Piazza delle Erbe | Verona City Guide | Things to do in Verona

Piazza delle Erbe – An Unmissable Bustling Historic Market Square

Once known as the painted city, Verona is an endearing UNESCO World Heritage City in the Veneto region of Northern Italy. A visit to this charming city and you will instantly fall in love with its medieval piazzas! Located just a stone’s throw from the famous balcony of Shakespearean fictional star-crossed lovers is Piazza delle Erbe.

Piazza delle Erbe is one of the two popular historic market squares in the heart of Verona that is two-thousand years old! Surrounded by astonishingly beautiful architecture, Piazza delle Erbe is a bustling market square. An ideal place to shop at the daily market or dine at some of the best restaurants in Verona. A popular meeting point for Veronese since Roman times, it continues to be pivotal for their daily passeggiata. Moreover, many of the streets that cross Verona lead to the square, and you are likely to pass through here either by coincidence or by planning.

Piazza delle Erbe should top your list to Verona because it is more than a cultural spot of experience. It is a frequent stop for guided walking tours and bike tours by licensed tourist guides also.

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A little about Piazza delle Erbe

Located in the historic centre of a city founded in the first century BC by the Romans, Piazza delle Erbe or “square of herbs” is a long narrow “square” which lies above what was originally a Roman forum.

The forum was a square where two main boulevards (cardus maximus and decumanus maximus) crossed. It is the heart of every Roman city, representing the public, social and economic life of its people. Around the forum sits public palaces such as basilica, administrative buildings and capitolium, the main temple of the city. In the centre of the forum, the square is where people would meet to discuss politics, business, or shop at the market stalls.

Development of the square through the centuries to Piazza delle Erbe

Following the collapse of the Roman Empire in the Middle Ages, the function of the square as a forum changed slightly. While it retained its importance as a socio-economic centre of Verona, the square changed shape and became a smaller and misshaped rectangular. At the centre, developed a market selling spices and herbs. The herbs giving the square its name, Piazza Erbe which literally means Herbs square. Herbs were the prime commodity traded at the time but all sorts of trading took place also.

Timeless Travel Steps Best Tips: Piazza Erbe

Eat your way through the city and see all the landmarks in Verona

Modern day Piazza delle Erbe

Through the centuries Piazza delle Erbe developed to be the living heart of the city, both economically and politically. The square is surrounded by beautiful buildings from medieval times, bell towers and there are some significant monuments located within the square as well.

Piazza delle Erbe

A modern day Piazza delle Erbe, off season 2019

Sailko / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)
Angelo dall’oca bianca, piazza delle erbe, 1903 | Sailko / CC BY-SA

What to expect at the Square

A bustling market is very much present these days. You hear the cries of the vendors from the market stalls set-up everyday under the characteristic umbrellas, immortalised by the painter, Angelo Dall’Oca Bianca (picture above). The stalls, perhaps not selling so much spices and herbs but more of fresh fruits and vegetables along with souvenirs. Many grab an espresso or a cappuccino and snacks from nearby cafes and soak-in the atmosphere under the iconic umbrellas.

Pro tip: Explore the flavours of Veronese cuisine at Caffè Dante Bistrot. Their delicious menu is specially prepared by their in-house chef.

During the day the square is crowded mostly with tourists, but in the evening the touristic crowd subsides, making way for a more local crowd observing the traditional Italian social ritual of passeggiata. The boys and girls of Verona, both young and old meet outside the bars that open along the perimeter of the square to have an aperitif and a chat. A bit like the “happy hour” of Veronese of two thousand years ago.

While for most visitors, immersing in the atmospheric Piazza delle Erbe and the Veronese culture of people-watch over a cup of espresso or cappuccino is usually enough, there are some immensely beautiful architecture, monuments and buildings that surrounds the square which should not be missed. Following is a list of some of the highlights of the square. Look-out for these attractions as the Piazza delle Erbe is more than a spot of culture.

Timeless Travel Steps Best Tips: Piazza Erbe

With the Verona City Card, you will gain Priority Entry to the Verona Arena and the Lamberti Tower along with entry to museums as well as free local transportation – these and so many other benefits. Explore more and pre-purchase before travelling to Verona > Verona City Card.

What to see, do and experience at Piazza delle Erbe

1 | North of the Square

On the northern side of the square sits the ancient town hall, the Torre dei Lamberti, the Casa dei Giudici (Judges Hall) and the splendidly painted Mazzanti Houses. Of these, the highlights are the Torre dei Lamberti and the Mazzanti Houses, but of course, explore the others as well if time permits and if you would like to do so.

