When Irish surprised me with a quick city break to Verona as my Christmas present I was absolutely delighted but I struggled to find any cool guides or sources on places to shop and of course places to eat all of the Gelato (even in January). So I thought I’d put together some of my best tips for sightseeing, shopping and eating if you’re planning a trip out or are just curious about what the city has to offer.
Health Warning: It’s been a while since my last update but this is a wordy one so grab a cuppa! If you don’t fancy a trip to Verona just scroll through the photos with my new beloved camera :p
If you’ve been wondering why should you go to Verona, what Italian cities are good for a quick city break or you just want to get away then hopefully this will help you decide if Verona is the place for you! Personally I loved it as a city – it wasn’t too big so it was easy to walk around, all the historic sites were easy to get to and there’s always somewhere to grab amazing coffee and food.
How long should you stay in Verona?
We stayed in Verona for 3 full days arriving on a Saturday night and flying out on Tuesday evening and it gave us the perfect amount to take in the sights of the city in a leisurely fashion, with lie ins and plenty of coffee pit stops. I think you could probably see it in two full days if you are the sort of person who likes a strict itinerary and getting up early on holiday – I’m not one of those people.
What to see in Verona
A quick note for those looking for money-saving tips for their trips: on the first Sunday of every month entry into the largest attractions are €1
Arena di Verona – aka the massive coliseum-type building in Piazza Bra
Piazza Castel San Pietro – aka a long ass (10 minute) hike up a bunch of stairs for one of the best sunset views of my life
Museo di Castelvecchio – aka the museum in the big old castle housing some of the oldest paintings, sculptures etc that I’ve ever seen
Piazza dell Erbe – this is where a number of my recommendations are centred around. The food and shopping is great here
Basilica di San Zeno Maggiore – aka the best of the super old Churches
Scaliger Tombs – aka super fancy graveyard for a duplicitous old dynasty
Where to eat and drink in Verona
Breakfast and food to go: Pasticceria De Rossi
This is the most glorious deli in all of Verona (imho) you can pick up wine, cured meats, biscuits, pastries and take away sandwiches/ foccacia. It’s amazing to get a quick bite for breakfast or picnic style food to take to eat during the day if you’re on the budget.
Lunch: Casa Mazzanti Caffe
In case you hadn’t noticed… a lot of my suggestions are all in similar locations – this isn’t from a lack of exploration it’s because many of the other areas were over-priced and touristy. This is a really solid place to grab an Aperol Spritz, pasta, bruschetta or pizza.
Light Bites: Parma a Tavola
The wine here is incredible and it’s perfect for a quick and easy lunch. They even cook the fresh pasta in front of you if you’re sitting downstairs and they let you write on the walls before you leave.
Gelato/ Hot Chocolate: Amorino Gelateria
There are many, many gelato shops in Verona as you’d expect. However, this is tried, tested and loved. The hot chocolate is basically just like thick melted chocolate, the gelato roses have unlimited flavours per cone and you can even get one with with a macaron in it!
Dinner: La Griglia
Probably not the best place for a veggie but the atmosphere in the restaurant is incredible. Just a few minutes from the arena you can settle into a dinner in front of a big open fire where you’ll have the best service of your life. Honestly this is the nicest restaurant experience I’ve ever had, the wine list was extensive and the food was incredible. It wasn’t the cheapest meal but considering what we ate / what I drank then it was pretty reasonable.
Cocktails: The Soda Jerk
Because you can get great wine in literally every single restaurant in Verona I thought it would be good to highlight possibly the coolest place in verona. It’s owned by a guy who came second in theWorld Cocktail Making Championships, it’s down a little side street with no sign, a black door and a silver doorbell which is very ‘prohibition’. When we turned up they asked who sent us which made me feel pretty cool (I’m definitely not) – the cocktails were next level incredible, not badly priced, the food was delicious and the staff were both embarrassingly cool and really lovely.
Where to stay in Verona
There are undoubtedly some lovely hotels to stay in when you visit Verona but for me the best way to see any city to to ‘see it like a local’ via Airbnb. I wholeheartedly recommend giving it a try if you haven’t. I always like to select a location which I’ve researched beforehand – close to good breakfast spots, places to grab a cheeky cocktail – somewhere safe and not noisy.
Where to shop in Verona
Obviously there are some incredible boutiques and shops around the Arena but if you’re looking for handmade or trendy bits my number one recommendation is Hidden Forest which has loads of quirky clothes, shoes and bit & bobs. Other than that I always make sure to hit up Sephora and keep and eye out in the smaller shops for some bags and shoes because let’s face it you can’t beat Italian leather.
What to wear in Verona
May seem like a silly one for most people but being in Northern Italy – I could literally see snowcapped mountains from the streets – means that you might need to be a little more prepared that you thought. Definitely check the weather forecast before you go and like a scout always be prepared!
Umbrella: the people of Verona seemed incredibly used to carrying umbrellas with them everywhere so I suggest you do too
Trainers/ comfy shoes: whilst I saw a lot of Dr Martens on my trip I would always recommend trainers because walking on cobbles isn’t easy on the old trotters
Layers: Like I mentioned the weather can shift pretty quickly when you’re there so I recommend taking clothing you can layer up
Things I wouldn’t recommend would be walking boots (it’s a really flat city), scrappy or spindly heels (it’s mostly cobbled) – the fashion in the city – I saw a lot of studded leather goods and fur being worn by the natives but aside from that the fashion was similar to any other European city. I always vote comfy clothes for walking because it’s not a city I’d recommend seeing by bus/car.