You don’t have to be in Rome to do like the Romans. The city of Verona isn’t far behind the Italian capital in the antiquities stakes and has far fewer selfie stick-wielding ‘turistas’. For peaceful ambles around ancient relics, head to the city made famous by Romeo and Juliet and seek out these ancient sights.
Piazza delle Erbe
Verona is built around the Roman lifestyle. Take Piazza delle Erbe, used as a forum millennia ago and still guarded by a Roman statue – the Madonna Verona – dating back to 380AD. The north-western side was also the location of the Roman Capitol Hill, which looked towards the forum.
There’s no hiding behind velvet rope for Verona’s ancient buildings. Take the Roman arena. Built in the first century AD, it was originally bigger than Rome’s Colosseum, but an earthquake knocked most of the top two tiers off and the fallen stones now reside in many of Verona’s buildings. It’s still in use today as the place to catch an opera on a balmy evening.
Across the Roman bridge Ponte Pietra, in the hillside below Castel San Pietro, you’ll find the Roman Theatre, built in the first century during the reign of Augustus. Look out for the remains of the stage building's tufa walls, while the stage pit has stones with holes where the ropes were once drawn to operate the curtains.