1.1 | Torre dei Lamberti

Torre dei Lamberti | Verona |
torre dei lamberti | piazza delle erbe

Torre dei Lamberti, often referred to as the “Tower of Love” is a eight-hundred year old tower that stands at eighty-four metres. It is the tallest building in Verona. As the tallest building in Verona, it offers unrivalled views of the city. To get a 360-degree and unrivalled views of the city, climb the 368 steps to the top of the tower!

READ: All about the Lamberti Tower and explore best options to experience the amazing views over Verona

1.2 | Mazzanti House

Casa Mezzanti | Mazzanti Houses | Verona
Casa Mezzanti, Piazza delle Erbe, Verona | ©timelesstravelsteps

The Mazzanti House is a group of Renaissance houses that is also one of the oldest in the historic city of Verona. These breathtakingly and beautifully painted houses date back to the middle ages, to the Scagliari (Scala) family.

Today, the Mazzanti House stands testament to what Verona was in the 1500s – urbs picta, a painted city. The ground floor is made up of restaurants serving delicious mouthwatering pastas and seafood linguine (there are lots more on the menu of course 🙂 but these were exceptional) with additional seating on the first floor.

READ: The Mazzanti House. Includes how to visit and book your stay in one of Veronese most popular hotels.

2 | North West of the Square

From historical documents, it is understood that the ancient Roman Capitol Hill on the north-west of the square looked towards the forum. Many of its buildings, such as the Mazzanti House remained now with its frescoed facade.

3 | West of the Square

West of the square is home to the baroque Palazzo Maffei. It was built by the Maffei family in the 17th century. Facing the Palazzo Maffei is a white marble column, St Mark’s Lion, symbol of the Republic of Venice. Next to Palazzo Maffei, in the corner is an ancient bell clock-tower, Torre del Gardello.

3.1 | Palazzo Maffei

Palazzo Maffei. Verona
Palazzo Maffei, Piazza delle Erbe, Verona decorated with statues of Greek gods | ©timelesstravelsteps

Palazzo Maffei stands on what was once the capitolium of the city. It is a historical palace that has three floors and a rich baroque exterior. Adorned with statues of Greek gods, from the left: Herculese, Jupiter, Venus, Mercury, Apollo and Minerva. The richness of the exterior makes it one of the prettiest buildings in the square.

Once a palace and a private residence, the Palazzo Maffei these days is home to a museum showcasing art collections over five centuries.

To be part of every art lovers journey in Verona, view this magnificent art collection. Include a visit to Palazzo Maffei in your Verona itinerary.

READ: The Palazzo Maffei, a Baroque Masterpiece.

3.2 | St Mark’s Lion, symbol of the Republic of Venice

St Marks's Lion, Piazza delle Erbe, Verona
St Mark’s Lion | Piazza Erbe | Verona

Erected in 1524, sitting atop a white marble column is the sculpture of a winged lion holding a copy of the bible. The lion is the symbol of Venice and represents St. Mark, the patron saint of the city. This is symbolic of the Venetian influence in Verona.

3.3 | Torre del Gardello

Torre del Gardello | Piazza delle Erbe | Verona
Torre del Gardello, Piazza delle Erbe, Verona

Located next to Palazzo Maffei is Torre del Gardello also called Torre delle Ore. It is an ancient clock tower dated to around 1206 and stands to a height of forty-four metres. The tower was restored in 1363 when the Scala family came to power in Verona. A big brass bell was installed in the tower in 1370 and sounded on the hour. In 1421 a clock-face was added to the outer wall.

It is regarded as one of the earliest mechanical bell-clocks installed to operate as a public timepiece. The clock ceased to function in 1661 and the bell was removed in later years.

The brass bell is decorated with scenes of San Zeno’s life. It is now displayed in the Castelvecchio Museum, Verona.

4 | South of the Square

Domus Mercatorum | Mercanti
Casa dei Mercanti, Piazza delle Erbe, Verona

On the southern side, sits  Domus Mercatorum or Casa dei Mercanti (Merchant’s House), on the corner with Via Pellicciai.

The foundation of Domus Mercatorum goes back to 1301 and was built by the influential Scala family when they came into power. The building is made of red bricks and reflects a style typical of the time, with the Ghibelline battlements on top. The ground floor is surrounded by a large porch with arches and columns. Over the centuries, this building had undergone transformation. In 1797, Casa dei Mercanti became the Chamber of Commerce.

