It is famous for its Roman amphitheatre, which was completed about 30 A.D. and is Italy’s third largest arena. It was originally used for entertainment and gladiator fights, and its interior is still virtually intact. Today it is used for shows, especially Verona’s opera season every summer.
The Piazza del Erbe, once the site of the Roman forum, is now a market place, surrounded by Medieval, Baroque and Renaissance buildings, including the Mazzanti House (on the right) with its frescoes dating from the 16th century.
The Palazzo Maffei at the far end of the square, was built by the Veronese nobleman Marcantonio Maffei in the 15th century. The top of the building is a balustrade with six statues of Roman gods, one of which is said to have come from an ancient temple in Rome.
In front of the palace is a marble column, with St Mark’s lion (the symbol of Venice) on the top. The square’s most ancient monument is a 14th century fountain with a statue of Madonna Verona (you can see the Madonna, but the fountain is hidden by the market stalls).
It’s not known if Shakespeare ever visited Verona, but two of his plays are set here: The Two Gentlemen of Verona (thought to be his first play) and, of course, Romeo and Juliet. 'Juliet’s House' is one of the most visited places in Verona. Tourists enter via a graffiti covered entrance way into a small courtyard. You can climb up to balcony (which, incidentally, was only added in 1936 in order to attract tourists!) or touch the bronze statue of Juliet (particularly her right breast), supposedly so that you will be lucky in love. Not that Juliet was very lucky – after a three day romance with her teenage boyfriend, they both killed themselves!