In fair Verona, where we lay our scene, history mingles with romance at every turn. While many know this Italian city as being the setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, not everyone may know why Verona is a can’t-miss destination for history buffs and romantics alike. Wondering what to do in Verona? Why not immerse yourself in Renaissance culture and get swept up in the dreamy pink streets of this iconic city? We’ll help you plan your day so you don’t miss out on the best things to do in Verona, Italy. Come with us as we tell you the perfect way to spend 24 hours in the city of love—that, by any other name, would smell as sweet.
How to explore Verona, Italy, in just one day
9–10am: coffee and breakfast
We can’t start our list of what to do in Verona without a coffee! There’s no finer way to kickstart your day than to enjoy a cup of Italian coffee, and a cafe called Via Roma 33 is just around the corner from your first site in Verona.
If you’re a breakfast person, this little cafe offers a great selection of egg dishes, like breakfast sandwiches and hearty plates with beans and ham. Dine in and drink your espresso at the bar like a true Italian—you’re less than a minute’s walk from your first stop on our list of the best things to see in Verona, so there’s no need to rush.
10am–12pm: Castelvecchio Museum
When it comes to what to see in Verona, this castle-turned-world-renowned museum specializing in medieval artifacts and Renaissance art is high on our list. We recommend taking your time and soaking in all the art, culture, and history housed on these grounds. You’ll see everything from ancient jewelry and bronze sculptures to famous Renaissance paintings, like Giovanni Bellini’s Madonna with Child and Giovanni Francesco Caroto’s Deposition of the Tears. The building itself is an architectural monument to history and art, with wide, open, hallways adorned with ancient sculptures and paintings. You could easily spend hours in this former castle, which makes stopping here one of the best things to do in Verona, Italy.
We recommend visiting right when the museum opens, as close to 10am as possible, to avoid lines. Most people spend between one and two hours exploring the surreal selection at the Castelvecchio Museum, so you can easily make this a stop during your free time on any of our Verona tours.
This historic icon is only a five-minute walk to your next stop, the Verona Arena, so lace up your shoes and get ready for a short, scenic stroll along pink streets encasing ancient fossils.
12–1pm: Verona Arena
Verona is often called Little Rome, not because of similarities in the atmosphere, but because of this Roman amphitheater. (Culturally, Verona is more like Florence. So, think vibrant history, rich culture, as well as Renaissance art and architecture.) It’s best to see this site in Verona earlier in the day to avoid crowds and lines. Plus, temperatures will be cooler then, making a summertime visit more pleasant if you plan on traveling during that time.
This historical masterpiece was built in the first century AD and was once used for gladiator battles. In an incredible testament to the structure, it is still in use today for opera performances. That means you can attend a performance in the same exact place ancient Romans sat.
We recommend getting your ticket to the amphitheater ahead of time to prevent missing out on this top thing to do in Verona and to avoid a line to purchase the ticket. If you do a self-guided wander around this ancient relic, the length of time is entirely up to you. A guided tour will take about an hour. If you don’t have a full day in Verona, you can easily visit this and other places in Verona during your free time on any of our tours that travel through Verona.
1–3pm: lunch in Erbe Square
Once you’re done touring the Verona Arena, walk roughly 12-minutes to Erbe Square. Here, you can enjoy lunch at a local restaurant and get a little closer to the next thing to do in Verona. One of our favorite eateries to enjoy in Verona is Trattoria Pizzeria Impero. This restaurant excels at crafting traditional Italian dishes. It’s best known for its filetto al tartufo or truffle filet: beef tenderloin with truffle oil. Insert chef’s kiss here!
Looking for more can’t-miss restaurants and activities in this city? See what to do during free time in Verona.
Check out our Verona tours
3–4pm: explore Erbe Square
After your belly is full of a traditional Veronese lunch, you’ll find that you’re now in the heart of the city of love. Erbe Square is the oldest square in Verona, and it’s a lively center of markets, restaurants, and, yes—more cafes. It’s one of the best things to see in Verona, wander around the square and purchase some souvenirs and gifts, or simply window shop and take in all the commerce and culture.
If you need a caffeinated pick-me-up (when in Little Rome, right?), we recommend Caffè Borsari. This small coffee shop serves up great street views and yummy Italian coffee. Plus, its walls are chock-full of tchotchkes that you can buy or simply admire. If you order coffee, be sure to try it with chocolate syrup!