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5 | Centre of Piazza delle Erbe

5.1 | Fountain of Madonna Verona

Fountain of Madonna Verona, Piazza delle Erbe, Verona
Fountain of Madonna Verona, Piazza delle Erbe, Verona

In the centre of the square is a landmark and one of Verona’s most important monument, the Fountain of Madonna Verona.

The 14th century Madonna Verona Fountain was assembled in such a way as to constitute an allegorical representation and a highly symbolic tribute to the city. It is topped by an ancient Roman statue of a female figure, Madonna, not the Virgin Mary, but a medieval queen. Mea domina, “my lady” in Latin, shortened in madonna. It was the title of respect used for noblewomen.

The statue of Madonna Verona, the personification of Verona city, holds a bronze scroll in her hand bearing the civic motto of the City of VeronaEst iusti latrix urbs hec et laudis amatrix, that is “this city is the bearer of justice and lover of praise”.

5.2 | La Berlina (Tribuna o Capitello)

piazza delle erbe
La Berlina, Piazza delle Erbe which was used as commercial measures.

Simply known as the Berlina, this ancient structure was once used for ceremonial purposes to swear-in the city’s magistrates. There was a chair in stone placed within the four pillars where the new magistrate would sit for his inauguration. However, the Berlina today is not the original one and has gone through transformation.

This stone podium was raised in 1401 and surmounted by an aedicule. It has the Veronese commercial measures marked in lengths and columns. On the steps and on one of the 16th century pillars, the units of measurement in force in Verona since communal government and until the introduction of the decimal system is still visible.

La Berlina | brick measurement | Piazza delle Erbe

The “mattone” (brick) and the “tegola” (rule) are outlined in one of the steps in the shape of a rectangle. This is where one could check the size of bricks sold in the square.

Any irregularities would result in punishment of heavy fines. There are paving stones in the centre of the square as well which are roughly one metre long and were used to measure exactly how much each stall should pay according to space they occupied.

On one of the pillars hangs a chain that held an iron ring which looks like a punishment chain! Contrary to popular assumptions, this was not used for punishments.

This is where the bundle of firewood would be placed | Berlina, Piazza Erbe

The ring could be opened to contain the exact standard of “fascina” – the bundle of firewood placed on sale. Grooves on the same pillar are the standard units of length.

The La Berlina these days aren’t used for measurements of any kind at all. It is a good place to take a rest, let the kids run around or a good photo spot.

6 | Other attractions at Piazza delle Erbe to take note of

In addition to the above, there are a couple more attractions near Piazza delle Erbe which you may want to experience.

6.1 | The Whale Bone of Arco della Costa

Arco della Costa Piazza Erbe
The Whale Bone suspended on an iron chain, Arco della Costa, Verona

At the entry point between Piazza delle Erbe and Piazza dei Signori hangs a mysterious whale rib in the centre of the medieval Arco della Costa (Arch of the Rib).

The bone is suspended from an iron chain and is said to be hanging there since the 1700s or even before, possibly since the 15th century. No one knows how it got there.  

Legend has it that the bone will fall on the first innocent or truthful person to walk under the archway!

6.2 | Piazza dei Signori

Piazza dei Signori is a significant square in Verona both historically and aesthetically. It is a charming and an elegant square that occupies part of two blocks of the ancient Roman urban grid, close to the ancient forum, now the central Piazza delle Erbe. Architecture here is diverse, Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance. The buildings are connected by arches and walkways.

In the centre of the square standing tall is the statue of Dante. Dante Alighieri, is a medieval Italian poet and philosopher who wrote Divine Comedy. He spent seven years in Verona from 1312 to 1318 following his exile from Florence.

The statue is a symbol of the hospitality Dante received from the powerful and influential Della Scala family. The Piazza dei Signori is often referred to as Piazza Dante by the Veronese. The statue was the work of Ugo Zannoni and was erected in 1865.

Statue of Dante, Piazza dei Signori | Verona | Piazza delle Erbe
Statue of Dante in Piazza dei Signori

Places to Eat at Piazza delle Erbe

As one of Verona’s main attraction and an entertainment square, there’s no shortage of authentic local restaurants at Piazza Erbe. You can easily grab a chair at a table lined alongside the perimeter of the square. Sip a glass of aperitif or sit down with a bowl of truffle risotto with some crunchy bruschetta. Alternatively, dine in for seafood linguine and experience the Veronese hospitality. You will be spoiled for choice here.

