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 of Verona hosted its first open-air opera season in 1913. The famous event now spans more than two months, from mid-June to late Augustust, and features a programme of five to six operas by composers such as Puccini, Mascagni, Bizet, Strauss, Rossini, Verdi and Donizetti, in a total of 50 performances. Legends such as Maria Callas and Tito Gobbi have performed here.
In 2012 there will be six works: Mozart's Don Giovanni, Verdi's Aida, Bizet's Carmen, Gounod's Roméo et Juliette, Puccini's Tosca and Verdi's Turandot.
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 a UNESCO World Heritage Site with various Roman remains and many notable medieval and Renaissance structures.
Dates and programme details for 2013 are yet to be announced.