The Province of Verona is situated in southwestern Veneto, close to the eastern bank of Lake Garda; renowned for the beauty of its landscape, Lake Garda is green, pretty hills, and beaches large and small. This wonderful setting is complemented by tiny borgoes with typical, colored houses and magnificent villas, emblem of an old and gracious prosperity.
The Verona area boasts numerous buildings of artistic and historic value: castles, towers, hermitages, monasteries, sanctuaries, and old Romanesque parishes.
In its northernmost parts is Lessinia, with its Regional Park and Monte Baldo to indicate the passage from the plains of the Po Valley to the Alpines: a charming scenery fit for hiking and excursions through the beechwoods, grasslands, olive groves, vineyards and orchards. It is the reason that Monte Baldo is also known as Hortus Europae, Garden of Italy and Europe.
In the Province's heart is Valpolicella, land of history and flavors where, in addition to its numerous historic villas, the wine tradition is the distinguishing factor. This area produces exquisite, world-famous wines using special and unique Italian techniques. Further to the south, the Basso Veronese area is a world of its own, with its slow rhythms, silent places, and changing colors; it offers a distinct way of life that welcomes the visitor with open arms.
Take a plunge into history and nature, follow food and wine routes and experience the flavors of yesteryear, go on an active, sport-filled vacation, and discover ancient places of faith. Verona Province offers a wide variety of opportunities, capable of meeting any expectation.
The first stop is Verona, with its remarkable Arena. This is the third-biggest Roman amphitheatre in Italy, and the city emblem. In summertime it becomes the stage for important shows, concerts and operas. Verona is also known worldwide as the city of lovers. It is, in fact, the city of Romeo and Juliet: see Juliet’s house with its famous balcony telling of the tragic love story by William Shakespeare.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000, Verona is a wonderful exemplar of urban, artistic and architectonic integration of the historical epochs from the last 2000 years.
Piazza Erbe is the best example: architecture from the Roman, Medieval and Renaissance periods harmoniously conjoined with the period of the Della Scala Family and 19th-Century palazzi.
Not far away, Piazza dei Signori, Verona’s drawing room, is another example of perfect historical stratification, adorned by the monument dedicated to Dante Alighieri.
Near the Adige River, other remarkable buildings from the Roman and Scaliger periods mark the most influential historical eras for the city: the fortress of Castelvecchio, now site of the Modern Art Museum; the Scaliger Bridge, an outstanding example of Medieval architecture; and the Scaliger Arches, superb tombs built for the lords of Verona.
On the other bank of the river, it is possible to admire the remains of the Roman Theatre, where the performances of the Shakespearian Festival and the Verona Jazz Festival take place.
From the theatre it is possible to access the Archaeological Museum, with sculptures and decorative objects left from the Roman period. Not far away, Giardino Giusti, one of the most beautiful Italian gardens of the Renaissance, boast landscaping so beautiful that it has been declared a national monument. Several religious buildings of remarkable architectural and artistic interest are also well worth visiting: the Duomo, whose superb frescoes and marble interior have recently been restored; the Basilica di San Zeno Maggiore, a Romanesque church rich in important paintings and sculptures; and the Basilica di San Fermo Maggiore, consisting of two overlapping Romanesque structures that have been modified in the upper sections.
The artistic treasures of Verona are not limited to just the city. For instance, sumptuous villas and imposing castles line the banks of Lake Garda, e.g. Villa Albertini, a magnificent Medieval building surrounded by an enormous park of tree-lined avenues, waterfalls, fountains and caves. The plains of the Verona area are dotted with buildings from the Scaliger era, such as the Bevilacqua and Villafranca Castles. The Valpolicella area is known for its Palladian villas - many of them now important wine-producing establishments - a strong symbol of the bygone domination by the Most Serene Republic of Venice. Nature has been generous with this strip of land, and the wonders to be found in Lessinia are a good example.
The Ponte di Veja is a monumental natural feature of prehistoric origins, formed by the collapse of a cave. It is the biggest natural bridge in Europe (164 ft arch, about 95 ft in height).
Our trip into prehistory leads on to Bolca, a unique fossil field where thousands of finds in an excellent state of preservation have been extracted. They are now exhibited in many Museums of Natural History throughout Italy and all over the world. Another captivating spot is the Grotta di Monte Capriolo, a 656-ft subterranean route through wonderful stalagmites, stalactites and flows of white calcite.
On the northern banks of Lake Garda lies the astonishing landscape of Mount Baldo, accessible by a modern and unique funicular; a rotating car that makes it possible to admire 360 degrees of breathtaking scenery. This is the perfect place both for the summer - when it transforms into a huge and colorful garden of orchids, ginger lilies, edelweiss, anemones and peonies - and the winter - when white snow covers everything, turning the area into a huge winter sports resort.
The splendid panoramas of Basso Veronese mean tranquil walks - or long treks - amidst enchanting river landscapes.
Windsurfing, kitesurfing, sailing, game fishing, diving, canoeing, waterskiing are just some of the many ways to enjoy the clean waters of Italy's largest lake, Lake Garda.
In the environs are a number routes to explore on mountain bike, horseback, or walking through the green valleys and mountain footpaths. Adventure lovers will find everything they need for an adrenaline rush, whether climbing the rocky mountainsides of Lessinia, Mount Baldo or the cliffs that plunge down to the lake; hang-gliding or paragliding above this magnificent terrain; or even glacier-climbing.
In wintertime, soft white snow creates an ideal locality for Alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, snowboarding and excursions on snowshoes.
The diverse wildlife provides numerous opportunities to practice relaxing activities, including birdwatching and wildlife watching; indeed, rare specimens of flora and fauna for observing and photographing abound.
Wide green meadows welcome golf lovers. Golf is a popular sport nowadays, and the local topography is perfect for indulging one's inclinations, in addition to the attentive maintenance to the courses, mild climate, and the clean air and wonderful scenery.
The Province of Verona is also home to a wide variety of amusement parks, devoted to the pursuit of fun and excitement: Gardaland with its sensational attractions; Parco Cavour with its “Movieland Park” and “Caneva World” waterpark; and Parco Giardino Sigurtà, a 600,000 sq. m. earthly paradise featuring one of the most astonishing gardens in the world.
As Victor Hugo wrote, “God made only water, but man made wine." One might add add that Verona created Vinitaly - the most important event dedicated to wine production, and a must for those who want to taste and learn about excellent wines like Soave, Valpolicella, Amarone and Recioto.
A trip along the Wine Routes, sampling the ancient flavors of the area’s produce while immersed in the marvelous natural setting, is truly an unforgettable experience.
The internationally-renowned wine tradition of Verona is matched by the excellence of its cuisine, based on simple but refined dishes, made only with high-quality products.
Typical dishes include: boiled beef seasoned with a special sauce of pepper, bread, marrow and Parmesan cheese (pearà); polenta pastissada; gnocchi; pasta with beans; and duck and guinea-fowl cooked with peverada (pepper) sauce.
Many freshwater fish dishes derive from nearby Lake Garda.
Amongst the many desserts, the most famous is the Pandoro that together with the Panettone is the typical Italian dessert over the Christmas period.
The area's best specialties are olive oil, asparagus, chestnuts, truffles, cheese and tortellini of Valeggio sul Mincio, many of which are “celebrated” in festivals held every year throughout the province.