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It would be a tragedy not to visit

It would be a tragedy not to visit

"Two households, both alike in dignity, In fair Verona, where we lay our scene, from ancient grudge break to new mutiny, Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean."

Shakespeare has immortalized Verona in the first line of Romeo and Juliet, and the city holds the claim to having the houses of perhaps the greatest young lovers in history. Fact or Shakespearean fiction, the story has "made" Verona and brings hundreds of thousands of tourists to see the Casa di Giuletta – or Juliet’s House.

From the courtyard you can see Juliet’s Balcony. This is supposedly the very same balcony where the tragic heroine cried out to Romeo. Don’t be surprised to see a line of girls waiting to stand on it and call out to their betrothed below. It’s touristy and slightly cheese-ball, but ultimately, fun and memorable.

The highlight of the house may be the bronze statue of Juliet in the courtyard. The myth goes that if you rub its right breast, you’ll have good luck. (Don’t be surprised if the left isn’t nearly as shiny !) Inside the house you’ll find a small museum filled with 16th and 17th century antiques, all related to Shakespeare’s play. If you’re a cynic or simply unromantic, then perhaps, this stop isn’t for you. But that’s not to say that Verona isn’t without other charms.

Built in 30 AD, the Verona Arena is a Roman amphitheater, one of the best preserved ancient structures of its kind. Back then, the theater could hold over 30,000 spectators who came to see the ludi – shows and games. Today (that’s right, it’s still in use), that number has been scaled back to 15,000 who come to see spectacular productions of popular operas and other music events.

About Italy

To just wander, mangia, shop and hang with locals, come to the Piazza delle Erbe, the oldest square in Verona. The "Square of the Herbs" got its name because at one time only vegetables were sold here. Today, the stalls display tourist souvenirs, fruit and clothing.

Don’t think you have time for a visit ? If you’re in Venice, it’s just an hour and 15 minutes away. Milan is approximately 90 minutes as is Bologna. Or keep up with the Shakespearean theme by traveling about one hour to Padua. The city claims to be the oldest city in northern Italy and the setting for The Taming of the Shrew.

For a traveler like you, there is no taming. With a Eurail Italy Pass, you’re ready to give your heart to Verona and the rest of the country. Where falling in love is never a tragedy.

Verona station(s)

Verona city guide