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Verona Beyond Romeo And Juliet: A Guide To The City’s 10 Best-Kept Secret Spots


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As the home of Shakespeare’s tragic love story, Romeo and Juliet, Verona is synonymous worldwide with history and romance, competing with Venice for the title of Italy’s most romantic city. With its mix of rich flavors and centuries-old traditions, the city’s burgeoning food scene is also starting to attract more and more attention. While not yet as popular with travelers as other Italian destinations such as Rome or Florence, Verona is still one of the must-see places in Italy and can become crowded in the peak summer months, when the narrow streets burst with visitors.

Among the city’s busiest tourist hubs are its main square, Piazza Bra, and the iconic Arena di Verona, home to many an atmospheric opera performance. Add to those the perennially popular Casa di Giulietta (Juliet’s house), which pre-pandemic attracted over half a million visitors each year, and there is no shortage of reasons to visit Verona. But what about the city’s off-the-beaten-track sights? Let’s take a look at Verona’s Top 10 best-kept secret spots…

10 San Zeno market

Every Sunday, the beautiful Piazza San Zeno transforms into a bustling flea market, with more than 50 stalls offering original pieces of furniture, books, ornaments, and more. Learning a few words of Italian can be helpful before visiting, in particular the numbers for bargaining! The square also holds an antique fair on the third Saturday of every month.

  • Location
    – Piazza San Zeno, 37138 Verona

  • Opening hours
    – Sundays 0800-1900 (flea market), third Saturday of every month 0800-1900 (antique fair)

Related: Learn more about some of the world’s best flea markets here

9 Libre!

This alternative bookstore is popular with local students and prides itself on supporting independent authors and publications. Libre! is a bookworm’s paradise, offering a wide range of new and used Italian and foreign-language books, and the staff is always happy to help with recommendations. The store is also home to a café, serving the perfect cup of coffee to accompany your purchase.

  • Location
    – Interrato dell’Acqua Morta, 38, 37129 Verona

  • Opening hours
    – Tuesday to Saturday 1000-1300 and 1600-2000

8 Giardino Giusti

Visitors can escape the crowds and enjoy the tranquility of this green oasis or get lost in its hedge mazes. Considered to be one of Italy’s finest gardens, the Giardino Giusti dates back to the 15th century and is the brainchild of Agostino Giusti, one of the knights of the Venetian Republic. Giusti also commissioned the Palazzo Giusti, which is next to the gardens and also worth a visit.

  • Location
    – Via Giardini Giusti, 2, 37129 Verona

  • Opening hours
    – every day 1000-1800

7 Centro Storico

The gorgeous old town of Verona is naturally one of the city’s busier tourist areas. However, those who step off the main streets and get lost in the narrow alleyways will likely find themselves alone. Showcasing Verona’s fascinating 2000-year history, from ancient Roman ruins to regal 19th-century Austrian palaces, the Centro Storico is a photographer’s dream. The delightful Caffè Borsari, located on Corso Porta Borsari, is a delightful place to stop for a coffee and people-watch.

Related: Discover more gorgeous Italian cities that will take your breathe away

6 Piazza Delle Erbe

One of Verona’s main squares may be an unusual addition to a list of secret spots, but compared to nearby hectic Piazza Bra, strolling around Piazza delle Erbe feels like a breath of fresh air! The square is home to colorful markets and plenty of outdoor cafés and restaurants in which to take a break and watch the world go by. For a real glimpse at local life, visit early in the morning for a coffee and witness the bustling market coming to life.

5 Lake Garda

Not technically in Verona, but still within the Veneto region, stunning Lake Garda is one of Italy’s most beautiful lakes. Only a short bus ride away from the city, and makes for the perfect day trip to escape the hustle and bustle of urban life. The lakeside town of Sirmione is the most accessible gateway to the lake, with plenty of boat trips available out onto the water.

Related: 10 epic things to do at Lake Garda

4 Piazzale Castel San Pietro

This hilltop fortress is impressive in its own right, but what really makes it spectacular are the views. It is well worth the strenuous climb up to the top, although there is a cable car available, too, for €2.50 ($2.60). Sunset (accompanied by a bottle of local Amarone wine of course) is an extra special experience as the sun goes down over the orange rooftops of Verona.

3 Focacceria La Figaccia

Hunting for an authentic place to grab lunch on the go? Look no further than Focacceria La Figaccia, one of the top 10 eateries in Verona. With fresh focaccias baked in front of you and a wide range of tasty fillings, all at great prices, the team here has been making travelers’ stomachs and wallets happy for years.

2 Romeo’s

In a city known for its staunch traditions and conservatism, this fun, local LGBTQ+ bar, and club is a refreshing find. Whether it’s for chilled mid-week drinks or a late-night party on the weekend, Romeo’s is always fun, and the regular drag shows hosted at Romeo’s are the perfect way to put your Italian language skills to the test.

  • Location
    – Via Riccardo Felice, 10, 37135 Verona

1 Porta Vescovo

Porta Vescovo is part of Verona’s outer medieval walls, built in 1520. Despite being close to the train station, this area of the city is a little quieter and feels more off-the-beaten-track than the Centro Storico and other, more popular tourist haunts. The streets around Porta Vescovo are home to plenty of authentic (and great value) restaurants, such as Osteria Ai Osei, which serves up carefully crafted specialties, including rabbit linguine and truffle gnocchi.

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