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

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

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.


Whilst we work hard to be accurate, and provide the best information possible, we also encourage you to please always check before heading out.


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 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.

About this post on Piazza delle Erbe

This post sets out brief notes about the history of the square along with a list of the popular attractions within this lively square which you should not miss. There’s a Google map below to support your visit.

You can find Piazza delle Erbe located in Verona at 37121 Verona VR, Italy | GPS location codes: 45° 26′ 20.99″ N,  10° 59′ 29.99″ E

Pin on Piazza delle Erbe Verona

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.

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.

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, Verona | ©mytimelessfootsteps

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! To know more about the Torre dei Lamberti and for timeless experience, visit this page to explore options.

1.4 | 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.

Learn more about the Mazzanti House from this page which 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 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. Learn more about the Palazzo Maffei Museum, Verona from this page where there are useful information to support your travel plans, including opening times and how to purchase your tickets

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.

St Mark's Lion, Piazza delle Erbe, Verona

St Mark’s Lion, Piazza delle Erbe, Verona | ©timelesstravelsteps

3.4 | Torre del Gardello

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.

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

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

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

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

Berlina.chain.verona
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 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 stands 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
info@ristorantemaffei.it

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


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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.

Unique Experiences when visiting Piazza delle Erbe | 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:

Verona City Walking Tour
Classic bike tour of Verona City
Hop 0n Hop Off 24 or 48 hours Verona city

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.

Below is a choice of carefully selected day trip activities for you to consider.

From Verona Amarone wine tour and lunch
sirmione and lake garda day trip from verona
Dolomites day trip from Verona

My sincere wish is that this post is valuable to you in planning your visits to Verona. If so please let me know in comments below or via Contact Form, 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, and as always your support is much appreciated.

Have a splendid time exploring Piazza delle Erbe and Verona 🙂


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Piazza delle Erbe | Verona City Guide | Things to do in Verona first published at timelesstravelsteps.com and is regularly updated. Latest update 2 July 2021

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Torre dei Lamberti | Lamberti Tower | Verona

Torre dei Lamberti | Lamberti Tower | Verona

Just off the beautiful bustling square of Piazza delle Erbe in the romantic city of Verona is Torre dei Lamberti or simply the Lamberti Tower. It is a remarkable medieval clock tower and an important piece of architecture in Verona’s urban structure. At 84 metres high, the Torre dei Lamberti is the tallest tower in the UNESCO listed City of Verona, giving visitors 360-degree panoramic view of the beautiful city. Views that should not be missed when visiting this beautiful city.

Torre dei Lamberti | Verona |
Torre dei Lamberti, Piazza delle Erbe, Verona – image by timelesstravelsteps

Whilst we work hard to be accurate, and provide the best information possible, we also encourage you to please always check before heading out.

Torre dei Lamberti – a brief history

Although the Lamberti Tower is 84 metres high today, it wasn’t always at this height. During its 800 year old history, the structure had gone through many architectural changes.

The Lamberti family, powerful nobles in the 12th century were instrumental for the construction of this monument which began in 1172. The architecture is typical of the era, Romanesque in brick and alternating with tuff. This is still visible in the lower part of the tower.

At the time it was constructed, the tower was merely 37 metres high. It was integrated into the Palazzo del Consiglio and equipped with two bells. The bells, Rengo and Marangona were installed in 1295. The tower then inherited a new name, “Torre delle Campane.”

However, lightning struck the top of the tower in 1403 which subsequently led to a long restoration period which began in 1448 and ending 16 years later. A significant addition to the tower during this construction was the octagonal bell chamber in brick and white marble that can be seen today. With a height of 84 metres, the Torre dei Lamberti did not have a clock then. A clock was added in 1779, only to replace the non-working clock of nearby Torre Gardello.

The working clock at Torre dei Lamberti, Verona

The Tower is open to public since 1972.

What to experience at the Torre dei Lamberti

Given its heritage and location in a centre that was once a Roman forum, the Lamberti Tower is a popular attraction and a visit is highly recommended. You could easily skip the line and visit the Tower at your leisure.

A visit could be either during the day or in the evening.

During the day, the Tower is a historic monument attracting visitors to its unique position of overlooking the historic city of Verona. In the evening it becomes a magical place reserved for businesses who want an exclusive and unique experience – to enjoy the sunset over snacks and bubbles.

