The setting for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Verona is one of the most charming places to visit in Northern Italy. Here’s what to do in one day in Verona!
With just one day in Verona, you can wander the historic center (designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site), take in some of the main sights from the Arena to the Verona Cathedral, and try the local food and wine. And yes, you can pose for a photo on Juliet’s balcony, if you wish!
Verona will delight romantics, of course: it oozes charm at every turn. But it is also an appealing destination for art, history, and architecture buffs.
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You can definitely make a dent in terms of sightseeing even with just one day in Verona. But if you’re like us, you’ll leave vowing to return for longer, because the city is, simply put, captivating!
Ready to discover how to make the most of your one day in Verona? Let’s get started!
One Day in Verona Itinerary
Start your day at the Piazza Bra
Piazza Bra is a straightforward 20-minute walk from the Verona Porta Nuova train station, and the best place to start your exploration of the city on your one day in Verona.
The piazza is large, lined with restaurants and cafes, with a green space in the center. It’s relatively quiet early in the day, but gets lively as the day wears on.
Gawk at the Verona Arena, a magnificent amphitheatre from Roman times that’s still used for concerts and shows.
You’ll also find the Palazzo Barbieri along one side of the piazza: it’s Verona’s town hall. The Gran Guardia, meant to shelter troops in bad weather, is on the piazza as well.
Like getting an overview on a guided walking tour? This highly-rated 2.5-hour walking tour offers insights into Verona’s rich history, from Roman times to the medieval and Renaissance eras as you stroll by Verona’s many famous landmarks.
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Or consider this shorter tour of Verona’s highlights, which will give you a good overview but still leave you with plenty of time to explore on your own.
Step into the Verona Arena
Touring the Arena is, without a doubt, one of the top things to do in Verona. The Roman amphitheatre, which dates back to the first century, is the third-largest in Italy, and quite well-preserved.
The Verona Arena could hold about 30,000 spectators in ancient times, when the venue was used for public games and gladiator fights. It was located outside the ancient city, because of the huge crowds of spectators.
The arena’s walls were made with white and red limestone from Valpolicella. The outer wall was almost completely destroyed by an earthquake in the year 1117, except for a small portion known as “the wing.”
The Arena fell into disrepair over time, until restoration was undertaken during the Renaissance. In the early 20th century, the Arena hosted its first opera. Today, the Arena hosts the famous Verona Opera Festival during the summer. Other concerts and shows are also held here.
Visit the interior of the Arena to sit on one of the top-tier stone steps and take in the ambience. Get skip-the-line tickets or join a skip-the-line tour for the best experience.
On your way to Castelvecchio, snap a photo of the Arco dei Gavi, a Roman arch from the first century.
From the arch you can see the Ponte di Castelvecchio (also called Ponte Scaligero), one of Verona’s stunning bridges.
Castelvecchio is a fortified castle that was built by the powerful Scaliger family that ruled Verona in medieval times. It leads onto the Scaliger Bridge, and was designed to allow the ruling family a way of escape in case of a rebellion.
Today the castle houses the Museo di Castelvecchio. It also affords great views of the Ponte Scaligero.
In the museum, you’ll find a nice collection of sculptures, paintings, ceramics, and weaponry. Look for Andrea Mantegna’s Holy Family with a Female Saint, the Madonna of the Quail by Pisanello, and Madonna with Child by Bellini.
The museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays, 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.
Walk onto the Ponte Scaligero
The Ponte Scaligero is a stunning bridge. Originally built in the 14th century, the bridge was blown up by the retreating Germans in 1945. It was painstakingly rebuilt to be true to the original, except for the left tower.
Built of red brick and white marble, Ponte Scaligero offers beautiful views along both sides of the Adige River. Walk across and back, stopping as you wish to snap photos.
The bridge is free to visit.
Stroll Piazza delle Erbe
Our favorite Verona piazza, the Piazza delle Erbe is vibrant through the day and well into the evening. Many of the buildings that overlook the square are frescoed, so don’t forget to look up!
The Palazzo Maffei, a baroque palace, graces the western side of the square. In front is a graceful white marble column, topped by the winged Venetian lion. Along the north side, look for the beautifully-frescoed Mazzanti Houses.
