events and art exhibitions are held. The “Liston” is Verona’s famous promenade, which continues along the elegant Via Mazzini, the city’s excellent shopping street.
At the end by this street stands one of the symbols of the city, made especially famous by Shakespeare: the House, or rather, the balcony of Juliet, visited every year by millions of tourists and lovers who leave their messages of love here.
Close by is Piazza delle Erbe, the site of the ancient Roman Forum and home today of a market. It is surrounded by buildings dating from various periods, particularly the Torre dei Lamberti – the top of this tower boasts an exceptional view of the city – and the Madonna Verona Fountain.
Passing under the Costa Arch takes us into Piazza dei Signori and its strong links with the Scaliger lords. It is characterised by the statue of Dante, imposing buildings and the beautiful Scaliger Arches, the monumental tombs of the family which ruled the city in the Middle Ages.
The characteristic Via Sottoriva is renowned for its bars and restaurants. It leads to a view across the river behind the majestic church of Sant’Anastasia, itself hosting numerous masterpieces. Crossing the magnificent Ponte Pietra – the only surviving Roman bridge – opens up an astonishing view of San Pietro: at the feet of this hill there is the Roman Theatre, built in the I century BC and still today home to performances and concerts. Continuing along the embankment of the River Adige, we come to the Cathedral: its harmonious Gothic interior is embellished by a priceless altarpiece by Titian.
The meander of the river enclosing the city centre ends with the crenelated bridge of Castelvecchio, built by the Scaligers in XIV century. The keep of the castle houses an important museum collection.
Our itinerary ends with a visit to the Basilica of San Zeno, one of the most beautiful Romanesque churches in Italy and home to authentic masterpieces such as the door with bronze plaques and the triptych by Mantegna on the High Altar.