Lesser Known Locations of the Italian Lakes
By Joel Draba-Mann
6 November 2015
The lesser known facts and locations of the Italian Lake District and where else to go to escape the fast-growing crowds around the more famous lakes.Read more
Bestriding the Adige River in north-east Italy's Veneto region, the handsome and dynamic city of Verona is both a popular destination with visitors and a UNESCO World Heritage site thanks to the diversity and historical value of its architecture.
The vestiges of Verona's Roman-era origins are still present today; the remarkable two-thousand year old Roman arena at the heart of the city has been adopted as Verona's open-air opera house and can seat and audience of thirty thousand spectators.
In the centuries following the departure of the Romans Verona's history featured episodes of romance, drama, political intrigue and bloody murder to rival anything that Shakespeare could conjure up when he set his play Romeo and Juliet in the city. Successive territorial conflicts and hostile occupations, the Black Death and the rise of fascism during the Second World War defined some of Verona's darkest hours.
Happily, Verona has managed to emerge from the shadows of its turbulent past and is today a relaxed and cosmopolitan city that invites guests to admire its abundant architectural treasures, indulge in cultural pursuits - especially opera - and even visit the purported house of Juliet Capulet with its famous balcony, beneath which a besotted Romeo declared his love for her.
Verona's twelfth-century cathedral replaces an earlier church destroyed by an earthquake. Although Romanesque in appearance outside, the cathedral's magnificent interior was remodelled in the Gothic style between the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries and is notable for its superb frescoes and sculptures and for the exposed foundations of the original eighth-century church.
Begun in the twelfth-century this eighty-four metre high tower lost its uppermost section when struck by lightning in 1403, only achieving full restoration in 1464. It was converted to a clock tower in the eighteenth century and today visitors can ascend the tower (by stairs or a lift) to obtain panoramic views over the city.
This stunning terracotta-coloured fourteenth-century castle stands on the bank of the Adige and houses Verona's Art Museum which features an outstanding collection of medieval and Renaissance-period artworks including paintings, ceramics, frescoes and sculptures.
One of Italy's most historic public squares, Piazza delle Erbe was the site of Verona's Roman forum and is surrounded by beautiful buildings dating from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Today visitors can dine or relax with a drink in one of the Piazza's many cafes or wander the ever-present market that is now held here.