Verona Historic Beauty in a Modern Italian Cosmopolis
One thing that you will soon realise about Verona is that this is very much a place where you will encounter individual spots of historic beauty in what is otherwise a modern Italian cosmopolis. The interesting thing, therefore, is trying to find these pockets of antiquity, and while the obvious choices of the Arena di Verona and Castelvecchio come to mind, here are our top five hidden gems that you will need to go out of your way to discover – trust us, they are worth it.
Arco dei Gavi
Standing conspicuously next to Castelvecchio, you may wonder what this ancient structure is even doing here. Walking through it will gain you access to fantastic views of Castelvecchio Bridge, but the arch itself was built in the middle of the 1st century AD as an entrance gate for when Verona would be surrounded by city walls.
Designed by architect L. Virtuvius Cerdo, the structure would remain a signpost at the start of Via Postumia, a Roman road that would lead to the city, until it was demolished by French engineers during the Napoleonic era. The gate ruins were then constantly moved from place to place, including next to the Arena, until they were eventually used to rebuild the structure that can be seen today in 1932.
If you carry on the Via Cavour and walk away from the castle for a few minutes, you will soon see Porta Borsari ahead of you. This striking white ‘city gate’ dates all the way back to the 1st century AD, with an inscription from the reign of Emperor Gallienus suggesting that it may have reconstructed in 265 AD.
The first thing you will consider is how ornate the structure is for a city gate. This is merely because the main Via Postumia ran through this and so the best local white limestone had to be used, while the two-floor wall in the upper part boasted 12 arched windows. It may only take a few minutes to gaze at this gate, but with a line of trendy cafes below it, it’s another example of history reminding present day of its presence in Verona.
Located in the north of the city, on the other side of the Adige, is the beautifully hidden Teatro Romano. While many tourists will choose to visit its much larger sister, Arena di Verona, make some time for this, as this quaint little amphitheatre offers an enhanced level of intimacy, transporting you back to years gone by.
However, what truly makes this site a must-see are the surrounding Roman ruins, which can be climbed via the steps. Here, you can enjoy some of the best views in the city, and with the number of memorials dotted around here, it seems as though many loved-up couples in the past seemed to think so too.
We are not only leaving the best until last here, but this is probably one of the most rewarding things you could do in the whole of Verona – and yet not many know about it!
Located just around the corner from Teatro Romano, these hidden gardens are an oasis of bliss, allowing you to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and immerse yourself in symmetrically-cut hedges, fountains and sky-reaching trees. As soon as you walk through the large black gates, a paradise awaits, filled with floral patterns, gravely pathways and labyrinths made from hedges.
Take the main path down and you will reach a series of steps and hill slopes that takes you to higher platforms. These hidden spots are ideal for romantic couples looking to escape from the crowds, while the path will lead you to an interior cove that features a spiral stone staircase. Taking these steps may take a bit out of you, but you will reach a viewing spot which matches the mighty Torre dei Lamberti. The perfect time to come is as the sun slowly sets on this charming city.
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