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Milan is a wonderful city with plenty to see and do however there are also many fantastic day trips that you can take from the chic fashion capital of Lombardy. One of the best places to visit, while using Milan as your base, is Verona; which despite being in the neighboring province of Veneto is only a short train ride away.
Verona, the City of Love, is famous for being the setting of Romeo and Juliet, one of Shakespeare’s most popular masterpieces; and the city has a rich artistic and historical heritage to discover. From the renovated remains of the Verona amphitheater to the Scaliger Tombs which honor the medieval rulers of the city, it’s a fascinating place to explore for tourists and Expats alike.
Verona was made a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2000 in celebration of its remarkable concentration of historical monuments as well as its cultural significance to the arts and culture of Northern Italy.
Taking a day trip to Verona is a great choice for families, groups, solo travelers and, of course, couples looking for a romantic getaway from the busy city of Milan. Verona makes the ideal day trip because it’s easy to get around it on foot with most of the major sites of interest being clustered within the historic city center. This means that even in a relatively short amount of time you can see many of the city’s best sites and still have time for lunch!
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Verona is one of Northern Italy’s major transport hubs and is only around 150km from Milan, in Lombardy. Verona is extremely well connected and since Milan’s central station is Italy’s second busiest you won’t struggle to catch a train out of the city. However, if you rent or own a car in Milan you can easily drive to Verona in around two hours.
Milan To Verona By Train.
Traveling by train to Verona from Milan is extremely convenient and very cost effective. Taking a train from Milan will get you into the center of Verona within 1 hour 15 minutes and will allow you to take in the beautiful scenery as you travel from Lombardy to Veneto.
There are dozens of trains that run between the two cities throughout the day although if you’re taking a day trip you should try to get an early start so you can make the most of your time in Verona.
To get to Verona by train you can choose between the high-speed trains or the regional trains. The regional trains are slower, and stop more often on the way, but cost significantly less than the high-speed trains do.
High-speed train from Milan to Verona.
A high speed-train will take around 1 hour 15 minutes from the Milano Centrale station to reach Verona Porta Nuova station. High-speed trains are modern and comfortable and have onboard facilities such as toilets, refreshments, Wi-Fi and electronic charging points.
The high-speed trains are more expensive than the regional trains but if you buy your ticket in advance you can make some serious savings. The easiest way to book your ticket to Verona in advance is to use the ItaloTreno or TrenItalia websites; both of which have English language interfaces.
Of course, if you’re taking a day trip to Verona and want to maximize your time in the city for sightseeing then taking the high-speed train is certainly worth the extra expense.
Regional train from Milan to Verona.
Taking a regional train (Regionale Trenord) is a cheaper alternative to catching the high-speed trains although you should expect your journey to take an extra 45 minutes each way between Milan and Verona.
You can purchase your ticket for a regional train in advance or on the day of your travel in the Milano Centrale station. However, unlike the high-speed trains, the ticket price for a regional train is the same whether or not you buy it in advance.
This means that if you decide to pop through to Verona on a whim then taking the regional train might be the better option for you in terms of price. It’s worth remembering that Milane Centrale can get very busy, particularly in the morning, so you should leave plenty of time to get your ticket before boarding the train.
Also, don’t forget that you’ll need to validate your ticket before you get on the train. To do this you just need to find one of the validating machines that are affixed to the walls around the station and then put your ticket in so the machine can print a code on it. If you don’t validate your ticket you can face a fairly steep fine.
Which Milan Train Station Should You Depart From?
Generally speaking it’s going to be easier to depart from Milano Centrale although you can also catch a train from Milano Lambrate, the city’s third main station. The Milano Lambrate station is only serviced by regional trains so if you want to catch a high-speed train then you’ll have to depart from Milano Centrale.
Arriving In Verona From Milan By Train.
When you get to Verona you’ll have to get off at Verona Porta Nuova, the city’s major railway station. The station is ideally located and is just a 20 minute walk from the Arena di Verona in the historic center of the city.
Buying Your Tickets From Milan To Verona Online.
There are three main sites that I recommend. ItaliaRail is my favorite. The English version of the website is very good, you can pay in US Dollars and their tickets are pre-validated. I have also used ItaloTreno (you can only buy tickets for high-trains on this site) and TrenItalia (you can buy tickets for both regional and high-speed trains on this site).
Milan To Verona By Car.
Traveling to Verona by car will take you about 2 hours but will depend on how busy the traffic is and which route you take. If you decide to drive it’s highly advisable to use a GPS SatNav because otherwise you’re almost certain to get lost!
Don’t forget that you’ll have to pay to travel on the Toll roads although you can use the AutoStrada official site to find out in advance how much you’ll have to pay for your journey. However, Toll road costs are not excessive and for a one way trip to Verona from Milan you shouldn’t have to pay more than 20 Euros.
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Once you arrive in Verona there are several multi-storey car parks that you can use for the day where your car will be safe and secure. The center of Verona has strict traffic regulations in force, known as a ZTL, which means that you can’t drive around most of it in your car as a visitor.
To see the Verona council’s official list of the major car parks in the city you can check on this site. The platform is very useful because it also tells you in real time if there are free spaces in the city’s car parks so you won’t have to waste time going from one to another looking for a free space to park in.
