It’s so easy to explore the surrounding cities and regions when you’re staying in Milan. Not only its position is very central and strategic, but the public transport system is definitely one of the best in Europe.
There are many places you can visit in a day when you’re based in Milan, and we have talked about some of them here.
However, one stands out for its uniqueness, and that is Verona.
Verona is a city located in the Veneto region, in the northern part of Italy. It’s about two hours away from Milan by train, and it’s definitely worth the trip.
Why is Verona so special?
The answer is simple: it’s the city of Romeo and Juliet.
This might not mean much to you if you’re not familiar with the story, but Verona is where the famous play by Shakespeare is set.
And even if you’re not a fan of the Bard, you can’t help but be impressed by the city’s beauty.
Verona is like a living postcard, with its ancient buildings, its quaint little streets, and its romantic atmosphere.
It’s the perfect place for a romantic getaway, or even just a day trip if you’re looking to escape Milan for one day.
Indeed, it is quite a small city, or at least the historical center is. This means it is perfect to be explored on foot.
Here’s how you can spend a perfect day in Verona, starting from Milan.
A list of the best things you can do in Verona in one day:
Arena di Verona
The first thing you should do when you get to Verona is visit the Arena.
This is a Roman amphitheater that was built in the 1st century AD, and it’s one of the best-preserved arenas in the world.
This roman amphitheater is one of the symbols of the city and definitely worth a visit.
It is still used today for hosting operas, ballets, and concerts, so check the schedule in advance and, if you’re lucky, you might be able to attend one of the events. Even if you’re not, the Arena is impressive by itself and it’s definitely one of the top things to see in Verona.
After you’ve visited the Arena, make your way to the Old Town.
Verona’s Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it’s easy to see why.
This is where you’ll find most of the city’s historical buildings and monuments, as well as its quaint little streets.
Start your exploration from Piazza Bra, the main square of Verona. It is surrounded by beautiful buildings, such as (besides Arena) Palazzo Barbieri, and Palazzo della Gran Guardia.
Piazza Bra is the perfect starting point for a walking tour of Verona.
Stroll down Via Mazzini, the main shopping street of Verona, full of high-end and high-street shops, cafés, and restaurants.
At the end of via Mazzini, turn left. You will eventually reach Piazza delle Erbe, another lovely square in the city center, where you can admire the Lamberti Tower, the Palazzo Maffei, and the fountain of Madonna Verona.
This is also a great spot for some shopping, as there are many shops and stalls selling souvenirs.
If you’re a fan of Romeo and Juliet, one of the things you absolutely must do in Verona is visit Juliet’s House.
This is the house where, according to the legend, Juliet Capuleti lived. Even though it’s not the house where Shakespeare’s play is set (the story is fictional, after all), it has become a sort of pilgrimage site for fans of the play.
The house is now a museum, and you can visit Juliet’s bedroom, her balcony overlooking the square below, where you will often see tourists re-enacting the famous balcony scene.
Another curious thing you’ll see tourists do there is touch the breast of Juliet’s statue for good luck in love…
If you want to visit Juliet’s House, we recommend buying tickets in advance, as the line can get pretty long.
Ponte Pietra and San Pietro Castle
Walking north from Juliet’s House towards the river, you will find Ponte Pietra, another symbol of Verona. This is a beautiful roman bridge from which you’ll see a gorgeous view of Verona’s skyline. Especially at sunset, it’s so romantic!
From there, you can either walk back to the city center or take the cable car to San Pietro Castle, a hilltop fortress overlooking the city.
The cable car will take you from the heart of historic Verona to the peak of the hill in a little over a minute.
This vantage point was Verona’s ancient city center: from here you can take in a stunning view of the city’s most beautiful and romantic landmarks. The Adige River as it flows beneath Ponte Pietra, as well as the bell towers and buildings of the city’s many eras.
Once you’re back in the city center, if you still have time or energy, visit Castelvecchio Museum. This museum is located in a beautiful 14th-century castle and it’s one of the most important in Verona. It houses a great collection of art, weapons, and sculptures.
