Venice may get all the attention yet Verona a short distance away is just as visit worthy. A beautiful, compact city on the river Adige, famous for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, it is perfect for a romantic, food and wine-lovers’ short break.
What to eat in Verona
Verona has many indie shops and delis selling home-made ravioli, fresh gnocchi, sauces, cheeses and charcuterie. Also, cakes are big here too along with sublime gelato. Some top tips are, for Deli & Cheese – Salumeria Albertini and for Cakes & Gelato – Caffe Wallner
It’s impossible to spend more than a few hours in Italy before you start craving a proper pizza. A relaxed, locals’ lunch in a central location is Acqua e Grano. Specialising in deep crust and regular styles from home made sourdough proved overnight.
What to drink in Verona
Prosecco is widely available as the local fizz of the Veneto region. Due to the sophistication of the Veronese, Franciacorta is very popular too. Because it is higher quality and made in the traditional method, like champagne. Moreover, wine bars are plentiful in Verona with affordable prices – unlike Venice. The local wines are white Soave Classico and red Valpolicellla. Also Valpollicella Ripasso and Amarone – an Italian favourite. For more info on the wines of the Veneto see UK wine expert Jancis Robinson. A top wine bar tip with a river view is Terraza Bar Al Ponte.
Where to visit in Verona
Verona is known and mainly visited for Juliet’s balcony in the Corte de Giulietta. It may or may not be an authentic tale or venue. However, Casa di Giullietta is well worth a visit for the atmospheric building. Moreover, who can resist standing on the famous balcony and kissing their beloved? Hundreds of selfie-snapping teenagers throng the courtyard and the adjacent streets all day long.
The Arena is a must see in Verona. An elliptical gladiator ring, now an opera venue. It is extremely well restored, with atmospheric corridors. There is a fantastic view of the whole city from the top.
The Mostra Picasso Verona is top of the list for art lovers. Also nice if you just fancy a quiet pit-stop for an hour. A Verona Card is worth buying if you plan on visiting more than a couple of places. These are available online or at most museums.
Verona is easy to walk around and can be covered in a day. It is also fun to hire a bicycle from BikeVerona. Register on the app and then pay as you go. The system is the same as in London and many other city bike sharing cities.
Where to stay in Verona
There is a wide range of accommodation in Verona at all price levels. If you like cooking there are great delis and food shops on every street corner. Staying in an apartment is a good choice. Highly recommended are the elegant Corte di Giulietta apartments. Moreover, The Suite has a direct view of the balcony from the bed – amusing for exhibitionists perhaps. Anyway, just nice to look at as you go to sleep. Book on booking.com.
The wine region close by Verona city centre
The Valpolicella wine region is to the north of Verona and the Soave region is to the east. Hiring a car is a great way to get around to look at the vines and visit wineries. The area has the feel of Burgundy in France. All low hills, misty and modest with deserted villages and large, family run restaurants dotted about. For example, a fabulous lunch at Locanda Al Confin is amazing value and very relaxed. Highly recommended dishes include melt in the mouth Steak Tartare, sublime, buttery Truffle Pasta and the best Tiramisu ever. The wine list is very good value. The restaurant has an awesome cellar below with an excellent wine range at extremely fair prices. One delicious, top quality Valpolicella is from Marion. Also available in the UK from BerryBros. For more info on wineries in the region, see The Guardian.
Travel to Verona
Fly with Easy Jet from Stansted in the UK to Verona. The airport is half an hour from the city centre by car. Also, handily, the hire cars are in the car park at the terminal. Parking in Verona is easier in the city car parks. One just across the river is Parcheggio Saba – Isolo. 15 euros for 24 hours. Bike hire details at BikeVerona.