Piazza delle Erbe

sights / Historic

Piazza delle Erbe information

Lonely Planet review

Originally a Roman forum, Piazza delle Erbe is ringed with buzzing cafes and some of Verona’s most sumptuous buildings, including the elegantly baroque Palazzo Maffei (now a corporate headquarters) at its northern end.

Separating Piazza delle Erbe from Piazza dei Signori is the monumental gate known as Arco della Costa , hung with a whale’s rib that, according to legend, will fall on the first just person to walk beneath it. So far, it remains intact, despite visits by popes and kings. On the northern side of Piazza dei Signori stands Verona’s early-Renaissance Loggia del Consiglio , the 15th-century city council (not open to visitors). Through the archway at the far end of the piazza are the open-air Arche Scaligere – elaborate Gothic tombs of the Scaligeri family where murderers are interred next to the relatives they killed.

Dividing the two piazzas, the striped Torre dei Lamberti rises a neck-craning 85m. Begun in the 12th century and finished in 1463 – too late to notice invading Venetians – this watchtower still offers panoramic views of the city and nearby mountains, which are snowcapped in winter. A lift whisks you up two-thirds of the way; for the last few storeys you will have to rely on your own thigh power.