2.1| A day visit to the Lamberti Tower

The Tower is open to the public everyday except December 25th. A visit during the day and you will experience one of the most beautiful sea of terracotta roofs. A jumble of colours from pale terracotta to a deeper reddish-brown, with views of Piazza delle Erbe, churches and houses. Simply spectacular.

Verona's skyline from Torre dei Lamberti
View from Torre dei Lamberti | Verona

Besides the sweeping views of the city, there is the 13th century bells in the belfry.

The historical bells of Torre dei Lamberti
The historical bells at Torre dei Lamberti | Verona

The Rengo which is the largest bell, was used to call the Arrengo (city council) and the army during emergencies. The current bell replaced the original bell in 1557.

The Marangona sounded during fires and at the start and end of the work day. It was originally cast in 1272 and replaced in 1557. The current bell replaced the original in 1833.

Pro tip: Visit the Lamberti Tower in the evening for a magical experience of the sunset over the historic City’s skyline.

How to access the terraces of Torre dei Lamberti

To access the terraces and the belfry, you can either take the stairs, 368 steps or the lift. Taking the lift is convenient. It is transparent, giving you an opportunity to admire the architecture as you ascend.

2.2 | View of the Lamberti Tower in the evening/at night

In the evening, the Lamberti Tower is lit up and it seems almost extraordinarily beautiful against the dark skies.

Torre dei Lamberti at night
Torre dei Lamberti, Piazza delle Erbe at night. Image by georgina_daniel

When visiting the Lamberti Tower, and afterwards or before, go over next door to Palazzo della Ragione.

Palazzo della Ragione

Palazzo della Ragione is a spectacular building with a large courtyard in the centre. Built in the 12th century, the palace was once a public building, home to the City Hall, housing offices of the Magistrates’ Court and Court of Assize. It is located in the southeast corner of the ancient Roman forum, between Piazza delle Erbe and Piazza dei Signori.

palazzo della ragione
Stairs of Reason, Palazzo della Ragione, Verona

One of the main features of the Palazzo is the “Stairs of Reason” (Scala della Ragione). These stairs, Gothic in architecture is said to have led to the law courts which were once within the building.

The large courtyard, Old Market Courtyard (Cortile del Mercato Vecchio) is an old market square that dates back to the 15th century.

Presently, the Palazzo della Ragione is home to the Museum of Modern Art (Galleria d’arte moderna Achille Forti). The museum features modern works of art from the collection of Achille Forti & other major patrons.

Note: The Modern Art Gallery is closed on Mondays


Practical information on Torre dei Lamberti

Location and Contact:

Via della Costa, 2
37121 Verona VR
Italy

Tel +39 045 927 3027

Opening hours:

MON – FRI
10.00 am – 6.00 pm

SAT – SUN
11.00 am – 7.00 pm

Bank Holiday
11.00 am – 7.00 pm

Last admission 45 minutes before closing

Tickets:

Full priced tickets are €8.00 and includes admission to the Modern Art Gallery.

On Mondays, tickets are reduced to €5.00

If you have a Verona Card, entry to Torrei dei Lamberti is free but access is via stairs only. You can pay €1.00 if you want to use the lift.

A singular entry tickets are also available and comes with access to the Modern Art Gallery. It is valid for one day.


On a final note

A visit to the Tower of Lamberti is highly recommended because of the panoramic views that it affords a visitor. Moreover, in the evenings, the sight is almost magical as you see the sun setting over the city’s skyline.

When visiting Verona, you may be considering a stay for a few days and looking for suggestions. Take a look at the following three hotels in Verona which offers unique features for its visitors.

In addition, if you are wondering how to get around Verona, I have you covered as well – a detail and comprehensive guide to getting around Verona is available for your perusal.

As for things to do in Verona – there are just so many unique experiences for you to discover but here are three that are good value for money:

Verona City Walking Tour
Cooking class in Verona
Classic bike tour of Verona City

Along with things to do in the city, you may also want to explore a little further from the city. Take a look at the following for an authentic Veronese experience:

From Verona Amarone wine tour and lunch
sirmione and lake garda day trip from verona
Dolomites day trip from Verona

Explore more opportunities to discover the historic city of Verona to suit your itinerary


Have a fantastic time exploring the Torre dei Lamberti and the city of Verona. If this article was valuable to your travel plans, use the links to book your flights, rails, places to stay or things to do. We earn a commission from qualifying purchases at no cost to you. As always, we appreciate your support.