The fountain in the piazza is from the 14th century. The Madonna Verona statue on top of the fountain is much older: it is reported to be a Roman sculpture from the 4th century.
Other than the architectural features, the ambience of the Piazza delle Erbe is lively. Be sure to stop for a fresh fruit cup from one of the stalls in the center of the square, and enjoy people-watching!
Take in the views from the Torre dei Lamberti
Located on the north side of the Piazza delle Erbe, the graceful Torre dei Lamberti offers panoramic views of the rooftops of Verona. Climbing to the top of the tower is a must-do on your one day in Verona!
The tower stands 84m (almost 276 feet) high. Construction of the tower began in 1172. In the early 15th century, it was damaged by lightning, and when it was restored, the tower was enlarged. The clock wasn’t added until the later part of the 18th century.
You can either climb the 368 steps to the top, or take the lift for a small additional fee. If you take the lift, you still have to climb the final few dozen steps to the viewing area.
There is safety netting at the top, but we were still able to take photos. On a clear day, you can see not only the rooftops of the city, but also the mountains in the distance.
The tower is open Mondays through Fridays from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m., and on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m.
Admire the architecture at the Piazza dei Signori
Close by, you will find the beautiful (and quieter) Piazza dei Signori, worth a leisurely stroll for its stellar architecture.
In the center of the plaza is an impressive statue of Dante Alighieri, the renowned Italian poet. He reportedly lived in Verona for several years after he was exiled from Florence. The statue is from the 19th century, and was established in the square in 1865.
The buildings that line the Piazza dei Signori are beautiful. Admire the Clock Tower, the Capitanio and Camerlenghi on either side, the Palazzo della Ragione, the Church of San Clemente, the Loggia del Consiglio, and other buildings.
Restaurants and cafes line the piazza, so get a drink and sit for a bit to gawk at the architecture! During the holidays, the Piazza dei Signori hosts a Christmas market.
Visit the Scaliger Tombs
Next on your one day in Verona itinerary should be a stop at the Scaliger tombs.
The powerful Scaligers ruled Verona for about 125 years in the 13th and 14th centuries. The Gothic-style complex of five tombs, right in the historic center, is impressive.
For a small fee, you can enter the complex and examine the tombs up close. The detail is fascinating, with statuary, intricate metal-work, and ornate tombstones.
The Scaliger Tombs are open everyday from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. and from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m.
Have lunch at Saporè Downtown
Sapore is the perfect place to have lunch in the historic center. While they are known for their pizza, everything we tried here was delicious.
Sapore is a contemporary innovative pizzeria, and founder chef Renato Bosco is renowned in Italy. The restaurant offers different crusts, some that veer towards the traditional and others that are experimental, such as the ones that contain no yeast. The toppings are fresh and flavorful.
We’ve eaten at Sapore multiple times over the course of our visits to Verona, and we’ve always been delighted with our choices.
The desserts are delicious too, but if you’d rather have gelato, walk a few steps to L’Arte del Gelato for gelato artigianale in many flavors!
The restaurant opens at noon for lunch and closes for the afternoon at 2.30 p.m.
If you want to enjoy traditional local cuisine on your one day in Verona, head to La Taverna di Via Stella, located close to Juliet’s House, your next stop on the itinerary. Try the risotto all’ Amarone, a royal-red, melt-in-the-mouth rice dish.
Lunch hours at La Taverna di Via Stella are noon until 2 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays through Sundays.
Tour the Casa di Giulietta
Considering the numerous architectural and historic treasures in Verona, don’t set your expectations too high for Juliet’s house. The balcony was added to the home in the 20th century, and it’s super crowded most of the time.
But if you really want to pose for a photo on the balcony, and if you are prepared to wait your turn, then go for it! It’s free to view the balcony from below, but entering the house to stand on the balcony requires a ticket.
The house also holds props from Franco Zeffirelli’s 1968 film version of Romeo and Juliet. You’ll see some costumes, and the bed that featured in the movie.
There is also a statue of Juliet in the courtyard. The walls of the courtyard used to be covered with love notes and messages from all over the world, but they’ve reportedly been removed and you cannot add a note here any more.
From October until May, Juliet’s House is open Tuesdays through Sundays, from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. Between June and September, it is open everyday from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m.
