Verona Introduction Walking Tour, Verona

Verona Introduction Walking Tour (Self Guided), Verona

The embodiment of a true romance on the Italian soil, the city of Verona has been immortalized by William Shakespeare in his famous "Romeo and Juliet". There is also another, lesser-known play by Shakespeare set in Verona, called “The Two Gentlemen of Verona”. Whilst there's no evidence that the bard had ever set foot in Italy, let alone in this town, Verona's presence in his work has inspired massive tourism here ever since – primarily to the 13th-century Juliet House with a tiny balcony upon which she supposedly once stood.

Legend has it that the founder of Verona, Gallic chieftain Brenno, called it "Vae Roma", which means "Accursed Rome". Another theory suggests link to the Adige river, previously known as Vera (the suffix -ona means “over”).

The Romans made Verona their colonia in 89 BCE. Set at the intersection of several roads, the city proved strategically important and, as of the 8th century AD, became residence of the kings of Italy.

Throughout the 13th-14th centuries the city was run by the Della Scala family, under whose rule it enjoyed great prosperity. That era is manifested in numerous monuments around the city, such as Piazza dei Signori – a historic square and the setting where Bartolomeo della Scala banished Romeo, sentencing him to exile in Mantua; and the Scaligeri Tombs – built to celebrate the Della Scala family – also the location of Juliet's staged death.

In 1797 Verona was occupied by Napoleon, and was then made an Austrian territory in 1798. In 1866, following the Third Italian War of Independence, it became part of Unified Italy.

In the 20th century, during World War II, due to its strategic importance to the fascism regime, Verona was heavily bombarded, sustaining severe damage and civilian casualties. In April 1945 the retreating Germans blew up all the bridges in the city.

Still, despite such devastation, the list of notable sights found in Verona today is enormous and has earned the city a UNESCO World Heritage Site status. Among the key attractions here you will see a massive 1st-century Roman amphitheater, called Verona Arena – the third-largest in Italy, hosting concerts and large-scale opera shows all year round.

To explore these and other gorgeous pieces of local heritage and to soak up the history and culture of Verona, take this self-guided introduction walk and enjoy your time in the city!
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Verona Introduction Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Verona Introduction Walking Tour
Guide Location: Italy » Verona (See other walking tours in Verona)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 16
Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.0 Km or 2.5 Miles
Author: Helen
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Piazza Bra (Bra Square)
  • Arena di Verona (Verona Amphitheater)
  • Museo di Castelvecchio (Old Castle Museum)
  • Ponte Scaligero (Scaligero Bridge)
  • Corso e Porta Borsari (Borsari Gate and Street)
  • Via Mazzini (Mazzini Street)
  • Casa de Giulietta (House of Juliet)
  • Piazza delle Erbe (Market Square)
  • Torre dei Lamberti (Lamberti Tower)
  • Piazza dei Signori (Lords Square)
  • Arche Scaligere (Scaligeri Tombs)
  • Sant'Anastasia Church
  • Verona Cathedral
  • Ponte Pietra (Pietra Bridge)
  • Teatro Romano (Roman Theatre)
  • Piazzale Castel San Pietro (San Pietro Fortress)
Piazza Bra (Bra Square)

1) Piazza Bra (Bra Square) (must see)

The Bra Square is the largest city square in Verona. It is the location of Verona Amphitheater, City Hall, Palace of Gran Guardia, and many other historical buildings. The square is surrendered by many cafes and restaurants. A statue of Victor Emanuel II on horseback, the balcony of the Honori Palace where one of Italy's founding fathers Garibaldi gave his famous speech “Rome or Death”, and stone carvings of saints are just a few of the sites you will see here.

The Bra Square was originally built in front of the old city gates and functioned as the arrival place before entering the city. The amphitheater was built in the 1st century and can hold 22,000 people. Palace of Gran Guardia, built in 1610, was the first building erected on the southern edge of the square. Barbieri Palace, now city hall, was completed in 1848.

The square is a popular meeting place for public events and demonstrations. In the summer time, there seems always a concert to attend. Pink Floyd, Rod Stewart, and Elton John are just a few of the artists who have graced the square.

