To reach the Piazza dei Signori from the Piazza delle Erbe, exit under the Arco della Costa). The perfect antidote to the color and bustle of the Piazza delle Erbe, the serene and elegant Piazza dei Signori is a slightly somber square, one of Verona's innermost chambers of calm. Its center is anchored by a large 19th-century statue of the "divine poet" Dante, who found political exile from Florence in Verona as a guest of Cangrande I and his Scaligeri family (in appreciation, Dante wrote of his patron in his poem Paradiso).

If entering from the archway, you'll be facing the Scaligeri's 13th-century crenelated residence. Left of that, behind Dante's back, is the Loggia del Consiglio (Portico of the Counsel), a 15th-century masterpiece of Venetian Renaissance style. Opposite that and facing Dante is the 12th-century Romanesque Palazzo della Ragione, whose courtyard and fine Gothic staircase should be visited. This piazza is Verona's finest microcosm, a balanced and refined assemblage of historical architecture. Secure an outdoor table at the square's legendary command post, Caffè Dante Bistrot, and take it all in over a late-afternoon Campari and soda.