Our day in Verona: The Verona Arena, Castelvecchio, Piazza del Erbe & Teatro Romano
‘O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name. Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,. And I’ll no longer be a Capulet.. ‘. Three simple scentences written by Shakespeare, that would change the city of Verona forever. The most well-known love tragedy ever written is set in this beautiful Italian city, drawing millions of tourists to it’s streets.
During our four-day stay in Bologna, we decided to make a little trip to this beautiful city, and see what more it had to offer besides the story of the ill-fated lovers.
First things first: we skipped the House of Juliet! Don’t get me wrong, I’m a very romantic person, but I didn’t want to spend my only day in Verona in a queue that would lead me up the legendary balcony where there iconic speech was given – presumably – by Juliet. There were so much more beautiful things to see here. Let me be your guide of the day ..
The Verona Arena
When we visited Verona, I’ve never seen a genuine Roman arena before, so this was definitely on the to-do list for me. Although it can’t be compared with the Colosseum in Rome in size, this beautiful amphitheater certainly has it’s charm.
The Verona Arena was built in the first century AD. It is still in use today – because of it’s thorough renovation during the Renaissance – and is internationally famous for the large-scale opera performances and concerts given there. It is one of the best preserved ancient structures of its kind. In ancient times, nearly 30,000 people could be seated at one time.
The ‘Castelvecchio’ is a fourteenth century castle located next to the river Adige. The strategically convenient castle was initially intended to demonstrate the power of the famous ‘Scaligeri’ family, but was also used for military purposes. Ultimately, the Museo d’Arte was installed in the castle.
In the 14th century, the Ponte Scaligero – a fortified bridge over the Adige – was installed next to the Castelvecchio to insure safe passage for al who needed to be in the castle. It is only accessible on foot or by bike.
Piazza del Erbe
The Piazza delle Erbe is a square where the past and present seamlessy blend in with each other. In ancient days it served as a Roman Forum and market, and today it’s the scene of daily markets, successful shops and well-run pubs & restaurants.
Piazza delle Erbe is praised in international guides as one of the most beautiful squares in Italy, partly because of its well-preserved Roman elements (just look at the beautiful freco’s!). And who could blame them? The beautiful palaces, huge towers, intricate architecture and historical monuments form a harmonious and elegant whole, that charmed not only us, but millions of tourists each year.
To reach this theatre, you have to cross the river Agide. On very hot days, you can cool down a bit by putting your feet in it! Very refreshing, and perfect for relieving stressed feet before you go into the Teatro Romano.
The Teatro Romano was built in the first century BC, but today only remains of the edifice are visible, recovered from renovation works in 1830. They include the cavea – a theatre stand – and the steps, several arcades of the loggias and remains of the stage. The Theatro also gives you an awesome view over the beautiful city.
More info about our day in Verona:
Oh, and in case of the munchies: try ‘OSTERIA AL DUCA’ !