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Torre dei Lamberti | Lamberti Tower | Verona first published at timelesstravelsteps.com and is regularly updated. Last updated 3 July 2021

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Mazzanti Houses, Verona | Things to do in Verona

Mazzanti Houses, Verona | Things to do in Verona

One of the oldest in the charming city of Verona, in northern Italy, the Mazzanti Houses is a group of frescoed Renaissance houses. The building is breathtakingly beautiful, painted in both subtle and vibrant colours. They are located from via Mazzanti and all the way round to Corso Sant Anastasia, facing one of the most famous historical squares in Verona, Piazza delle Erbe.

This post lays out a little background to the Mazzanti Houses and what it is today in Piazza delle Erbe. Along with this brief overview, included are information on Albergo Mazzanti, a popular accommodation amongst visitors and tourists who want to experience the authentic Veronese style and culture.

Mazzanti Houses Verona

A little background to Mazzanti Houses Verona

The Mazzanti Houses date back to the middle ages, around 1300s to the Scagliari (Scala) family. The Scala family were not the lords of Verona yet at this time but they were very influential in the economic and political life of Verona. The Scala family used the building to store wheat. The bottom of the building were used as shops. It was passed on to the Gonzaga family who then sold it to the Mazzanti family in 1527.

Casa Mezzanti | Mazzanti Houses | Verona
Mazzanti Houses, Verona

Mazzanti Houses today

Today, the Mazzanti Houses stand testament to what Verona was in the 1500s – urbs picta, a painted city. Almost all the dwellings in Verona during this period had their front walls brightly painted with frescoes so passers-by could stop to see and admire. This was common amongst the wealthy and the Veronese nobles.

A look at the Mazzanti houses and you will instantly be intrigued by the many frescoes of mythological and allegorical scenes painted by Alberto Cavalli. For some, these images may tell a story and find them interesting while for some, these could be an eye-sore, yet others may not even give it any attention! Nevertheless, it is a colourful collection from the middle ages that blends well with the historical and delightful Piazza delle Erbe.

Mazzanti House frescoed wall
Above & below photos: Frescoed walls, Mazzanti Houses, Verona
Mazzanti Houses.frescoed walls.Verona

The ground floor is still home to shops but shops of a different kind – restaurants serving delicious mouthwatering pastas and seafood linguine (there’s lots more on the menu of course 🙂 ) with additional seating on the first floor.

Restaurants on the ground floor of Mezzanti House \ Verona
©georgina_daniel

Restaurants line the perimetre of Piazza delle Erbe, Verona

Note: The first floor rooms are small (as to be expected of medieval homes) but the tables were arranged in a way that there was just enough room to go around. My visit was off-season, in November. The restaurants were not busy and we could easily get a table without having to wait.


Piazza delle Erbe is a vibrant square and if you want to experience an authentic Veronese culture, staying in the heart of the square even for one night will be an enriching experience. You may wish to consider Albergo Mazzanti.


Albergo Mazzanti, Verona

Albergo Mazzanti is a 3-star superior hotel located in the heart of enchanting Verona. It is popular among tourists because the best of the beaten path are all within a few minutes reach. The infamous balcony of Shakespeare’s star-struck lovers is located less than one kilometre (200 yards) away. The world famous open-air amphitheatre is also less than five-minutes walk. Being close to everything means that there will probably be no need for use of public transportation to get to the attractions.

The non-smoking hotel is inviting and decorated with warm and pleasing colours. It’s refined decor goes well with the history of the square. With a buffet breakfast, friendly staff and 10% discount at Caffè Dante Bistrot, you are sure to have one of the best memories of your vacation in Verona.

Albergo Mazzanti | Verona
Albergo Mazzanti, Verona

To book your stay at Albergo Mazzanti for a memorable experience, checkout their discounts and offers on this page


Very best places to stay at Verona

If you would like to peruse a greater selection of accommodations in Verona, there are seven accommodations which have been carefully selected for you. Each has a unique feature. Some includes rooftop access for a beautiful sunset view over the Verona Arena. Or if you are a Romeo and Juliet fan, you may want to stay at Il Sogno di Giulietta which overlooks the most popular balcony in the world!

