For many people, Verona is directly linked to the tragic love affair in Shakespear’s play. However, the city is much more than that, and at least a stop for one day in Verona is mandatory. Especially if you find yourself on a Northern Italy itinerary.
Having spent some time in this part of Italy, I had to make my way to Verona at some point. And so I did, a few years ago, together with my mother and my mother-in-law.
Even though we spent a few days in Verona and its surroundings, I think a one-day itinerary would get you around most of the important sights.
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How to get to Verona
The fastest and cheapest way of getting to Verona is by plane and landing at the Verona Villafranca Airport.
From there, you can take the bus to the city center, which will take around 15 minutes and cost 6 EUR.
Since the flights weren’t as convenient for us, we chose to land in Bologna, and leave from Verona airport. We took the train from Bologna train station, from where there are plenty of options towards Verona Porta Nuova.
The fast train will get you there in less than an hour, while the trip by regional train will last around 1h 30.
Tickets for these trains are usually cheaper when acquired way in advance. That’s why I recommend booking your tickets online on omio.com or ItaliaRail.com. Both are price aggregators that will show you the best route and prices.
Another great option when you plan for more day trips by train is to book a Eurail pass. The options are available for 3, 4, 5, 6, or 8 travel days and you can take as many trains as you want.
Of course, you can always go on a day trip to Verona from Venice. When you take the fast train, it will get you from one city to the other in around 1 hour or 1h30.
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What to do and see in one day in Verona
As I’ve said, we spent more days in town, and I really enjoyed the laid back vibe and charming narrow streets, colorful piazzas, and delicious food.
That being said, seeing the best part of town and the most popular attractions can be easily done in one day.
As we arrived in town, the imposing Castelvecchio with its big walls was the first thing we saw. Because of its location, I would suggest you should as well start your trip here.
Dating from the Middle Ages, the most important military construction in town, the old castle doesn’t have fascinating architecture, but it is still a place to see.
Built with red brick in Gothic style, the castle now hosts a museum and from its walls, you will get to see Verona from above.
Piazza Bra and Arena di Verona
Stroll on Corso Cavour, leave on your left the marble arch known as Arco dei Gavi, or better yet cross the street and take Via Roma all the way to Piazza Bra.
The wide square had the famous Arena di Verona in the middle and many colorful old buildings lined up overlooking it.
Stop here for a coffee, a gelato, a panino, or for lunch depending on the time of the day.
I absolutely loved the atmosphere here and I think it is the perfect place for a get-together with friends or eating out.
Once hosting various shows and games, the Roman amphitheater dating from back in 30 AD, now is a concert hall where many famous artists from all over the world held concerts in recent times.
Go window shopping in Via Giuseppe Mazzini
As you make your way towards one of the most charming parts of Verona, you’ll walk on the most important shopping street in town.
I can’t promise you’ll do a lot of shopping, but you will at least have some time to look around at some of the most luxurious stores.
Casa di Giulietta
Allow yourself to stroll through the narrow streets, admire terraces and restaurants under the arches as you pass them by, and head all the way to Juliet’s house.
Before you get there, I think you should know that Shakespear’s character was made up and never existed in real life. That’s why, the house has nothing to do with any Juliet, especially the one in love with Romeo.
As you reach the house and its famous balcony, you’ll find plenty of people around – taking pictures on the balcony or touching the famous statue of the so-called Giulietta (Juliet).
Piazza delle Erbe
Your next stop on your walk through Verona should be the Piazza delle Erbe.
Surrounded by buzzing cafes and restaurants, with a fountain and a marble statue in the middle, this might be one of the most picturesque places in town.
While we were there, the piazza was home to a flea market, filled with various local products from delicious food, to handmade Murano glass jewelry or Italian leather goods.
Climb the Torre dei Lamberti
The ancient town hall, flanking the northern side of the Piazza delle Erbe, is known as the Torre dei Lamberti.
85 m high, dating from 1172, the tower is the place to go when you want to have an overall view over Verona. You’ll have to climb the many spiral stairs, but the view from the top will be rewarding for sure.
Continue your stroll and cross over on the other side of the Adige river, on the Ponte Pietra – the stone bridge.
Sitting just in front of the San Pietro Castle, the Roman arch bridge is the oldest in town, offering a great view over both sides of the river. It dates back to 100 BC when it was part of the road linking Genoa to Aquileia.
San Pietro Castle
An ancient fortress, built on the hills, on the banks of the Adige river, Castel San Pietro is for sure a place you won’t want to miss in Verona.
Even though people aren’t allowed inside the castle, it is all about the views you’ll have from here.
Head to St. Peter’s Lookout and have your camera ready for some stunning pictures. You’ll get to see Verona’s old town, the beautiful Ponte Pietra, and some stunning scenery.
Go on a walking tour
When you want to learn more about the city’s history, discover some hidden corners, and you don’t have a lot of time to get lost on your own, booking a walking tour is a great idea.
You’ll have 3 hours to be guided by a local and shown some of the best places in town, showing you the most important sights and telling you all about the city’s history.
Get to taste the local wine and food
Italy is all about food and wine, nobody can disagree with that.
With every region and town boasting its particular wine and local dishes, you will want to try everything, especially if you are on a longer Italy itinerary.
Take one hour of your one day in Verona to try the white wine they produce here or learn about the production steps of the extra virgin olive oil they have.
Where to stay in Verona
If you are planning to spend a bit more time in Verona, or even make it your base for the trip to Northern Italy, I suggest choosing a charming place in the old town area.
We stayed in a small 2-bedroom apartment, boasting a rooftop terrace, from where you could see the red ceilings of the old buildings around. I absolutely loved the place and the fact that as we left the building we were a few steps away from most of the important sights in town.
It had a small kitchen where we could make coffee and something for breakfast, that we could eat on the terrace, and a small supermarket was just around the corner.
Hotel Milano & SPA is another great option for when you want to have access to a stunning rooftop terrace with a jacuzzi overlooking the famous Arena di Verona. You won’t have to worry about breakfast, and you’ll be in the heart of the old town as well.
If, however, you are an Airbnb person (like myself), here is a great apartment option. A recently renovated apartment, spacious, bright, perfectly located in proximity to the old town. See availability here!
Getting around Verona
Even though the city has a great public transportation system, I would recommend getting around on foot. Especially if you only plan to stay in town.
Walking around the old town of Verona can be easily done in one day, and you’ll get to see the best of it like that.
Have more time?
When you have more time to spend here, you can easily opt for day trips to some of the most famous destinations in Italy, and not only.
From Verona, you can go on:
- a day trip to Lake Garda
- get the bus and head to Parco Sigurta, a stunning hidden gem that any nature lover will adore
- go to Venice for a day
- discover Bologna for a day
Since we stayed there for a long weekend, we did most of these things, and I’m sure there were plenty more to be discovered around.