Verona in 24 hours: Valentine’s Day Edition

Ahh, fair Verona. The city will forever be associated with Shakespeare’s infamous star-crossed lovers. As it turns out, there is a lot more to Verona than just its association with Romeo and Juliet. It’s not a huge city, however, and we found it reasonably manageable to see Verona in 24 hours.

Verona in 24 Hours: Piazza Bra in Verona at Dusk
Piazza Bra in Verona at Dusk

After leaving Venice, Daniel and I decided to stop by Verona for a quick visit before heading to our next destination. Because, well, Shakespeare. We were eager to see fair Verona, made forever famous by Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet (Giulietta).

Upon our arrival, we found the city in the midst of the Verona in Love Festival. I was delighted to discover that the festivities took place the weekend after Valentine’s Day. Poor Daniel was sick with a fever on February 14th this year so we didn’t really have an opportunity to celebrate yet. Time for a do-over!

And so it came to pass that Daniel and I spent a lovely 24 hours in Verona wandering the streets and checking out the festival. We also managed to fit in a few sights as well, including the Verona Arena, Castelvecchio – and of course the popular Romeo and Juliet tourist attractions.

Verona in 24 Hours Highlight: Romeo & Juliet (Giulietta)

Two households, both alike in dignity
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene…

-Shakespeare, Romeo & Juliet

As the backdrop for Shakespeare’s famous play Romeo and Juliet, the City of Verona has certainly capitalized on this fact. The city has erected statues and attractions all over town related to the bard or his works. You can tour “Juliet’s House” and where the famous balcony scene purportedly took place, and you can also pay a visit to “Romeo’s House”.

Never mind that these are fictional characters and so… obviously these locations are completely made up. But it is a fun excuse to celebrate some of the most iconic characters in literature that are still compelling new generations of readers to this day.

Verona in 24 hours: Statue of Juliet
Just chillin’ with Juliet’s statue at “Juliet’s House”. Photo by Daniel.
Verona in 24 hours: Juliet's Balcony. Supposedly.
Juliet’s Balcony. Supposedly.
Verona in 24 hours: The famous Verona Walls
The famous Verona walls, with Piazza Bra in the background.
"There is no world without Verona walls, But purgatory, torture, hell itself. Hence-banished is banish'd from the world, And world's exile is death."
“There is no world without Verona walls, But purgatory, torture, hell itself. Hence-banished is banish’d from the world, And world’s exile is death.”
Verona in 24 hours: Romeo's House
Romeo’s House
The plaque in front of Romeo's House.
The plaque in front of Romeo’s House. Graffiti is a real problem in Verona. It was annoying to see so many people destroying things by writing all over them. At least in this case the attraction is a made-up one, but still.

Verona in Love Festival aka the Valentine’s Day Do-Over

Daniel and I arrived in Verona to find Valentine’s decorations and hearts everywhere. We were completely taken by surprise as we had just come from Venice where Carnival celebrations were fully underway and no hearts were in sight. In hindsight, it makes perfect sense that the city of Verona would further capitalize on their association with Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers by creating a love festival centered around Valentine’s Day.

The Verona in Love festival features a local food market, decorations, romantic walks, themed dinners, as well as a Romeo and Juliet Half Marathon. We wandered into the Cortile del Mercato Vecchio (Courtyard of the Old Market) to just as hundreds of people released heart-shaped balloons into the air – we couldn’t have timed it better if we had tried.

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Verona in Love Festival Food Market in Piazza dei Signori
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Statue of Dante in the middle of the Piazza dei Signori
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Some of the treats available for purchase at the food market
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Would anyone like some roast pig?
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The coordinated balloon release in Cortile del Mercato Vecchio
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There they go!
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Belated Valentine’s Day dinner in Verona

Piazza delle Erbe

Pizza delle Erbe or “Market Square” is my favorite place in Verona. Situated on what used to be a Roman forum, the square is lined with fabulous buildings and is popular with both tourists and locals alike. Our guesthouse was located only one block away from Piazza delle Erbe and we loved it.

Verona in 24 Hours: Pizza delle Erbe

Verona in 24 Hours: the Well in the center of Pizza delle Erbe
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Verona in 24 Hours: The fountain in the center of Pizza delle Erbe

Verona in 24 Hours: Pizza delle Erbe at night

Verona in 24 Hours Highlight: Verona Arena

Undeniably the biggest tourist attraction in town, its impossible to miss the Verona Arena in the middle of Piazza Bra. Originally constructed in the first century, the arena is still in use today. You can buy tickets to tour the inside of the arena but we were too lazy to do that and contented ourselves with seeing it from the outside.

Verona in 24 Hours: The Verona Arena

Verona in 24 Hours: The Verona Arena panoramic

Verona in 24 Hours: The Verona Arena crowded with people

Verona in 24 Hours: The Verona Arena, remains from the outer wall

Castelvecchio and the Castelvecchio Bridge

Built in 1376, Castelvecchio is an imposing fortress that now houses an art museum. Spanning the Adige River, the Castelvecchio Bridge (or Scaliger Bridge) was originally constructed so that the wealthy leaders of Verona could escape in case of a revolt. At the time of its construction, the bridge featured the world’s largest span at 159.7 feet (48.70 meters).

We skipped the museum and contented ourselves with walking across the bridge and admiring the views (it’s free!).

Castelvecchio
Castelvecchio
Castelvecchio Bridge
Castelvecchio Bridge
Drawbridge to Castelvecchio
Drawbridge to Castelvecchio
Castelvecchio from a distance
Castelvecchio from a distance
Arco dei Gavi next to Castelvecchio
Arco dei Gavi next to Castelvecchio
Arco dei Gavi next to Castelvecchio - removal of graffiti
…and this is what happens when you vandalize historical landmarks. Some poor city worker has to spend hours scrubbing it off. People are idiots.

Where are we now?

We are in Verona!
We are in Verona!

Location: Verona, Italy
Dates: February 16-17, 2020
Vagabonding Journey Status: Days 137-138

For more details on our vagabonding journey, see my previous posts:

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