Verona is one of Italy’s loveliest towns, famous for its summer opera season. This has been a thriving and successful town for most of its history, and today smart shops and cafes fill the attractive medieval lanes of the historic centre. Verona is a popular day-trip from Lake Garda, and an appealing destination for weekend breaks or longer stays. There’s a lot to see here, from Roman ruins to the so-called ‘Juliet’s balcony’, and the town is also well-connected for exploring the surrounding area, including destinations like Lake Garda, Vicenza, Padua and Venice. 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.
Verona‘s historic centre 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.