Good to know: Early in the day on a weekday is your best chance for lower crowds at this popular Verona attraction. So if it’s one of your top reasons for visiting Verona, you may want to arrive here at opening time.
Admire the Basilica di Sant’Anastasia
We fell in love with the churches of Verona.
The Basilica di Sant’Anastasia is a must-visit, and it is close to other sights in the historic center, so it can be visited even on a one-day Verona itinerary.
The brick exterior is modest (it’s unfinished), but you’ll be enthralled when you step inside. The decorated ceiling, and the tall columns made of Verona marble, make for an impressive sight.
Look for the two hunchback figures supporting two stoups, and Pisanello’s fresco, St. Geroge and the Princess.
There is a modest entry fee to visit the interior.
Visit the Verona Cathedral
The Verona Cathedral complex definitely deserves a spot in your one day Verona itinerary.
The Duomo di Verona, officially the Cattedrale Santa Maria Matricolare, was consecrated in the late 12th century. The cathedral was built in the Romanesque in style, although modifications were done later.
The cathedral features a beautiful facade with a two-story portico, and an ornate interior that features red Verona marble. The graceful bell tower features nine bells.
The complex also includes other buildings worth visiting.
San Giovanni in Fonte, the baptistery, features a gorgeous baptismal font with scenes from the life of Jesus carved along the side.
In the Church of St. Elena, you can see parts of the mosaic floor from the 4th century palaeo-christian basilica that stood at the spot.
Walk Ponte Pietra
The oldest bridge in Verona, Ponte Pietra is a stunning Roman arch bridge that was completed in 100 B.C. The Via Postumia, an ancient Roman road that ran from Genoa to Aquileia, crossed the Adige River via the Ponte Pietra.
Ponte Pietra was rebuilt a number of times. Most recently, the Stone Bridge was blown up by the retreating Germans in 1945, and only one arch escaped destruction. The bridge was then rebuilt, to look like it did before it was destroyed.
The bridge is walkable, and offers fabulous views of the banks on both sides. You can also walk along the river bank on either side if you have the time.
There are many bars and restaurants lining the river bank, so if you need a bit of a rest, get a drink, and sit at an outside table, to take in the views as you relax.
Take in the views from the Piazzale Castel San Pietro
On the far side of the Adige River, take the funicular to the Piazzale Castel San Pietro for amazing views over the river and the city. You can walk up the hill as well.
The hill takes its name from the Church of San Pietro that once stood at the site. The castle, Castel San Pietro, was built in 1398. It was destroyed by Napoleon’s army in 1801.
Later, the Austrians demolished what was left of the castle, as well as the church. They built military barracks at the site, that you see today.
The courtyard of the building, Piazzale Castel San Pietro, affords fabulous views of the rooftops of Verona, spread out along both sides of the Adige River. The courtyard is a great place to enjoy sunset.
Enjoy dinner and drinks
Stroll back across the Adige River and head to Santa Felicita Ristorante for dinner. It’s located near the Ponte Pietra in a building that used to be a church. The interior is stunning, but you can also dine outside if you prefer.
The menu offers several choices, including some terrific pizzas, risotto, and meat dishes, and a good selection of wines. Their risotto all’Amarone is delicious. Don’t skip dessert: we loved their tiramisu.
If you want to eat closer to the heart of the historic center, we suggest Corte Farina, located on a quiet side street. We’ve eaten here more than once, and never been disappointed.
Or take a taxi to Trattoria dal Taio: it’s a bit of a walk from the heart of the centro storico, but the food is worth the effort to get here. Try the pasta with mushrooms and truffle!
We suggest making reservations for dinner, no matter which restaurant you choose, especially if you visit in season.
The Verona Card
The Verona Card is available for a 24-hour or 48-hour duration. The 24-hour card is an excellent buy for your one day in Verona.
The card includes skip-the-line entrance to the Arena, entrance to the Casa di Giulietta, the Castelvecchio Museum, and the Scaliger Tombs, and the entrance to the Torre dei Lamberti, among many other venues.
It also saves you the hassle of standing in line at every museum or landmark you want to visit: time is precious on a one-day visit.
Getting to Verona
Verona is located in the Veneto region in Northern Italy, on the Adige River. You can arrive by air, by train, or by road.
