Do you want to visit Verona like a local? Discover the 10 things to do to experience the city like a true Veronese.

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Verona attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world every year because of the romantic story of Romeo and Juliet written by Shakespeare, but also because of the city's great artistic and cultural offer. Together with Venice, it is one of the most visited cities in Veneto.

There are many activities to do. Among ancient palaces, theatre and musical works, exhibitions and impressive historical buildings, the city has so much to offer. 

Here we share what to do in Verona like a local

What to do in Verona like a local

What to do in Verona like a local

Verona stands on one of the oldest areas in Italy, inhabited since the Neolithic period. In fact, it has many cultural and historical sights dating from different eras, ranging from Roman, medieval, modern, and contemporary one.

Verona, however, is not only its Arena or the famous balcony of Romeo and Juliet. We have therefore created a list with our suggestions to help you experience the city like a true Veronese, to discover those little gems that will make your visit special. 

We have collected the 10 things to do in Verona to enjoy the city like a true local: from hidden squares to the best viewpoint in town.

Discover Verona with the City Card

10. What to do in Verona like a local: discovering the magic of Giusti Garden

What to do in Verona like a local: discovering the magic of Giusti Garden

Verona is a quiet city, but at times of great tourist influx, as can be the case during the summer, the bustle of people in the historic centre can become a little chaotic. 

However, beyond the Adige River, in the heart of the Veronetta district, hidden like a precious treasure, lies a place where peace reigns, one of the most splendid Italian gardens of the late Renaissance: the Giusti Garden.

The garden is part of the 16th-century Palazzo Giusti. The palace is built with a classic U-shaped layout, from the back of which you can access the enchanting garden. 

The garden is characterised by countless flower beds, statues, fountains, steps and artificial grottos. It also contains one of the oldest labyrinths in Europe. You absolutely must see this hidden gem!

Find more about Verona bike tour

9. Spending the evening in Piazza delle Erbe

Verona like a local.  Spending the evening in Piazza delle Erbe

Piazza delle Erbe is the most popular square among the citizens of Verona and tourists. It is indeed the most picturesque square and one of the most charming corners of the city. 

This beautiful square is the ideal place for those in search of an excellent aperitif or a refreshing after-dinner drink. When the sun goes down, Piazza delle Erbe is transformed into a magical place.

Piazza delle Erbe stands where the Forum of Roman Verona once stood and has therefore always been the centre of the city's political and economic life.

During the evening, the daily market stalls, which sell fruit and vegetables, clothes and souvenirs, and objects of all kinds, give way to the terraces of the bars and the bustle of people. 

If you have the chance to spend the evening in magical Verona, we recommend that you pass through this square and have a soft drink or cocktail like a true local.

Find more about Verona guided tour

8. Admiring Verona from the Belvedere of the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes

Verona like a local. Admiring Verona from the Belvedere of the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes

There are several view points from which you can admire the beautiful Verona. The best known is certainly Castel San Pietro, a favourite destination by tourists and the Veronese to enjoy a beautiful and peaceful view over the city.

Today, however, we will take you to a place of prayer for pilgrims and a meeting place for all those who wish to admire an enchanting place, dominated by a respectful and religious silence. We are on Colle San Leonardo where you will find one of the most beautiful sanctuaries in Italy: the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes

The Sanctuary stands where the former Fort of San Leonardo, an Austrian fortress, once stood. In 1958 the former fort was converted into a Sanctuary, to house the statue of the Madonna, salvaged from the former Church of Santa Teresa alle Stimate. 

While the Church was destroyed during World War II bombings, the statue of the Madonna miraculously remained intact amidst the bombed ruins.

From the large square in front of the sanctuary, surrounded by cypress trees, there is a breathtaking panoramic view of Verona. Here you will be immersed in a magical and transcendental atmosphere. You will find the joy and pleasure of resting, breathing in and experiencing moments of rare beauty, far from the chaos of the city. 

7. Relaxing in ​​Piazza San Zeno

Verona like a local. Relaxing in ​​Piazza San Zeno

San Zeno is one of the most loved and appreciated neighbourhoods in Verona. It is located close to the historic centre but at the same time outside the chaos. It is in an optimal position to reach the centre in a short time.

Piazza San Zeno is dominated by the Basilica of San Zeno Maggiore. The Basilica is a masterpiece of Romanesque art, characterised by its high Romanesque bell tower and the red 13th-century tower, which was part of an ancient Benedictine abbey.

Several benches are positioned in the shade of the trees, making it a perfect place to stop and relax for a while while enjoying a delicious ice cream. From here you can then admire the façade of the Basilica and the other monuments.

In addition, every first Sunday of the month, the open-air "Verona Antiquaria" vintage market takes place here. An unmissable opportunity!

6. Climbing up the steps and through the cypresses to discover Colle San Pietro

Verona like a local. Climbing up the steps and through the cypresses to discover Colle San Pietro

Staircase in Colle San Pietro

We have already mentioned the beautiful view from Colle San Pietro. But now we want to talk about the ascent to that hill.

Most people opt to reach the top of Colle San Pietro by cable car, located at its foot. But to climb to the top there is also a long panoramic staircase.

