In fair Verona where we lay our sceneRomeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare
Although fair Verona has to thank the Bard of Avon for making it a household name, there is much more to this city in Northern Italy than its literary connections. But what are the best things to do in Verona in a day?
As a two-time visitor, this is where I can help. Make the most of one day in Verona with my curated list of sights you cannot miss. From exploring its Roman and medieval roots to that balcony, my itinerary has you covered.
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What is Verona Famous for?
As the setting for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Verona has become a symbol of love across the globe. Of the five million visitors that descend on the city each year, it’s a fair bet that some are dreaming that they will be sprinkled with a little of the city’s romantic fairy dust.
Literary connections notwithstanding, Verona is famous for its wealth of Roman ruins, including its immense arena. This is the majestic setting for the city’s renowned annual opera festival.
Is One Day in Verona Enough?
You can see Verona’s main attractions in a day, including the Roman Arena and Juliet’s Balcony. Its historic core is compact, lending itself to leisurely exploration.
The Verona Card
The Verona Card is an excellent deal, even if you are only spending 24 hours in Verona. I ordered mine online before I left London, and picked it up at the city’s friendly Tourist Information Office.
Choose between a 24-hour or 48-hour pass. The pass gives you free entrance to all of the city’s major attractions and includes a skip-the-line ticket for the Verona Arena. Free city transport is also thrown in.
>>> BUY YOUR VERONA CITY CARD HERE
READ THIS NEXT: Is the Verona Card Worth It? An Honest Review
A One-Day Verona Itinerary + Map
Hit the ground running with my Verona itinerary which will allow you to visit its top attractions in a day. It follows a logical route from Verona Porta Nuova train station to the city centre.
Here’s a map to help you on your way. For a closer look and interactive map, click here or on the image.
If you find it helpful, you can use this as a self-guided Verona walking tour. Simply follow the directions included in the map. Without any deviations, the total distance is just under two miles (3km).
However, if you want to get to know Verona on a guided walking tour take a look at these:
This is for you if you just want a quick and cheap guided tour to allow you to get the lay of the land. The morning tour is just 90 minutes long.
This slightly longer but still affordable walking tour is for you if you want something a little more in-depth. Over two hours, a local guide will introduce you to the city’s key sights.
Best Things to Do in Verona in One Day: An Itinerary That Works
MORNING IN VERONA
Admire the fountain at Piazza Bra
Walking from Verona’s Porta Nuova train station, the first sight you’ll hit is the city’s immense pedestrianised square, which was once used as a dump. In case you were wondering, the word “Bra” is derived from the German for broad.
Take a look at the central fountain called “The Alps.” It was donated by Verona’s twin city of Munich, on the opposite side of the Alps, and is carved from the pink stone of the region.
The big equestrian statue is of Victor Emmanuele II, Italy’s first king.
Set yourself up for the day with a strong Italian coffee and yummy pastry at the friendly Pasticceria Pradaval on Piazza Bra.
Take in the view from the cheap seats at Verona’s Arena
The Roman Arena is the jewel in Verona’s glittering crown. Built from pink Valpolicella limestone, Arena di Verona dates from the middle of the 1st Century AD.
Verona was an important political and commercial hub in Roman times and this is where up to 30,000 of the city’s residents would cheer gladiator duels. Today’s pleasure-seekers flock here to watch plays and concerts and to attend the world-famous Verona Opera Festival.
I was blown away by its sheer scale. Measuring 466 by 400 feet, it is the eighth-largest amphitheatre in the Roman Empire and the fourth-largest in Italy.
Clamber to the seats at the top of the Arena for great views of Verona and beyond.
As Verona’s star attraction, it’s worth considering booking a guided tour that includes a skip-the-line ticket. This will also help you to make the most of your visit. A skip-the-line ticket is included in the Verona Card.
Embrace the spirit of romance at Juliet’s House
Actually, the headline show is in the tiny courtyard outside the House of Juliet.
This is where romantics from across the globe wait in line to caress Juliet’s bronze breast, said to bring the groper good fortune in love. The amorous graffiti and notes that once papered the courtyard’s walls are no longer there, but the heart-lock padlocks remain.
If you want to blow kisses from Juliet’s balcony, you will have to pay to visit Juliet’s House. The house is nothing special but it does have the bed used in Franco Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet.
Is Juliet’s House a symbol of hope or a bunch of baloney? You decide.
Visit the Scalinger Tombs
From 1277 until 1387, Verona was ruled by the powerful Scaliger family, who made their fortune selling wool. They were to Verona what the mighty Medici were to Florence.
The Scaligeri are laid to rest in lacy 14th Century Gothic tombs enclosed by a wrought iron fence.
Check opening hours here (closed on Monday).
Admire the view from St Peter’s Bridge
Completed in 100 BC, St. Peter’s Bridge (Ponte Pietra) is Verona’s sole surviving Roman bridge. Well, almost.
