The striking church of San Zeno Maggiore has two claims to fame: firstly for the fact that its crypt is the legendary setting of the marriage of Romeo and Juliet in Shakespeare’s famous play, and secondly for its colorful Romanesque architecture. With an ornate façade constructed from soft tufa stone, the church has its origins in the fifth century but was largely rebuilt six hundred years later, with fine rose windows, columns supported by lions and massive bronze doors with panels illustrating biblical scenes.
The interior is equally elaborate, with a gaily striped and arched central nave plus two side aisle; it contains several important religious treasures including the remains of San Zeno, the patron saint of Verona, in the crypt, and paintings by Mantegna, and is topped by a decorative wooden roof. The tranquil cloister can be accessed from the north aisle and is lined with red-and-white striped marble arcades; a spiky Romanesque campanile stands to the rear of the church with a peal of six bronze bells – the oldest was cast in 622 AD.
Piazza San Zeno, 2. Open Nov–Feb Mon–Sat 10am–1pm, 1.30pm–5pm; Sun 12.30pm–5pm. Mar–Oct Mon–Sat 8.30am–6pm, Sun 12.30pm–6pm. Admission to the cloister is free but there is a €2.50 charge to see the church. There is parking outside but the best way to visit is to walk along the River Adige.