However, if you are looking for a special experience where you can dine in style in a medieval palace built in the 1600s and taste the best (really the Best!) truffle risotto or the best lamb chops, then the place you want to be is the Maffei Restaurant. The cellar is said to be one of the best well-stocked in Italy.

Piazza delle Erbe | Maffei Restaurant
Cellar, Maffei Restaurant, Verona

The Maffei Restaurant is a very popular restaurant and you must book before hand, at least a month prior, if you want to dine here.

Contact details:

Maffei restaurant

Piazza Erbe, 38
37121 Verona (VR)
Tel. +39 045 8010015
Fax. +39 045 8005124

Opening hours:

Summer timetable

From 19.00 to 22.30
Open every day

Saturday and Sunday

From 12.00 to 14.30
From 19.00 to 22.30

Maffei Restaurant Tripadvisor reiview

Read: A Complete Guide to Traditional Food in Verona – 16 Best Dishes to try

Places to Stay at and near Piazza delle Erbe

When it comes to selecting a place to stay in Verona, there is an abundance of accommodations to suit every budget. You could select from a wide range of hotels and apartments to suit your itinerary. I have selected three and these are below. For greater choices, navigate to the top 7 places to stay in Verona.

When Visiting Verona

As for things to do, Verona is a wealth of history, architectural delight and a cultural paradise! There are so many things to do here that narrowing of the choices will be a difficult decision. To make your task easier, I have selected some popular activities along with some that I have personally experienced. Peruse them in the comfort of your time. Book the activities just as soon as you know your travel plans. Lock-in your prices and cancel at any time up to 24 hours prior. Here are the selected activities for you to consider:

charming walking tours in Verona | city of Verona |timelesstravelsteps.com
Verona by bike | city of Verona |timelesstravelsteps.com
Valpolicella Winery Visit Verona | timelesstravelsteps.com
Verona wine | timelesstravelsteps.com

One thing that I would highly recommend when considering activities to do is to include a day trip to the outskirts of Verona. The Veneto region is popular for its wineries and a visit to the winery is a popular activity amongst tourists. Another area which is popular and a place where I had one of the best experiences is Sirmione and Lake Garda.

The following articles may also be helpful to you

Best Time to Visit Italy

People and Culture of Italy

Ultimate Guide to Italy

on a final note …

My sincere wish is that this post is valuable to you in planning your visits to Verona. If so I would love to hear from you. If you find my recommendations useful to your travels, please use the links embedded in this post and related post to book your flights, rail, places to stay and activities to do. TTS earns a commission from qualifying purchases at no cost to you at all. As always your support is much appreciated.

Have a splendid time exploring Piazza delle Erbe and Verona 🙂

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Palazzo Maffei Verona | What to do at this Baroque masterpiece

Palazzo Maffei Verona | What to do at this Baroque masterpiece

Updated: Mar 25, 2022

Once a palace and a private residence, the Palazzo Maffei has undergone a complete restoration. The Maffei is one of the most spectacular buildings of its time and stands gallantly overlooking the ancient Piazza delle Erbe. Beyond its doors, a story unfolds, an adventure of art begins, a passion is told offering art lovers a journey from ancient to modern.

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About Palazzo Maffei Verona in a nutshell

palazzo maffei Verona | timelesstravelsteps.com
Palazzo Maffei Verona

Palazzo Maffei is a historical palace that has existed in the current location in Piazza delle Erbe since the 15th century. Among the best known of the ancient Veronese aristocracy, the palace stands elegantly on what was the capitolium of Verona, the main temple of the Roman city founded here in the first century. The building was expanded and built upon with all works completed in the 17th century, more precisely in 1668. The Maffei building has three floors and a rich baroque exterior. Adorned with statues of Greek gods, from the left: Herculese, Jupiter, Venus, Mercury, Apollo and Minerva. The richness of the exterior makes it one of the prettiest buildings in the bustling market square.

Once a palace and a private residence, the Palazzo Maffei these days is home to a museum showcasing art collections over five centuries. The building has undergone a complete restoration of one of the most spectacular buildings of its time. Beyond its doors, a story unfolds, an adventure of art begins, a passion is told offering art lovers a journey from ancient to modern.

What to expect when you visit the Palazzo Maffei today

Palazzo Maffei, Verona
Palazzo Maffei Exhibition, credit to official website of Palazzo Maffei

There are more than three hundred fifty works of art, including two hundred paintings. The museum is also home to sculptures, drawings and important period furniture, antique glass and Renaissance ceramics. Rare pieces of oriental art found here also.

