advertisement
Founded by the Romans in the 1st century A.D., the northern Italian city of Verona is dotted with pretty palazzi, elegant squares and medieval gems. Architectural remnants of the Roman era are a real draw, such as the famous Arena and the Teatro Romano. No visit would be complete, however, without a walk around the turreted Castelvecchio, looming over the River Adige. Dubbed the "City of Love," romance is most definitely in the air in fair Verona. The city's most famous residents, Romeo and Juliet, seemed to think so anyway.

Things to Do

Nightly during opera season, the well-preserved Arena di Verona resonates with haunting arias. Romance continues on Juliet's balcony -- climb the steps and think of Shakespeare's heroine. Pay homage to Verona's patron saint at the 12th century Romanesque San Zeno Maggiore church or delve into the city's history at the red-bricked Castelvecchio, home of the della Scala family, Verona's medieval rulers. A leisurely stroll through the tiered Giardino Giusti (Giusti Gardens) provides another beautiful change of pace.

Shopping

Upscale clothing and accessories boutiques line Verona's two most fashionable shopping streets, Via Mazzini and Via Cappello. The designer duds will transform you into a stylish northern Italian signora or sleek and sophisticated signore. Nearby Corso Sant'Anastasia has a browse-worthy collection of antique stores, but the most exciting thing to stock up on here are the edible and quaffable goods, such as strong red wines, peppery salamis, and aromatic olive oils.

Nightlife and Entertainment

During mid-week, join the after-work crowd for an apéritif in one of the bars on the palace-flanked Piazza Delle Erbe. After dinner, the square comes alive with trendy late night bars. The more sophisticated may prefer to while the night away in one of the city's many wine bars, but for something unforgettable, book ahead for a magical Italian opera at the illuminated Arena di Verona, dating to 1st century A.D., or the 18th-century indoor Teatro Filarmonica.

Restaurants and Dining

Vanilla meringues called Juliet's kisses and chocolate hazelnut cookies known as Romeo's sighs are the sweet local snack of choice. For something more substantial, tuck into the soft Monte Veronese cow's milk cheese, washed down with a robust Valpolicella red. Proud of their fine vino, the Veneto region's chefs feature many wine-infused dishes. Many quality restaurants are clustered around the Old Town -- the eateries in elegant Piazza dei Signori promise picturesque views and a romantic atmosphere.