Visit Verona in one day

Piazza Brà is the first picture from Verona: surrounded by medieval walls, it is dominated by the Roman Arena on one side and the Hapsburg Palace of the Gran Guardia on the other, united on the north side by the Liston, a long and colourful succession of palaces and noble residences. It is a journey through millennia of history and cultures, which have overlapped in a harmonious contrast of styles, architectures and colours. Proceeding along Via Mazzini, the shopping street, we reach the corner of Piazza Erbe. Before delving into its wonders, it is worth taking a right onto Via Cappello; named after the Capulet family: this is where, at number 23, we can find Juliet’s house and the famous Balcony. Retracing our steps, we find ourselves in front of the cheerful and festive grandeur of Piazza Erbe, home to the market from time immemorial. In the background stands the lavish Palazzo Maffei and in the centre we find the fountain of Madonna Verona; the Domus Mercatorum and the sumptuously frescoed Mazzanti houses stand at its sides. Walking under the arch of the Costa, which takes its name from the bone thought to be of a whale, or perhaps an ichthyosaur, that has been hanging there for at least four centuries, we enter the Piazza dei Signori complex, dominated by the graceful Torre dei Lamberti. The Domus Nova, the Palazzo Scaligeri, the Palazzo della Ragione, the Loggia del Consiglio, the Palazzo del Capitano follow one another and surround the squares and courtyards in a harmonious alternation of periods and styles; they are the background to the Arche Scaligere (Scaliger Tombs), an extremely delicate testimony of the purest Italian Gothic style. The Tombs are in turn joined to the church of Santa Maria Antica with an admirable contrast of style and volumes, which enhances the proportions and purity of both. A few steps away we can find what the tradition says was the House of Romeo Montague. Passing in front of the basilica of Sant’Anastasia, the largest church in Verona and a fine example of Gothic architecture, we reach the river Adige. From here we can admire the Ponte Pietra (1st century BC) and the Roman Theatre, behind which stands the church of Santi Siro e Libera: its construction began in the 10th century in the Romanesque style and was completed in the 17th century with the inclusion of Baroque elements. The Duomo is another excellent architectural complex not to be missed; and, returning upon our steps towards Piazza Erbe, it is also worth exploring the narrow alleys that surround it, lined with mansions, modest houses, high walls behind which we can see leafy canopies, balconies and terraces, courtyards and Roman remains (Via Pigna). After returning to Piazza Erbe we should take Corso Porta Borsari; it cannot be mistaken: its backdrop is the silhouette of the most impressive and best preserved Roman Arch in Verona. Corso Porta Borsari is outlined by stores, shops, boutiques, patisseries but also beautiful buildings and unique views. Corso Porta Borsari continues as Corso Cavour, flanked by some of the most sumptuous stately homes; hidden about half way down is the church of San Lorenzo. Corso Cavour ends with the Arco dei Gavi and the eminent Castelvecchio, from which the homonymous crenellated bridge crossing the Adige begins. If the itinerary has not been interrupted by too many stops for a delicious snack, an ice cream, or a glass of good wine, then perhaps there is still a bit of time for one of the jewels of Verona: the church of San Zeno. It is a little away from the historic centre, but we can get there with a short and charming walk along the river (Regaste San Zeno); although the day has perhaps been a bit tiring, we will see a panorama that is worth keeping in our eyes…until our next return to Verona.