Palazzo Maffei, Verona
Palazzo Maffei, Piazza delle Erbe, Verona

To view this magnificent collection and to include a visit to Palazzo Maffei in your Verona itinerary, below are some useful information to support your planning:

Location & Contact

Piazza Erbe 38-38A,
Verona, Italy
Tel. +39 045 2456959

Opening times

Mon-Fri: 10:00 – 18:00
Sat-Sun: 11:00 – 19:00
Tuesday: closed

Besides the museum at Palazzo Maffei, visitors could treat themselves to an elegant dinner and wine tasting occasion in the cellars of the Roman ruins at the Maffei Restaurant.

Maffei Restaurant at Palazzo Maffei

Maffei Restaurant at Palazzo Maffei
The arch that leads to Maffei Restaurant

Tucked away from the main square, almost hidden if you are not aware of it is the Maffei Restaurant. One way to find it is to lookout for the arch that leads to the restaurant near to St Mark’s column on the square (pictured above).

The menu served at the Maffei Restaurant is an exquisite selection of mouthwatering dishes and desserts. The seafood, fish, pappardelle, lamb chops and the Veneto region’s speciality, risotto Amarone are usually the favourites of them all. The truffle risotto is amazing as well.

Lamb chops | palazzo maffei verona
Lamb chops – one of their popular dishes
risotto.maffei | palazzo maffei verona
Risotto with Castelmagno, Campari and bacon

The Maffei Restaurant caters for special diets also and offers Vegetarian, Vegan along with Gluten free options.

The Maffei is on the  Michelin Guide and has been since 1990. Together with its historic roots, the Maffei Restaurant is a popular destination. It is available for special occasions such as weddings, engagements, and birthday parties. For Romeo and Juliet fans, the Restaurant offers specially curated dinner settings as well.

If you are planning on a dinner at Ristorante Maffei, it is highly recommend that you prebook your day and time to avoid disappointment.

Recommended read: Complete Guide to the City of Verona Italy

The wine cellar at Maffei Restaurant Verona

Piazza delle Erbe | Maffei Restaurant
The cellar at the Maffei Restaurant, Verona

For wine connoisseurs, you wouldn’t want to miss the cellar at the Maffei Restaurant! A cellar immersed in the ancient ruins of the Roman capitolium of Verona is available for wine tasting experience. The cellar at the Maffei Restaurant is said to be the most well-stocked in Italy.

To book a table for a memorable evening at the restaurant or to visit the cellar for exclusive wine tasting experience, the following information is all you need.

Address & Location

Maffei restaurant

Piazza Erbe, 38
37121 Verona (VR)
Tel. +39 045 8010015
Fax. +39 045 8005124

Opening times

Summer timetable

From 19.00 to 22.30
Open every day

Saturday and Sunday

From 12.00 to 14.30
From 19.00 to 22.30

Additional info:

Price range:

£27 – £50

Maffei Restaurant Tripadvisor Reviews

Read: Valpolicella Winery Tours

Practical information when Visiting Palazzo Maffei Verona

1 | Getting to Palazzo Maffei Verona

ATV, Verona | public transport

Palazzo Maffei is located at Piazza delle Erbe. The article on how to Get around Verona – either public transport or by foot is an excellent guide for you to use to navigate the city. The article includes a walking guide to help you easily navigate in this compact city where usually, public transport is not necessary. However, feel free to jump onboard their ATV which is free if you buy the Verona Card. The Verona Card is great value for money as it includes priority entrance to the Verona Arena.

Learn more and buy the Verona Card in advance of your visit. Plan ahead and book your visit to the Verona Arena

2 | Places to stay in Verona

You may wish to consider the following three carefully selected hotels:

Explore: Top hotels to stay at in Verona

3 | Things to do in Verona

There are so many wonderful things to do in Verona – peruse and plan your itinerary from the very best activities to do in Verona.

I sincerely hope that the above has given you a flavour of what to expect should you choose to visit the Palazzo Maffei Verona at Piazza delle Erbe. If you find any of the suggestions useful, do use the links to buy your Verona Card or to go on the suggested tours – Timeless Travel Steps earns a commission at no cost to you, and as always, your support is appreciated.

Have a splendid experience at Palazzo Maffei 🙂

Georgina xx

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Palazzo Maffei Verona | What to do at this Baroque masterpiece first published at timelesstravelsteps.com. Last updated Mar 25, 2022

Palazzo Maffei VeronaPalazzo Maffei Verona