General Information About Verona
Verona, city, Episcopal see, Veneto region northern Italy. It lies at the foot of the Lessini Mountains, 65 miles (105 km) west of Venice, and is half-encircled by the Adige River.
The city was founded by an ancient tribe (possibly the Euganei or Raeti) and was later occupied by the Gallic Cenomani. It became a Roman colony in 89 bce and rapidly rose in importance because it was at the junction of main roads between Italy and northern Europe.
Verona, in the Veneto region of north-east Italy, is one of Italy's loveliest towns, famous for its summer opera season. This has been a thriving and successful town for most of its history, and today smart shops and cafes fill the attractive medieval lanes of the historic center. Verona is a popular day-trip from Lake Garda, and an appealing destination for weekend breaks or longer stays. There's a lot to see here, from Roman ruins to the so-called 'Juliet's balcony', and the town is also well-connected for exploring the surrounding area, including destinations like Lake Garda, Vicenza, Padua and Venice.
Verona was an important Roman town and is rich in archaeological sites, the grandest of which is the Roman Arena, where operas are now performed in the summer. It's easy to spend a long time simply exploring the narrow streets lined with handsome palazzi that make up the historic center. The town's museums and churches contain fine works of art, while the ruined Roman theater over the river has excellent views from the terraces where the ancients watched plays.
If you're planning a longer stay, or want to see more of Italy, Verona is usefully located for travel to Venice or to lovely Lake Garda. There is a lot to see in this part of Italy, and it is easy to travel around by public transport. Combining Verona with another local destination (perhaps the lake) would make a great and varied two-center holiday.
Although Verona is a primarily residential community, it is also home to commercial areas and factories, making it a wonderful place to raise a family or start or relocate a business. Originally, Verona was a part of Newark, then later a part of Caldwell Township, before initially being incorporated as the Borough of Verona was incorporated in 1907. Located in the valley between the First and Second Watching Mountains, Verona has four elementary schools, a middle school and high school as well as a free public library. Verona was listed No. 3 of "25 Great Towns" by New Jersey Monthly Magazine.
One of the most striking features of the town is Verona Park, part of the Essex County Park system. The 54-acre park was designed by the Olmstead Brothers, and features twin lakes and a picturesque bridge that is a favorite location of wedding photographers during the summer months. There is a modernized, expanded boathouse that is adjacent to the 13-acre lake is used for boating and fishing. Special events including craft shows and concerts are held in the park. At sunrise, joggers and runners make their way through the 1.2-mile course around the lakes, while tennis courts and several playgrounds are used throughout the day.
The Verona Fire Department was organized on May 12, 1909. On June 24, 1997, the new No. 1 firehouse at 880 Bloomfield Ave. was dedicated and put in service, adjacent to the Verona Community Center. There are two companies, Engine Company 1 and Hose Company 2, each with 28 firefighters. The companies are led by a captain, and a lieutenant, who are elected by their fellow company members. The Verona Rescue Squad was organized in 1927, and celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2002 with a big parade down Bloomfield Avenue followed by a day full of festivities and special events at the Verona Community Center. We salute all of our neighbors who give of themselves to make Verona the great town that it is today
Things to see
Verona's historic center (centro storico) lies within the town walls in a tight curve of the Adige river. Entering town past the Porta Nuova gateway near the railway station, you head along wide car-filled Corso Porta Nuova before passing through the attractive fourteenth-century arches of the Portoni della Brà and entering the historic part of town. Immediately inside the town wall is Piazza Brà, a large open space dominated by the imposing Roman Arena. Verona's tourist information office is nearby, set in the old town wall to the right. Via Mazzini, an elegant pedestrian street paved with shiny Verona marble, heads straight through the heart of town to Piazza Erbe, Verona's most attractive square. It's a good idea to have a map or guidebook at this point, and to dive into the pretty historic lanes uncovering Verona's charms.
The Romeo and Juliet trail
Shakespeare is extremely unlikely ever to have set foot in Verona. However, his source for the plot of Romeo and Juliet was derived at several removes from an Italian story set in the town, featuring two feuding families with names similar to those of historical Veronese dynasties. So there is a connection, but whether you wish to feel that the real town of Verona has any direct link to Shakespeare's work is up to you. It doesn't stop the town from marketing Romeo and Juliet postcards, mugs, tea-towels, sliding pens and more. There is a busy Shakespearian tourist trail, and (mind-bogglingly) you can post a letter to fictional dead character Juliet at 'Juliet's tomb', or email her at 'Juliet's balcony'. The city organizes various 'romantic' initiatives, including events around Valentine's Day.
Travel to Verona
Verona is very easy to reach from other parts of Italy and Europe. It's on a major railway line - with trains traveling as far as Paris - and the town has an international airport very close by, and several other airports within a couple of hours travel.
