The best free things to do in Verona are woven into the city like a tapestry telling adventurous and fascinating stories. Today’s city has been shaped over many centuries, with Roman monuments, medieval buildings and Hapsburg fortifications all leaving a distinctive mark. Every era resurfaces with its own installations, churches, palaces, art and legends. 

    Walking the streets and squares of the centre, you'll retrace the exploits of powerful characters, popular legends and literary plots that were set in and took inspiration from the city. It's in the streets of Verona that Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet lived. As did Cangrande, a nobleman of Verona, whose home served as a refuge for Dante during his exile. It's an open-air museum, a show that grabs your attention at every turn. Here are some of the best completely free attractions in Verona.

    1

    Piazza dei Signori

    Explore the heart of Verona's history and folk tales

    • Budget
    • History
    • Photo

    Brimming with art and beauty, Piazza dei Signori is an open book on the city's past. This intimate, familiar environment combines historic events with folk tales, as palaces where great names made history intertwine with the destiny of common people. The Monumento a Dante (Monument to Dante) commemorates the poet's stay with Cangrande della Scala in Palazzo del Governo (Government Palace). 

    It was inaugurated in 1865 by Verona's citizens in the early morning, to prevent the Austrian authorities from attending. On the arch leading to Via delle Fogge is a sculpture of doctor and astronomer Fracastoro holding a globe. According to 16th-century legend, the globe will fall on the head of the first man of honour to walk through the arch. It hasn't fallen yet...

    Location: Piazza dei Signori, 37121 Verona VR, Italy

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    2

    Scaliger Tombs

    The funerary monuments of Verona's ancient nobility

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    • History
    • Photo

    The unexpected’s round the corner: turn down a central street and you'll discover a small monumental cemetery in the centre. They're the Arche Scaligere (Scaliger Tombs), where the Della Scala family are buried. The majestic appearance is deliberately eye-catching, although the massive wrought iron railings seem to try to keep you at a distance. Many famous, historic figures of Verona are buried here, in this gothic masterpiece. 

    Above the Chiesa di Santa Maria Antica (Church of Saint Mary 'Antica') entrance is Arca di Cangrande (Arch of Cangrande). Under the 2 stone baldachins in the enclosure are the sarcophagi of MastinoII and Cansignorio. Admire the sculptures and the basreliefs. It's like watching an incredible film except the pictures are sculpted in stone.

    Location: Via Santa Maria in Chiavica, 1a, 37121 Verona VR, Italy

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    3

    Borsari Gate

    The city entrance in Roman times makes a beautiful photo

    • Budget
    • History
    • Photo

    To unearth traces of Verona’s Roman past, walk through Borsari Gate, the city's ancient entrance at the start of Corso Cavour. Here, Via Postumia, the thoroughfare between the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Adriatic, became Verona's main street, which helped to establish the urban road network in the city. 

    Porta Borsari (Borsari Gate) is well preserved. Picture the majesty of the building, accommodating guards and customs officers, that framed it. It was spread across 3 floors, with an internal courtyard and double walkway. Being near a temple to Jupiter, the Romans called it Porta Iovia. It's now known by the name given by Verona's inhabitants in medieval times when the bursarii (officials who collected the customs duty for the bishop) resided here.

    Location: Corso Porta Borsari, 57A, 37121 Verona VR, Italy

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    4

    Verona Cathedral

    A Romanesque masterpiece with a touch of the Renaissance

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    • History
    • Photo

    With its distinctive white and pink marble and tuff colouring, Duomo di Verona (Verona Cathedral) is one of Verona’s most photogenic landmarks. The facade makes the perfect selfie backdrop! In an ancient part of the centre, it's said there are Roman mosaics under the cloister floor. This Romanesque church was built in medieval times with some elements added in the 16th century, like the mullioned windows and rose window. 

    The bell tower is the product of several interventions: the base is the oldest, the middle is Renaissance, with the top was added last century. But look carefully and you'll notice it's unfinished. Some believe they wanted it to remain shorter than the emblematic Torre dei Lamberti (Lamberti Tower). Others say they ran out of money.

