If we've learned anything from characters in Romeo and Juliet, it's that love is a powerful driving force. This is what has made Italy a top choice for star-crossed lovers and hopeful romantics alike. The allure of Italy is simple, it is a country rich in art, history, culture, and post-pizza walks through cobblestone streets.
The allure is in the traditional way of life that seems to transport us back to a simpler time without apps or speed dating. A time where you could just as easily fall for someone you bumped into at the main square as you could the boy next door whose family was known to yours for generations. Italy ticks a lot of boxes when it comes to setting the stage for romance and Verona is no exception.
A city in northern Italy's Veneto region, it is most famously known as the setting for Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and over 50 films, according to IMDB. The city itself is architecturally stunning with well-preserved ancient buildings, churches and bridges that cross the Adige river.
Verona is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a place where you can come to take in an opera, learn how to cook pasta from scratch and visit an ancient monument all in one day. In a city with a population of about 260K, the warmth of the people and the love that's in the air will still make it feel rather quaint and easily recognizable as Italy's most romantic city.
20 Romcom Classic 'Letters to Juliet' Was Set and Filmed in Verona
If you're not much of Shakespeare buff you can most definitely still appreciate the romance of Verona by watching Letters to Juliet.
The story tells the tale of a girl named Sophie who is whisked away to Italy with her fiancé on a supposedly once in a lifetime trip. When her fiancé ends up spending the majority of their holiday working, she finds herself volunteering with Juliet's secretaries. This group of women are famous for answering love letters written by the visitors of Verona with the poetic flare that Italian romantics are known for.
However, when Sophie receives one particular letter she is determined to resolve it with the help of the author's grandson. Unrequited love? Check. Romantic scenic drives through the beautiful countryside? Check! A heartwarming ending? Check check!
Watching this movie may be the final push you need to add Verona to your vacation.
19 The Juliet Club
Speaking of letters to Juliet, it happens to actually be a real thing! Not sure if you should move across the country for a new crush? Having second thoughts about your romantic relationship and need the guidance of professional romantics? If you are visiting Verona with a burning love question you can definitely find the answers by writing a postcard to mail into Juliet's secretaries.
The Juliet Club is a group of volunteers who make it their mission to address every single letter which they receive with a handwritten, thoughtful response. It has become a popular tradition in that the club receives well over 6,000 letters a year.
18 Pozzo dell'Amore (The Lover’s Well)
The Lovers Well in Verona is perhaps its most romantic because it is the best kept secret. A few steps from Piazza delle Erbe lies a medieval-looking well. An arrow instructs visitors to take a moment to concentrate on a wish, without distraction, before tossing in a lucky coin. This well has existed here for many centuries and the proceeds of which go to the Juliet Club mentioned above.
The legend has it that a young soldier during the Roman reign fell in love with an Isabella of the Donati family. It was an unrequited love as she did not share the same feelings despite his many efforts. One day they met in front of the church of San Marco in Carceres and (long story short) Isabella dares him to jump in the well to see if the water was cold. Once he did it and she saw him suffer, she realized her true love feelings for him and followed him in. This tragic ending has commemorated the Pozzo Dell'Amore from then on.
17 Verona in Love Festival in February
This may be the most romantic festival in the world! Occurring annually in Verona for the 14th year, on the weekend of St. Valentine's Day, is a city-wide celebration of love. With the cityscape illuminated with candles and lights, there are tastings, heart-shaped markets, and love-themed tours that take you around the city.
The Lamberti Tower (the tallest building in the city) is also lit up red for the festivities and couples who wish to take it an extra step further can have their lover's name written in gothic text and given the 'seal of love' in traditional a wax seal. Love is definitely in the air during this yearly celebration and not to be missed!
16 Live Starry Skied concerts at the Arena on Piazza Bra
Built in the first century (30 AD to be exact), the Verona Arena is a breathtaking must-see for anyone visiting Verona. In addition to being incredibly well maintained, you will be able to marvel with your jaw ajar at this ancient relic that housed at one time 30,000 people.
Today it is used as an open air theatre that has housed some incredibly romantic operas like Aida, which tells the story of a military commander who falls in love with an Ethiopian princess who has been captured by his men. He must choose between love and his loyalty to the King of Egypt. You will find operas like this and other tales of unrequited love at the yearly Opera Festival that takes place every August.
Even if you don't understand Italian at a fluent level, you will be moved by the passionate storytelling that takes place under the stars at the Verona Arena.