Great Must See Sites In Verona.
Once you’ve arrived in Verona it’s time to get busy with sightseeing, sampling the local cuisine and taking in the local culture. There’s a lot to see and do but the city has several main highlights which you can’t afford to miss.
Arena Di Verona.
This stunning Roman amphitheater is one of the oldest in Italy and actually predates the Colosseum in Rome by several decades. At its heyday the arena hosted gladiators fighting with each other and animals as well as impressive reenactments of naval battles!
In modern times the entertainment is far less brutal and the amphitheater now hosts the world famous Verona Opera Festival during the summer.
If you’re a fan of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet then you must see Juliet’s House. Juliet’s House is one of Verona’s most popular attractions and is said to be the birthplace of the original Guilietta Capuleti who, as local legend goes, was the inspiration for Shakespeare’s famous play.
Historically speaking, there were indeed two wealthy families in Verona who were named Capuleti and Montecchi who were also mentioned by Dante in the Purgatory of his Divine Comedy. This certainly lends credibility to the potential truth behind Shakespeare’s tragic love story involving these two noble families in Verona!
Of course, while you’re at Juliet’s House you can see the famous balcony, which was remodeled from 14th Century marble remains in accordance with the architectural style of the Renaissance era. The mansion has been renovated and includes a bronze statue of Juliet in the courtyard as well as a beautiful brick façade with Gothic portals and triple lobed windows.
The Scaliger Tombs.
This is a group of Gothic funeral monuments that are dedicated to the Scaliger family who ruled Verona between the 13th and 14th Centuries. The five tombs are situated in a courtyard outside of the Santa Maria Antica and are one of the city’s finest examples of Gothic artwork.
The tombs are made up of a series of freestanding tabernacle style structures that rise impressively into the air with a sarcophagus that is topped by a statue of a knight. These unique tombs are extremely picturesque and should be on every visitor’s list of things to do in Verona.
Torre Dei Lamberti.
As the tallest tower in Verona, the Torre dei Lamberti was built in the late 12th Century and offers the most incredible views of the city. The tower is over 80 meters high and is open every day of the year except for Christmas.
You can buy a ticket to climb the 368 steps of the tower which also includes a ticket for the next door Gallery of Modern Art. Fortunately, if you don’t want to climb the stairs to enjoy the views you can take a transparent elevator to the top of this iconic monument! You can buy entrance tickets and find out more about the Torre dei Lamberti by visiting the official website.
Piazza Delle Erbe.
As one of Italy’s most beautiful town squares, the Piazza delle Erbe is right in the heart of Verona’s historic city center. The piazza is the original site of Verona’s Roman Forum and is ringed by striking ancient buildings as well as the home of a daily market where you can meander through stalls selling clothes, souvenirs and other collectables.
The market in Piazza delle Erbe has been running since the Roman era although it first became regionally significant during the Medieval period when it was famous for selling spices and other high value items. In fact, the Piazza delle Erbe was actually named after the Italian word for herb, ‘erbe’, in celebration of the spice and herb merchants that used to inhabit the market.
As well as the market the square is where many of the city’s main streets meet so you can also find plenty of restaurants, cafes and bars to have your lunch, grab a quick coffee or have a gelato.
Roman Theater And Archeological Museum.
Built in the 1st Century BC, this spectacular ancient Roman theater underwent extensive renovations during the 20th Century and gives visitors a real insight into its former glory during the Roman era. The remains of the theater are still used for stage plays during the summer months and the outdoor setting gives the proceedings a really unique feel.
As well as the Roman theater you can visit the adjacent Archeological Museum which exhibits a fascinating array of Roman and Medieval artifacts. The museum was created in a 15th Century Jesuit convent and is a lovely example of how Verona’s architecture has continued to evolve to meet the needs of new times. You can find out more about the Roman theater and the Archeological Museum here.
These beautiful Renaissance gardens were planted in the 1400s and offer some of the most spectacular views of the city. The magnificently maintained gardens are crisscrossed with pathways and dotted with statues of some of the city’s major historical figures. Ideal for a picnic lunch or to get away from the busy city streets the gardens are a tranquil paradise that are open all year except for Christmas day.
The Giardino Giusti have been visited by travelers who passed through the city throughout the centuries where they found rest and respite from their journeys. To find out more about the garden’s history and learn about some of its most famous visitors, including Mozart, you can visit their official website.
Take A Half Day Guided Tour Of Verona During Your Day Trip.
If it’s your first time visiting Verona then you may want to join a short walking tour to make sure you see all the city’s highlights without having to worry about finding your way from place to place!
2 Hour Guided Tour in a Small Group: This excellent English language tour takes groups of 12 or less around the city to show you Juliet’s House, the Arena di Verona as well as all the most beautiful squares and sites along the way. This tour is perfect for you to get a great feel for the city before lunch after which you can spend the afternoon meandering through the markets or visiting one of the city’s museums. The tour guide will also be able to give you advice as to how to spend the rest of your day.
A Day Trip To The City Of Love.
Verona is one of the most beautiful cities in Italy and because it is compact and easy to get around on foot it’s ideal for a day trip. There’s plenty to see and do within close proximity to the center and with excellent transport links you can get there quickly and comfortably from Milan.