The best times to visit are during the feast of Santa Lucia on December 13th, in February during carnival, or in the summer. It is a perfect place to connect with history by visiting the historical sites or admiring the beautiful architectures lined the square. It is also a good place to be to have a refreshing drink or something to eat.
Arena di Verona (Verona Amphitheater)

2) Arena di Verona (Verona Amphitheater) (must see)

Located on Piazza Bra, this Roman amphitheater can seat up to 22,000 people and was built in 30 AD. It is home to the Verona Opera season each summer. The arena is known for its superb acoustics. Over 500,000 people visit this place each year.

In ancient times, people came from far and wide to see the many performances, jousts, and trials. In modern times, great artists, such as Maria Callas, Tito Gobbi, Renata Tebaldi, Simple Minds, Duran Duran, Dire Straits, Rod Stewart, and Sting, have performed at the arena.

The original building was constructed of pink and white limestone and could seat 30,000 people. An earthquake in 1117 destroyed much of the building’s outer ring. Today, seating is limited to 22,000 for safety reasons.

The arena looks just like a small Colosseum, and tours are available where you can wander around the tunnels underneath. Acoustics are good and the stage sets are delightful – nowhere else will you get a treat like this in the open air!
Museo di Castelvecchio (Old Castle Museum)

3) Museo di Castelvecchio (Old Castle Museum) (must see)

The Old Castle Museum is a museum located in the eponymous medieval castle. The castle was built between 1354 and 1356 to protect the family of Lord of Verona from enemies and to give them ample time to escape. The palace was used to house military weapons and munitions in the 1400s and eventually became the seat of the Venetian military academy in the 1700s. In 1925, it was made a museum.

The exhibition hall collection contains Veronese sculptures, jewelry, epigraphs, frescoes, paintings, weapons, ceramics, and bells, from the 12th to 18th centuries. The most notable works are the Sepulcher of the Saints Sergius and Bacchus, the Crucifix, Saint Cecilia and Catherina, Madonna of the Quail, and the Holy Family. Stefano da Verona, Carlo Crivelli, Giovanni Bellinis, Liberale da Verona, and Girolamo da Libri are just a few of the artists whose works fill the rooms of the museum.

The building experienced multiple renovations over a period of 700 years. Between 1959 and 1973, architect Carlo Scarpa restored the building to its original look.

The museum is a delightful to stroll around as the galleries wind their way in and out of some charming and dramatic floors and courtyards. The artifacts are nicely spaced on each floor so you don't see them as a jumble of confusing items. You can even walk on the battlements that give you a great view of the bridge and river.

If you are keen to learn about the art inside, then it's worth paying for the audio guide.
Ponte Scaligero (Scaligero Bridge)

4) Ponte Scaligero (Scaligero Bridge) (must see)

Scaligero Bridge is a three-arch bridge that spans the Adige River. It was built in 1375 for the Scaliger family who wanted to use the bridge as an escape route from the Old Castle to the river.

The overpass spans 120 meters and connects the city to the road that leads to Tyrol. It is one of the most photographed viaducts in the city and a popular transport path for pedestrians. As with many other structures, the original bridge was destroyed by the Germans during World War II. Fortunately, it was reconstructed in the 1950s using many of the original parts.

The upper part of the bridge is red brick, while the lower part of it is white marble. Local legend says that the Lord of Verona awarded the designer a sword that belonged to Saint Martin for his efforts. The bridge resembles a small fortress during the day and is absolutely stunning when viewed at night when it is beautifully lit.

Why You Should Visit:
Stunning views up and down the river and some wonderful city skylines to be photographed. A must-see sight of medieval Verona.

Explore the numerous staircases and ramparts – many great photos can be taken on the fortified walls.
Corso e Porta Borsari (Borsari Gate and Street)

5) Corso e Porta Borsari (Borsari Gate and Street)

Verona is one of the best-preserved cities in Europe. At every corner, one can enjoy its art, history, and culture without entering an exhibition hall. One of the most stunning elements of the metropolis are its many gates that the Romans built and used to protect its citizens.