15 Art Within Art in Castelvecchio
Castelvecchio quite literally translates to 'old castle' in Italian and it is here that you can get swept away into another time by viewing local masterpieces within the walls of a castle.
Built in 1355 by the ruling Scala family in Verona in the middle ages. Many important historical happenings took place within the walls of this castle as it had been invaded by its neighbors. During WWII it was here that the Processo Di Verona took place where Mussolini punished the traitors to his regime.
By 1957, the space was repurposed to house artistic works which have drawn high-ranking architects and artists alike who can appreciate the art within as well as the art of the environment. Art that can be found at Castelvecchio dates back to Gothic, Medieval, and Renaissance periods featuring artists like Pisanello, Jacopo Bellini, Girolamo dai Libri, and renowned artist Paolo Caliari. Where else can you see art within art?
14 Place Yourself on One of The Most Famous Balconies in Literary History
A true romantic tale, Romeo and Juliet tells the fictional story of lovers from two opposing families who struggle to come to terms with their untimely love. The story is painfully romantic and of course, is set in Verona where you will find numerous tributes to the couple littered throughout the city.
Here at Cappello Street, number 23, you can enter a courtyard and visit the famous balcony where it is said Romeo first courts Juliet. There will be a bit of moshing involved as it is a touristic hot spot but don't let that spoil the mood! Let your imagination run wild as you leave a love note for Juliet on the wall within the courtyard or commemorate a loved one by leaving a love lock branded with their initials.
Entering the courtyard is free but there is a small charge if you wish to enter inside and stand on the balcony.
13 A Piece of the Past in the Tomb of Giulietta
Located in the heart of the monastery of San Francesco al Corso is where you find Juliet's final resting place after she drank the poison to join her love Romeo. Adorned with a lovely garden, it is a beautiful and serene place where you can take a stroll and admire the heart-shaped sculpture adorned with roses. Make your way inside and you will find the tomb in a vaulted room where it is believed Juliet had her last few moments in the tale.
Even for a fictional story, you have to admire the lengths that the locals have gone to bring this romantic notion 'to life', so to speak.
12 Breathtaking Views at Castel San Pietro
Not just a stunning panoramic view darted with Cypress trees, the Romanesque Revival style Castel San Pietro is also the founding point of Verona, in the 7th century B.C.!
Why not pack a romantic picnic and gallivant about, taking in views of the entire city with the river Adige rushing below at the foot of the hill?
Sadly you only can view it from the outside, not visit inside the structure. You never know what inspirations will come to you when taking in the view of Italy's most romantic cityscape. With Verona being an ultra-safe city, you can easily visit in the evening when the mood lighting adds an extra element of ambiance.
11 Garden Strolls in Palazzo Giardino Giusti
For all you garden and nature enthusiasts, Italy has a host of stunning botanical and Renaissance gardens scattered around it and the Giardino Giusti in Verona is no exception.
A short walk from the city center and you can find yourself in a central oasis. With cypress trees, gargoyles, grottoes, marvellous fountains, vistas and terraces filled with flowers you can easily feel as if you've been transported back in time.
You can also lose yourself in the hedge maze for an extra bit of fun. You will be in good company as well! These gardens have had very famous visitors, among them Mozart and Goethe.
10 Feel Your Heart Flutter at Lake Garda
Lake Garda has become increasingly famous for its celebrity inhabitants (George Clooney anyone?!) but as the largest lake in Italy, it is quite a stunning natural wonder on its own.
Only a 1 hour drive out of the city you can take a day trip and be back in Verona in time for aperitivo! Bordering on the provinces of Verona, Brescia, and Trentino, the name "Garda" comes from the word warda which means place of guard or place of observation.
Surrounded by mountains, this crystal clear lake will have you swooning for this stunning region in no time flat.
9 Cobblestone Streets & Chic Boutiques
With the ancient architecture meeting the pink palazzo cobblestone streets, it would be difficult not to fall in love with Verona.
It is the best of old world meets new world with roman ruins scattered amongst trendy boutiques and hot food spots. Strolling along the winding roads you can find everything from one of a kind shops to the high fashion style of Gucci and Valentino.
For all the writers out there you can stop into Lo Scrittoio. Here you'll find luxurious stationary, handcrafted pens, leather tooled journals and briefcases for the nostalgic sophistication that Italian-made goods are known for (and often emulated) all over the world.
8 A Stylish Stay at the Residenza Borsari
Make your romantic stay complete with a 5 star bed and breakfast in a historical yet elegant building. Located centrally, you'll be a passegiatta away from the central train station and most festivities happening in the city center. Each room has an antiquated feel to it that emulates the romantic vibe of Verona in style.
