Verona, Italy – city of lovers, the setting for Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”
Verona is located in northern Italy, near the lakes region. The city was the setting for Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” thus imprinting it into the minds of many a student as a romantic medieval town. This impression isn’t too far off the mark, with the city’s narrow winding streets and open medieval plazas. It is remarkably easy to travel to, as it lies on the main transportation corridor between Milan in the west and Venice in the east, and is close to Lake Garda, one of Italy’s largest recreational areas.
It is unknown if Shakespeare ever visited Verona or Italy at all, but his plays have lured many visitors to Verona and surrounding cities. The city has been awarded World Heritage Site status by UNESCO because of its urban structure and architecture.
Verona claims to have more Roman ruins than any Italian city other than Rome. But it wears this honour lightly. Most of its streets and many of its buildings incorporate the majestic remains of ancient walls, roads and villas into their fabric with a sort of nonchalant pragmatism. Even by Italian standards, the city also has more than its fair share of medieval, Renaissance art and culture.
After the Roman Empire came the Republic of Venice from 853 AD until Napoleon Bonaparte conquered the republic. After the Fall of Napoleon in 1815, the Austrian Empire took over the city until 1866.
Verona’s military importance under the Austrians has also left city fortifications and an excellent castle. Look out for architectural details related to the Scaligeri (or della Scala) family, who ruled the city from the 12th to 14th Century.
To Visit – To see – Where to be
Piazza delle Erbe is Verona’s most famous square and is well worth a look but most of what is for sale at its market stalls is pretty tacky and the restaurants and cafés certainly don’t offer Verona’s best food and drink.
Monday is not the best day to plan a gastronomic treat as many restaurants are closed.
An enormous, spectacular Roman amphitheatre, crumbling on the outside but still functioning today. It was erected in the 1st Century AD in an elliptical shape, and is the world’s third-largest amphitheatre to survive from antiquity.
Juliet’s House (Casa di Giulietta), Via Cappello (just off the Piazza delle Erbe). Supposedly the location of the famous balcony love scene from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The house is a major destination for tourist pilgrimage, as the tiny courtyard is normally packed with lovestruck teenagers photographing each other on the famous balcony. In fact, the house has no connection with Shakespeare’s fictional characters – although the house is old, the balcony was added in 1936 and declared to be “Juliet’s house” to attract tourists.
Roman amphitheatre (Teatro Romano). Across the river on the hill, in the north-east of the.
Piazza delle Erbe, Lamberti’s Tower (Torre dei Lamberti), Verona Cathedral (Duomo di Verona), San Giorgetta (a tiny chapel), Basilica of St Zeno.
A simple food recommendation
Our advice is to eat local and, in the case of Verona, that means:
- risotto al tastasal (risotto with sausage dressing)
- risotto with radicchio (risotto with a typical salad of Treviso often eaten here as well)
- Pastisada de caval (horse meat pasticcio)
- polenta (sort of thick porridge made with maize flour) with cheese or mushrooms on the top,
- and different lake fish.
As sweets we have:
- baci di Giulietta (Juliet’s kisses),
- Pandoro of Verona (type of sponge cake eaten at Christmas),
- zaletti (biscuits), and
- castagnaccio (made of chestnut flour).
All this food connects to the country origin of the town.
- Via Mazzini is Verona’s golden mile of shopping, taking you between Piazza Bra and Piazza delle Erbe.
- Corso Porta Borsari is also elegant shopping street in Verona.
- Corso Santa Anastasia, this street is the centre of antiques shops’ zone.