Daily Mail

Verona for under £100 a night

This small, romantic Italian city is packed with history and irresistib­le food and wine


IN FAIR Verona we lay our weekend break. If you know anything about this northern Italian city, which dates back to roman times, it’s probably as the scene for Shakespear­e’s romeo and Juliet.

But there’s plenty to keep you occupied here apart from the story of star-crossed lovers. Verona is compact and easy to navigate — and if you’re hoping classic Italian food will be a highlight of your trip, you certainly won’t go hungry.

Where to stay ■ Hotel Milano

There aren’t many hotels in the world where you can sit on the rooftop in a bubbling hot tub, looking out at a 2,000-year- old roman arena — but you can at this boutique property. There’s a bar-restaurant up there too, perfect for sultry summer evenings with an Aperol Spritz. The cheapest rooms are categorise­d as ‘small’ but they are all tastefully furnished ( hotelmilan­overona. com, room only from £92).

■ Novo Hotel Rossi

THIS 50-room property is close to the main railway station at Porta Nuova, which means it’s about a 20-minute walk into town. But that also means it’s priced better than hotels closer to tourist attraction­s. You can always borrow one of the hotel’s free bikes to get you about. rooms are simple in a chic way that reflects plenty of italian flair ( novohotel rossi.it, room only from £67).

■ Hotel Mastino

GIVEN its location, just a couple of minutes’ walk from the pavement cafes of Piazza Bra, this hotel represents good value. The whitewashe­d building has shutters on the windows, giving it a postcard look, and it’s in a buzzy location next to an American burger joint if you’re done with pizza and espresso ( hotelmasti­no.it, B&B doubles from £88).

Where to eat ■ Antica Bottega del Vino

VERONA is deep in the heart of wine country and valpolicel­la is the local tipple. You won’t have any trouble locating a bottle or two here — in fact, the thumping great wine list runs to 180 pages.

The atmospheri­c eatery has been around in one form or another since the 16th century. At the front, it’s more of a bar where you can buy snacks (£1.60 each) to go with your drink. The back is a restaurant which features dishes such as venetian-style pasta with beans (£12; bottegavin­i.it).

■ Greppia

ON SUMMER evenings, the tables at this family restaurant spill on to the quiet backstreet outside, and you’ll find a good mix of locals and visitors at lunch and dinner. in this region, risotto is as prominent as pasta and you can try it here cooked with Amarone wine and pumpkin (£13, ristorante­greppia.it).

■ Trattoria Al Bersaglier­e

THIS trattoria is only a ten-minute walk from Piazza Bra but it’s in the opposite direction from where most tourists are going. here you’ll find dishes such as codfish ravioli or bigoli pasta with duck sauce, both costing around £11 ( trattoriaa­lbersaglie­re.it).

Things to do ■ Opt for the Opera

VERONA’S huge Arena was built by the romans for gladiatori­al combat in the 1st century AD, but these days it is more famous for staging a summer opera season, which was first held 100 years ago. Although the best seats get booked up early, you can usually get a last-minute spot if you’re not fussy where you sit, with tickets from £18 ( arena.it).

■ Visit Juliet’s balcony

EVEN if you never loved Shakespear­e at school, almost everyone can recite the line: ‘o romeo, romeo, wherefore art thou romeo?’

In any case, you can now stare up at Juliet’s balcony, which is just along from the picturesqu­e Piazza delle erbe — although in high season you won’t be alone ( casa digiuliett­a.comune.verona.it).

■ Ancient treasures

A 20-MiNUTe walk along the Adige river from the Castelvecc­hio Museum is the Basilica of San Zeno ( chiesevero­na. it). A tad plain from the outside to some, maybe, but inside, this church hides some real treasures.

These include 1,000- year- old bronze doors with 48 intricatel­y sculpted scenes from the Bible — and if you look closely on the walls, you can see graffiti that dates back to the early 1300s.

■ City views

FOR the best view of the city, walk over the Ponte Pietra — a roman bridge that was built around 100 BC — then take the funicular (£1.60) up the hill to Castel San Pietro. it’s the spot to get those all-important selfies with the city in the background.

How to get there

BA ( ba.com), Wizzair ( wizzair. com), easyJet ( easyjet.com), Jet2 ( jet2.com) and ryanair ( ryanair. com) all fly to verona. An airport bus to Porta Nuova rail station costs €6, or a taxi is approximat­ely €20. A verona Card (€25 for 48 hours) is available from the tourist office in Palazzo Barbieri.

 ?? Illustrati­on: PHIL ARGENT ??
Illustrati­on: PHIL ARGENT

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