one night in verona

Because of where we now live – northern Istria, near the Slovenian and Italian borders – we get to travel a lot more than we ever used to. We rarely fly now, as our location means many places, especially in Italy, are so much more accessible and so we are very lucky that we can now visit places for an overnight stay, whereas previously, we’d have had to have flown and spent at least a few days there. Not a bad dilemma, to be fair, but we still pinch ourselves that now we can do quick visits to places such as Trieste and Udine and Venice and Bergamo. And as we did, just before Christmas this year, to Verona.

We have visited Verona a few times before and have loved the city. Even the Balcony had me entranced – ex-English teacher and all, so I have an excuse! We’ve been lucky enough to have a visit to the Arena – although not to see an opera, we did see it being set up for Nabucco, and spent a good couple of hours exploring the inside of this magnificent ampitheatre. We’ve spent leisurely afternoons in Piazza Erbe, drinking in the gorgeous buildings which form the outer edges of this rectangular piazza, with their stunning frescoes. We’ve discovered beautiful little restaurants, one in particular by the river, under ancient stone arches, decorated with tiny twinkling lights. Unfortunately, I just cannot remember its name, but I do recall that the menu was all in Italian and chalked up on a board – we decided to just choose without thinking too much, and ended up with one of the memorable meals we’ve had in Italy. The setting may have had something to do with it, as the dishes were just pasta. Although *just* probably doesn’t do justice to how good they were. Anyway, we know parts of Verona quite well, and we’ve stayed in some great places, so we decided to have night stop-over here, when we were driving to Bergamo this Christmas, to collect family from the airport. (We can get to Bergamo in under four hours on the motorway, but this was the Friday before Christmas, and so we knew it’d be really busy and that by the time we got near Verona, we’d be wanting a break. We were right. The motorway was mayhem!)

Hotel Verona is one hotel we’ve stayed at a couple of times before. It is very easy to get to from the motorway – once you exit, it’s literally a straight drive into Verona and onto Corso Porto Nuova, where the hotel is located. This road is a wide thoroughfare, with bars and cafes and restaurants and hotels, plus grand apartments above street level, and at the end of it, is the beautiful Portoni della Bra, two stone archways, erected in 1480 on the site of a gateway that made up part of the city walls, leading you into the beautiful Piazza Bra and the Amphitheatre. A pretty spectacular location for Hotel Verona, which is less than a 10 minute stroll from the Arena. The hotel itself is very modern, with a glass frontage and has had a lovely refurb since our last visit. Rooms are minimalist and super clean with big, comfy beds and excellent showers. What you need after a few hours on a mad motorway. There’s also secure parking, which for us, is a massive bonus.

Because our stay this time was short we knew exactly what we wanted to do and where we wanted to go. Restaurant L’Orologio is just outside the double arches of Portoni della Bra and we’d had an excellent meal there on a previous visit, so decided that we’d go again. And, it didn’t disappoint. Full of Veronese, it’s a really authentic restaurant, with a fabulous menu. I did think that I would go for the beautiful risotto which I’d had previously, but a spicy prawn pasta dish caught my eye. Our selection of cheeses, with oil and honey, as a starter were exceptional, as were the desserts. Real old school apple crumble and ice cream and tiramisu. All as fabulous as we’d remembered.

Being so close to Piazza Bra, we couldn’t resist a stroll down Corso Porta Nuova and through the arches. Illuminated against the starry night sky, this entrance into Verona’s centro storico was as impressive as ever.

So, not quite 24 hours in Verona, but enough to whet our appetites again, and look forward to spring and hopefully the planning of a slightly longer trip. And maybe find that restaurant by the River Adige, that I can’t remember the name of, but do remember the delicious meal.

All photos of Hotel Verona –

Published on 6th January 2024