The Borsari Gate is an ancient Roman gate that was built in the first century AD. It was previously called the Lovia Gate and then the San Zeno Gate before receiving its current name. The original structure was brick and contained an inner court. It was rebuilt in 265 and given a limestone facade. The upper part of the gate features 12 arched windows.

The Borsari Gate Street, a street of Roman origin, leads from the gate. The street is one of the businest and most characteristic of Verona, as well as being one of the most exclusive for shopping for the many fashion shops found along the street.
Via Mazzini (Mazzini Street)

6) Via Mazzini (Mazzini Street) (must see)

Via Mazzini is Verona's most popular shopping street. This is the place to see and be seen, check out boutique shops, and enjoy a coffee or cocktail while people-watching.

Via Mazzini is named after 19th-century politician Giuseppe Mazzini. Mazzini was a vital activist whose work influenced the unification of Italy.

Via Mazzini connects the main square, Piazza Bra, to Piazza delle Erbe. The part of Via Mazzini that departs the Verona Arena follows the original Roman road. This ancient street was one of the decumanus, or east-west streets.

While many of Europe's ancient cities are paved with cobblestone, Via Mazzini features marble pavers.

Today, shoppers will find all of Italy's top brands as well as their favorite international brands. Don't miss the United Colors of Benneton store. Roman ruins were discovered underneath the basement of the flagship apparel store. Visitors can now see the first and second-century AD tiles and walls.

The architecture along Via Mazzini is charming and sure to delight those looking for a cultural experience. The pedestrian-only street makes it easy for shoppers and visitors to enjoy Via Mazzini.
Casa de Giulietta (House of Juliet)

7) Casa de Giulietta (House of Juliet) (must see)

The House of Juliet, is a 13th-century structure situated on the remains of a Roman insula building on the Via Capello. It is located near well-known Juliet’s Tomb.

Although many dispute whether or not Romeo and Juliet actually existed, the house remains a popular attraction that thousands of tourists visit each year. In fact, the house was formerly owned by the Capello family. Many guests write notes on the wall and the doors of the courtyard. From the balcony, one can even imagine ill-fated lovers talking to each other.

The dwelling contains a museum that displays frescoes, paintings, and artwork from the 16th and 17th century. One treat not to be missed is the bronze statue of Juliet. It is said that good luck will come to those who rub the right breast of the sculpture.

Entrance into the courtyard is free, but entry into the house is not. While the house tour is pretty basic, you can upgrade your ticket to include the tomb as the grounds are lovely and have some nice frescoes. If you want to avoid crowds, the best time to visit is in the early morning or late afternoon. Also, the whole area around Juliet's balcony – with its small medieval streets, restaurants, cafes – is enchanting.
Piazza delle Erbe (Market Square)

8) Piazza delle Erbe (Market Square) (must see)

Market Square was originally the site of a Roman forum, or square, which hosted exciting chariot races. It is also known as the square of herbs. Historically, various aromatic spices, herbs, coffee beans, and textiles were shipped to Venice and imported to Verona's Market Square.

In keeping with tradition, the square hosts a market from Monday to Saturday. This market features souvenir vendors as well as farm-fresh produce and flowers.

Market Square is full of historical and architecturally interesting buildings. The oldest landmark is the Madonna Verona statue which dates to 380 AD. Madonna Verona stands on a fountain created in 1368.

Several important buildings occupy the northern side of Market Square. The ancient town hall, Giudici Palace, Mazzanti Houses, and the Lamberti Tower are all on the square's north side. The Mazzanti Houses date to the 14th century.

On the north-western side, there is Maffei Palace which was expanded in the 15th century by Marcantonio Maffei. He added a third floor to this Baroque-style palace. The facade has six impressive statues: Hercules, Apollo, Minerva, Venus, Mercury, and Jupiter. The northern end of Maffei Palace now houses shops.

The Roman Capitol Hill is on the northwest side of the square, along with several frescoed buildings. The House of the Merchants is on the south side.

The 13th-century capitello was used for important ceremonies. The Gardello Tower is ancient and was restored in the 14th century.

The Commune Palace serves as a municipal hall. This hall was built in the middle ages and updated with a neoclassical frontage in the 19th century.

