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Verona on the Adige River

A city halfway between Milan and Venice in northeastern Italy

By Rasma RaistersPublished 9 days ago 5 min read

Verona is a charming city that became a Roman colony in 89 BCE. When it comes to tourism the city sometimes is overshadowed by its glamorous neighbor, Venice, but the city has much to offer including art and architecture. It was an important artistic center during the Renaissance. Earlier it was ruled by the powerful della Scala family referred to as the Scaligeri. The impressive buildings and bastioned town walls were built by the leading 15th and 16th-century architects, Fra Giocondo and Michele Sanmicheli.

Castelvecchio sits on the banks of the Adige. It was built by the Scaligeri in 1354-55. It was a defensive fortress.

The beautiful castellated Ponte Scaligero is a 14th-century pedestrian bridge. It stretches across the Adige and has become a popular place for locals to stroll.

The main tower and ramparts of the castle offer views of the bridge, the city, and the surrounding hills. The interior of the castle has been restored and turned into an exhibit space. Here you can see the collections of the Civico Museo d'Arte featuring Veronese sculpture, applied art, and paintings. You can enjoy artwork by Bellini, Rubens, Montagna, Guardi, Tiepolo, Tintoretto, Pisano, and artists of the 15th- and 16th-century Veronese schools.

The Arco dei Gavi is a first-century stone arched gate that once spanned a Roman road.

Arena di Verona (Roman Amphitheater) is one of the largest of its kind. It is among the best-preserved Roman amphitheaters. Only four arches of the outer wall survived on the north side. Vaulting and seating are intact and in regular use especially during the summer. In July and August, it is home to the Verona Opera Festival. Concerts and other events are also held inside.

Teatro Romano was built in the first century during the reign of Augustus. The theater was excavated between 1904 and 1939. There are the remains of the tufa walls and stones in the stage pit with holes where ropes were drawn to open and close the curtains. You can see the remains of the auditorium built into the hillside in galleries and terraces. The theater is home to the Verona Jazz Festival in the summertime.

Casa di Giulietta is a small medieval palazzo just off Piazza delle Erbe. This is the place that was the setting for Shakespeare's famous tragedy, Romeo and Juliet. Verona became internationally known as the city where these star-crossed lovers lived. In the 1930s the city built the missing part, a balcony overlooking the courtyard. Several decades passed and a bronze statue and displays were set up inside the house for tourists. Even though the actual events and the people in Shakespeare's play were fictitious the city has become a pilgrimage to the point where teams of secretaries have been hired to answer mail left for the mythical Juliet.

The Basilica of San Zeno Maggiore was built during the 11th to 12th centuries. It is considered the finest Romanesque building in North Italy. The cloister is entered through a gate at the side however, bronze doors on the front portal are worth seeing with impressive Romanesque reliefs of Biblical and secular scenes. The interior has a unique 14th-century timber roof and in the aisles are frescoes from the 13th to the 15th centuries.

Piazza San Zeno gets crowded on the third Sunday of each month when it hosts the popular flea market. Here you can purchase everything from foodstuffs to antiques.

The historic center Centro Storico is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Its central feature is the Piazza delle Erbe, one of the most picturesque squares in Italy. It stands on the site of the Roman Forum.

In the center of the square is Berlina, a canopy with four columns, formerly used for elections from the 16th century.

To the north, you can find a 1368 fountain with the Madonna di Verona, an ancient marble statue.

At the north end of the square is a marble column with the lion of St. Mark, the emblem of Verona's former Venetian rulers.

The Casa Mazzanti is located at the northeast corner and was originally built by the Scaligeri.

Opposite, you'll find the 84-meter-tall Torre dei Lamberti, with a medieval bell, El Rengo. Torre dei Lamberti was constructed in 1172 and dominates the skyline of both the Piazza delle Erbe and Piazza dei Signori. You can climb up the 368 steps to the top for spectacular views or take the glass elevator.

Via Mazzini is a narrow pedestrianized street that runs from Piazza Bra to Piazza delle Erbe, through the heart of the Centro Storico. It is lined with the most elegant shops in Verona displaying the latest Italian and international fashions. The ground floor of the Benetton store is covered in glass so visitors can see the 1st-century Roman Domus excavated beneath it.

The Loggia del Consiglio is located on the north side of the Piazza dei Signori. It is one of the most impressive early Renaissance buildings in Italy. The building is crowned by the statues of famous citizens of Verona. Recent excavations have uncovered a Roman street, mosaics, and other remains below current street level and you can see them from an entrance off the adjoining large courtyard.

Santa Maria Antica is a charming little church from the 12th century. It became the family church of the della Scala princes, who ruled Verona in the 13th and 14th centuries. Their symbol the ladder (scala), the heraldic emblem of the family can be seen in the wrought-iron railings. Above the door of the church are the sarcophagus and a copy of an equestrian statue of Cangrande della Scala.

The tower, I Portoni della Bra is the landmark entry point to Piazza Bra and the old city. Beneath its Romanesque arches is a bust of William Shakespeare and the lines from the beginning of his play Romeo and Juliet - “There is no world without Verona walls...”

Duomo di Santa Maria Matricolare is a 12th century Romanesque basilica. It has a 15th-century Gothic nave. On the main doorway are the figures of Charlemagne's two paladins, Roland and Oliver. Inside, on the first altar to the left, is the primary highlight, Titian's 1525 Assumption.

Sant'Anastasia is a brick church dating from the late 13th century. It rises above a little piazza in the heart of Verona. It is an impressive example of Gothic architecture. Over its portal are scenes from the life of St. Peter carved out of stone and above them, a 15th-century fresco. Its slender bell tower 72 meters tall is known for its nine bells. They're rung in a traditional style known as Veronese bell ringing.

Giardino Giusti is a beautiful garden located behind the 16th-century Palazzo Giusti. Paths run among the eight formal parterres. Each has a different pattern of hedges, along with statues and fountains.


About the Creator

Rasma Raisters

My passions are writing and creating poetry. I write for several sites online and have four themed blogs on Wordpress. Please follow me on Twitter.

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