4–5pm: Juliet’s balcony
Just a two-minute walk from Erbe Square is Juliet’s balcony, another one of the best things to see in Verona. While Shakespeare likely never made it to Italy or Verona in his short lifetime, you can visit the balcony constructed in honor of his famous play. This stone balcony—built long after Romeo and Juliet was written—is a beautiful homage to the epic play. Although many people leave notes asking for love advice from Juliet, we don’t recommend following suit; the notes end up as litter for the locals to deal with. Instead, follow our Responsible Travel practices and touch Juliet’s statue, located below the balcony, for good luck in love.
Check out one staffer’s day on tour in Verona and why she fell for the city of love.
5–7pm: Giardino Giusti
As your day in Verona comes to an end, what more romantic way to spend it than in an ancient garden? The Giardino Giusti is one of the most iconic places to visit in Verona. It has evolved from a wool-dyeing factory to an internationally renowned, verdant garden blossoming with foliage, art, and history. We consider stopping here one of the best things to do in Verona because of its historical significance, romantic atmosphere, and Renaissance sculptures.
You’ll be greeted by grand, imposing gates made of iron and stone and embossed with vibrant green vines, giving you the sense that you’re stepping into a storybook. Once inside the walls, you’ll tour the geometric Renaissance gardens. They’re full of various plants, citrus trees, and even a boxwood maze, which is peppered with statues of gods and goddesses like Diana, Apollo, and Adonis. Inside, climb a spiral staircase for a birds-eye view of the expansive, surreal grounds. You can stand where medicinal herbs once grew and take in this hidden gem (or, should we say emerald?).
What’s even more astounding than the sight of this place? The Giardino Giusti has hosted iconic historical figures and artists, like Mozart and Tsar Alexander I, making it an ideal place to see in Verona for romantics and history buffs alike.
You won’t be able to enter the gardens after 7pm, but as long as you enter before then, you will be able to stay until 8pm. We recommend arriving with plenty of time to wander, as this spot is another one of the best things to see in Verona.
After you’ve soaked up the romance and history of the Giardino Giusti, you’ve likely worked up an appetite for yet another traditional Italian meal. Just three minutes away by foot is one of our all-time favorite Veronese restaurants, Antica Trattoria Pero D’Oro. Not only is the delectable food unforgettable, but the ambiance is the perfect way to close out your day in Verona. The restaurant was built in the 1400s, and the present-day owners have aimed to maintain the classic Veronese architecture and ambiance with stone walls, iron decor, and wood accents that are highlighted by shimmering strands of lights. We recommend trying the bigoli with duck appetizer and any of the restaurant’s rotating seasonal dishes. Wondering what other Italian foods you can’t miss? Check out 15 Italian dishes that are worth the flight.
Dining here is more than delicious; it feels like you’re being welcomed into someone’s home, a true testament to Veronese hospitality. And don’t worry if you don’t make a reservation—this restaurant is a little off the beaten path for tourists, so it shouldn’t be too busy. If you want to make a reservation or inquire about availability while you’re on tour, ask your expert Tour Director for their help.
Answers to popular questions about Verona, Italy
Packing up to go on one of our Italy tours? If you’re going to be spending time in Verona, here’s everything you need to know about this cultural hub of history and romance.
Where is Verona in Italy?
Located in northern Italy in the Veneto region, Verona is nestled between the Adige River and the Lessini Mountains. The city was a part of France and then Austria before it became a part of Italy in 1866.
What is Verona, Italy, known for?
Verona is best known for being the setting of Shakespeare’s great tragedy, Romeo and Juliet, but it’s also more than 2,000 years old, making it rich in history, architecture, and culture. The city is saturated with ancient relics—it even lays claim to the largest collection of Roman artifacts in the world—making the city of Verona itself a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has heavy Renaissance influences too, adding to the romantic mystique.
Why is Verona called the city of love?
It’s easy to attribute the romantic feelings you’re flooded with in Verona to Shakespeare. But play or no play, Verona is nothing short of romantic on its own. There’s something about the pink limestone streets, the Renaissance-style architecture, and locals’ gracious hospitality that make Verona the kind of romantic setting you can find yourself falling for.
Is Verona worth visiting?
It’s always fair to wonder if making a stop in any city is worthwhile for travelers with limited time, energy, and funds. But when it comes to Verona, the answer is a resounding yes. “Verona made me feel like I was stepping into a Shakespeare play. It brought me back in time with the marble sidewalks and you could feel the Romeo and Juliet love in the air!” said staffer Tara after spending a day in Verona on our Grand Tour of Italy.