    Location: Piazza Duomo, 21, 37121 Verona VR, Italy

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    5

    Scaliger Bridge

    A fortress over the Adige

    • Budget
    • History
    • Photo

    Ponte Scaligero (Scaliger Bridge) crosses the Adige and is found level with Castelvecchio. One look and you’ll understand its purpose: to complete the adjacent defensive fortress. This ingenious example of medieval military architecture also features aesthetic and grandiose embellishments, like white stones contrasting terracotta bricks. 

    Arches and battlements make gorgeous selfie backgrounds; your photos are bound to get tonnes of likes. When the Adige's dried up, if you look from the bank of the city centre you'll spot some Corinthian capitals that have been walled up in the base of the first foundation. If the water level's high, you'll be able to see one of the capitals that was extracted from the stonework and placed along the sheltered walkway. Try finding it when you cross the bridge.

    Location: Ponte di Castelvecchio, 37121 Verona VR, Italy

    Open: Tuesday–Sunday from 10 am to 1 pm and 3 pm to 6 pm

    Phone: +39 045 806 8680

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    6

    Porta Palio

    A fortification that's a work of art

    • Budget
    • History
    • Photo

    Walk to the city centre’s southernmost point and you'll be rewarded with the beautiful Porta Palio, a defensive structure built in Doric style in the early 1500s. This masterpiece of military art boasts captivatingly balanced forms. Strangely, it was never really used. It was meant to strengthen a part of the defensive Mura Scaligere (Scaliger Walls) that was deemed weak. But the construction wasn’t finished and the gate almost always remained shut. 

    It's called Porta Palio because it would only be opened for the Palio del Drappo Verde (Palio of the Green Banner), an event with age-old roots. Another peculiar nickname is Porta Stupa, meaning ‘shut’ in the local Verona dialect. Locals called it this as it was hardly ever opened, blocking the water flow when the Adige overflowed.

    Location: Piazzetta Porta Palio, 37138 Verona VR, Italy

    Open: Monday–Friday from 10 am to 5 pm, Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm, Sunday from 1.30 pm to 5 pm

    Phone: +39 045 800 8813

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    7

    Romeo's House

    A tale of love and power struggles

    • Couples
    • Budget
    • History

    Casa di Romeo (Romeo's House) is near Arche Scaligere (Scaliger Tombs) and is a popular spot a romantic picture with your loved one. On the same street as the Tombe Monumentali (Monumental Tombs), on the opposite side of the road, stands an ancient building with impressive battlements, somewhere between a palace and a castle. During the conflicts between the Guelphs and the Ghibellines and rival families in Verona in the 13th–14th centuries, it wasn't unusual for houses to be fortified. 

    They say Juliet's beloved lived here, as Shakespeare's verses echo on a plaque on the door. The medieval building surrounds an inner courtyard. Being privately owned, it's closed to the public. You can, however, walk a few hundred metres from Romeo’s door to Juliet’s balcony – perhaps the most exciting attraction in the history of literature.

    Location: Via Arche Scaligere, 2, 37121 Verona VR, Italy

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    8

    Via Sottoriva

    A beautiful old street with many stone arches to stroll under

    • Budget
    • History
    • Photo

    Via Sottoriva’s not like any old road – you'll feel like you're entering the Middle Ages, step by step. The entire length of the road is flanked by a low-vaulted portico, creating a trick of light and shade between arches and columns. The cobblestones and old houses evoke a time when it was bustling with trade and the hubbub of flour carts. 

    The road runs alongside the riverbank, or sottoriva (under the river) as locals say. On this stretch of the Adige, mills used to operate, grinding grain to make bread. To reach this magical place, head to Basilica di Sant’Anastasia (Basilica of Saint Anastasia) and go towards the apse – the beginning of your journey through time.

    Location: Via Sottoriva, 37121 Verona VR, Italy

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    photo by Marco Zanferrari (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

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    Attractions and experiences recommended in our guides may be affected. Please check local guidance before you travel.

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