Are you an Opera lover? If so, make a point to put Verona on your must-visit list between June and August! Every year during the summer, Verona stages a full program of wonderful Opera presented in the most fantastic venue, the Verona Arena. To understand how wonderful it would be to attend your favourite opera in this outstanding venue, let me tell you a little about the Arena.
The Arena, Verona.
The Verona Arena dates from Roman times, and is a huge amphitheater in the Piazza Bra in the Italian city of Verona. This amphitheater is one of the best preserved of all the ancient Roman arenas in the world, and is just the perfect setting for Opera. This huge structure has weathered many a storm since it was first built in AD30 on a site which was then outside the city walls. At that time it was so famous for the shows and games presented there that it attracted visitors from all over Italy and beyond, and it was able to seat more than 30 000 spectators. The entertainment of those times consisted of cruel gladiator sports, and when these were banned by the emperor Honorius in 404AD, the Arena stood unused and neglected for many centuries. The Arena survived a huge earthquake in 1117 which destroyed all but four of the original circle of arches that formed the top storey of the facade, built from beautiful pink and white limestone from Valpolicella, but luckily the inner core of the structure survived intact, and this is where today’s operas are staged.
Opera at The Arena
What better back-drop could you wish for when staging an opera than a genuine Roman amphitheatre? In addition, the Arena has wonderful acoustics, and microphones to improve the sound were only introduced as recently as 2011. As you can imagine, people come from all over the country to visit the opera at the Arena, and tickets go on sale up to a year before the annual event. However, do not despair if you happen to find yourself in Verona at short notice; you can purchase a ticket for one of the un-numbered seats on the day of a particular show for less than €30, but this is always subject to availability and it would be much wiser to visit the official website and book tickets for your favourite opera well in advance. The 2014 season starts with “Un Ballo in Maschera” on Friday 20th June 2014, and is followed by Carmen, Aida, Turandot, and others, and ends with the most popular of all, Madame Butterfly and Romeo and Juliet on the 5th and 6th of September 2014. Book now at:
The city of Verona.
Verona is a splendid Romanesque city and there are plenty of other things to do there if Opera does not appeal to you; visit famous Casa di Guilietta (House of Juliet) – (Shakespeare so admired Verona that Romeo and Juliet was set in the city), or visit Piazza delle Erbe to wander around the markets or sit at a pleasant cafe and enjoy an ice-cream (gelati) while you watch the world go by and be sure to see the Duomo, the Basilica di San Zeno Maggiore and the lovely Italian gardens of Giardino Guisti. The city is also a good base from which to visit some wineries to see where some great Soaves and Valpolicellas are made. Lastly, be sure to taste a Baci di Guiletta (Juliet’s Kisses) before you leave – delicious biscuits dedicated to Juliet and found in pastry shops all over the city.
Verona and Arena tour.
Emilia Delizia would be delighted to organise a guided tour of Verona that focuses on the history,, wines and food of the town. Our company can also organise guided tours of the Arena for those interested in learning more about the building and the performances.