This museum is very popular and it gets very crowded, so we suggest buying your ticket in advance and going early in the morning.
If you don’t have time to visit the museum, at least make sure to walk around the castle, which is beautiful by itself. The views from the castle’s walls are also very impressive.
There is also a lovely park next to it, perfect for a relaxing stroll.
Best food and drinks to have in Verona
Now that we’ve covered the top sights to see in Verona, it’s time to talk about food.
As you’ve probably noticed, food is a huge part of Italian culture, and Verona is no exception.
This city is full of great restaurants, from high-end ones to more casual trattorias where you can get a delicious meal without breaking the bank.
There are many typical veronese dishes that you can try.
Here are some of the best things to eat in Verona:
Risotto all’ Amarone
This is a very popular dish in Verona. Its main ingredient is Amarone wine, a type of fine red wine that is produced in the Valpolicella area, just outside of Verona.
The dish is made exclusively with local ingredients: vialone nano rice, Amarone wine, grated Monte Veronese cheese.
Where to eat risotto all’amarone:
- Trattoria al Pompiere | Vicolo Regina D’Ungheria, 5, Verona
- La Taverna di Via Stella | Via Stella, 5c,Verona
Gnocchi are a typical carnival dish in Verona, but can be found in many restaurants all year round.
In Verona, you can usually find them served either with tomato sauce, butter, sage, or Gorgonzola cheese.
Where to eat gnocchi in Verona:
- Ristorante Arche | Via Arche Scaligere, 6, Verona
- Hostaria Il Punto Rosa | Via Fratta, 12/A, Verona
- Osteria Macafame | Via delle Fogge, 6, Verona
Lesso con la pearà
Lesso is a type of pot-roasted beef, traditionally served with sage and polenta.
Pearà is a typical sauce that is made with beef broth, grated Parmesan cheese, and breadcrumbs.
Where to eat lesso con la pearà in Verona:
This is just a fraction of all the things you can do and see in Verona in one day, but it should be enough to give you a good taste of this beautiful city.
How to get to Verona from Milan
In general, If you want to avoid crowds, we suggest you visit during the week instead of on weekends, especially in the summer.
There are a few options you can pick from to get to Verona from Milan, and they all have their pros and cons. Here they are.
Milan to Verona by car
Driving is the most comfortable way to get to Verona from Milan. You can either rent a car or use your own, and the drive is relatively easy. You will be on the A4 motorway most of the time, and the total distance is around 200 km.
The only downside of this option is that it might take you longer than 2 hours to get to Verona, depending on the traffic. Also, parking in the city center can be expensive, and finding a spot can be quite challenging.
Milan to Verona by train
This is probably the most popular way to get to Verona from Milan.
There are two types of trains you can catch. A high-speed train (Italo or Frecciarossa by trenitalia) from any of the main train stations in Milan (Milano Centrale, Milano Porta Garibaldi, or Milano Rogoredo), is the best option with will take you to Verona in no time. The journey is just over 1 hour long, the trains are new, clean and quiet.
The only downside of this option is that you will have to book your ticket in advance, as high-speed trains can get expensive or sell out (especially in peak season).
The second option is regional trains. They are cheaper, their price is fixed regardless of when you buy, and they never sell out. And that’s not because they have an infinite number of seats.
But because on regional trains, your seat isn’t guaranteed. So, this means that on a wrong day you could very well have to stand the whole trip.
Moreover, they’re slower (the trip takes around 2,2h) usually crowded, and…chaotic. AC isn’t guaranteed at all during the summer. And it gets hot!
I think we have convinced you that high speed is the best option.
Milan to Verona by bus
The bus is the cheapest option you have when you want to travel around northern Italy.
For example, if you check out the Flixbus website, you can find tickets costing less than 5€
But there’s a but. The trip is longer than both the car and the train (around 3 hours), and it can be a bit uncomfortable. Also, the bus station in Milan (Lampugnano) is out of the way (but still easy to reach since it’s on the red Metro line)