Three of the seven hotels are appended below.


Unique experiences and things to do in Verona

While staying in Verona, you may want to experience the best of the city. There are so many ways how you could do that. I have selected some unique experiences which are popular with our clients. You may like to experience some of them as well. Peruse the choices below:

Verona City Walking Tour
Classic bike tour of Verona City
Cooking class in Verona

When visiting Verona, plan ahead and include a day trip in your itinerary. Many tourists to the city just don’t go beyond and miss out on the beautiful landscape and culture of the Veneto region. Do a day trip! Here is a selection to get you started.

Dolomites day trip from Verona
sirmione and lake garda day trip from verona
From Verona Amarone wine tour and lunch

Plan ahead:

Travel resources at a Glance

Planning your dream vacation? Excellent! Here are all the Resources and Practical information you need for your self-guided or guided vacation.

Flights

I have a few choices. Search Google flights because they offer very competitive prices. You could also try Opodo for cheap airfares. For special experiences, go to On the Beach and Jet2Holidays.

Accommodations

My favourite website for booking hotels is booking.com – I love their flexible cancellation policy which means I’m covered till the last minute. I also like that the totals show up for the whole stay so it helps me budget better. Other favourites of mine are Millennium & Copthorne Group of Hotels and Resorts for their consistent high quality accommodations and service. You could also take a look at the Radisson Hotels chain that caters for all budget.

Unique experiences & tours

My all time go to resource for unique experiences and tours is Get your Guide. I am also a fan of Viator for their special deals.

Travel insurance

Never travel without travel insurance and never overpay for travel insurance! I use and recommend World Nomads for your travel insurance needs. They even insure on the go. Before purchasing any any travel policy, read through the terms to ensure that the plan is right for you and your trip.

Travel essentials

Never travel without these! I use and fully endorse all the products on this page but especially: High powered wireless power bank, Universal travel adapter and unlimited portable pocket wifi.


Have a splendid time exploring Verona 🙂

More on Verona

Verona Arena | Verona at a Glance
Maffei Palace Verona
Piazza Bra Verona at a Glance
Piazza Erbe Verona at a Glance

Peruse all articles on Verona City Guide – A Complete one-stop resource

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Mazzanti Houses Verona
mazzanti houses verona
mazzanti houses verona
mazzanti houses verona

Mazzanti Houses, Verona | Things to do in Verona first published at timelesstravelsteps.com. Last update July 2021


The colourful collection of Mazzanti Houses in Verona tells a story from times past. While for some it may be an eyesore, it blends well with the delightful surrounds of the city's famous Piazza Erbe | Mazzanti Houses Verona | Historic Mazzanti Houses | How to stay in Mazzanti House | Importance of Mazzanti Houses | Where is Mazzanti House | Visit Verona | Piazza delle Erbe | Mazzanti House Piazza Erbe | via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/The colourful collection of Mazzanti Houses in Verona tells a story from times past. While for some it may be an eyesore, it blends well with the delightful surrounds of the city's famous Piazza Erbe | Mazzanti Houses Verona | Historic Mazzanti Houses | How to stay in Mazzanti House | Importance of Mazzanti Houses | Where is Mazzanti House | Visit Verona | Piazza delle Erbe | Mazzanti House Piazza Erbe | via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/

Verona Arena | A piece of medieval marvel that can’t be missed

Verona Arena | A piece of medieval marvel that can’t be missed

Renowned as a Veronese monument, the Verona Arena (Arena di Verona) is the oldest and the largest open-air amphitheatre in the world. This Roman marvel is impressive from all angles and it is a spot in Verona that must be experienced.

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The ancient marvel, Verona Arena was constructed in the 1st century and is one of the best preserved of its kind. It sits in Piazza Bra, dominating the heart of the city. The formidable structure looks spectacular both during the day and at night. It was once used for spectacles of gladiator fighting, now Opera performances takes place in the summer months at dusk. An absolute piece of medieval marvel that can’t be missed when visiting Verona.

Come along with me to take a very brief look at its 2000 years of history and discover ways on how you can experience this ancient monument in Verona.

