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With love from Verona

Italy is a country with more top pick destinations than you could ever cover in one trip. Big name tourist destinations such as Venice, Florence and Rome draw in swathes of tourists each year – and for good reason. An alternative, however, to the packed crowds of these places is a slightly lesser known city, Verona. Located an hour away from Venice by train, it’s easy to access and getting lost in its winding, cobbled streets provides a window into authentic Italian life.

Here’s a top 10 list of the must see sights in this northern Italian city:

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Juliet’s Balcony

The city is the setting for Shakespeare’s tragic love story, Romeo and Juliet, so a visit to Verona wouldn’t be complete without climbing to the balcony and professing your love for your travel companion. If this isn’t on the cards, leave a ‘letter to Juliet’ for advice about love, life or anything you fancy.

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Photo by ncs1984 https://www.flickr.com/photos/ncs1984/

The Arena

Looking like a smaller version of Rome’s famous Colosseum, the Arena is an amphitheatre dating from the 1st century. Whilst once the locale for Roman games, it is now a hotspot for musical theatre, in particular, opera. Have a drink in Piazza Bra and head to the Arena for an evening listening to classical music under the stars.

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Photo by Kevin Poh https://www.flickr.com/photos/kevinpoh/

Piazza Bra

The location of said Arena, Piazza Bra is one of Verona’s two central squares. Framed by colourful houses, it is many visitor’s first stop on their way into the city. Take a seat and watch Veronese life unfold – watch out to avoid the restaurants as they can be expensive and lesser quality than others.

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Photo by Son of Groucho https://www.flickr.com/photos/sonofgroucho/

Piazza delle Erbe and il Torre

Verona’s other main square, Piazza delle Erbe is the true heart of Verona. There are daily markets, great restaurants (try Maffei) and beautiful buildings. Towering over the piazza is il Torre, a tower which can be summited for a cheap price, giving you panoramic views over the ancient city.

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Photo by GeorgeDement https://www.flickr.com/photos/georgedement/

Via Mazzini

This street connecting Piazza delle Erbe and Piazza Bra is crammed full of shops, suiting every budget and taste. Grab a gelato, stroll along the cobbled path and pass time window shopping and people watching.

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Photo by Tim Dobbelaere https://www.flickr.com/photos/storem/

Ponte Pietra

An ancient bridge that crosses the river, a strong along provides a location with beautiful views of the river Adige that runs through the city centre.

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Photo by Guido Lanciai https:[email protected]/

Il Giardino Giusti

A little further out of the historic centre, these gardens provide respite from city life. Stroll leisurely around the manicured lawns and climb to the top to get a view of Verona from above. A very underrated attraction.

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Photo by Alistair Young https://www.flickr.com/photos/ajy/

Duomo

Verona’s cathedral is another underrated sight. Located in a quaint piazza a stone’s throw from Piazza Erbe, the outside and interior of the building have been beautifully restored. For only 2 euros, you can enter and spend time looking at the art that adorns the wall of this important building.

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Photo by Aleksandr Zykov https://www.flickr.com/photos/infanticida/

Food, food, food

Verona has a plethora of great restaurants, but to escape the tourist crowds, visit Pizzeria da Salvatore for authentic, delicious pizza (even the Italian’s queue here!), Osteria del Cavaliere for generous bowls of pasta and risotto and Buns Burgers for brunch. Whilst the last one isn’t classically Italian, it is great for a Sunday morning feast.

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Aperitivo

A magical word without a literal translation, aperitivo is an early evening drink, which comes along with a free buffet. Make sure to try an Aperol Spritz at Casa Mazzanti Cafe in Piazza Erbe and enjoy the delicious Italian food that comes as a bonus.

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À dopo! I’ll see you in Verona.

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