Eating and drinking
Verona's two main hubs for sitting down with a drink or a light meal are Piazza Brà and Piazza Erbe. Of the two, Piazza Erbe has a much nicer atmosphere and you'll find lots of locals at the appealing but somewhat pricey bars lining the square. Piazza Brà is more of a thoroughfare where you'll pay a lot for a rather touristy experience. However, if you're in a hurry or on a budget you'll find two useful eating places here - speedy self-service restaurant Brek and the Italian fast food chain Spizzico.
For cheaper or more atmospheric meals, try wandering through the small lanes of the centro storico. Small restaurants and bars are scattered secretively through the center - try spotting them at lunchtime when busy crowds of locals will indicate the best food. A wine bar will often serve a few cheap pasta dishes as well as a range of usually economical wines.
For a charming and authentic feel, join local workers in the cosy little Antica Osteria Al Duomo (Via Duomo, 7; closed Sundays), where you can eat good local dishes and enjoy cheap local wine. Another spot for an atmospheric meal is Piazza Erbe, the attractive market square. Along one side of the piazza is a row of cafe-bar-restaurants where you can sit at outside tables and enjoy a light meal or drinks. These establishments aren't very cheap, but their tables occupy prime positions; it's a lovely spot to sit on a sunny day and watch Verona go by.
For a cheap and filling meal, a good option is the Ristorante-Pizzeria San Matteo Church (Vicolo del Guasto, close to Porta Borsari), which, as its name indicates, is actually located in a former church. There are memorial tablets on the wall, a crypt displayed through glass floor panels, and dinner tables where the high altar would have stood. Locals come here in their lunch hour for a quick self-service meal, but there is also waiter service with a long and varied pizza menu as well as seafood alternatives.
Verona by night
Other good Verona restaurants include the Ristorante Sant'Eufemia (Via Emilei 21), close to the church of the same name. There's a misleadingly off-putting multilingual menu outside but inside the restaurant is like the ground floor of a 19th-century mansion - you sit on fine old chairs - with a serious and secretive air, attentive service and good meals (including house wine) at a modest cost. Ristorante Tabià (Via Zambelli 14; closed Mondays), is a cheerful restaurant serving pizzas in a large, rustic-style interior. Osteria la Vecchia Fontanina (Piazzetta Chiavica, near Piazza Erbe) is is a welcoming and atmospheric place to eat in a central location.
Verona has some good central hotels, but it's not a cheap place to stay and it is worth booking in advance. My Verona hotel selection includes an excellent, reliable four-star, some budget options and one or two really special, romantic places to stay.
Everything that is worth knowing about Verona, including insider tips and information, can be found here:
Arrival and departure
If you want to travel to Verona, you have several options: by car, plane or train.
Arriving by car:
Verona is located at the junction between the A22 from Innsbruck over the Brenner Pass to Verona and further south,and the A4 motorway connecting Milan and Venice. The toll fees depend on your route – you can calculate around 7 euros for 100 kilometers. The speed limit on motorways in Italy is 130 km/h – if it’s raining, the limit is reduced to 110 km/h. You should plan a much longer journey time in the summer due to many tourists that heavily congest the motorways, especially on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Arriving by plane:
Verona’s airport “Aeroporto Valerio Catullo di Verona-Villafranca” (VRN) is located about 12 kilometers south of the city. It is connected by regular flights with many European cities. A special shuttle bus runs from 6.00 a.m. to 11.00 p.m. every 20 minutes between the airport and the city center – estimated costs for a single journey are around 4-5 Euros.
Arriving by train:
Verona is located on the main north-south route between northern Europe and southern Italy. This explains why many of the international trains stop in Verona, allowing for an easy arrival and onward travel.
In addition to numerous bars, discos and clubs – some of them in a stunning setting – Verona offers a rich programme of entertainment for the evening. From June to August, operas are regularly performed in the Roman open-air arena at Piazza Brà. Detailed information and the performance programme can be found at.
In addition to performances of dance, jazz and classical music, many theatres, such as the Teatro Camploy (Via Cantare 32), the Teatro Filarmonico (Via die Mutilati 4k), the Teatro Filippini (Vicolo Dietro Campanile Filippini 1), the Teatro Romano (Rigaste Redentore 2) and the Teatro Nuovo (Piazza Francesco Viviani 10), also put on modern and classical plays.
In the numerous bars, discos and cubs you can enjoy perfect, warm summer evenings while listening to good music. Please bear in mind that in Italy you have to visit these locations dressed elegantly, especially in clubs.
