As Romeo and Juliet’s city, Verona's Roman amphitheatre is one of the world's most romantic venues for a season of world-class opera beneath the stars.
The beautiful northern Italian city hosted its first open-air opera season in 1913 and the famous event now spans more than two months, from mid-June to late Augustust. It features a programme of five to six operas by composers such as Puccini, Mascagni, Bizet, Strauss, Rossini, Verdi and Donizetti, a total of 50 shows in which legendary artists from the likes of Maria Callas and Tito Gobbi have been performed.
The best seats within the Arena di Verona, dating from AD 30, are the 'Poltronissime', divided into the 'Poltronissime Gold' (the central seats in the first 20 rows) and the 'Poltrone' (more peripheral seats on the main floor of the arena). Then there's the lower half of the outer stone steps (the 'Gradinata numerata' and the less central 'Gradinata numerata laterale'), which are fitted with chairs with backs.
Unreserved seating is available on the higher stone steps (for which cushions can be hired), but get there early to bag a good spot. Verona is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site with various Roman remains and many notable medieval and Renaissance structures.
In 2014 there will be nine different pieces: Un Ballo in Maschera, Bizet's Carmen, Verdi's Aida, Puccini’s Turandot, Verdi’s Placido Domingo Canta, Roberto bolle & Friends, Medea, Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, and Gounod's Roméo et Juliette.
For more information, visit the website www.arena.it/en