Our second day was fully devoted to the arts & culture. After all the opera in Verona is one of the highlight in this Italian city. Our day started with a stroll to the Castelvecchio. As the day was absolutely stunning we didn’t go inside but rather strolled over the Adige river.
I tried to teach my dad the art of taking travel blogger pictures, but he got impatient with me very quickly. How do you lifestyle bloggers do it? Do you pay your significant others? Frankly, I didn’t blame him for not enjoying it. But he really tried and even when he put his finger on the iPhone lens, they pictures turned out quite alright I think. To make it up to him I agreed to visit 2 of Verona’s 4 important churches.
We started at San Zeno which had beautiful cloisters and an interesting history as it was devoted to the first African bishop. From there we went to the Verona Cathedral, the Duomo. You can definitely walk as anything in Verona is pretty much within walking distance, but my dad was having trouble with his Achilles heels and so we took a taxi.
The duomo is especially stunning from the outside when enjoyed with an aperitivo at Retrot Bistrot & Cafe.
As I mentioned in my restaurant guide we, unfortunately, didn’t eat here as my dad was in search of a 1-star restaurant on the other side of the river. That was closed so instead we enjoyed the views and visited the Teatro Romano here.
This is, while not as impressive as the colosseum, still pretty cool and really comes with some awesome views over the Adige and concerts in the summer.
We tried the whole ‘dad, please take some pictures of me for my blog!’ again and this was when the thumb came into play and I gave up and decided to only take selfies with my dad from then on. He is 80 years old and doesn’t even know what a selfie is, yet he manages to look effortless in every.single.one. How is that fair?
After the fancy restaurant let us down, I needed more shopping. This time, I wasn’t going for fancy but wanted plain and simply the best Italian fare Verona had to offer: supermarket souvenirs. I fell in love with Italian supermarkets during my last trip in Tuscany so I cast all the fancy food stores in the old city aside and led the way to PIM, a very regular Italian supermarket.
But what a feast it was! There we strolled the aisles and filled our basket with pasta, dried porcini mushrooms, beans, and a kilo of parmesan cheese – on sale for 8,- Euro!! I’m telling you, this is the advantage of packing light.
Opera in Verona
Then it was already time to get ready for the main event: Romeo & Juliet at the opera in arena di Verona. While a lot of people dress up fancy – as you should – I opted for warm instead, after all this was open air.
We had made pre-opera dinner reservations at Greppia where my dad had eaten years ago when he had come with my mother. And to make sure that my stomach wouldn’t be grumbling during the performance I ate 2 portions of truffle pasta – just to be on the safe side.
After it was time to shove my pasta belly into the colosseum Verona. What a sight! We had to celebrate with some overpriced prosecco and an opera selfie before the spectacle commenced.
See?! How is this fair?!
Here is the run down for the opera in Verona: First – get yourself a seat cushion. You will need it, just take my word. You can either buy it from one of the many vendors outside or inside, which is actually cheaper. Obviously the opera is in Italian so read up on it beforehand and take some binoculars even if that makes you see a not so handsome Romeo up close.
Be prepared to still be extremely uncomfortable for the next 3.5 hours even with a cushion, because the seat rows are tiny. I was happy that it wasn’t very crowded and we could move to a row with nobody in front of us. The guy who was below me was probably happy too, my knees were giving him a constant back massage. I guess the seats in the 1st sector stalls might be better, but our view was unbeatable. There are stone benches all the way in the back and I honestly don’t think it could have been worse comfort wise, but that also means you are really far from the stage.
The production was absolutely grand even for a non-opera person like me, but the last hour was too long. Pray for a sunny day, because if it starts raining during the performance, you will have to sit there and wait it out which makes the whole thing last well into the night. Still a visit at the opera is not to be missed from any Verona itinerary.
After we clapped our hands sore, we didn’t care about the time and decided instead of going to bed to celebrate at the hotel bar and to drink all the local champagne they had to offer. While that was obviously much nicer than regular prosecco and came with leather seats I could have happily slept in, this view was not to be underestimated, especially with this Back to the Future car…