Had Shakespeare’s tale of star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet ended happily ever after, the two may have wed in Verona’s beautiful 12th-century cathedral; and, in fact, travelers flock to the duomo on Romeo and Juliet-themed tours. The mix of Romanesque, Gothic, and Renaissance elements make this one of the most beautiful churches in Verona.
The Verona Duomo (Cattedrale di Santa Maria Matricolare), in the historic city center, is built on top of an older proto-Christian church that was destroyed by an earthquake in 1117. The cathedral is part of a complex that also includes the baptistery, the churches of San Giovanni in Fonte and Sant’Elena, the Canons’ cloister, and the Chapter Library of Verona Cathedral (Biblioteca Capitolare della Cattedrale di Verona).
Visit the Duomo on a city walking or hop-on hop-off bus tour that also includes skip-the-line entrance to the city’s famous Roman arena in Piazza Bra and other highlights. Popular themed tours in Verona include itineraries based on the plot of Romeo and Juliet, and a mystery tour exploring the murder of Veronese lord Cangrande della Scala, which remains unsolved after 700 years.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The cathedral is closed to tours during Mass.
- There is wheelchair access to the main church; the baptistery and secondary churches have steps at the entrances.
- Visitors are required to cover their shoulders and knees to enter the church.
How to Get There
The Duomo is on Piazza Vescovado in the historic center of Verona, about a 25-minute walk from the Porto Vescovo train station, or 15 minutes on bus 31.Verona is located about halfway between Venice and Milan in Italy’s Veneto region, an easy day trip from Venice or Lake Garda.
When to Get There
The Duomo is open all day from March to November, but it closes briefly at midday the rest of the year. Tourists are not allowed to visit during Mass, so check the schedule in advance.
Art and Sculpture in the Cathedral
Duomo highlights include the portal sculptures in the western doorway by Maestro Nicolo dating from 1139 (they are conveniently signed and dated); at the south door are sculptures depicting the story of Jonah, a lion, an angel, and the Virgin Mary. Two sculpted holy warriors, Oliver and Uliviero, guard the entrance. The interiors are decorated with frescoes by a number of artists from the first Veronese Renaissance and Titian's Assumption of the Virgin.