For ages I’d been dreaming of going to Verona, Italy’s city of lovers. The city usually comes to mind as the hometown of possibly the world’s most famous fictional lovers: Romeo and Juliet. Tracking down spots linked to the ill-fated Shakespearean couple is a highlight to any romantic trip to Verona, however, the Roman to Renaissance city has much more to offer, as I recently found out with the help of the lovely Lorella Mostacchi of Verona Tours, an excellent local tour company. She shares some of the most romantic places in Verona (many of them also free) with us below!
The Passionate Women of Verona Tours
Founded in 2010 by two local licensed guides Lorella Mostacchi (pictured above) and Valeria Biasi, Verona Tours was the first company to offer private tours of the city. Incredibly knowledgeable, they hold degrees in cultural assets and archaeology as well as over 20 years combined experience guiding in Verona. These attributes, coupled with their insider expertise of their city, provide visitors with the perfect perspective of beautiful Verona. Meeting and having a quick tour with Lorella around the city’s romantic sites sparked my enthusiasm for Verona and I wished I had more time to learn more about the city on some of their other fascinating tours. They offer both group and private tours, including the ideal couples’ tour Romeo and Juliet tour, a Shakespeare story in Verona and bespoke private tours (perfect for … proposals!) which could feature some of the amazing and hidden sites Lorella has revealed just for us!
Hidden Romanesque Cloister
Many visitors to Verona stop by its beautiful Duomo (cathedral) of Santa Maria Matricolare, however, few know that there is a stunning hidden cloister located right next to it! Take the passageway to the left of the cathedral’s facade (the entrance to the church is actually around the other side), and go around to the left and you’ll enter this gorgeous medieval cloisters. An oasis of calm and a special secret place which you might have all to yourselves!
Quiet Streets by the Cathedral
Mid distance from Milan to Venice, Verona can get swamped with large tour groups breezing through the city. They general stay concentrated in Piazza Delle Erbe and along the street that connects it to Piazza Brà (worth going to despite the crowds to see the awe-inspiring Roman arena). You can escape the masses by enjoying the serene ambiance on the little-visited, but ever so picturesque streets around the cathedral. Let yourselves get lost along the narrow streets southwest of via Duomo such as Via Pigna, Via Augusto Verità and Vicolo S. Pietro, be sure to gaze up to admire the ancient houses. I also found the small streets in from the Adige river between Ponte Nuovo and Ponte Pietra ultra attractive… which takes us to our next stop!
Piazza Brà Molinari
Tucked in from the busier streets and away from the crowds on the beautiful but busy Ponte Pietra is this little square offering stupendous views of the Adige river and the Castel San Pietro hill (see below). There are also some benches in the piazza, perfect for a romantic cuddle to rest your feet and take in the gorgeous setting!
Osteria Ponte Pietra
This terribly romantic restaurant terrace had caught my eye before meeting up with Lorella, so I was thrilled that it had her local stamp of approval. Found at the start of the aforementioned historic Ponte Pietra and literally hanging over the river, the Osteria Ponte Pietra provides a seductive setting for the ideal romantic lunch or dinner in Verona. The menu of young chef Michael Silhavi features traditional Venetian cuisine with some contemporary twists. Make sure to reserve in advance to get a table on the balcony or one at least facing the river!
Castel San Pietro Hill at Sunset
Across the river from the historic center, the Castel San Pietro is another fantastic romantic spot in Verona. Skip out on the funicular and instead slowly meander up the steps. As you rise, the view gets better and better (there are even glimpses down into the Roman theater in case you don’t want to pay to go in) and I even noted many spots perfect for stealing kisses. If you can, Lorella suggests picking up a bottle of Prosecco (made in the Veneto region where Verona is situated!) and perhaps some snacks to have a little aperitivo at sunset–a romantic and memorable moment with your amore!
The Castelvecchio Bridge at Night
Wait a second… what about our Shakespearean couple? Although Shakespeare’s play is fictional, there was a lot of family rivalry historically in Verona and they built fortresses around the city, two of which belonged to the Capulets and the Montagues. Juliet’s “House” is open to the public as a museum and one of the top visited places in the city. Even though the courtyard is overflowing with people pushing their way to snap a photo of Juliet’s supposed balcony featured in the famous play, caress the statue of the beautiful heroine (yet as experts like Lorella know, the original is actually inside the house at the bottom of the steps) and sign one of the walls… it’s still a must for a lovers’ trip to Verona. Lorella’s tip? Come either first thing in the morning or in the late evening to beat some of those crowds. I followed her advice… and couldn’t resist a selfie on the legendary balcony.
Grazie mille for your fabulous tips, Lorella! Delve even deeper into the history and hidden sites of the city on one of the walks offered by Verona Tours here.