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Holidays in Verona take you to a city steeped in culture. Galleries, opera and Romanesque and Gothic architecture make this the perfect destination for art and history buffs. Situated between Milan and Venice, the city has UNESCO World Heritage status thanks to its architecture and history as a military stronghold.
Verona was a centre for artists in the Renaissance era, and you can see a collection of paintings and sculptures in the Museo di Castelvecchio. The city is renowned for its Romanesque 11th and 12th Century churches, and their displays of valuable artworks. There are also landmarks dating back to Verona's days as a Roman colony, including the amphitheatre, which was built in the 1st Century. Romantics will delight in visiting the city of love, the setting for Romeo and Juliet. You can visit Casa di Giulietta, (Juliet’s house), and have your photo taken on the famous balcony.
Verona is also an excellent destination for an active holiday. Lake Garda is a stone's throw away, and there are plenty of walking opportunities, both around the lake and Il Vittoriale botanical gardens. Or, join a bike sharing service and explore the city's sights and the paths along the river Adige.
As the leading Italian holiday specialist for the past 90 years, Citalia is dedicated to making sure you have an immersive Italian experience during your visit to Verona.
Start your sightseeing in Verona at Piazza Bra, the city's main square, which sits in the shadow of the Arena di Verona, the Roman amphitheatre, and the neoclassical Palazzo Municipale (town hall). Cafés and restaurants line a broad walkway, so stop for a glass of Amarone, which is said to be one of the region's greatest red wines.
Once you’ve replenished your energy levels, head over to Castelvecchio, a former palace and fortress built in the 14th Century. This medieval complex houses a museum where you can see a combination of art and historic relics including armour, weapons and coins.
If you want a break from sightseeing, wander over to Via Mazzini, at the north end of Piazza Bra. Here, you'll find an array of designer shops, independent boutiques and exclusive shoe shops selling locally made leather shoes. Foodies will love the selection of specialist delis, where you can pick up tasty oils, cooked meats and local cheese and wines.
If you're in Verona over the summer, don't miss the opera festival, which runs from mid-June to the end of August. Opera originated in Italy, and this world famous festival does the country proud, with around 50 performances watched by thousands of people. You can see all the crowd-pleasers, from Aida to Tosca, so book your ticket for your favourite and enjoy an amazing musical experience.
The Basilica of San Zeno is considered one of the most beautiful Romanesque buildings in northern Italy, with exquisite frescos and intriguing marble statues looking down on you from balconies above. The Duomo of Verona (cathedral), is a complex that incorporates the cathedral, a Baptistry, church, Canon's Cloister and the remains of a 4th Century basilica.
If you want to add something special to your holiday, take the train to nearby Venice. In just over an hour you could be taking a gondola ride down the Grand Canal or visiting the Doge’s Palace and its unparalleled collection of fine art, in St Mark’s square.
Direct flights to Verona airport (VRN) are available from Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Glasgow, London Gatwick, London Stansted, Manchester, Newcastle and Southampton and take approximately 2 hours. Transfers to the city centre take approximately 20 minutes.
It is possible to visit Verona throughout the year. The summer months are the busiest due to the ever popular opera season, this is also when you will find the hotel prices at their highest. To avoid large crowds, visit during the spring and autumn when the weather is also a little cooler.
Veronese cuisine has an old fashioned air about it. One of the area’s favourite dishes dates back to the 5th Century. Pastissada de caval is horse meat braised in red wine, vegetables and spices. The meat is marinated for a day, then slow cooked on a low heat. This rich meal is served with Polenta Gialla (creamy polenta with a similar consistency to mashed potato), or grilled polenta, (cooled until it goes firm, then cut into squares). It goes well with a full-bodied red wine such as Amarone della Valpolicella.
Risotto is another widely eaten dish in Verona. Risotto al Tastasal is made with a blend of pork seasoned with salt, and the name tastasal means ‘try the salt’. The rice is cooked with meat broth and garlic, then mixed with the tastasal, and finished off with a grating of Parmesan. Try it with a Valpolicella Ripasso, a red wine which is well suited to a hearty meal. If you prefer a vegetarian risotto, then Risotto al Radicchio, made with locally grown radicchio is a good choice. Cooked with red wine, butter, onion and garlic, the bitterness of the radicchio is counterbalanced by the sweetness of the onion and wine, leaving you with a delicious warming dish.
Veneto is Italy's biggest wine producing region, which means Verona is well served by the vineyards surrounding it. The region produces both red and white wines. Try a dry white such as Soave, the most exported white wine in Italy, and Lugana, which has enjoyed a surge in popularity over the past few years. Famous reds of Veneto include Bardolino, a versatile red with a spicy fragrance, that can be served with any dish and goes well with pizza. Valpolicella is another regional favourite, an everyday, medium bodied wine that is perfect when paired with cured meats or risotto.
Verona has its fair share of medieval and Renaissance art and culture, as well claiming to have more Roman ruins than any Italian city. Verona was a key Roman settlement due to its location on both the east-west and north-south trade routes – visible still with the city's ancient gates and imposing amphitheatre. The amphitheatre, familiar from countless images, was built in AD30 and much of the original arena is still preserved. Since Verona was founded in the 1st century BC, a remarkable number of monuments are still intact, landing it on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list in 2000.