Verona was an important Roman town and is rich in archaeological sites, the grandest of which is the Roman Arena, where operas are now performed in the summer. It's easy to spend a long time simply exploring the narrow streets lined with handsome palazzi that make up the historic centre. The town's museums and churches contain fine works of art, while the ruined Roman theatre over the river has excellent views from the terraces where the ancients watched plays.
Things to see:
Verona's historic centre (centro storico) lies within the town walls in a tight curve of the Adige river. Entering town past the Porta Nuova gateway near the railway station, you head along wide car-filled Corso Porta Nuova before passing through the attractive fourteenth-century arches of the Portoni della Brà and entering the historic part of town. Immediately inside the town wall is Piazza Brà, a large open space dominated by the imposing Roman Arena. Verona's tourist information office is nearby, set in the old town wall to the right. Via Mazzini, an elegant pedestrian street paved with shiny Verona marble, heads straight through the heart of town to Piazza Erbe, Verona's most attractive square. It's a good idea to have a map or guidebook at this point, and to dive into the pretty historic lanes uncovering Verona's charms.
The Verona Arena
The Roman amphitheater (better known as Arena) is, with Romeo and Juliet, the symbol of this city. It was probably built in I century and like all the amphitheaters housed the gladiator’s spectacles. A solid and impressive structure with the exterior faced of bricks and red marble (called “rosso Verona”) which create a particular chromatic effect; the interior with its central stage and a tier of concentric seats give an effect of grandeur. The Arena maintains its hundred-years function indeed it still is the stupendous background of concerts and musical manifestations.
Juliet's balcony in Verona
Verona was the theater where the tragic love story between Romeo and Juliet, made famous by Shakespeare’s tragedy, took place. In a building of the XIII century, situated in the center of the city, Verona’s city dwellers recognized the Capuleti’s house: the legend merges with reality, here finding reference points. A beautiful facade faced with bricks and a Gothic front door on the exterior: in the courtyard there’s a bronze statue representing Juliet and the celebrate balcony protagonist of one of the most known scenes of the world dramatic literature. Juliet’s house is an obliged stop for who wants to feel the devastating power of that contrasted love.
Castelvecchio and the Scaligero bridge in Verona
Castelvecchio (literally: Old castle) with its amazing fortified bridge, represent a military monument of the Scaligera (the Scaligera was the noble family, also called “della Scala”, that governed Verona) dominion. Cangrande II della Scala wanted the construction of this fortress not to protect him from exterior dangers, but to protect himself from popular riots. The bridge projected the castle on the other side of the river, assuring a safe way to escape in the countryside. The bridge has three arch, it was destroyed in 1945 from the Germans but it was rebuilt in 1951, while the castle is seat of the civic museum of Verona.
The Cathedral of Verona
In a little but lovely square, among particular and harmonious buildings, the cathedral rise. It was built on the remains of two pre-Christian churches, and even if it was consecrated in 1187 the works has continued for long time. The facade is the result of the superimposition of Gothic and Romanesque, with a beautiful front door that has two arcades. The interior presents two pillages made of red marble (the Verona’s marble) that separate the three naves of the church. The Renaissance’s statues were made by famous artists of Verona.