Eating and drinking:
Those looking for a good restaurant in Verona are spoiled for choice. Numerous ristoranti, trattorias, pizzerias, osterias and enotecas are lined up one after another along the busy streets and it’s often very difficult to make a choice. People in Verona, as in other parts of Italy, go for dinner at the earliest at 7 p.m. Breakfast isn’t the highest priority, and lunch is usually a bit smaller than dinner.
Verona’s cuisine is heavily influenced by Venetian cuisine but also has its own peculiarities. In addition to the excellent wines from the region such as Bardolino, Valpolicella and Soave, you should definitely try another famous Veronese specialty: Pastissada de Caval – a stew made of horse meat. The dessert Pan d’oro, a yeast dough pastry with vanilla, is another Veronese specialty and worthwhile trying.
Festivals and events
Those who are in Verona at the right time may have the pleasure of visiting one of the numerous Veronese festivals and events, which fill the city with fresh life and give Verona a very special shine.
Parking in Verona is a science in its own right - it’s really hard to get one of the rare parking spaces. Basically, parking is only permitted on curbs with white or blue lines. If you park on the blue lined curbs, you have to pay a ticket up to 2 hours at a parking machine - costs per hour are around 1.50 euro. Parking on curbs with a yellow line is not permitted - if you do so, you must expect to pay a ticket or towing charge. Therefore parking in one of the car parks around the city centre comes highly recommended. The following parking garages are appropriate for a visit to the centre of Verona.
Verona is a small Mecca for shopping enthusiasts. Shop for shop is lined up in the compact city centre of Verona, and people love to go shopping in the calm pedestrian zone. Piazza Brà and Piazza dell’Erbe are ideal for strolling. However, the main shopping areas are the Via Mazzini, the Via Borsari and the Via Capello. Here you can find many fashion shops and retailers with all kinds of accessories.
Along with the rest of northern Italy, Verona is mostly relatively safe. You don’t have to be more afraid than anywhere else and you can go wherever you want without hesitation. Nevertheless you should not leave any valuables in the car and be careful with your belongings, especially when you are in the middle of large crowds of people. However, should something happen, the numerous police officers in Verona are usually very helpful.
Driving in Verona is generally not recommended. Traffic is not permitted in the old town, and parking is a major problem in Verona. It is recommended that you leave your car in one of the large multi-store car parks – the sights are all in walking distance so there is no need to drive by car. Access to the old town for dropping off luggage (and only for this!) is permitted on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. and from 4. P.m. to 6 p.m and on weekends from 10 a.m. to 1.30. p.m. For journeys outside these times you have to expect very high fines.
Verona Culture and History
Roman rule and the climb to a city-state
Thanks to its strategic position between the river Adige and the Po Valley settlements were to be found in today’s Verona even in prehistoric times. Preceded by the Raetia, Euganei and Etruscans, the Romans gave the town charter to Verona in the 3rd century B.C. and established one of the largest bases in northern Italy. Even today, the Roman monuments – especially the magnificent Roman Arena – bear witness to the importance of the city under Roman rule.
With the fall of Rome, Verona was successively ruled by the Goths, Lombards and the Carolingians. Otto the Great finally incorporated Verona into Bavaria. During the conflict with the German Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, Verona founded the League of Verona in 1164 and finally joined, together with Vicenza and Treviso, the Lombard league. In the Battle of Legnano in 1176 the Lombard League defeated Barbarossa’s imperial army and Verona gained autonomous status. The new power of the cities led to economic advancement and independent city states formed in northern Italy.
550BC, Verona became a Roman colony in the 1st century BC. Thanks to its location straddling the main east-west and north-south trade routes, it was a key base for the empire, which built impressive gateways and a grand amphitheater.
The city’s prime location was not lost on other powerful regional players and with the fall of the Roman Empire, Verona was conquered by Ostrogoths, Lombards and Charlemagne. Finally, in the 13th century, it came under the control of the Scaligeri dynasty.
They may have been tyrants, but the family fortified Verona and extended the city’s influence to Vincenza, Padua and Treviso. They were also great patrons of the arts. Dante, Petrarch and Giotto all thrived here in 13th and 14th centuries, and the city experienced a mini golden era of peace and prosperity.
But family feuds and fratricides eventually took their toll, and by the 15th century, Verona was under Venetian rule. Under them, the great city gates of Porta Nuova and the Porta Palio were constructed, as was Piazza Brà. Venice ruled the city until Napoleon’s armies swept through the peninsula in 1797. Then Verona was passed as a war trophy to Austria and it only rid itself of foreign domination during the unification of Italy in the 1860s.