Why You Should Visit:
As in ancient times, come for the gorgeous market with its intoxicating herb and spice aroma. Then, stay for the remarkable history and varied architecture, including Romanesque, Neoclassical, and Baroque.

Don't miss the winged lion statue, known as a Marcian Lion or Lion of Saint Mark. It's located on a column in front of Gardello Tower and Maffei Palace. The Lion of Saint Mark is a symbol of Venetian rule, and several depictions are seen around Verona.
Torre dei Lamberti (Lamberti Tower)

9) Torre dei Lamberti (Lamberti Tower) (must see)

The Lamberti Tower is an ancient tower in the Market Square. Construction on the tower began in 1172. The tower underwent restoration after a 1403 lightning strike. Visitors can see the different restoration work over the centuries by noticing different materials. For example, the marble areas were added in 1779. The clock was also added during the 1779 renovation.

The Lamberti Tower has two bells. The largest bell named Rengo is used to call residents to arms or call a city council. The Marangona bell signals fires, hourly chimes, and work times.

The tower stands 84 meters high. Visitors can book tickets in advance, take the elevator, or walk the 368 stairs to the top of the tower. The elevator is transparent so visitors can admire the internal architecture. At the top of the tower, visitors can enjoy panoramic views from the terrace. At night, the terrace is available for events.

The ticket includes admission to the adjacent Gallery of Modern Art.
Piazza dei Signori (Lords Square)

10) Piazza dei Signori (Lords Square) (must see)

The Lords Square is packed with gorgeous architecture and is a fabulous place to soak up the history and culture of Verona.

This historic square has a strong connection with William Shakespear's Romeo and Juliet, set in Verona. The Town Hall provided the setting where Bartolomeo della Scala banished Romeo and sentenced him to exile in Mantua.

In the center of Lords Square, visitors will find an impressive 19th-century statue of the poet Dante. Dante was exiled from Florence and found protection with Verona's Scaligeri family.

There are a number of historical buildings on the square are well worth checking out. The Portico of the Counsel is a classic representation of stunning Venetian Renaissance style. The Ragione Palace dates to the 12th century. This Romanesque-style palace features an enchanting courtyard and a Gothic staircase. The Capitano Palace features large windows in the ground so that visitors can view the excavated Roman and medieval ruins in the basement.

In the 13th century, the Palazzo Domus Nova served as the Chief Magistrate's offices and the Courthouse. Unfortunately, the building was severely damaged in a 1511 earthquake and underwent several restorations.

The House of Charity (Casa della Pietà) features a gorgeous coral-colored exterior and intricately carved statue embellishments. The building now houses the legendary Antico Caffe Dante, the oldest coffee house in Verona.

Cansignorio della Scala began constructing the Cansignorio Palace in 1363. Initially a fortified palace, it later became the home of the Captain of the City. The glass-protected loggia dates to 1476. The original tower was restored in 1880. Most of the current building dates to the 16th century and features a classical facade.

The Podestà Palace is another palace built for the Scaligeri family in the 13th century. Michele Sanmicheli designed the marble portal in 1533.
Arche Scaligere (Scaligeri Tombs)

11) Arche Scaligere (Scaligeri Tombs)

The Scaligeri Tombs are known as the location of Juliet's staged death.

The Scaligeri Tombs are a group of five Gothic monuments. They were built to celebrate the della Scala family, 13th and 14th-century rulers of Verona.

Mastino I della Scala ended various conflicts in Verona in 1259. The city council was so pleased with his success that they gave the Scala family hereditary and permanent ruling powers. Just like a Shakespearean tragedy, the family began to struggle amongst themselves for power.

The tombs are in a gated court outside the Santa Maria Antica church. The elaborate tombs are reminiscent of tabernacles. Each tomb rises high and has a carved sarcophagus with a baldachin or carved covering. Each tomb is topped with a statue of the deceased, shown riding a horse and wearing armor.

These tombs are some of the most celebrated monuments of gothic architecture in Verona.
Sant'Anastasia Church

12) Sant'Anastasia Church (must see)

The Construction of the Sant'Anastasia Church began in 1280 and was completed in 1400. The church was named after a temple that once stood on the site.