Verona Arena

Verona Arena: An ancient monument of 2000 years of history

The 1st century amphitheatre known simply as Arena was built around 30 AD during the reign of Augustus Caesar. During his reign, the city of Verona was part of the Roman Empire’s expansion. Located between Milan and Venice together with its strategic location on the Adige River, Verona was used as a base for controlling the northern territories.

The Roman’s built Verona on an organized grid plan, with two main gates, and surrounded it with defensive walls. Bridges were built across the Adige River but most notable of their creations is an amphitheatre. Just outside of the city walls, an amphitheatre was constructed. Verona Arena.

1 | The Romans and About the Amphitheatre

In Ancient Rome, an amphitheatre was an important structure. It was a meeting point, where the settlement gathers to watch spectacles of entertainment like a circus, a tournament or festivals. An amphitheatre kept everyone happy. Having one just outside of the city walls meant that lots more people from the neighbouring settlements and cities could come without threatening the peace of the City of Verona.

In its original architecture, the Verona Arena comprised of three tiers of arches at a height of 30 metres. The external dimensions of the structure was 152 x 123 metres. The monument was the third largest Roman amphitheatre at that time, after the Colosseum and Capua. The tiers of the amphitheatre are all made of Veronese marble, pink and white stones sourced from Valpolicella. The Verona Arena is said to have accommodated almost 30,000 spectators for festivals, circus acts, dancing and music. The theatre hosted all kinds of games and tournaments especially equestrian games. Above all, the spectacles that drew most attention were blood sports, notably the gladiator show, where two trained combatants would fight each other to death.

Later, more defense walls were built to protect the city from invaders and the amphitheatre was included inside of its walls. It was a good thing too, as all the surrounding settlements and towns were destroyed while Verona stood firm.

2 | After the Romans (500 – 1000 AD)

The Romans lost power in the 5th century. Verona was then ruled by the Goths, the Lombards and the Vatican until around 1000 AD. Buildings and monuments were added to the city century after century. The City of Verona grew but the Arena did not. Gladiator fighting was banned and the Arena stood empty for centuries.

The unused Arena was pillaged for building materials. The bricks and stones were much needed for building other structures and for Verona’s growth. Largely, the Arena stood as a free source of materials.

3 | Disaster strikes!

After surviving the screaming, stomping fans, several wars, and as a resource of building materials, the Arena was hit by a massive earthquake. On January 3, 1117 AD an earthquake rated at VII (very strong) on the Mercalli Intensity Scale struck northern Italy and Germany. The outer wall of the Arena was partially destroyed as a result. The surviving wall was later damaged in another earthquake of 1183. Only four arches of the outer wall still remains.

4 | The Scala Family – 13th to 14th century

Following the Battle of Legnano in 1176, Verona gained autonomous status. As a result, the economy boomed and the city attracted many wealthy and prominent families who invested and grew the city. Amongst them, the Scala Family, who ultimately ruled as lords of Verona from the mid 13th century through to 14th century.

With more money flowing in the economy, the Scala’s began using the Arena. It was primarily used as a public trial area, and disputes solved through combat.

5 | Verona Arena in the 15th century

However, the fighting among Verona’s wealthy families brought them all down, making it easy for the Venetian Republic to take over at the start of 15th century. Under the Venetian, new laws were passed making it illegal to vandalize the Arena. During this period, the Arena provided cheap housing for prostitutes who kept the place nice and beautiful.

6 | A market place in the 16th century

In the 16th century, the prostitutes made way for small shops, artisans, blacksmiths, hair-dressers, jewellers and mechanics. The open-air Arena became an open-air market where you could go to get your horses hoofed, buy your wife a necklace or for snacks. Essentially it was a place where you could get all your shopping done at once.

It seems that some arches still housed mechanics and other shops until the mid-20th century.

Verona Card graphic

7 | Napoleon

In 1797, Napoleon took over Verona for the length of the Napoleonic Wars until the Austrians won it in 1815. Napoleon used the Arena for purposes other than culture (concentration camp for prisoners).

8 | The Arena finally finds its purpose – 1822

1822 is known as the year of the first ever Opera performance in the open-air amphitheatre. The Arena lends itself well to opera. Though it’s huge, it has remarkable acoustics – performers do not use microphones!