Ponte Pietra was bombed during World War II and rebuilt with slabs of marble fished out of the Adige River.
Stroll across the bridge to take in the view from both sides. The Roman Theatre is built into the hillside on the opposite side of the river. Above that is the fortress, Castello San Pietro
For lunch with a view, take a seat on the terrace of Terraza Bar al Ponte, which overlooks the Adige River. It’s at Via Ponte Pietra, 26.
AFTERNOON IN VERONA
Visit Verona Cathedral
Dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta, Verona Cathedral is, in fact, a complex of buildings. Although I found it lacked harmony, it is well worth including in your Verona itinerary.
Highlights include the gorgeous Romanesque carvings on its façade and the baptistery’s font carved with eight biblical scenes. The Duomo’s Cartolari-Nichesola Chapel is home to Titian’s Assumption.
Beneath the complex’s Church of Santa Elena is the mosaic floor of the early Christian basilica, built in the 4th Century.
Walk around the left-hand side of the cathedral (as you face the main façade) to visit its gorgeous Romanesque cloister.
Rub the hunchback’s lump for good luck at S. Anastasia
Don’t be put off by the uninspiring, unfinished façade of Basilica di Sant’Anastasia; its treasures are on the inside. Founded by the Dominicans and consecrated in 1497, it was my favourite of Verona’s churches.
The light-filled interior of St. Anastasia features a soaring Gothic nave with a glorious painted ribbed ceiling, flanked by later Renaissance side chapels. There are important works of art, including St. George and the Princess (1438) by Pisanello above the chapel to the right of the main altar.
I loved the grimacing hunchbacks supporting the holy water fonts on their backs. Touching the hump of the smaller figure (on the left as you face the altar) is said to bring good luck. It was carved in 1495 by Gabriele Caliari, father of Paolo, better known as “il Veronese”.
Take in the views from Lamberti Tower
Dating from the 12th Century and standing 84 metres high, Lamberti Tower rises above Verona like a giant exclamation mark.
Twin bells were added in 1295, lending it the name Tower of the Bells. The Maronga bell rang out in case of fire (at that time the city’s buildings were largely wooden). The larger Rengo bell heralded political meetings.
Climb 368 steps to its summit for spectacular views of Verona. Alternatively, take the elevator for an additional fee.
Do a 360-degree twirl of Piazza dei Signori
The buildings lining Piazza dei Signori are linked by arches and span five centuries.
Spend a few minutes to take it all in and see if you can spot a whale’s rib dangling over one arch. The elegant portico on the left is inspired by Brunelleschi’s Hospital of the Innocents, considered to be the first building of the Renaissance and one of Florence’s important landmarks.
A statue of a slightly grumpy-looking Dante Alighieri takes pride of place (locals call the square Piazza Dante). The Scaligeri granted the poet asylum in Verona after he was banished from Florence by the pope.
Relax over an Aperol Spritz in Piazza del Erbe
You are approaching the end of your day in Verona so it must be aperitivo time. And where better to sip an Aperol Spritz than Piazza del Erbe?
Also known as the Vegetable Market, this square has been the focal point of civic life since Roman times. As the site of the Roman Forum, it was home to the most important buildings, including the Capotilium.
A basin from the Roman baths was used to make the Fountain of Madonna Verona, a symbol of the city. A central Roman statue holds a banner with the ancient motto of the city: “Verona is a city that provides justice and loves to be praised.”
Today, people congregate beneath its pastel-coloured buildings to browse its market stalls and sip aperitivi. Saluti!
If you are staying overnight in Verona, I recommend eating at Bottega & Tavola di Corte Palazzina. It was one of the best meals that I had on this trip to Italy. You’ll find it at Via Francesco Berni, 1.
Practical Information and Tips for Visiting Verona
When is the best time to visit Verona?
The best time to visit Verona is April or August to October.
I last visited in April. The days were warm and sunny and it wasn’t too busy.
In spring and summer, you can expect sunny days and warm temperatures. However, Verona experiences its wettest days between May and July.
If you want to time your visit to coincide with the Verona Arena Opera season, stay between June and August. But with the Arena di Verona Opera Festival comes the crowds.
Winter is the off-season in Verona but it can be cold and damp.
How to get to Verona
You can travel to Verona by train, plane, bus and car.
1. By train
High-speed trains from other Italy cities and beyond stop at Verona Porta Nuova station. From here, it’s 15 minutes on foot to the Arena.
Train journey times to Verona
- Venice: 1 hour
- Florence: 1 hour 30 minutes
- Milan: 1 hour 15 minutes
2. By air
Verona’s small airport (Catullo Airport) is served by flights from some European cities, including London.
It’s easy to get from Verona Airport to the city centre. The inexpensive 199 Airlink bus departs from outside the terminal building every 20 minutes, terminating at Porta Nuova train station. The journey time is 15 minutes.
