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Exit the Piazza dei Signori opposite the Arch of the Rib, and immediately on your right, at the corner of Via delle Arche Scaligeri, are some of the most elaborate Gothic funerary monuments in Italy -- the raised outdoor tombs of the canine-obsessed Scaligeri family (seen behind the original decorative grillwork), powerful and often ruthless rulers of Verona.

The most important are those by the peculiar names of Mastino I (Mastiff the First, founder of the dynasty, date of death unknown), Mastino II (Mastiff the Second, d. 1351), and Cansignorio (Head Dog, d. 1375). The most interesting is found over the side door of the family's private chapel, Santa Maria Antica -- the tomb of Cangrande I (Big Dog, d. 1329), with cani (dogs) holding up a scala (ladder), both elements that figure in the Scaligeri coat of arms. That's Cangrande I -- patron of the arts and protector of Dante -- and his steed you see above (the original can be seen in the Museo Castelvecchio). Recently restored, these tombs are considered one of the country's greatest medieval monuments. Entry is only to the neighboring Torre dei Lamberti; the tomb area itself is closed to visitors. The view from atop the 83m (250-ft.) tower is the best in the city and takes in all the vibrant colors of the surrounding landscape.

Around the corner, on Via delle Arche Scaligeri 2, is the alleged 13th-century home of Juliet's significant other, Romeo Montecchi (Montague, in Shakespearian), which incorporates the popular Osteria del Duca.