The Sant'Anastasia Church is the largest in Verona. The facade has three vertical brick sections and a simple rose window. A gorgeous facade panel shows Saint Peter of Verona.

The church has a 72-meter bell tower. Originally, the bell tower had four bells, but today nine bells are rung in traditional Veronese style.

The interior features red and white Verona marble columns. Visitors will also find priceless artworks by artists such as Girolamo dai Libri and Altichiero. Two famous hunchbacks support the holy water fonts.

In the Pellegrini Chapel, visitors will find a masterpiece 1433 fresco by artist Pisanello. This fresco is Sant'Anastasia's most famous artwork and shows Saint George freeing the Princess. Other important frescoes include the 14th-century artworks in the Cavalli Chapel.

Why You Should Visit:
If you like church architecture, this is definitely one to visit as it's the most important Gothic-style religious monument in Verona. The basilica has recently benefited from a lot of cleaning and restoration work, particularly inside where the artworks are spectacular.

Get yourself an audio-guided tour for a small fee to get familiar with the history of the place and the artwork.
Alternately, consider buying either a Verona Card or a ticket that allows you to visit the 4 largest places of worship in Verona with a nice discount.
Verona Cathedral

13) Verona Cathedral (must see)

The Verona Cathedral is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. It was built after the previous churches on this site were destroyed. The Romanesque style Verona Cathedral was consecrated in 1187.

The west facade features a double porch, Lombard bands, and small pinnacles.

Artist Maestro Nicolo sculpted the west portal in 1139. The porch features the reliefs of Saint John, the Evangelist and Saint John the Baptist. Depictions of Orlando and Uliveriero guard the entrance. Ten prophets holding scrolls stand by the doors. The tympanum features the Virgin and Child and the Adoration of the Magi, and the Adoration of the Shepherds.

Peregrinus carved the south portal in the 12th century. Sculptures show the story of Jonah. The campanile is a mix of styles, from 16th century to 20th century.

The interior was renovated in the 15th century. Red Verona marble pilasters support Gothic arches. There are several side chapels, the main chapel, and an impressive library. The west bays feature frescoes created by Giovanni Maria Falconetto in 1503.

One of the chapels features an Assumption of the Virgin by Titian. The sanctuary features a Crucifixion scene by Giambattista da Verona in 1534.

The Chapter Library of Verona Cathedral has been called "the Queen of ecclesiastical collections." This library has ancient and unique texts, including the Leonine Sacramentary, the oldest surviving text of the Roman Rite, several ancient codices from early church history, and ancient Roman works.

Ruins of the earlier cathedrals can be seen from the Canons' Cloister.

Do visit the beautiful Baptistery of Saint Giovanni in Fonte at the back of the Cathedral complex, with a huge octagonal baptismal font covered in scenes from the Bible. The excavation area showing the old Roman remains is also interesting, and there are good explanations in the audio guide.
Ponte Pietra (Pietra Bridge)

14) Ponte Pietra (Pietra Bridge) (must see)

Ponte Pietra (Stone Bridge) stands as the earliest construction created by the Romans upon their arrival in Verona during the first century B.C. This bridge showcases a blend of two distinct materials: the original white stone and the bricks utilized to replace sections damaged by floods and warfare. It retains the iconic arched design commonly associated with Roman bridges, resembling the shape of a donkey's back.

In the early 1st century BC, Romans settled in Verona, strategically on a curve of the Adige River, offering natural defense for about two-thirds of the city. They built a bridge at the river's northern curve to stay connected and avoid isolation, using the rocky riverbed and shallower water for stability.

Originally referred to as Pons Lapideus, the Roman bridge's literal translation eventually evolved into Ponte Pietra. This renaming perhaps emphasized the contrast with the earlier, fragile wooden bridge, which undoubtedly required frequent reconstruction after the Adige's recurrent floods.

Ponte Pietra featured a simple yet functional design. Its Roman arch shape had a central high point, creating more space above the water. This helped during floods in the Adige River. There were two openings for water flow: a circular one at the middle and a long narrow one on the left pillar. The bridge had five arches made of white stone blocks. A sculpture of a river deity adorned one arch, adding a touch of decoration to its overall simplicity.

