What to see in Verona in two days
What to see in Verona in 2 days: discover the walking itineraries and all the unmissable spots during your short stay in the city!
Enjoy a concert in the fascinating setting of the Arena, stroll along the Adige river and get lost in the medieval alleys, have a drink on the listòn in Piazza Bra, discover the places of the secret love between Romeo and Juliet as told by Shakespeare: there are many magical spots that this poetic and monumental city can offer, but if you only have a weekend available, here are some suggestions on what to see in Verona in two days.
First day: Basilica of San Zeno, Castelvecchio, Piazza Bra and Sottoriva
Start from the Basilica of San Zeno Maggiore: it is one of the most beautiful Romanesque churches in Italy, built on the burial site of San Zeno which in the 4th century AD converted the city to Christianity. The rose known as the Wheel of Fortune represents the ascent and fall of man in facing fate. While on the tuff stone facade and the bronze portal, represent the bas-reliefs depict scenes from the Old and New Testaments. Don’t miss, on the inside, an altarpiece by Andrea Mantegna from 1459.
Continuing along with the Adige river, you will admire the crenelated profile of the Ponte Scaligero and Castelvecchio, a fortress built by Cangrande della Scala in the mid-fourteenth century, which was later converted into a weapons depot and barracks. Today, thanks to the work of the architect Carlo Scarpa in the 1960s, it is an exceptional museum: it houses collections of medieval, Renaissance and modern art.
Get lost into the alleys: in a short time, you will reach Piazza Bra, dominated by the simple and powerful bulk of the Arena. The amphitheater was built in the first century AD to host gladiator fights and hunting shows for wild and exotic animals; the elliptical shape allowed to hold up to 30,000 spectators with a good view. It was in 1913 that the tenor Giovanni Zenatello had the idea of using the Arena as an open-air opera theater, setting up a representation of Aida that would celebrate the centenary of Verdi’s birth. This consecrated the Arena into the stage of the most famous Opera season in the world.
Piazza Bra also overlooks the nineteenth-century Palazzo della Gran Guardia where now a lot of exhibitions take place, and Palazzo Barbieri, it was built in 1836 and it is currently the headquarter of the Municipality of Verona.
In the evening, take a walk in via Sottoriva, which runs parallel to the bend of the Adige river. With its low and gloomy portico, it preserves the old medieval aspect. In the past, the area had numerous mills, today it is mainly populated with antique shops and old taverns, many of which offer live music after 10 pm.
At the end of the street, you will find the Church of Sant’Anastasia (open until 18.00 between March and October, until 17.00 in the rest of the year). It was built in 1290 thanks to the donations of the Veronese lords. The church houses the famous fresco of San Giorgio and the princess of Pisanello.
At the end of the day, cross the Ponte di Pietra: it is one of the oldest vestiges of the Roman age, as its layout is different from the roads that were developed later. It presumably dates back to 89 BC
Second day: Piazza delle Erbe, Palazzo della Ragione, Arche Scaligere and Roman Theater
Make sure to start the day early, because in two days there are many things to see in Verona.
Piazza delle Erbe was for centuries the economic and political center of city life, there you can sip a coffee and stroll through the market stalls (from Monday to Saturday from 8.00 to 20.00). The buildings and monuments that overlook this square have seen history flow: the Torre del Gardello and the fountain of Madonna Verona, built by Cansignorio at the end of the fourteenth century, the Case dei Mazzanti, frescoed in the first half of the sixteenth century and the 17th century Palazzo Maffei. Among these, however, Palazzo della Ragione was the emblem of civic power: a majestic building of the XII century, where the city council met in the municipal era that hosted the Banco di Giustizia during the Scala era. In the courtyard, the sumptuous Scala della Ragione, made with red Verona marble, leads to the entrance of the Achille Forti Modern Art Gallery (opening hours: 10.00 am – 6.00 pm wintertime, 11.00 am – 7.00 pm in summer) and the Cappella dei Notai, a precious painting of the eighteenth-century.
It is worth climbing the Torre dei Lamberti – the entrance is close to the Scala – which with its 84 meters offers a unique panorama of the historic center; for the locals, a way to pay a kind tribute to the beauty of their city.
Continue your journey passing under the Arco della Costa: looking up you will see a whale rib dangling over your head, an ancient shop sign.
After passing the Arch you will find yourself in Piazza dei Signori, where a marble statue of Dante stands out: he stayed at the court of Cangrande della Scala, after being exiled from Florence. The square is surrounded by monumental buildings connected by arcades and arches: the Government Palace, which housed the Podestà, the Renaissance Loggia del Consiglio and the Palazzo degli Scaligeri , who were lords of Verona from 1260 to 1387.
In the courtyard of the private chapel of the Palace, the Church of Santa Maria Antica, you can admire the Arche Scaligere, the monumental tombs of the Scala family: those of Cangrande I, Mastino II and Cansignorio.
Spend the evening in Veronetta, as Napoleon scornfully called the area of the city to the left of the river when Verona was divided: at that time, the historic village belonged to the French and the “little Verona” belonged to the Austrians. Here you can visit the archaeological area of the Roman Theater, built on the slopes of Colle di S. Pietro in the Augustan age, and the Archaeological Museum.
Finally, enjoy the unexpected harmony of the Garden of the Righteous, one of the most beautiful Italian gardens of the late Renaissance. Its belvedere offers a breathtaking view of the city.