Oh Verona, you romantic little city you. It is hard not to fall head over heels for the ever-so-charming City of Love. I mean, it’s only apt, right? Even if you only have one day in Verona, I promise you will not feel disappointed when you leave the city. Whether you are keen to dive into history at Verona Arena and the Roman Theatre, or fancy seeing the city from above from Torre dei Lamberti and Castel San Pietro, this one-stop guide to seeing Verona in one day has got you covered. Let’s just hope your love affair for Verona ends a little more happily than Romeo and Juliet, eh?
How to Get to Verona in One Day
Whether you choose to stay overnight or fancy just taking a day trip to Verona is up to you! The easiest way to get to Verona is either via plane or train. Once you have landed at Verona Airport, you can catch the 15-minute Aerobus from the airport to Verona Porta Nuova (the city’s main train station). Buses run every twenty minutes and a single ticket costs 6€. Once you are off the train, it is only a 15-20 minute walk into the city centre.
You can also get to Verona in one day via train or Flixbus from many neighbouring areas. You could take a day trip from Venice, Milan, Bologna, Genoa, Lake Garda or Trento. If you are hiring a car to get around Italy, you can also access the city by car. Whilst like most medieval cities in Italy, parking is limited, it is still doable. You can park on the white lines for free, or pay for parking on the blue lines and public car parks.
What is the best way to see Verona in one day?
One of the best things about only having one day in Verona is that, unlike larger European cities such as Paris, the city is really small. This makes it really easily accessible by foot. Forget public transport and slip on your best pair of trainers ’cause it’s time to get walking! Whilst everywhere is really easy to find, use Google Maps to avoid getting lost.
While I am all about uncovering hidden gems and exploring all the different nooks and crannies of a place, with only one day to spend in Verona, the best way to see the city is to visit all of the top tourist attractions. If you had more time on your hands, you could then maybe see a more authentic side of Verona. But for the time being, this one day guide is just going to cover the top attractions you cannot miss during your first trip to the city!
The order you visit these attractions may vary depending on where you start your day, i.e. where your accommodation is or where you’ve parked. This guide is based around staying at Stravagante Hostel, a modern new hostel, located near the train station, that I can wholeheartedly recommend. So let’s jump right in, shall we?
How to see Verona in one day
A great way to kick off your day in Verona is to visit Castelvecchio Museum and Bridge. The bridge was severely damaged by Napoleon and WWII bombings. But the fortress has since been radically restored by architect Carlo Scarpa. Now housing the museum of Veronese art and sculpture from the Middle Ages onwards, Castelvecchio not only offers amazing views across the river but it is also a great place to travel back in time and discover Verona’s cultural delights.
One of my favourite places I visited in Verona was, of course, Verona Arena. Proudly standing in the heart of Piazza Bra, prepare to travel back in time as you visit the third-largest amphitheatre in Italy after Rome’s Colosseum and the amphitheatre of Capua. This iconic monument was built in the first half of the 1st century A.D., in the period which marked the end of the Augustus’s Empire and the beginning of Claudius’s.
While Jess and I were disappointed to find that the arena was filled with scaffolding the day we were there, we tried to overlook this and imagine what it would have looked like 1900 years ago, minus the stage and selfie sticks. Most famous for its Opera Festival, which began back in 1913, the Arena still hosts regular musical and opera performances. These attract both visitors and locals alike. You can book these tickets in advance, or if you just fancy a visit, you can pay 10€ to enter the arena, splash out a bit extra for a guided tour, or simply admire the architecture from the outside.
Casa di Giulietta
What is a trip to Verona without seeing Juliet’s Balcony, eh? I mean, can you get any more iconic than that? Sure, it’s an absolute tourist trap. Literary geeks like me will know that Shakespeare’s Juliet wasn’t based on a real person. So the house is basically a lie. But hey, when you don’t have to spend a penny to visit the courtyard, what have you got to lose?
If you want to part with a few pennies (6€ to be exact), there is a little, quite crowded museum where you can learn about the history behind the iconic balcony, as well as the supposed “Romeo” and “Juliet” in general. Here you also get a chance to get a photo on the balcony and can also see the actual bed used in Franco Zeffirelli’s 1968 film adaptation of the play.
