4 Historic Churches in Verona You Will Love

Visitors flock to the fabled setting for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet hoping to be sprinkled with a little of the city’s romantic fairy dust and to explore its wealth of Roman ruins. But did you know that Verona’s churches are among the most beautiful in Italy?

From the Romanesque Basilica of San Zeno to the Gothic art jewels in the Basilica of Santa Anastasia, the historic churches in Verona speak of the city’s art, history and faith. In this article, I’ll walk you through how to visit them and what to expect.

painted bronze sculpture of an angel

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Tips for Visiting Verona’s Historic Churches

All of these churches are located in the city’s historic centre, making them easy additions to your Verona itinerary:

  • Cathedral Complex
  • Basilica of Santa Anastasia
  • Basilica of San Zeno
  • Church of San Fermo

There is a small entrance fee at each site or you can save money by buying a joint ticket that includes all four churches. In 2024, the cost of a combined ticket equals that of visiting two churches.

However, a Verona Card may be a better bet if you are visiting other city attractions. It offers free admission to all four churches and a host of other must-see sights.

For more information, check out my review of the Verona Card.

You can check the churches’ opening hours and ticket prices here. Reservations are not required.

Free leaflets in different languages are available at each location. I felt they provided enough information to help me make the most of my visit.

If you have just one day in Verona, I would prioritise the Cathedral Complex and Basilica di Sant’Anastasia, which are close to each other. As San Fermo is on the same side of the historic centre, you may also be able to add this. Although San Zeno is well worth a detour, it is on the opposite end of the historic centre.

Here’s a map to give you the lay of the land. Click here for a live map or on the image.

map of verona historic churches
Verona’s historic churches. Map data @Google 2024

Historic Churches in Verona

Cathedral Complex (Santa Maria Matricolare)

Although I felt that the Verona Cathedral Complex lacked harmony, it is worth visiting for its rich history and artistic treasures.

Dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta, it has three main areas: the Baptistery, the Church of St. Elena and its archaeological excavations, and the main Cathedral.

The Cathedral’s highlights include Titian’s Assumption which hangs in its Cartolari-Nichesola Chapel, and the baptistery’s font carved with eight biblical scenes.

Detail from the Assumption by Titian
stone baptismal font with carvings of biblical stories

Make sure that you walk around the left-hand side of the cathedral (as you face the main façade) to see its gorgeous Romanesque cloister.

Basilica of Santa Anastasia (Basilica di Sant’Anastasia)

The Basilica di Sant’Anastasia is my favourite Verona church.

Don’t be put off by its uninspiring, unfinished façade; its treasures are on the inside.

Founded by the Dominicans and consecrated in 1497, the light-filled interior of St. Anastasia has a soaring Gothic nave with a glorious painted ribbed ceiling, flanked by Renaissance side chapels.

faded frescoed pillar in the church of saint anastasia in verona

It is home to important works of art, including St. George and the Princess (1438) by Pisanello in the Pellegrini Chapel to the right of the main altar.

I loved the grimacing hunchbacks that support holy water fonts on their backs. Local legend says that touching the hump of the smaller figure brings good luck. He was carved in 1495 by Gabriele Caliari, the father of “il Veronese”.

stone sculpture of hunchback holding up a water font

Basilica of San Zeno (Basilica di San Zeno)

people sitting on the steps outside the facade of san zeno basilica in verona

Dedicated to the patron saint of Verona, this beautiful Romanesque basilica was built to replace an earlier church damaged in the earthquake in 1117. San Zeno is buried in the church’s crypt.

The Basilica of San Zeno is famous for its bronze doors, created between the 11th and 13th centuries by at least three artists. Their 48 panels represent scenes from the Old Testament, New Testament and the life of Saint Zeno.

bronze sculpture of a head on the door of one of the historic churches in verona

Its frescoes include San Nicola Saves a Ship from the Shipwreck, attributed to the so-called Second Master of San Zeno.

The famous triptych by Andrea Mantegna, considered a masterpiece of the early Renaissance, is on the main altar.

Don’t miss San Zen Che Ride, a late 13th-century polychrome marble statue of San Zeno.

multicolour statue of saint zeno carrying a staff with one hand raised

It also has a peaceful cloister and if you are doing a Romeo and Juliet trail in Verona, San Zeno’s crypt is the setting for the marriage of the star-crossed lovers. 

Church of San Fermo (Chiesa di San Fermo Maggiore)

facade of San Fermo Maggiore in Verona, Italy with horizontally striped upper half and gothic windows

This architectural gem was founded by the Benedictine order in the 11th Century and blends Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance architecture. You get two churches for the price of one: an Upper Church and a Lower Church, connected  by a staircase

The Gothic / Renaissance Upper Church has a superb ribbed vault wooden ceiling, resembling an upturned ship’s hull, with 416 painted saints staring down from its arches. Its artistic masterpieces include the Brenzoni Monument by Nanni di Bartolo (“il Rosso”), depicting Christ’s Resurrection, and The Annunciation by Pisanello.

small bronze statue of a soldier insdie the church of san fermo in verona

The older Lower Church dates from San Fermo’s foundation and has traces of more than 70 frescoes dating from the 12th Century. It is a serene, almost mystical space.

And there’s another Romeo and Juliet connection. The ill-fated lovers are said to have died in the Lower Church of the Church of San Fermo

And that’s a wrap!

I hope this helps you plan your visit to these fabulous historic churches in Verona. If you have found this helpful, check out my other Verona guides:

Happy travels!