Verona is a city sitting on both sides of the Adige river in the Veneto Region of northern Italy. The city of Verona has over 250,000 inhabitants and is the capital of one of the seven provinces (Verona Province) of the region. It is the second largest city municipality in the region and the third of northeast Italy. It is one of the main tourist destinations in northern Italy, owing to its artistic heritage, several annual fairs, shows, and operas, such as the lyrical season in the Arena, the ancient amphitheatre built by the Romans. Three of Shakespeare's plays are set in Verona: Romeo and Juliet, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, and The Taming of the Shrew. The city has been awarded World Heritage Site status by UNESCO because of its urban structure and architecture.
Roma from 49 AD, Verona became an important hub of Roman roads and a primary defensive outpost for the Empire. The rise to power of the Della Scala (or Scaleigeri) family, in 1262, marked the start of a new building hase, with the construction of Castelvecchio and new fortifications. As a result of the town's newfound prosperity, Piazza delle Erbe and the nearby Piazza dei Signori were laid out: the former the symbol and center fo commercial power, the latter of political power.
The Scaligeri were driven out by the Visconti (1387), who, in turn, were outsted by the Venetians in 1405. It was under the Venetians that generated a wave of artistic excellence. The first major changes came in the 18th century due to increasing friction between the local nobility and the Venetian overlords. After the French interlude from 1796 to 1814, a there was brief period of 'co-existence' with the Austrians from 1814 to 1866. It was during this time that the Habsburg rulers restored Verona's Defensive role: the city was encirled with massive set of fortifications. When Verona became part of the Kingdom of Italy in 1860, its military role diminished and disappeared entirely in the 20th century. WWII casued serious damage tot he city's historical, artistic and monumental assets. In 1945, and again in the 1970'w, the administration embarked on an ambitious reconstruction plan.
GETTING TO VERONA
You can reach Verona Porta Nuova station by train from Milan (1 hour and 22 min by EuroCity train (EC), 1 hour and 50 min by Regionale Veloce, from Venice (1 hour and 10 min by EuroCity ], 1 hour and 22 min by RegionaleVeloce (RV), 2 hours and 10 min by Regionale (R), from Bologna 49 min by TAV, 1 hour and 28 min by RegionaleVeloce (RV), or from Munich (5 hours and 30 min by EuroCity). Be aware that local trains (Regionali) also stop at a minor station, Verona Porta Vescovo.
WHAT TO SEE IN VERONA
WHAT TO EAT IN VERONA
The Veronese are keen eaters of horse-meat (cavallo), a local speciality. Pastisada de caval, is a dish of braised horse meat, as is Picula de Caval. Pizza is not traditionally eaten locally, but pasta dishes feature widely on restaurant menus. Try Pizzocheri (buckwheat pasta with cheese and sage), casoncelli (a type of ravioli) or bigoli (thick spaghetti). Casoela is a pork casserole, and a bollito misto is a mixture of boiled meats, usually served with pearà, a local sauce then you can find only in Veneto.
Places to Eat
Al Carro Armato, Vicolo Gatto, 2, +39 045 803 0175 This is a charmingly atmospheric and good value restaurant and wine bar in the 'ancient canteen' style with shared tables and paper place mats. Food is authentically Veronan but unpretentious.
Cat Alley is not easy to find. Best to face the (nominal) west front of S. Anastasia on via Massalongo and then turn right towards v. Trotta. Vicolo Gatto is a few tens of yards down on the left. There is also an entrance on Via Massalongo itself. Opera goers should note the late opening times. Highly recommended, but it helps if you can speak Italian.
Al' Duomo, Via Duomo 7, tel: 045 800 4505. Excellent family-run restaurant, just next to the Cathedral ((as its name suggests). It's popular with the local Veronese (a good sign) and with a menu full of traditional local specialities.
Osteria Pigna, Via Pigna 4/b tel: 045 800 4080.Great restaurant with a truly authentic feel. Not far from the Duomo this restaurant offers an excellent service, and it is recognized as a great place to eat by the locals.
WHERE TO STAY IN VERONA