Oh, the fair city of Verona. When people ask me about my favorite cities in Italy, I rarely think of places like Rome or Venice first. I usually think of smaller towns, like Soave, or even regions, like Puglia. And Verona always tops the list.
Known because of its connection to the famous story of Romeo & Juliet, Verona is the "city of love" (I mean, I guess Paris is, technically, but this is the Italian version). It's too-often overlooked by tourists making their way around Italy, but is totally worth a stop. It's a beautiful city, with fantastic restaurants, architecture, shopping, and plenty of things to do. It actually has Roman ruins just like Rome — and without the crowds! — to include a theater and yes, even its own colosseum!
If you're making your way around Italy and want something that still has a city vibe, plenty of history — that'll satisfy both war buffs and literature nerds — but is more off the beaten path, let me highly suggest Verona. You'll fall in love — with it, and maybe someone else!