Buy your ticket from the machine at the bus stop or pay the driver. Contactless card payments are accepted.
Alternatively, jump in a taxi or pre-book a private transfer from the airport.
>>> BOOK YOUR AIRPORT TRANSFER HERE
3. By car
If you are arriving in by car, you’ll need to park on the city’s perimeter (the historic centre is closed to non-local traffic). Discover your options for free and paid parking here.
4. On a guided tour
If you want someone to take care of the travel arrangements for you – and benefit from the knowledge of a local guide –an organised tour is your best bet. And if you are travelling solo, joining a group tour is a great way of meeting other like-minded travellers.
Here are a few options for day tours to Verona from nearby cities:
This 7-hour excursion includes the return train journey and a guided tour of Verona. I like that you have the option of lingering after the tour has finished, catching a later train back.
>>> CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION
This is a full-on tour and one that I recommend only if it is your one opportunity to see these cities. It packs a lot into 12 hours, hitting the highlights of both cities.
>>> CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION
Getting around Verona
Verona’s city centre is very walkable, allowing you to visit its main attraction on foot in one day. If you are feeling weary, city buses are also available.
Tickets for these green and blue ATV buses are sold at bus stations and newsagents. You can also buy tickets on board the bus, but these are more expensive. Find out more here.
Where to stay in Verona
I would seriously consider making Verona your base for visiting Northern Italy. It’s less expensive than Venice, nowhere near as touristy and you stand a fighting chance of eating a decent meal.
Here are my top picks of places to stay in Verona.
Mid-range guesthouse – B&B Valverde
I stayed in this guesthouse located midway between the Arena and the train station. This is perfect if you want to stay somewhere small with a personal touch and shared kitchen facilities.
Emanuele and his mother Laura could not have been more welcoming and provided loads of local tips. The room was spacious and the bathroom spotless.
>>> CLICK HERE FOR CURRENT PRICES
Mid-range hotel – Hotel Giberti & Spa
I also stayed here. It’s a terrific choice if you are planning to take day trips from Verona by train.
Rooms are comfortable and spacious and the reception staff were so friendly. The buffet breakfast was excellent.
Although I wasn’t able to take advantage of this, the hotel offers free bikes from April to November.
>>> CLICK HERE FOR CURRENT PRICES
Splurge – Due Torri Hotel
I have my beady eye on this 5-star hotel for a return visit. It’s one of the best luxury hotels in Verona and its location in the heart of the city’s historic centre is unbeatable.
The hotel’s sumptuous rooms and suites feature period furniture and look out over the city. Breakfast is included in all room rates.
Due Torri Hotel’s roof terrace bar is a bonus.
>>> CLICK HERE FOR CURRENT PRICES
>>> None of these places takes your fancy? Search for other great places to stay in Verona here.
READ THIS NEXT: Top 10 Luxury Hotels in Verona, Italy
Solo Travel in Verona
Italy is a fabulous destination for solo travellers and Verona is no exception.
There are lots of things to see and do and the city’s key attractions are within easy walking distance of each other.
Accommodation in Verona is plentiful with something to suit most budgets.
Thanks to its excellent rail connections, there is quick and easy access to other destinations in the region and beyond. Although you are unlikely to need it, city transport is efficient and inexpensive.
Safety is a priority for solo female travellers. Verona is considered to be a safe destination for those travelling alone. The city has a low crime rate and is known for its friendly culture.
However, as with any destination, a little bit of common sense goes a long way. Female solo travellers should take standard safety precautions, such as keeping valuables safe and avoiding dark and isolated areas at night.
READ THIS NEXT: Best Solo Travel Destinations in Italy
Is Verona Worth Visiting?
I fell head over heels with the City of Love when I first visited Verona as a wide-eyed 20-something solo traveller. That passion was rekindled in my 50s.
Although this article focuses on things to do in one day in Verona, it deserves more space on your Italy itinerary.
Verona is a taste of pure Italy. Dripping with romance, this beautiful and friendly city has enough things to see to satisfy history fangirls and fanboys for a week.
I used Verona as a base for visiting Vicenza, Padua and Lake Garda. With its excellent connections, you can even visit Venice from here.
Visit Verona. You’ll be glad you did.
Where to Next?
I hope that this guide helps you pin down the best things to see in Verona and that you have a fabulous time there. If you are looking for other places to visit in the Veneto region, take a look at some of my other articles:
- 7 Easy Day Trips from Verona by Train
- Is Padua Worth Visiting? 10 Reasons to Say ‘Yes!’
- Visiting the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua: Giotto’s Masterpiece
- 14 Best Things to Do in Vicenza in One Day: A Palladian Paradise
Bridget Coleman has been a passionate traveller for more than 30 years. She has visited 70+ countries, most as a solo traveller.
Articles on this site reflect her first-hand experiences.
To get in touch, email her at email@example.com or follow her on social media.