CITY OF VERONA, ITALY
Verona is a city sitting on both sides of the Adige river in the Veneto Region of northern Italy. The city of Verona has over 250,000 inhabitants and is the capital of one of the seven provinces (Verona Province) of the region. It is the second largest city municipality in the region and the third of northeast Italy. It is one of the main tourist destinations in northern Italy, owing to its artistic heritage, several annual fairs, shows, and operas, such as the lyrical season in the Arena, the ancient amphitheatre built by the Romans. Three of Shakespeare's plays are set in Verona: Romeo and Juliet, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, and The Taming of the Shrew. The city has been awarded World Heritage Site status by UNESCO because of its urban structure and architecture.
Roma from 49 AD, Verona became an important hub of Roman roads and a primary defensive outpost for the Empire. The rise to power of the Della Scala (or Scaleigeri) family, in 1262, marked the start of a new building hase, with the construction of Castelvecchio and new fortifications. As a result of the town's newfound prosperity, Piazza delle Erbe and the nearby Piazza dei Signori were laid out: the former the symbol and center fo commercial power, the latter of political power.
The Scaligeri were driven out by the Visconti (1387), who, in turn, were outsted by the Venetians in 1405. It was under the Venetians that generated a wave of artistic excellence. The first major changes came in the 18th century due to increasing friction between the local nobility and the Venetian overlords. After the French interlude from 1796 to 1814, a there was brief period of 'co-existence' with the Austrians from 1814 to 1866. It was during this time that the Habsburg rulers restored Verona's Defensive role: the city was encirled with massive set of fortifications. When Verona became part of the Kingdom of Italy in 1860, its military role diminished and disappeared entirely in the 20th century. WWII casued serious damage tot he city's historical, artistic and monumental assets. In 1945, and again in the 1970'w, the administration embarked on an ambitious reconstruction plan.
CITY MAP OF VERONA ITALY
GETTING TO VERONA
You can reach Verona Porta Nuova station by train from Milan (1 hour and 22 min by EuroCity train (EC), 1 hour and 50 min by Regionale Veloce, from Venice (1 hour and 10 min by EuroCity ], 1 hour and 22 min by RegionaleVeloce (RV), 2 hours and 10 min by Regionale (R), from Bologna 49 min by TAV, 1 hour and 28 min by RegionaleVeloce (RV), or from Munich (5 hours and 30 min by EuroCity). Be aware that local trains (Regionali) also stop at a minor station, Verona Porta Vescovo.
WHAT TO SEE IN VERONA
- The Arena An enormous, spectacular Roman amphitheatre, crumbling on the outside but still functioning today
- Juliet's Balcony
- Roman amphitheatre - (Teatro Romano), across the river on the hill, in the north-east of the city.
- Castle Scaligeri
- Castelvecchio - A 14th-century, red brick, fortified castle on the banks of the river Aldige. The main castle buildings house the city art museum which is packed with a rich collection of medieval sculpture and Renaissance paintings. As well as the museum, the extensive castle ramparts are great for exploring - ideal for families with children who enjoy running around castle fortifications. The Castelvecchio has an adjoining bridge over the river which is open all the time - walk over the bridge for some fantastic views of the castle on the river.
- Piazza delle Erbe - Home of the Forum in Roman times this is still a focal point of the city. Contains the 'Britney Verona' fountain, 14th century 'Gardello Tower', and a market that, while picturesque, seems to have become another tourist cliche during its recent refurbishment.
- Lamberti's Tower - (Torre dei Lamberti) - completed in 1463, this is the tallest of Verona's towers. The unmistakable clock tower looms over the Piazza delle Erbe, and you enter via the palace courtyard. Although there are 238 steps to the top, there is a lift! Views from the top are breathtaking.
- Porta Borsari - The remains of a Roman gate, dates to at least the 2nd Century AD, but is almost certainly older.
- Giardino Giusti - One of Italy's most important renaissance gardens, with grottos, fire-breathing masks carved into the hillside etc.
- Verona Cathedral - (Duomo) was built to replace an 8th-century church which was destroyed in the earthquake of 1117.
- San Giorgetta - A tiny chapel immediately next to San'Anastasia. Easily overlooked, this church s richly decorated with early Renaissance frescoes depicting the walled garden of the Virgin Mary.
- Basilica of St Zeno - (San Zeno Maggiore), located slightly outside the centre.
- Piazza Bra
- Juliet's Tomb - at the Capuccin Church, which also houses the Antonian Fresco Museum.
- Ponte Pietra - bridge from the Roman times.
- Arco di Gavi
WHAT TO EAT IN VERONA
The Veronese are keen eaters of horse-meat (cavallo), a local speciality. Pastisada de caval, is a dish of braised horse meat, as is Picula de Caval. Pizza is not traditionally eaten locally, but pasta dishes feature widely on restaurant menus. Try Pizzocheri (buckwheat pasta with cheese and sage), casoncelli (a type of ravioli) or bigoli (thick spaghetti). Casoela is a pork casserole, and a bollito misto is a mixture of boiled meats, usually served with pearà, a local sauce then you can find only in Veneto.
Places to Eat
Al Carro Armato, Vicolo Gatto, 2, +39 045 803 0175 This is a charmingly atmospheric and good value restaurant and wine bar in the 'ancient canteen' style with shared tables and paper place mats. Food is authentically Veronan but unpretentious.
Cat Alley is not easy to find. Best to face the (nominal) west front of S. Anastasia on via Massalongo and then turn right towards v. Trotta. Vicolo Gatto is a few tens of yards down on the left. There is also an entrance on Via Massalongo itself. Opera goers should note the late opening times. Highly recommended, but it helps if you can speak Italian.
Al' Duomo, Via Duomo 7, tel: 045 800 4505. Excellent family-run restaurant, just next to the Cathedral ((as its name suggests). It's popular with the local Veronese (a good sign) and with a menu full of traditional local specialities.
Osteria Pigna, Via Pigna 4/b tel: 045 800 4080.Great restaurant with a truly authentic feel. Not far from the Duomo this restaurant offers an excellent service, and it is recognized as a great place to eat by the locals.
WHERE TO STAY IN VERONA