Castel San Pietro is a hilltop fortress in Verona. Built in the Austrian style in the 19th century and surrounded by cypress trees, it offers panoramic views of the city, including the Roman theater and the Adige river.
The castle is built on the site of the first settlements in Verona. Ruins of ancient buildings dating back to the seventh century BC can still be seen on the castle grounds. During Roman times the hill on which the castle is built was considered sacred, and was known as “Rooster Mountain.” Several of the historic buildings on the site were destroyed when Napoleon’s troops invaded Verona in 1801.
After the Austrian army defeated the French in the city in 1805, they built the armed fortress that you see today, comprising an army base and barracks for hundreds of soldiers. Visitors are only able to tour the outside of the buildings and walk in the grounds, but it’s worth the steep uphill walk or bike ride—or the fun funicular rail journey—to enjoy the enviable views from the top.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Join a guided bike tour to learn more about the castle and its place in the city’s history.
- The climb to the top of the hill is quite steep—visitors with limited mobility may be more comfortable taking the funicular railway.
- Eagle-eyed visitors may be able to spot the Verona Arena in the distance.
How to Get There
The hilltop lookout at Castel San Pietro is accessible on foot, or via funicular railway (paid entry). Hop-on hop-off tour buses stop at the bottom of the hill near the Roman theater.
When to Get There
The lookout at Castel San Pietro is open year round. Budding photographers should plan to visit in the evening to capture the sunset over the city. The funicular railway is also open all year, except on December 25 and January 1. The funicular has reduced hours in the winter (November–March).
Explore the Roman Theater
Nestled at the bottom of San Pietro hill is Verona’s Roman amphitheater. Not to be confused with the immense arena in the center of the city, this half-moon amphitheater actually predates the larger arena. It was built towards the end of the first century BC, which makes it over 2,000 years old. Tour the stage and raked seating, and explore the connected museum that houses some fascinating finds from the site.