The famous home of characters Romeo and Juliet in Shakespeare’s classic play – the historic city of Verona “City of Romance” is a fascinating place to visit any time of the year, as it has the abundance of Roman-era sites and attractive trattorias to keep tourists engaged. During the summer, the visitors are treated to a truly noteworthy experience, as it’s the time of the Verona Opera Festival.
The opera festival distinguishes the world’s best opera singers present the genre’s best-known productions in front of filled houses of some 15,000 spectators and is held in the historic Verona Arena, which was constructed in AD 30.
The presentation runs from June to September – each season – and sees about a dozen productions that showcase on presentation almost every single night. For 2013, it celebrated the 100th incarnation of the festival and some remarkable productions from the year’s lineup included Giuseppe Verde’s Aida and Nabucco and, somewhat suitable, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.
The first opera production to be shown in the arena in 1913 was actually Aida, when it showed the significant celebration of the 100-year anniversary of Verde’s birth.
The main drag of Roman Verona was Corso Porta Borsari. A perambulate here makes for a fun, ancient scavenger hunt. The remainder of the town’s legendary past — fragments of Roman columns, medieval reliefs, fine old facades, and fossils in marble — are all over among modern-day whimsy shop windows.
Certainly, as it’s situated in an outdoor arena, the ambiance at the shows is less traditional than at most opera houses. But it brings a lot of happiness, and a totally distinctive experience to be able to experience and witness some of Italy’s greatest operas and performers in a place fit for a king – or an emperor.
Explore Verona and experience the Opera Festival and other events that may take place in and around the city.