If you want to venture up this climb, which is not strenuous, you can admire the enchanting views that can only be seen from here. 

From Ponte Pietra, you cross the road and then see a narrow, hidden staircase (of 267 steps) that allows you to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and immerse yourself in an atmosphere of peace.

Already as you climb the first few steps, you can immediately notice the special details of the houses that adorn the path, surrounded by flowers and climbing plants. The path is filled with numerous colourful buildings characterised by their elegant balconies.

As you walk up this street, you will also have the opportunity to get unique views of the Roman Theatre.

5. Drinking an aperitif in a Veronese osteria

When you are in the land of spritz, indulging in the art of the aperitif is a must. In Veneto, since ancient times, there has been a tradition of going to drink, as they say in Verona, a gòto (a glass of wine) accompanied by a small snack. 

In Venice, this tradition developed in the bacari, typical taverns where, in addition to a very wide choice of wines by the glass, one can find various typical snacks, called cicchetti. But also in the scaligera city there are several very characteristic and extremely well-stocked places where you can taste small delicacies over the counter and drink excellent wines: the osterie.

To drink an aperitif like a true local, we recommend you go to one of the many osterie (taverns) and taste the excellent wines of Verona, including Amarone della Valpolicella, Soave, and Lugana, to name just a few. Passing through Verona is an unmissable opportunity for wine lovers. You cannot miss out on a full wine-tasting experience if you are among them.

As areas to go to, we recommend Via Sottoriva, along which there are several osterie, and Piazza San Tommaso, if you want to stay off the tourist track. However, there are also typical osterie in the very centre of Verona, along, for example, Via Oberdan!

Find more about Verona food and wine tour

4. Strolling along Via Sottoriva

As a final tip for experiencing Verona like a true local, we suggest the characteristic Via Sottoriva.

Already mentioned earlier as a great place to go for excellent taverns, Via Sottoriva runs along the banks of the Adige River where there were once numerous mills. The street was once at river level and was regularly flooded, as its name suggests (Sottoriva means under-shore).

As you stroll along this quiet little street, you will have the chance to admire picturesque views, with arcades and houses dating back to the 13th and 14th centuries, nice restaurants and trattorias, craft shops and small art and antique shops.

For the entire length of the route, the street is lined on one side with a low ancient arcade, making it one of the most characteristic streets in Verona, with a very medieval appearance.

3. Taking a trip to Valpolicella

Verona come un local. Taking a trip to Valpolicella

If you're heading to Verona, make sure to carve out some time to discover the breathtaking Valpolicella area. This region will captivate your senses with its stunning landscapes and delectable flavours. 

The area boasts picturesque villages where you can learn about the local history and discover some hidden artistic gems. The rolling hills surrounding Verona offer spectacular views, and you can savour the authentic tastes of the local food and wine panorama, too. 

For those who enjoy exploring on foot or by bike, there are plenty of cycling routes and itineraries to choose from. 

Additionally, adventure aficionados can dive into activities such as rafting on the Adige River, taking on the Veja Adventure Park trails, or strolling on the Tibetan bridge suspended between Marano and Sant'Anna d'Alfaedo. 

After a day of exploration, it's time to try Valpolicella's wine production - Amarone, Valpolicella, and Vecioto. It's the perfect way to end your day in this lovely place.

Find more about Amarone wine tasting tour

2. Attending a concert

Verona like a local. Attending a concert

Italian opera singing was declared a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage on 6 December 2023. Verona is one of the cities in Italy most closely associated with this splendid art. 

Verona has a long-standing love affair with great music. The oldest European musical institution, the Accademia Filarmonica di Verona, was founded in 1543 and is still a reference point in the field today. 

The Arena, the Roman amphitheatre symbol of the place, is the unique setting for the Arena Opera Festival. This milestone summer celebration is a magnet for opera lovers from all over the world. 

There are a lot of events from April to October, including the classics of the opera season and concerts by big names in the contemporary music scene. 

Consult the web pages of Fondazione Arena di Verona to discover all the scheduled events.

Visit Arena di Verona: fast track

1. Shopping at the market 

Verona like a local. Shopping at the market 

During the week, there are several street markets in Verona where the Veronesi love to shop and snatch up some bargains. Blend into the crowd of locals and find out the most popular shopping places.

The historic market in Piazza delle Erbe is one of Verona's most famous and picturesque. This square has always been devoted to commerce, and still today, you can find everything from fresh produce to unique souvenirs. It's open from Monday to Saturday, so you have plenty of time to explore the market at your own pace. 

The zero kilometre market is held all week, moving to a different part of the city every day: Via Avogadro on Mondays, Piazza Cittadella on Tuesdays, Piazza del Popolo on Wednesdays, Piazza Penne Nere on Thursdays, Piazza Avesa and Via Villa Cozza on Fridays, and Via Bengasi and Piazza Isolo on Saturdays. 

From Tuesday to Saturday, the mercato rionale is set up in various districts of Verona, offering all kinds of goods. If you're looking for something unique, don't miss the San Zeno Antiques Market, held every month on the first Sunday and the third Saturday from morning until afternoon. Happy shopping!

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