Monday, November 18, 2013

Verona - Aida in the Ampitheatre

Verona is a delightful Italian city  to visit only a short distance from Venice - many go just to see "Juilet's balcony", supposedly the balcony where Shakespeare's fictitious Juliet Capulet was wooed by Romeo Montague. It is always supremely busy in Juliet's corner of Verona, and I admit it is not a place I bother to go - too touristy for my liking and surely fictitious, so what's the point! - plus plastic souvenirs have never been my 'thing'... however, there are many other wonderful places to wander, discover and soak in the peaceful ambience of this beautiful city, so it is undoubtedly worth including it in your Italian itinerary.
We have visited many times but never been able to co-ordinate our trip to coincide with viewing Opera in their magnificent Roman amphitheatre in Piazza Bra .......... that is, until recently, when we specifically timed our visit to see Aida performed in the open air, and what a spectacle it was! The stage set designers used a large 'crane-like' structure to suspend people and create 3 dimensionality in the open void - a difficult thing to achieve when there is no roof or ceiling structure to work with. They also cleverly utilized the steps of the amphitheatre behind the stage as additional 3 dimensional height which significantly contributed to the ambiance of the production. I have to admit sound quality was not brilliant, but then we were sitting in a centuries old open air structure, so that was totally to be expected and it was the overall package of production, history of the structure and the pure spectacle that we loved. A wonderful experience that we will remember forever!

Also a beautiful and tranquil Veronese site is Giardino Giusti, a magnificent Italian Renaissance garden which was first planted in 1580. With a wonderful hilltop view back to Verona's main area, it is an Italianate mix of sculptural & natural and includes terraces filled with ancient Cyprus trees, fish filled ponds and Roman sculpture. It is the perfect place to quietly wander after one of those long lazy lunches we regularly partake in when in this part of the world!

Another interesting thing about Verona - they always seem to have some of the best buskers I have ever come across and we love strolling the streets enjoying the ambience they add to the city. When you see them do make sure you give them some money as without money they will not be there!