Could anything be more romantic than spending Valentine’s Day in Verona, home to star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet? Sure it might seem a little too obvious, but that is a good thing. Valentine’s Day is all about being obvious on the subject of love. Just a 90 minute train ride from Milan or Venice, Verona makes for a nice side trip from either location or even a destination on its own. If you choose to spend a few days in Verona, you might want to take in some wine tasting in Soave or Valpolicella as well.
But back to Valentine’s Day. Verona does it up big. Of course they do…this is an ITALIAN town….and Italians love love. The “Verona in Love” event lasts for several days and includes a street market in the shape of a heart, the ability to leave virtual love messages via a special app you can download, live concerts, a reading of love letters from around the world, discounts to some of the city’s most romantic attractions and more. See below for the official website.
If you will not be in Verona for Valentine’s Day, that is ok because the city is always full of romance. Below are some of the main attractions for your visit!
Piazza Bra: You hit this piazza immediately after entering the city gates. Wide open, this square makes you feel free after passing through its medieval city wall. To the right you will see the Arena di Verona and to the left outdoor cafes and restaurants where you can sit and do a little people watching of well dressed, elegant Italians. The Arena looks like a mini Colosseum and was built in AD 30. The Arena is still in use today where one can see operatic productions from June – September. See below for more info on the opera season.
Walk from Piazza Bra to Juliet’s balcony on the pink limestone pedestrian street of Via Mazzini. Here you can do a little window shopping and some real shopping. There are high-end boutiques on this street, and also the affordable, but ever so stylish Italian shops as well.
Juliet’s Balcony and The Wall of Love: From Via Mazzini, take a right onto Via Cappello and soon you will find yourself at the courtyard of Juliet’s “balcony.” Some are unimpressed with the balcony, disappointed and maybe expecting something more grand or thinking it is a bit cheesy. I like the fact that it is simple and unassuming. And I like the clichéd romance about it. The balcony represents an idea of love.
In the courtyard you will also find “The Wall of Love,” where visitors have left their messages of love on notes or written directly on the walls of the interior of the courtyard.
Ok, it is true that this place was created to attract tourists, but how can one not be moved by the tender messages or the idea of Juliet up on that balcony? I like to think of her there dreaming and looking for Romeo down below. I mean…who doesn’t want to stand on their balcony only to see their beloved below smiling sweetly back at them? Wow….what a scene!
Piazza delle Erbe: From Juliet’s house, walk on Via Cappello heading back to the direction of Via Mazzini, pass via Mazzini and you will find Piazza delle Erbe. Once you arrive at this Roman square, take it all in: the medieval yet still solid buildings, the cafes and the markets selling romance. (Ok…they are really selling souvenirs, but come on, you are in the city of Romeo and Juliet.)
Lamberti Tower: Construction on this tower began in 1172 with additions and restorations taking place all the way up to 1779. Here you can take the stairs or an elevator (for a small fee) to get some great views of the city from 275 feet.
Ponte Pietra: Cross the Adige river on this historic bridge. The Romans built this bridge, but it was destroyed many times due to floods and war, only to be rebuilt a final time in 1959. The night views are particularly special, twinkling lights from the city reflecting off the Adige add to the dreamy feel of the ancient bridge.
Roman Theater: Across Ponte Pietra there is a Roman Theater that faces the Adige and like the Arena also holds summer performances. This theater is set up on a hill so the views of the city and the river make for a picturesque backdrop.
Piazzale Castel San Pietro: To reach this castle you must climb some small stairs from the Roman Theater or take a car or public transportation. Originally built as a strategic position to control the Adige, now it offers visitors a relaxing escape from the city below along with an opportunity for panoramic photo ops of the city below.
Opera performances: http://www.arena.it
Verona in Love Event: http://www.veronainlove.it/en
Piazza Bra: by Rinina25
Juliet’s Balcony: Vivaverdi
Wall of Love: Jakub Martyński
Ponte Pietra: Jakub Hałun
Roma Theater: MM