9 | Opera at Verona Arena – August 10, 1913

Although the opera performances began in the 1800’s the Arena was still mostly unused for almost a century. The first performance that set the start of the Opera Festival at Verona Arena was on August 10, 1913. The first performance of Aida organised by Giovanni Zenatello and Ottone Rovato to commemorate the 100th birthday of Giuseppe Verdi. 

Besides pauses during the First and Second World Wars, the Arena has been hosting summer Opera festivals ever since.


That’s just a brief history of a monument of 2000 years or so.


Verona Arena today

The Verona Arena continues to play host to a variety of cultural events. It’s famed annual summer festival of Opera performances (June to September) is well-worth a visit if you could get hold of some tickets. Take a look below.

Verona Arena Opera Festival 2021

From August 6 2021 the Arena Opera Festival 2021 is on stage with five amazing opera titles and many special Night in the spectacular setting of the Verona amphitheatre. Tickets might be available if you are planning a visit. Take a look at the program and seat availability at the official website Arena di Verona.

Alternatively, you could purchase an Opera package here. (More on this below)

Pro tip: Verona Arena will be used as the closing ceremony for the 2026 Winter Olympics in Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo. If you’re a fan of winter sports, this would the perfect opportunity to see a different type of performance at the arena.

Ways to experience this ancient monument of 2000 years of history on its back

This Roman amphitheatre is every bit as impressive as it sounds and you will not be disappointed by its experience. It’s huge, different, medieval with modern adaptations but above all, the walls and passages speak of tales and mysteries which can only be imagined.

inside.verona.arena
inside.verona.arena.2

Inside Verona Arena

There are three ways to experience this piece of medieval marvel:

1 | Arena di Verona Opera Package Ticket

Pick up this opera evening package and enjoy a lovely evening at the open-air amphitheatre where Luciano Pavarotti, Maria Callas, and many other tenors and sopranos from all over the world have had the pleasure of singing and performing. I can only imagine it to be one of the best experiences that one could have.

Simply exchange your voucher at gate 16 of the Arena between 5:45 PM to 8:45 PM (desk Montebaldo) any day that an opera is playing. In your package, you will receive a ticket for the opera, a 1-hour Verona city guide (starting at 6:00 PM), a transport-service ticket, as well as all the assistance you may need for a perfect experience in the city. 

2 | Verona Card

Verona Card graphic

You can purchase a Verona Card for 24 or 48 hours and explore the City at your own pace. The Verona Card gives you skip-the-line priority access to the Verona Arena and other monuments as well. You have unlimited access to the ATV transport system. Personally, I find the Verona Card to be a bargain. You can peruse further of what it offers and buy it here.

3 | Guided Tour of Verona Arena

If you want to learn more about this monument from an expert, then join a guided tour. This guided tour is with a licensed guide and lasts half-an-hour with priority access. Hear about the famous operas and some of the stories that took place behind the walls.


Practical information for when visiting Verona Arena

Spectators with limited mobility or disability can have access to some seats in the stalls or the numbered stone steps at a special rate, along with the person accompanying you. Medical proof is required. Go to this page for a full guide on Spectators with Disabilities.

If your ticket is for a stone step seat, it is best to wear long (trousers) or long skirts to cover your legs, to avoid bruises or discomfort. Bring a cushion along and water/snacks.

Location: Piazza Bra 1, 37121, Verona Italy | Tel: +39 045 800 5151 | Nearest station: Verona Porta Nuova Station


My thoughts…

Verona is known as the City of Opera because of the ancient marvel, Arena. It is one of the most astonishingly preserved monument in the world. While we cannot watch gladiator fights or get the horses hoofed, we can certainly spend hours exploring or just sitting in the gallery to feel how it must have been way back then to witness any of the spectacles.

I sincerely hope that a visit to this medieval marvel will cement a perfect vacation to Verona.


Now, it’s your turn 🙂

What do you think? Is this post valuable to you in planning your visit to the Verona Arena? Have I missed anything that ought to be included? If so please let me know in comments below or via Contact Form, I would love to hear from you. As well, if you’d found any of the suggestions useful, do use the links to book your stay, activities and anything else as this will help TTS earn a commission on qualifying bookings at no cost to you at all. As always, we at TTS appreciate your support.

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Have a splendid time exploring Verona Arena!

Georgina xx


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