Culturally, Verona is completely alive. It boasts in being home to perhaps the most famous literary masterpiece ever: Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliette which is responsible for the tide of tourists who flock to the city each year. But beyond the obvious Verona really does have it all. The wonderfully romantic and well preserved 1 st century Arena di Verona is home to the annual summer opera festival where sophisticated fans can catch Aida or La Boheme.
Verona really is a gem that completely engulfs you. It strikes the perfect balance between a young student town and an elegant city perfect for an evening passeggiata. You can completely get lost in the labyrinth of colourful streets surrounded by remarkably well- preserved Roman architecture. It’s a great place to spend a few days aimless wondering around, soaking in the history or as a place to stop en route to Lake Garda or Padova which is just a stone’s throw away.
Where to shop: Via Mazzini is the place to shop and to be seen shopping. Locals congregate down the promenade in the afternoon and the street becomes literally packed with Veronese in elegant clothes walking their dogs.
Where to eat: Parma a Tavola is an absolute must when visiting. Open for lunch and dinner (although the atmosphere is better for dinner) this unassuming trattoria boasts in making the best tagliatelle al ragù whilst you watch the sweet nonnas make fresh pasta in front of you. Stay there long enough and you might be lucky to catch a glimpse of the wonderfully animated owner.
Where to go for an Aperitivo: During the daytime head to La Tradision. Tucked away in a tiny street near Piazza Bra, the bar has a small outdoor courtyard with pretty foliage where you can enjoy a very good Aperol Spritz for just €3. For an evening drink, head to Archivio which has wonderfully innovative cocktails. The place is so small that people tend to spill on the streets which makes it all the more fun.
Where to go for a gelato: Gelateria La Romana. A few short steps outside the city centre, it has the best ice cream in Verona. Watch out for the melted chocolate at the
bottom of the cone which takes you by surprise.
The annual summer opera festival starts on 25th July and runs through right until 29th August (the programme is running on a shorter schedule for 2020). The inaugural evening is a tribute to Italy with an all- star 31 Italian singers. During the month of August, the festival will pay homage to the greats such as Mozart, Vivaldi, Verdi, Puccini and many more. Tickets are on sale now and start from €39 per person.
Direct flights are available from London Gatwick or London Stansted 7 days a week.
Prices start from £40 one way.