But perhaps my favourite thing about Juliet’s Balcony is not the history behind it but the fact it celebrates love. The courtyard walls are covered in graffiti and love notes, attached with chewing gum. P.s. Don’t forget to get a photo cupping Juliet’s right breast for (supposed?) good luck!
Explore the piazzas
One of my favourite things about visiting Italian cities is lounging back in a piazza, watching the world go by. Whether you’d rather sit back with a drink in hand, chowing down on some pizza or pasta, like me, or whether you’re keen to explore all the shops and markets, there is nothing like an Italian piazza. The perfect opportunity to grab a bite to eat, it’s time to get lost in the maze of piazzas that Verona has on offer. Be sure not to miss Piazza delle Erbe, Piazza dei Signori or Piazza Bra!
Torre dei Lamberti
However, my number one favourite thing to do when visiting any European city is to climb a tower in search of panoramic views. And Verona’s Torre dei Lamberti, which dates back to 1172, certainly did not disappoint. For 8€, you can climb the 368 steps or take the glass lift to the top of the tower, where you will be rewarded with unparalleled views of the city. The ticket also includes a visit to the adjacent Gallery of Modern Art for the art lovers among us.
Chiesa di Sant Anastasia
Verona is no stranger to historic churches. You could easily spend a day just exploring all of their nooks and crannies! However, when seeing Verona in one day, you will be a little short on time. That being said, one church you cannot miss having a peek into is Sant Anastasia. A masterly example of Italian Gothic style, with an elegantly decorated vaulted ceiling, Sant Anastasia is the largest church in Verona. Entering to pray is always free but visitors are kindly asked to pay a small entrance fee to admire the church’s interior.
Of course, this list would be incomplete without a mention of Verona Cathedral. Dating primarily from the 12th century, this iconic building serves as the central structure of a complex of architectural buildings. These include S. Giovanni in Fonte, S. Elena, the Canons’ cloister, the Capitular Library, the square in front of the church and the bishop’s residence. Just like Sant Anastasia, entry to the main cathedral requires a small entrance fee. But if you are into architecture, it is well worth every penny. Believe me, you will go weak at the knees for Verona Cathedral.
Ponte Pietra Bridge
The most iconic bridge in all of Verona, it’d be wrong to not pay a visit to Ponte Pietra. First built way back when in 90 BC, the bridge has been destroyed on numerous occasions throughout history. Last destroyed in 1945 when German soldiers blew it up on their retreat, Ponte Pietra was restored to its former glory in 1959. Parts of the bridge have been preserved from all periods, making the bridge a symbol of Verona’s history. However, whilst the bridge itself is nothing short of beautiful, the real attraction of Ponte Pietra is the views it boasts across to Castel San Pietro.
Calling all history and archaeology buffs! You will love Verona’s Roman Theatre. Across the Adige river, built on the hills of St. Peter in the middle of the Augustinian age, sits the visible remains of the theatre. Nowadays you can still see the stage, the orchestra, the auditorium and some galleries. Whilst the amphitheatre is much smaller than Verona Arena, it is beautifully preserved and not spoilt by modern seating. Entry costs 4,50€ and this fee also allows you access into the fascinating archaeological museum with numerous finds on display.
Castel San Pietro
So you’ve now been to the top of Torre dei Lamberti, but the best views of Verona still await you. I know, it is certainly hard to believe, huh? But trust me when I say that this hill is worth the climb. You’ve gotta burn off all that gelato somehow, right? If you don’t fancy the walk (don’t worry, I was the same), the funicular is just 2€. It impressively overcomes a vertical distance of 55 metres in about 90 seconds.
Castel San Pietro is a large medieval fortress set high on a hilltop above Verona. Whilst the architecture is quite remarkable and certainly warrants a visit for that alone, the real draw for tourists is one of the highest panoramic views over the city. Top tip: Head up for sunset for the best view of Verona! There is also a bar and restaurant almost at the top for those who want to sit back and enjoy the view with a glass in hand. Not too shabby, I say.
So has this guide convinced you to visit Verona? If you have plans to visit Verona in one day soon and have any questions, please do not hesitate to leave me a comment below!
READY TO SAVE MONEY FOR TRAVEL?
Get access to my free eBook filled with tips and tricks to help YOU save money to travel the world.