Verona has an international airport if you want to fly in. It’s called the Verona Villafranca Airport or the Valerio Catullo Airport, and it is located about 13 km (about 8 miles) from Piazza Bra in the historic center.
From the airport you can take a shuttle bus or a taxi into the city center. The shuttle bus runs frequently through the day, and the journey time is about 15 minutes.
Verona is well-connected by train to other cities in Italy and even other parts of Europe. Verona Porta Nuova is the main train station. From the station, you can walk to the city center (about 20 minutes to Piazza Bra) or take a taxi or local bus.
Verona makes for an excellent day trip from Venice. A fast train can get you from Venezia Santa Lucia to Verona Porta Nuova in about one hour. A regional veloce takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes.
Verona is also one of the best day trips from Bologna you can do. A fast train from Bologna Centrale to Verona Porto Nuovo has a journey time of just 52 minutes, while a regional veloce train takes an hour and 30 minutes.
Looking to visit Verona on a day trip from Florence? A fast train can take you from Firenze Santa Maria Novella to Verona Porto Nuovo in one hour and 32 minutes.
And if you want to visit Verona on a day trip from Milan, a fast train takes about one hour and 12 minutes to travel from Milano Centrale to Verona Porto Nuovo.
We recommend purchasing tickets for fast trains in advance, because fares tend to be cheaper further out from the day of travel.
If you are doing a road trip around Italy, or you want to rent a car for your trip to Verona, the city is very accessible. Verona sits on a couple of major freeways: the E70 and the A22, making it easy to drive here.
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Getting Around in Verona
Verona’s historic center is very walkable and you can get to all the sights we’ve described in our 1-day Verona itinerary on foot.
In fact, walking around the historic center gives you the opportunity to soak in the charm of the city, and notice such things as pretty balconies (there are many pretty balconies in Verona other than the one at Juliet’s house!), local shops, and the beautiful architecture everywhere.
There’s a hop-on, hop-off bus if you don’t want to rack up the steps. A 24-hour duration is available, and it passes by many sights of interest, making it a convenient way to get your sightseeing done.
Book the Verona Hop-On,Hop-Off Bus now!
You can also use the local buses to get to the more distant sights. ATV public transportation on the urban line inside Verona City is included with the Verona Card.
Bikes are another excellent option for getting around: this highly-rated bike tour shows you the best of Verona in 3 hours, and includes both classic sights and hidden gems.
Book a bike tour of Verona now!
Where to Stay in Verona
Hotels in Verona
The Due Torri Hotel is located in the historic center, by the Basilica d’ Sant Anastasia. Housed in a 14th century palace, the hotel features elegant furnishings and a rooftop restaurant. The terrace looks out over the rooftops of Verona.
Book a stay here!
Accademia Hotel is a lovely hotel in a central location. Ask for a room with a view of the rooftops! Rooms are modern and comfortable and breakfast is included. Dining and shopping are nearby.
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The Hotel Indigo Verona – Grand Hotel des Arts is a boutique property located steps from Piazza Bra. The hotel is in a quiet location and offers rooms and suites. The hotel features a courtyard and garden. Rooms are spacious and comfortable.
Book a stay here!
Apartments in Verona
Lords of Verona offers luxury apartments in the heart of the historic center. The decor is ultra modern, but the building is historic, making for a great combination. Fabulous shower and elegant furnishings. You’ll find restaurants right out the door and major sights are all walking distance.
Book a stay here!
Residenza Roccamaggiore is located just five minutes from the Piazza delle Erbe. Every apartment features an open layout, air-conditioning, and free wifi. The floors are Venetian and furnishings elegant. The decor includes frescoes!
Book a stay here!
The Best Time to Visit Verona
Summer is peak season in Verona, with the warmest weather. The Verona Opera Festival is on through the entire months of July and August.
If you must visit Verona in the summer, pick a weekday (other than Monday, when many museums are closed), to avoid the weekend crowds.
We suggest visiting Verona in the shoulder months of May-June or September-October, when the weather is good but you won’t encounter the crowds of summer (and the high prices on accommodation!)
Winters in Verona tend to be cold and wet, and some attractions may have limited hours. However, Christmas is a fun time to be in Verona: it has a Christmas market, and you can see the Arena Comet, a huge steel star painted white.
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