When asked about their favorite love story I’m sure many people would pick Romeo & Juliet right off the bat. There simply is an irresistible charm of the idea of two young lovers in Italy that has people fascinated. Surely that love story was the main reason for my excitement when I first traveled to Verona a few years ago. I wandered the streets wondering what it was like back in the days when Shakespeare first wrote the story. Thankfully the old town still possesses all of its original charms with lovely cobbled streets and stone buildings, making a bit of time traveling rather easy.

Verona_-_ponte_pietra_at_sunset photo via wikipedia

For good reason Verona is one of Italy’s most popular destinations and right now there is another reason to visit: the Opera Festival in the Arena di Verona. Opera is at home in Italy with Italian being the main language in many famous pieces, surely there is no better place on earth to enjoy an opera. Ever since I first watched Julia Roberts love the Verdi Opera in “Pretty Woman” have I wanted to dress up in a fancy dress and very long gloves and attend an opera on the arm of a handsome gentleman. Sadly that has not yet happened for me, but should you still be looking for the right destination for a weekend break over the summer, Verona might just be what you’re looking for.

arena di verona

The Arena di Verona is an impressive ancient amphitheatre that dates back to AD 30 which, in high times, could accommodate up to 33.000 spectators at a time. For safety reasons that number is now down to a no less remarkable 15.000. Throughout history people have come from around the world to witness an opera in this spectacular setting and each year more than  half a million visitors watch a show here. Nowadays it occasionally lends itself to concerts from great musicians such as Pink Floyd, Paul McCartney, Björk or Alicia Keys but its true intention – the opera – will always remain its prime purpose.

Placido-Domingo-singt-Verdi Zuschauer Carmen

This summer, the open air arena is hosting a festival program of operas and ballets including well-known favorites like Madame Butterfly by Puccini, Carmen by Bizet, Aida by Verdi and of course Romeo & Juliet by Gounod. The festival started on June 20th and will run throughout September 7th. 54 shows can be expected of 6 different operas. In addition, there will be three special events with world-famous Placido Domingo singing Verdi, a performance by the handsome Roberto Bolle and Friends as well as Carl Orff’s modern opera Carmina Burana.

Carmen1

And if it’s Romeo and Juliet you’re after,  those performances will be shown from August 23rd, directed by Carlo Montanaro.

If you’re interested in buying tickets, check here to buy them online. They start at just €22, surely that’s a small price to pay to witness such a grand happening.

For more info on the festival go to the Arena di Verona website.

All photos by Arena di Verona, unless otherwise specified.

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