Breakfast has been top rated with fresh omelettes offered up daily. You can sip a cappuccino on the balcony or even munch on a full breakfast on the terrace and soak up the view before a day of sightseeing. End the night with a luxurious bubble bath and a glass of valpoliciella before you hop into your big comfy bed.
7 Spa Break for Two Around the Corner
After a long few days of sightseeing and walking through Verona, you may just wish for the opportunity to kick back and relax. Hotel Caesius is a Spa Resort at the edge of Lake Garda that features 6 indoor and outdoor pools, a Finnish sauna, emotional showers, an ice waterfall and relaxation areas.
The nicest, most romantic feature of all is the option to book a private, more secluded spa for two. With a variety of treatments from traditional Swedish massage to Ayurvedic treatments and regimes, you can relish in a relaxing romantic holiday in the Italian style.
6 Night Tour of Verona
The mysterious and elegant side of Verona shows itself as the sun sets on the city. Why not take advantage of it by booking yourself a guided tour around town. The buildings are often beautifully illuminated and the town itself is as safe at night as it is in daylight.
If you book through Viator tours it includes a pickup and drop-off at your accommodation. You'll witness unlikely highlights off the beaten path and learn about Veronese painters, poets, and hopeless romantics.
Scope out your favourite wine bar and return later for a night cappuccino under the twinkling city lights.
5 You Can Grab A Bite at a Century Old Restaurant
Al Pompiere which literally translates to 'at the fireman' was opened over a century ago by a retired fireman who never chose to name the restaurant. This establishment has become a favourite with locals with its tasteful decor and finishing touches that make you feel quite at ease and welcome. It offers up typical Veronese dishes like pasta e fagiolle (pasta with beans), risotto and various meat options.
Perhaps the most unique aspect is that in the corner of the dining room you are invited to sample over 50 types of cured meats as well as a cheese bar with over 100 local cheeses. If an authentic and tasty meal doesn't get you in the mood we're not sure what will!
4 Stay in a Neoclassical villas and experience healing thermal waters of Parco Termale del Garda
Used since ancient times, thermal baths are thought to cleanse, detoxify the body, sooth muscles, improve cardiovascular health and produce an anti-inflammatory response in the body.
For an entry fee of about 20 to 27 euros (depending on the time of your visit) you can have full access to the pools where you can zen out for the day or stay overnight where you will also find the thermal water in your room - an unusual perk. The nice feature about the water park is that it has been made to emulate a naturalistic lake atmosphere. It doesn't quite feel you're in a manmade pool, but rather casually enjoying a lake swim in 33-34 degree warm water, complete with a jacuzzi tub and surrounded by trees.
3 Opera in Love
Of course since Verona is known for the story of Romeo and Juliet it is fitting that there is the option to watch the story unfold theatrically before your eyes. This new theatre format combines pantomime, street theatre and classical Shakespeare. It is performed in various locations around Verona like the tomb of Juliet in summer and an ancient cathedral in winter.
Tickets are about 19 to 26 euros and can be purchased online in advance here or at the door. It also says on the website that they are flexible and can perform the show elsewhere throughout the year so there are lots of options for a love-ly inspiring night of opera.
2 Aperitivo Overlooking the Adige River
For a classic aperitivo with an unbeatable view, visit Terrazza Bar al Ponte. Located just a hop and a skip from Piazzale Castel San Pietro you can take a break from the midday sun with a riverside refreshment. Often aperitivo here consists of chips, peanuts, and finger food sandwiches, bruschetta, and some salumi.
If you're hungry for more there are also full lunch and dinner options available including tartar, pastas and salads. With a stunning view of the Adige River complimented by the flower-lined terrace, you may just not want to leave! Look for the bright red doors.
1 Get Luck in Love from Juliet Herself
If you do one touristy thing, you must visit the bronze statue of Juliet, as it says that rubbing her breast will bring you luck in love. The bronze was created in 1969 by the sculptor Nereo Costantini. It was the Lions Club of Verona the initiated its placement in the courtyard beneath Juliet's balcony in 1972.
However, the original was placed away from touchy tourists who would clammer over themselves to touch her, as it caused some damage to the original. The replica bronze was put in its place in 2014 with the help of Novello Finotti who was a pupil of the original artist. This replica remains in place today for travellers to get a 'touch of luck' in the most romantic city in Italy.
References: veronissima.com, npr.org, verona.net, veronainside.com, venetoinside.com.