There is always a delicate balance on where to stay and visit on our longer trips – moving every night is exhausting and impractical, but we also want to ‘see all the things!’ While planning this part of the trip we looked at options from spending multiple nights in Verona and doing day trips to wine regions, or as we ultimately choose, staying closer to wine regions. In the end we didn’t want to completely miss the city, so decided to at least do an overnight (~24 hours), and we are very glad we did.
After dropping off our rental car at the airport we took the overpriced airport bus to the train station and walked to the Indigo Hotel. The front desk helped us with dinner reservations and suggested several sights and, so after a little planning we set off into the old town.
Our first stop was the Verona Roman arena and the surrounding plaza (partially under construction!)
Then up the main shopping street Giuseppe Mazzini to towering Torre dei Lamberti.
Luckily for us, tickets were specially priced so only 1 euro each! After 368 steps we reached the top which provided great views of the city and nearby hills.
Once we were back at street level we decided to spend the money we were going to spend on the tower on gelato instead! Chocolate and a caramel peanut for Eric, and a pistachio and chocolate for Leandra, enjoyed in the shadow of the tower.
Next we checked out the four famous churches that make up the Associazione Chiese Vive. It was 4€ per church or 8€ for all four and even though we had a very generous two years to complete our visit, we knocked them out in one trip. Basilica di Santa Anastasia had a beautiful decorated ceiling, plus an organist practicing which sounded amazing.
Cattedrale di Santa Maria Matricolare was next – very large with lots of frescoes in three different sections.
From there we walked along the river, crossing the Roman-era Ponte Pietra across the Adige River. Views are great!
Our final church for the day was Chiesa di San Fermo, which is known for their amazing inverted hull roof in the upper church that features 400+ saints. Lower church was quite chilly, all stone and smaller.
We were rather tired by this point, so we grabbed an outdoor table at Tor-Tor. Leandra got the Vivace sparkling rose, and the Muni Epoche for Eric (and we both got the Epoche for round 2). Our drinks were served with taralli and croutons.
Dinner was outdoors at La Griglia. Leandra couldn’t resist the beef with amarone sauce, plus a side of rosemary potatoes. Eric ordered the tortellini with pine nuts, Monte Veronese cheese, and porcini. Both went well with a bottle of Valpolicella ripassso. Overall the food was good, but the service was uneven (especially when we were trying to pay our bill).
It was a beautiful evening so we retraced part of our earlier walk, checking out Piazza Brà and Piazza delle Erbe before retiring for the evening.
The next morning we grabbed pastries from Pasticceria Camesco across the street – Nutella brioche, a strawberry creme brioche, plus a walnut chocolate tart.
With an early afternoon train to Bologna we had time to visit the Basilica di San Zeno Maggiore. The 20 minute walk along the river was quite scenic from a raised walkway. Once we arrived at the church, we spent some time exploring the peaceful courtyard.
Inside was fairly light with a very tall roof and lots of frescoes. We both agreed that the relic of Saint Zeno in the lower church was creepy but the bronze doors were fascinating.
On the way back we walked along the river enjoying the views of Ponte di Castelvecchio.
We really enjoyed our 24 hours in Verona – it’s an easy city to walk around with lots to see. Hopefully we can return for a longer visit in the future!