One of Europe's premiere summer festivals, the Verona Opera runs from late-June thru August within the city's historic Roman amphitheater. Built in the 1st century, the structure is remarkably well preserved and centrally located within the main piazza of Verona.
The amphitheater is one of the most intact pieces of the Roman era, aside from its missing decorative marble facade and outer wall that's sitting in the middle of piazza.
Despite it's name it's hardly a ruin at all, but actually a working opera house that functions essentially the same as one built within the last 20-years. It's an incredible venue, offering a seating capacity of 22,000, with elaborate large-scale sets that are wheeled through town and into the arena for extravagant productions of Aida, Carmen and Turnadot.
Even for those without a taste for opera, the location and setting of the Verona Arena is a must for anyone with an appreciation for architecture and Italian history.
As Verona’s premiere event, the opera attracts a cross-section of locals and tourists on hand to witness the annual festival. Most performances are sold-out, featuring every top diva in the business including Pavarotti and Domingo. The open-air arena is not connected with microphones and although the acoustics of the theater are incredible – there are still dead spots.
It’s worth indulging in a pricier seat, as the cheaper ones are on a first-come basis and fill-up rather early. If it rains before the opera begins, refunds are offered. After the first note – it’s buyer’s remorse. If the rain does hit, and summer thunderstorms are common, make for the exit as fast as possible to avoid the queue of 22,000 spectators.