Compact and lively, with great food and plenty to do, Italy's poetic and romantic city, Verona, is the perfect size for a family adventure, says Nichola West (Globalmouse)
The eye staircase (Globalmousetravels.com)
The Lamberti Tower (Torre dei Lamberti) is a great place to start a visit to Verona. You can climb the winding stairs, or, if you’re feeling brave, take the rickety old lift. Either way, the views from the top are breathtaking.
Verona’s landscape of terracotta roof tiles is legendary, and you can’t get a better perspective than from the top of this 12th century tower. However, it was the view inside the tower that my kids loved best. There’s a spot near the top where if you look back down the staircase and it looks like an eye.
The Palazzo della Ragione below the tower also has a great little market to pick up some snacks and cheap souvenirs.
Romeo and Juliet balcony (Dreamstime)
It may have no actual basis in real life but Verona is the heart of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, and there are little nods to the story all across the city. Spotting them all becomes a treasure hunt for kids.
The main sight of pilgrimage for literary fans is the famous balcony where Juliet called out to Romeo. You can pay a little extra to stand on it and look down on the crowds below.
There’s also a museum with props from various Romeo and Juliet films. Children will enjoy sending their own letters to Juliet on the computers inside.
Spoilt for choice (Globalmousetravels.com)
If there’s one thing kids love most about travelling to Italy. it’s gelato. Verona has some fantastic ice cream shops. Indeed, it almost feels like there is one on every street corner.
Another sweet favourite with my kids were the ‘Romeo’s Sighs and Juliet’s Kisses’. These sweet biscotti are found in all the local bakeries. They can be bought pre-packed by the bag, or you can have the baker weigh out as many as you choose. They are crumbly and really tasty.
Chariot racing in the Arena in Verona (Dreamstime)
One of our favourite places in Verona was the Arena in Piazza Bra. The kids loved how it appeared suddenly like a sleeping giant as we wound our way through the beautiful Veronese streets. That it had once been used by gladiators was also a plus.
This Roman Amphitheatre is older than the Colosseum in Rome, but much smaller. It’s a great place to take kids, who can run through the hallways underneath and imagine the gladiators who would have waited here for their moment of glory, or otherwise. It’s atmospheric and perfect for fuelling young imaginations.
Backstreets of Verona (Globalmousetravels.com)
Verona is one of those places that is really best seen by foot. It’s accessible and easy to walk around, and with ice cream shops and bakeries on every street corner there are plenty of sweet distractions.
Walking along by the Adige River is particularly lovely, particularly on a hot day, and children will love to walk over the historic Ponte Pietra and try to spot the Roman writing etched into it.
There are historical sites everywhere. Verona is just one of those cities that is lovely to wander through and really take it in.
Globalmouse is run by Nichola West who loves exploring the world with her husband and three kids. They’re always on the look out for the unusual, and travel everywhere from Russia to the Cook Islands, with lots of European city breaks and UK weekend breaks thrown in too. You can follow their adventures on the Globalmouse website and on Instagram.
Main image: Kids on the Romeo and Juliet balcony (Globalmousetravels.com)