Ponte Pietra, damaged by Adige River floods, was restored multiple times. Two original white stone arches from Roman times remain, while two right arches were rebuilt with brick in the Scaligera period. The central arch is from the Venetian era. The bridge also has a tower from the Middle Ages for city defense.
Teatro Romano (Roman Theatre)

15) Teatro Romano (Roman Theatre) (must see)

Well-known for its many concerts, music performances, and ballets, the Roman Theatre seats 25,000 people. Having actually been built during the 1st century AD, it is one of the oldest monuments in Verona.

For centuries, the ruins of the theater were buried underneath residences constructed on the property. In 1834, a Veronese named Andrea Monga bought all the houses built on the property, then demolished them and began the renovation process. It is because of his efforts that the structure was saved.

In 1904, the city purchased the property and continued renovations until the 1970s. Although most of the structure was lost due to the ravages of time, the cavea, tier of seats, several arches of loggias, and parts of the stage and the old theater were recovered. One can truly take a step back in time when visiting the Roman Theatre.

The theater is well-known for its Shakespeare Festival held from June to August each year. Jazz concerts in May, plays in June, and ballets in August are just some of the treats to enjoy. Admission is free on the first Sunday of each month.

If you brave the climb up the seven flights of stairs, make sure you have your ticket with you or you'll be denied access at the top. One admission ticket gains access to both the Roman Theatre and the Archeology Museum right above it.
Piazzale Castel San Pietro (San Pietro Fortress)

16) Piazzale Castel San Pietro (San Pietro Fortress) (must see)

This medieval fortress is set high on a hilltop above Verona. The hilltop location was chosen as the ideal location to protect the city against intruders. The Romans used this hilltop as a defensive position.

During Roman times, the hill was known as Monte Gallo, or Rooster Mountain. The Romans also revered this location as a religious site and built a temple and theater here.

The hill was later named Colle San Pietro when a Medieval church dedicated to Saint Peter was built on the site. The area was next fortified with battlements typical of medieval fortresses. Between the 14th and 15th centuries, the Castello Visconteo (the Castel of the Viscount) was built.

In 1801, the Napoleanic army destroyed most of the buildings on this historic site. Later, Austrian soldiers arrived and destroyed Saint Peter's Church. The Austrians built barracks that are still in place.

Today, visitors can climb the switchback stone steps to the top or take a funicular cable car to the top of the hill. This hilltop location is a beautiful place to view the city of Verona, take pictures, and watch the sunset. There's also a restaurant at the top of the hill so you can relax and enjoy a meal or drinks.

Walking Tours in Verona, Italy

Create Your Own Walk in Verona

Create Your Own Walk in Verona

Creating your own self-guided walk in Verona is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Romeo and Juliet Tour

Romeo and Juliet Tour

William Shakespeare's insightful tragedy, Romeo and Juliet, immortalized both the doomed young lovers and its setting, the fair city of Verona. While it's uncertain whether or not Romeo and Juliet were real people, the Montague and Capulet families were Veronese aristocratic families. Relive the classic love story as you walk Verona.

Casa de Giulietta, House of Juliet, is a must-see....  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.9 Km or 2.4 Miles
Verona's Museums and Galleries

Verona's Museums and Galleries

Art and history have been the pillars supporting the elegant city of Verona for centuries. Among other things here, you will find the abundance of grand museums and galleries holding unique collections of art and cultural treasures suiting all tastes.

Whatever your interest – ancient or modern art, archaeology, frescoes, Roman inscriptions, natural history, antique furniture, or wine – be...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 Km or 1.4 Miles
Verona's Palaces

Verona's Palaces

It's no secret that Italy boasts some of the most remarkable palatial architecture in the world. A good portion of it is found in the incredibly charming city of Verona, the long history of which stretches all the way back to ancient Rome and is reflected in an array of Romanesque and Renaissance gates and bridges, but, most notably, the monumental palaces.

Walking the streets of Verona,...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.6 Km or 1 Miles