Verona is literally made of layers, Roman foundations made up of impressive monuments and evocative ruins. Built upon these foundations are elegant Romanesque churches, Gothic tower houses, and richly decorated palaces from the long and prosperous Venetian period, which form evocative views and beautiful piazzas.
The proposed journey is a fascinating voyage through the historical eras, from ancient Rome to the first decades of the twentieth century. It is also a journey through the architectural and artistic styles, the stories and legends of one of the most beautiful and fascinating Italian cities. The route winds through the streets of the centre, many of these streets containing two thousand year old traces remaining from the time the Romans founded the city and on which two millennia of history and construction have accumulated.
Touching upon the places in which the events of Romeo and Juliet occurred, we have the chance to see l'Arca di Cansignorio or the beautiful church, chiesa di Santa Maria Antica, where the arch of Cangrande stands, surmounted by a high canopyon which towers a statue of the leader on horseback.
At a shortwalk from there, in the same street we find the presumed house of Romeo, a building from the 15th century,which legend indicates as the house of the Montague, the rival family of the Capulets. The Capulet house, on the other hand, we find by entering through Piazza Erbe into Via Cappello, where the so-called House of Juliet stands, with its famous balcony overlooking the courtyard, and the bronze statue of the maiden.
Continuing along Via Leoni, near the bridge Ponte Navi, we find the church, Chiesa di San Fermo Maggiore, which admirably joins the Romanesque and Gothic styles. A short walk from there takes us to the Tomb of Juliet, situated near an old convent. This is the sentimental centre of the city whichis visited by all romantic tourists from every part of the world. Here,enjoying a good lunch in one of the many local restaurants, one can experience the true specialties and culinary products of Verona. Often these differ from those of the imagination, especially for foreigners and their idea of typical Italian cuisine. More than pasta, in fact, the cuisine of Verona is based on polenta and rice, in fact, the vialone nano, is one of the best rices for risottos.The second stop is the very beautiful Piazza Bra, site of the city's symbol, the Arena di Verona and the numerous historical palaces including the neoclassical Palazzo Barbieri. In front of the palace rises the amphitheatre, testimonial to a glorious past in the Roman era, and which now plays its role as a stage for theatrical productions. The history of these productions includes battles between gladiators in the Roman era, tournaments, and jousting knights in the medieval period, until 1913, when the absolute premiere of a lyric opera opened in the open-air theatre with Aida. It is also possible to climb the steps to the highest point and enjoy a panoramicview of the piazza.
Continuing along Via Roma, we come upon the museum, Museo del Castelvecchio, a huge medieval castle which not only houses numerous paintings and statues of great value, but also has a peaceful and slightly nostalgic atmosphere, enhanced by the grass that grows around the ancient mass and the water of the Adige that surrounds it.
Not only is Verona known for its elegant historical centre, but for centuries, it has also been famous for its warm hospitality. This glorious tradition is now in the hands ofthe restaurateurs and the small roadhouses and restaurants which offer their patrons traditional meals, always with a touch of refined good taste. These typical dishes are: la "peperita", boiled beef with "pearà" (a cheese sauce), risotto with pork, gnocchi with butter, "paparele," tagliatelle with peas or beans, "bigoli" made with sardines, and "pastisada de caval," a stew made withhorse meat. But without a doubt, the highlight of the meals in this area is wine. Because Verona is the leading Italian province for the production of DOC wines, such as Valpolicella, Recioto, Amarone, Soave, Bianco di Custoza, Lugana, Bardolino, Durello, Arcole and Valdadige. Some of the other note worthy typical products from the province are: the rice, "riso vialone nano," "radicchio rosso" and the cheese, Monte Veronese.