In 1882, a terrible flood destroyed much of the historic centre. The city’s iconic high walls were thus erected to protect it. However, they weren’t strong enough to repel the bombs of the Allies in WWII, which again damaged much of the city. 40% of the buildings were wrecked, as well as all the bridges which were destroyed by the retreating Germans. Reconstruction was intensive and prolonged, and restoration took place where it could. In the end, enough of Verona survived for it to be named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2000.
Did you know?
- Built in AD30, much of the original Verona Arena is still preserved. However, an earthquake in 1117 completely destroyed the amphitheatre’s outer ring.
- Rubbing the right breast of a Juliet statue at Juliet’s House is thought to bring good fortune for those unlucky in love. Unfortunately for the forlorn, the bronze sculpture was removed and replaced in 2014 after the caressing caused too much damage.
- Verona was part of Austrian-ruled Venetia until 1866, when the region became one of the last to join the Kingdom of Italy
History of Verona Castelvecchio
Verona under the rule of the Scala family
The economic rise of Verona brought strong and influential families which increasingly directed the affairs of the city. Under the rule of the Ezzelini family the cities of Vicenza, Padua, Treviso and Belluno came under the authority of Verona. With the death of Ezzelino III a family came to power that was to shape the fate of Verona for a long time: the Scala family (Italian: Scaligeri). They established hereditary rule over the city and led Verona into an unprecedented period of prosperity. With very skilful policies they ruled the city and extended Verona’s influence to the whole of Veneto – except Venice – and further to Parma and Brescia.
Family antics and megalomania finally broke the reign of the Scala family in Verona. Opposing noble families placed themselves under the command of the Visconti in Milan and marched with an army to Verona - the heyday of Verona and the dominance of the Scaligeri came to an end. At the same time, the Doge Republic of Venice started the occupation of the Venetian hinterland and conquered Verona without a struggle in 1405. Under the rule of Venice, Verona experienced another golden age, resulting in many significant buildings, palaces and works of art. In 1796 Napoleon and his army took possession of Verona, and in the course of the Napoleonic war Verona finally became a part of Austria in 1815. The Austrians expanded Verona to one of their four main fortresses in Italy. A long period of struggle for freedom began before the Italians finally defeated the Habsburg Empire in 1866 and the Kingdom of Italy was founded.
During the First World War Verona was a supply centre for supplying the Italian troops in the Alps, which fought in costly battles against Austria for supremacy in the Adige and Friuli region. In World War Two Verona gained importance as the headquarters of the puppet government of Benito Mussolini, which was established by the German Reich. In 2000 the ancient city of Verona became a World Heritage Site.
Festivals and events
Those who are in Verona at the right time may have the pleasure of visiting one of the numerous Veronese festivals and events, which fill the city with fresh life and give Verona a very special shine.
The traditional Venardi gnocolar, the oldest carnival in Italy, takes place every year on Friday before the carnival - a very unique spectacle.
“Verona in Love” is the name of another festival in February. The whole city is taken over by a Romeo and Juliet theme and numerous theatre performances, markets and concerts are offered.
The Vinitaly, Italy’s largest wine fair, presents the finest wines in the country every April.
Under the title “Canvas of Love” cinematic highlights are shown for one week at the end of April/beginning of May.
30 kilometres outside of Verona – in Soave – every year on the third weekend of May, the white wine festival takes place. You can taste some fine wines in a medieval flair.
June, July, August:
The artistic highlights take place during the summer months. The Verona Theater, the Teatro Romano and the Palazzo del Comune play host to numerous performances and jazz concerts. In the Roman Arena the opera festival takes place from June to August.
On the last weekend of the month, street players from around the world meet in Verona and put on numerous street performances.
The industry fair “Marmomacc” presents all sorts of information about marble and granite in the first week of each month.
In the middle of the month, the fair of modern and contemporary art inspires many artists and interested people.
The Christmas market “Mercatini di Santa Lucia” at Piazza Brà attracts many visitors. You can also admire more than 400 nativity scenes from around the world in the Roman arena.
Museums and art
When the Scala family ruled Verona the city became a centre of art. Many artists, painters, architects, poets and sculptors came to Verona at this time. Their works of art can still be admired in the city.
At the Museo Civico d’Arte in the Castelvecchio (Scaliger Castle), numerous paintings from the Veronese di Veronas school can be admired and religious art can be found at the Museo Canonical on the Canonical Square. Beautiful frescos adorn the walls of the Church Sant’Anastasia, the church of San Fermo Maggiore and the Basilica di San Zeno, which is one of the most beautiful Romanesque churches in Italy. Also worth looking at is the interior of the Doumo Santa Maria Matricolare.
Furthermore, you can find modern art at the Galleria d’arte moderna. Fans of historical and archaeological information should go to the Museo Miniscalchi-Erizzo, the Museo Lapidaro Maffeiano and the Museo Archaeological.