You could pick a random city on the Italian map and odds are high that you would be able to find a wine experience that is worth the time and effort. However, there are some cities that are so indelibly linked to Italian wine and culture that there can be little excuse for not paying them a visit at least once in your lifetime.
Alongside the likes of Rome and Milan, the city of Verona stands as one of the most attractive destinations in the entire country. Don’t believe us? Here’s a short list of the many reasons why you should consider visiting the city.
Of course, those visiting the Xtrawine site are likely to look to wine as being the main reason that they visit anywhere, especially those who consider themselves to be true enthusiasts. Happily, the argument can be made that there is not city quite like Verona when it comes to the Italian wine industry.
Regularly finding its way into top ten lists for tourist destinations that should be visited by wine aficionados, Verona is considered by many to be the capital of the country’s wine trade. It hosts the annual Vinitaly festival, which is a hallmark on the calendars of many enthusiasts, and this has led to the wines produced in the city and surrounding regions experiencing a massive upsurge in quality in recent years.
Perhaps the most important wine to come from the region is Amarone, which is sometimes referred to as the Queen of Valpolicella. The wine stands as one of the greatest reds in the entire world and is able to stand alongside the likes of potentially more famous red wines, such as Chianti and Barolo, as a true representation of what the Italian wine industry is capable of. Of course, Amarone is just one of the many wines that are hallmarks of the city of Verona.
Anybody who is familiar with the works of William Shakespeare will know that Verona was the setting for perhaps the most famous romantic tale ever created.
We are talking, of course, about Romeo and Juliet. So famous is the story that star-crossed lovers are still referred to as the ill-fated couple and the play is performed as regularly now, if not more so, than it was when Shakespeare was at the peak of his powers.
It should also come as no surprise that the play had a massive cultural impact in the city where it was set. Casa di Giulietta at 23 Via Cappello has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the entire country because it was the supposed home of Juliet. Visitors can pay a modest fee to enter the home, which contains a number of themed balconies in line with the one featured in the play, plus it is also home to a “gum wall” and endless romantic graffiti. In short, it is a gathering spot for all of the world’s romantics and the perfect place to experience love in its truest form.
You don’t have to travel far to see some spectacular views when visiting the city of Verona. There are many places in the city that are dedicated to helping you see all that it has to offer from on high and your breath will be taken by the marvellous sight of the bustling piazza and the many stunning multi-coloured roofs that make up the city.
The Teatro Romano offers some truly breath-taking sights, but if you really want to get a true feel for all that the city has to offer we encourage you to scale the hill on which the Castel San Pietro sits. From there you will have a view of almost the entire city and will leave with memories of Verona that will last for a lifetime.
That doesn’t mean that things get less interesting when you are on the ground either. Lake Garda is stunning in its own right and warrants plenty of exploration, as do the Giusti Gardens, which are a treat for horticulturalists while also offering a stunning view of the city in their own right.
Verona has been considered something of a cultural hotspot for more than two thousand years, as is evidenced by the spectacular, open-air Teatro Romano.
The crown jewel for the performing arts in the city must be the Arena di Verona though, Capable of seating around 15,000 people, it has played host to some of the most spectacular performances and shows in the entire history of the arts, only serving to reinforce Verona’s reputation as a city that oozes culture.
Of particular note is the Opera Festival that is held in the city from the month of June through to September. Even those who do not have a great passion for opera will be enchanted by the sights, sounds and performances on display. The experience is only enhanced when sitting on one of the marble tiers that date back to the era of gladiatorial combat.
We come back to the culinary delights offered by the city of Verona for our final reason to give this great city a visit. After all, the best wines are those that can be accompanied by wonderful food and you will find plenty of both should you choose to explore Verona fully.
The city itself plays host to two restaurants that have earned Michelin stars and there are around fifteen in the surrounding area that are easy to access as well. Here you will be able to experience the most spectacular culinary delights around, but there are also many smaller establishments that are dedicated to serving quality food that is native to the city.
You will be spoilt for choice. In particular you should keep an eye out for caval. This is horse meat, which is something of a local delicacy. If you want to get a true flavour of everything that Verona has to offer you should consider exploring any menu items that mention caval, though it may also be a name to avoid if you don’t want to eat horse.