Verona, love at first sight

A romantic aura envelops Verona with the myth of Shakespeare’s masterpiece. This is your first impression when you walk through squares, bridges, and ancient palaces of this Venetian city which is UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its particular architecture. Artistic elements have integrated one another progressively in two thousand years to form a glorious urban structure. Verona is the model of a city that was fortified in several steps, which is characteristic of the European history.

Arena di Verona

One of the finest and best preserved examples of Roman architecture stands in that little gem that is Piazza Bra: the Arena, an amphitheater where during summer the Opera season and great and important concerts take place. It is situated in the heart of the city, a stone’s throw from the university of Castelvecchio and another step away from the medieval squares and from Corso Mazzini, the street for shopping, and just nearby is the House of Giulietta Capuleti – yes that’s her, the one from Shakespeare’s tragedy Romeo and Juliet.

Dating the arena is a bit controversial, as it often happens with the historical works, however, some elements lead to think that it is dated to 10-30 AD. To date, the Arena is a sensational place where you can fully enjoy the most beautiful operas in the summer heat. And just this year, 2013, marks the centenary of the opera season at the Arena of Verona. On this occasion a special cast made up of Italian and international stars such as Andrea Bocelli, Jose Carreras and Plácido Domingo will be performing on June 1. Even though the season takes place in the summer, the opera is a show that lasts for several hours: so the advice is to go well covered and, for the always cold, bring a light blanket. The Arena is a big and impressive space, with exceptional acoustics. It is good, however, to choose not too lateral places, to enjoy the show at best. But the most important choice is certainly which opera to see: ‘Aida’, for instance, is perfectly suited; with its magnificent settings, it may be the most worth to be seen in such a frame. Not by chance it is a regular fixture of this season program. This year, among other events there will be a Giuseppe Verdi trilogy: La Traviata, Il Trovatore and Rigoletto. Also by Verdi are Nabucco and the aforementioned Aida. One single date will be devoted to Verdi’s Messa da Requiem, on July 13. Roméo and Juliette, of the Frenchman Charles Gonod, will be on stage as well. Ticket prices range from around € 200 for GOLD seats, € 127 for regular seats, up to 23 € for the bleachers. To see the program and buy tickets: http://www.arena.it

The Arena is not the only element of Roman architecture in this city: the impressive Roman theater is undoubtedly another place worth mentioning, it almost lies on the banks of the Adige river that flows and cuts through the city. Pliny the Younger, Latin author of antiquity, in one of  his letters speaks of the Arena di Verona as the place where the Ludi (the games of ancient Rome) occurred. The Roman Verona itinerary is one of the most visited by tourists and students. It ‘s possible to retrace the whole Roman history through the historic sites: Gavi Arch, Corso Cavour, Porta Borsari, Piazza Erbe, Palazzo Maffei, Porta dei Leoni, the Museum, and many others. Among all we recommend a visit to the Museum Scaligero, which gives access to the underground city, a large archaeological site that allows you to take a fascinating journey to discover its roman and medieval soul.

Giulietta a Verona

Shakespearean Verona is another fascinating journey: a journey on the trail of Romeo and Juliet, an irresistible attraction especially for couples in love. You start from the house of Juliet, famous for two reasons: the entrance wall on which lovers write their love promise, and the statue of Juliet, whose left breast it is auspicious to touch. Then you continue to Romeo’s house, a castle with  Ghibelline battlements. Eventually you get to Juliet’s Tomb, one of the places where the town of Verona celebrates the civil marriage rite. Inside the garden is the grave: an empty sarcophagus carved in red marble.

Treasure chest of art, history and culture, Verona is an excellent location for wines and flavors, as well. For the most demanding palates, there are many routes that allow you to quietly discover the city looking for delicious emotions: from the Rice Road that was named after the quality of Vialone Nano Veronese rice, the route of Valpolicella or Bardolino wine, or the scented Road of Soave wine.

Verona dall'alto

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