In a stretch of land designed in accord with the bends and twists of the River Adige, we find Verona, a visually-stunning city of excellence and one of the 55 Italian sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List.  2,000 years of history encased in an expanse of 77 sq mi: this is Verona, site of a completely harmonious integration of the finest of artistic elements from several diverse historical epochs. 

Thanks to its geographic location, it was an important urban center founded by the Romans in the First Century B.C. Significant traces still remain today of its prodigious past, including the Arena of the Roman Theatre, the Gavi Arch at Porta Borsari, and the archaeological site at Porta Leoni.  Invaded and occupied for a significant length of time by the Barbarians, the city lived its maximum splendor under the Scaliger Dynasty (13th-14th Centuries). There is also the Verona that continued to make its mark in other periods, from that of the Communes during the Swabian reign, to the French and Austrian dominations and then, the Italian Risorgimento. It is really a city of many faces whose history can also summarize Italy's own history – think of the works left by the Romans, the Medieval streets and the palazzi of the Renaissance.

The Verona Arena

The city’s commercial hub is Piazza delle Erbe, where the original Roman Forum was located. This piazza represents the synthesis of several different historic moments; such is affirmed by the 13th-Century buildings – among which Casa dei Mercanti (House of Merchants) stands out - the painted facades of the Mazzanti Houses, and the Madonna Verona Fountain, with its central statue from the Roman Epoch. Also dating back to Roman times is the monument that is most symbolic of Verona, its Arena (First Century B.C.). Originally constructed to host gladiator combats, it saw a long period of abandonment before it returned to the limelight with a new form of entertainment, in 1913: after having hosted the premiere of Aida in that year, it has been known around the world for the sounds of opera that emanate from its stage, in addition to hosting concerts and theatre performances. The ancient Roman Theatre, rather, is across the River Adige, erected onto the sloping side of a high and gorgeous hill. Meanwhile, the Porta dei Borsari, the city’s ancient entrance, is also Roman.

Cathedral of St. Zeno

Then, Romanesque Verona lies in its imposing Duomo, as well as in the Cathedral of St. Zeno, and in Castelvecchio, which looks out from the banks of the Adige; it symbolizes the Medieval power of the Scaliger Family, to whom the realization of the crenellated Scaliger Bridge is attributed. Castelvecchio, edified in the mid-1300s, was the abode of the Cangrande della Scala; today it is the City Museum of Art. The palazzi of Verona narrate its long history of wealth and power. In Piazza dei Signori - which sits under the dominating Lamberti Towers - the portico of the Loggia del Consiglio catches the eye; it is here where 16th-Century political life took place, while the Palazzo di Cansignorio and Palazzo del Comune (or della Ragione) were the seats of military, judicial and administrative power. Nearby lie the Scaliger Arches, in the same-named piazza, and some of the most suggestive views of the city, including glimpses of the monumental tombs of the Lords of Verona. The entire city of Verona is truly spectacular, and the same goes for the churches. Some of the most important are the Gothic Church of St. Anastasia, the Church of San Fermo Maggiore (formed by two buildings stacked one on top of the other), and the Renaissance Church of San Giorgio in Braida. 

The balcony of Juliet's house

Finally, the Verona of Shakespeare and the “star-crossed lovers” is legend all over the world, and lives indefinitely through the places made famous in the play, Romeo and Juliet. Yet the original literary work was created by Luigi da Porto, a writer from Vicenza, in the 1500s; it eventually circulated around Europe, reaching England. Thus it was the Bard who rendered it the immortal story that it is today, allowing Verona to rest as one of the most admired and visited places in the world.

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