Old and new come together elegantly at Verona’s Castelvecchio, a historic castle renovated in the 1960s by visionary architect Carlo Scarpa, who paired glass panels, concrete, and metal grills with the surviving medieval stonework to create a striking museum for artworks by Bellini, Tiepolo, and Veronese.
Built in the 14th century by the Scaliger clan, who ruled Verona in the Middle Ages, Castelvecchio was a moated fortress designed to protect the family in case of revolt. Eventually, popular rebellion forced the Scaligers to escape to Germany while the Venetians took over the city, followed by Napoleon in the 18th century. Napoleon was ousted by Veronese rebels who stormed the castle and left it devastated, and bombings in World War II caused further damage. The building was abandoned until the mid-20th century, when it was eventually transformed into a museum.
Most bike, Segway, and walking tours of Verona follow Corso Castelvecchio across the Castelvecchio Bridge to the Castelvecchio Museum. Hop-on-hop-off tours often include stops at other nearby attractions like Lamberti Tower (Torre dei Lamberti) in Piazza delle Erbe, Juliet’s House (Casa di Giulietta), Piazza Bra, the Basilica of San Zeno Maggiore, and the Arena di Verona.
Things to Know Before You Go
- With no traffic and fortified ramparts, the castle and its adjoining bridge make for an interesting attraction for young kids.
- The Castelvecchio Museum is appealing to both medieval art and contemporary architect enthusiasts.
- Walking tours of Verona cover a lot of ground, so wear comfortable shoes and clothes.
- The museum is partially accessible to wheelchairs and strollers via an internal elevator.
How to Get There
Verona, one of the most important cities in Italy’s northern region of Veneto, is well connected by train to Milan, Florence, and Venice. The Castelvecchio Museum, located in the city’s historic center, just a short walk from the main train station.
When to Get There
Verona, the setting of Shakespeare’s great love story—Romeo and Juliet—is particularly memorable to visit around Valentine’s Day, when the city holds the annual Verona in Love festival, featuring special events and exhibitions. The museum is closed on Monday mornings.
The Castelvecchio Bridge
The 14th-century Castelvecchio Bridge, spanning the Adige River, connects the city on one side of the river to the Castelvecchio Castle on the other. When it was completed in 1356, the bridge had the largest supporting arch span in the world. The original bridge was destroyed during World War II, but a replica was rebuilt soon after.