Nestled in Verona’s historic heart, adjacent to the medieval gates of I Portoni della Brà, stands the resplendent Renaissance edifice, Gran Guardia Palace also known as Palazzo della Gran Guardia in Italy. This grand palace is among Verona’s most significant historical structures. Historically utilized for diverse military functions, it now hosts a vibrant array of exhibitions and cultural gatherings. Prominently situated on the southern edge of Piazza Brà, the Gran Guardia Palace is an unmissable landmark.
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TOP PICKS FOR VERONA
For the best experience of Verona, consider these tips:
⭐ STAY at Due Torri Hotel, overlooking the historic centre and enjoy breakfast over sunrise or dinner over sunset from its large roof terrace.
⭐ BOOK Food Walking Tour: Eat your way through Verona, taste their famous wines and see the city’s highlights with a local guide; An all-round experience in one 3.5-hour tour.
⭐ See More! Go to the Dolomites or Sirmione + Lake Garda for a day and be completely awestruck by the scenic views. Transportation is provided so, just sit back, relax, and enjoy. After all, you’re on vacation.
⭐ Download the VERONA CITY PASS for free local transport, including entry to the Arena, Lamberti Tower and museums
The Story of Gran Guardia Palace
Designed by architect Domenico Curtoni, the construction of Gran Guardia Paalce commenced in 1610, originally intended as a venue for reviewing military troops, especially during unfavourable weather, evidenced by its expansive porch. However, financial challenges faced by the Verona municipality led to prolonged construction halts. It wasn’t until 1820 that the works resumed under the direction of architect Giuseppe Barbieri, culminating in its completion in 1853.
This palace played a pivotal role during Italy’s first independence struggle in 1848, providing temporary accommodation for the Austrian military. Spanning two floors with an attic, the palace stretches to a length of eighty-six meters. For those considering adding the Gran Guardia Palace to their travel list, a noteworthy mention is Giuseppe Barbieri’s other architectural marvel: Verona’s Town Hall, the Palazzo Barbieri. Positioned adjacent to the Verona Arena, it graces the eastern expanse of Piazza Brà, a testament to Barbieri’s architectural prowess.
What to see at Gran Guardia Palace
At the Gran Guardia Palace, you are greeted by an architectural tapestry weaving together elements from the Renaissance, Baroque, and Neoclassical periods. The façade of this monumental building distinctly reflects these intertwined eras.
The palace’s ground level proudly displays thirteen robust arches crafted in rusticated ashlar masonry, each spanning a diameter of three-and-a-half meters. These arches echo the design of the Roman amphitheatre. Ascending the structure, one finds expansive rectangular windows adorning the floors, set between paired Doric half-columns. These windows, while modest in size, illuminate the interiors gracefully.
An elegant stone stairway ushers visitors towards the spacious attic porch, which is anchored by twelve pillars and topped with five grand arched windows. This attic feature resembles a regal crown atop the majestic edifice.
Today, the Palazzo della Gran Guardia is a celebrated venue for illustrious exhibitions. While it primarily opens its doors for these showcases, art enthusiasts can also experience other events such as the esteemed art displays and the renowned Verona wine conference, Vinitaly. Exhibits and art presentations span the various floors of the palace, with each room offering unique capacities and atmospheres.
Practical information on Gran Guardia Palace and immediate surrounds
Although the Gran Guardia does not hold scheduled visiting hours, its full calendar of events means it is open to the public almost daily throughout the year.
Address: Piazza Bra, 1, 37121 Verona VR, Italy
|Tuesday (Republic Day)||9:30 am – 8:30 pm; Hours might differ|
|Wednesday||9:30 am – 8:30 pm|
|Thursday||9:30 am – 8:30 pm|
|Friday||9:30 am – 10:30 pm|
|Saturday||9:30 am – 8:30 pm|
|Sunday||9:30 am – 8:30 pm|
|Monday||9:30 am – 8:30 pm|
Phone: +39 045 803 3400
Fun ways to experience Verona, Italy
To truly immerse yourself in Verona, often hailed as the City of Love, consider embarking on guided tours tailored to showcase its treasures. Guided walking or bike tours provide a comprehensive overview of Verona’s iconic landmarks, including the Arena, Piazza Bra, Casa di Giulietta, and Mazzanti House, among others.
For those keen to explore beyond the city’s architectural marvels (though they are undeniably breathtaking), a Wine Tasting tour offers a delightful divergence. The Veneto region, in which Verona resides, is renowned for its distinguished wines, such as Amarone, Recioto, Soave, Prosecco, Valpolicella, and Bardolino. Engaging in such a tour not only acquaints you with these fine vintages but also deepens your appreciation for the region’s rich vinicultural heritage.
Sirmione and Lake Garda is an easy destination from Verona and a popular one for visitors to this region. Studded with pretty harbour towns along the shores of Garda and the narrow cobbled streets together with a 13th century castle in Sirmione makes this half day trip a top activity.
Verona is a city brimming with historical landmarks, romantic allure, and vinicultural treasures. While I’ve touched on the Gran Guardia Palace as part of some highlights, you’ll find the full splendour of this city in my comprehensive guide. For a deeper dive into Verona’s heart and soul, I highly recommend perusing the complete guide to Verona to discover the very best activities and experiences this City of Love has to offer.
You may also want to peruse our highly popular posts about Piazza delle Erbe, Piazza Bra and Mazzanti House. My guide to the traditional Veronese food and food pairings with Verona’s fine wines are a great resource for your pre-trip reading.
Other essential read about Verona and surrounds:
Happy and Safe Travels Always, Wherever Travel Takes You xx
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This post was first published in June, 2020. The last update was on September 28, 2023.