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The setting for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Verona is an incredibly romantic city with a rich architectural heritage. It is strategically set at the crossing of two vital trade routes and has been an important cultural and commercial hub since the 3rd century. Today, its streets reveal their rich, multi-layered history at every turn, the enchanting medieval core a labyrinth of cobbled laneways and grand squares peppered with ancient Roman structures. The most complete of these is the wonderful Roman amphitheatre which serves as the venue for the city’s world renowned summer opera festival.

While Verona is still very much a city, it never feels overwhelming. There’s no frantic checklist of sights to tick off: just meander around, eating well, exploring its independent shops, and seeing what you find.

Italy specialist Kimberly

Things to see and do in Verona

Opera in Verona

Constructed in the 1st century AD, Verona’s legendary Roman Arena is the magical setting for the city’s summer opera festival. Between the months of June and September the magnificent structure, once home to gladiatorial battles, becomes the world’s largest outdoor opera venue. The epic productions, often with over 1,000 cast members, attract some of the biggest names in opera and draw visitors from around the world. The arena is famous for its excellent acoustics and as the sun sets, audience members light candles and settle in to enjoy a spine-tingling performance in this most atmospheric of settings.

Romeo and Juliet

While it appears that Shakespeare never actually visited Verona, it is easy to picture his fictional star-crossed lovers as you wander around the city's medieval heart. The winding cobbled streets and narrow laneways lined with grand houses, Gothic churches and Renaissance palazzi are undeniably romantic and there are plenty of stories of dramatic local family feuds in times past. The city has made much of its association with the famous lovers and the house reputed to have inspired Juliet’s balcony scene attracts many visitors, but if you suspend your disbelief and simply soak up the atmosphere, there's nowhere better to pay homage to the epic love story.

Piazza dei Signori & Piazza delle Erbe

Two adjoining squares in the heart of Verona act as the focal point of the medieval city. The larger, Piazza delle Erbe, was once the site of the city’s Roman marketplace and forum but is now surrounded by bustling cafés and palatial medieval townhouses adorned with Renaissance frescoes. Walk under an archway and you'll enter adjoining Piazza dei Signori, a stately square known to locals as Piazza Dante due to its imposing statue of the famed poet. The square is surrounded by ancient civic buildings and is a beautiful place to explore with the impressive Scaligeri family tombs located through the archway on the far side.

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Audley Travel specialist Cara

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Suggested itineraries featuring Verona

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Map of Verona

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    • Verona opera performance
      Verona Opera Performance

      Verona opera performance

      Verona opera performance

      Enjoy an opera performance at Verona's historic Roman Arena. The open-air performances benefit from this impressive setting, a circular amphitheatre with the stage in the centre of stone steps that rise up around it.

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