Commemorating the influential Della Scala family, the Scaliger tombs are a series of five Gothic funerary monuments found outside the Santa Maria Antica church in Verona. Dating back to the 14th century, the monuments are famous for their elaborate decoration.
In the 13th and 14th centuries, the Scaliger family (also known as Della Scala) ruled the city and wielded a great amount of power. Here, the first tomb built—attached to the exterior church wall—belongs to Cangrande I, the most famous of the family dynasty and the protector of the poet Dante. A statue in his likeness on horseback, decorated with harnessed dogs, fronts his tomb (cangrande means “big dog” in Italian).
Other tombs memorialize Mastino II, watched over by a pair of angels, and Cansignorio, whose tomb is the most ornate, with sculptures of warrior saints. The last two tombs stand in memory of Alberto II—simple without a canopy—and Giovanni, whose tomb is also built into the church wall.
Things to Know Before You Go
- You can view the Scaliger tombs for free from behind the ironwork fence, or you can pay the entrance fee to see the monuments up close.
- Purchase a Verona Card for free entrance to the tombs.
- Join a guided walking tour to find out more about the Scaliger family.
How to Get There
The Scaliger tombs are housed in the courtyard of Santa Maria Antica church in central Verona. They’re easily walkable from other areas the city, and they’re accessible by local bus. Walking tours often combine a trip to the tombs with other memorable sights around the city.
When to Get There
The church and courtyard at Santa Maria Antica are open daily. You can pay to enter the courtyard during the daytime, but the tombs are also worth visiting at night—even if you only view them from behind the ornate fence—when floodlights casting long shadows create a spooky atmosphere.
The Santa Maria Antica church
While you’re visiting the tombs, make time to step inside Santa Maria Antica church, which was built in the 7th century AD and went on to serve as the private chapel to the Scaliger family. With striped walls of tufa and brick, the building is a wonderful example of Romanesque architecture.