Verona, a splendid walled city, is synonymous with the Arena and its magnificent moonlight shows, as well as romantic bistros and riverfront restaurants with a view. Let's discover what to see in a weekend and its most "secret" locations and events.
This summer, among the most exclusive experiences that can be had in the world, conceived on the occasion of the 100th Arena di Verona Opera Festival, you can book The Star Rooftoop Experience; a panoramic terrace located in the highest wing of the Arena, that survived the earthquake of 1117 and has always been the city’s symbol, which has been transformed into a romantic restaurant with only 6 tables overlooking Piazza Bra.
In this dream location, before the opera, 24 lucky guests can indulge themselves in a “stellar” aperitif and dinner orchestrated by Mattia Bianchi, Executive Chef of Amistà Restaurant, one Michelin star since 2020. Afterdinner, you will escorted frontrow to watch the show, also enjoying an exclusive courtesy drink service (next bookable dinners August 2, 3, 5, 12, 23, 24, 25, 26, 31, September 1, 2, 3, 7, 9).
A fine thing to see is the Arena, that is, the Amphitheater much more intimate than the Coliseum in Rome, where hunting was held and various games were performed to the delight of the people.
(Andrea Minucci, Description of a journey from Venice to Paris, 16th century)
And to continue in style, you can stay at Vista Palazzo Verona, the only 5-star luxury boutique hotel in the city with a panoramic terrace, SPA and swimming pool.
Or, a few meters from Piazza Bra, in Corso di Porta Nuova, you can choose between 2 other hotels that will continue your romantic dream, even after you leave the Arena. If you love the atmosphere of grand hotels, Hotel Indigo Verona – Grand Hotel Des Arts combines an Art Noveau style with the symbols of the City of Love. On the occasion of the 100th edition of the Arena di Verona Opera Festival, in addition to exhibiting various memorabilia related to the history of the cultural institution, the hotel has also created a cocktail menu that pays homage to the most famous operas, such as the Ethiopian Princess.
For those, on the other hand, who love design hotels, Hotel Trieste is decorated exclusively with original “museum” design pieces, such as the MoMA and the Met, or winners of international awards and, new for summer 2023, has just inaugurated 2 extra suites “La Leoparda” and “The sky in a room”, as beautiful as a rock opera set.
The next morning, you can go and visit one of the most evocative museum houses in Italy: Palazzo Maffei, overlooking Piazza delle Erbe, which is, above all, the story of a great entrepreneur, Luigi Carlon, founder of Index Spa and today president of the Carlon Palazzo Maffei Foundation.
Over the years Carlon has put together an extraordinary collection with hundreds of works ranging from Greco-Roman archeology to contemporary art and which today, after having searched for a long time for a suitable “home” for them, are exhibited in the seventeenth-century Palazzo Maffei boasting a refined setup curated by Gabriella Belli and the Baldessari and Baldessari studio.
For lunch, just a 5-minute walk away, you can go to the Via Sottoriva area, populated with delightful little restaurants, and book a table at the Antica Amelia Bistrot in its British-colonial-style dehors. Kingdom of Micol Zorzella, the chef and also the decorator of the beautiful place, between lucky-charm elephants and grandmother’s recipes filtered from many trips around the world, you absolutely must taste the Pepe&Cacio, the Manzo all’olio and La Cremeria, vanilla ice cream to be garnished as desired with chocolate flakes, meringues or M&M’s.
In the afternoon you can go shopping in the center or, a few kilometers away, visit Maison Vicentini, the dreamlike paradise of reused design. An atelier of wonders unique in Veneto, it is located in a former factory from the 1920s and you can find unique vintage furniture, clothes and original gift ideas.
In the evening, you can have an aperitif at the Bottega del Vino, from the 16th century Scaliger bulwark of good drinking, and book dinner at Osteria la Fontanina, in the Santo Stefano district, in what was once the artists’ bohemian heart of the city.
The following morning, the Castelvecchio Museum is definitely worth a visit. Located in the medieval castle of the same name, it is a stupendous exhibition center restored by the architect Carlo Scarpa and considered one of his greatest masterpieces. Almost opposite is Locanda di Castelvecchio, an undisputed institution of Verona and custodian of its most authentic culinary traditions with its beautiful period boiserie and charming 19th-century veranda.
Or, you can treat yourself to a trip out of town half an hour from the center of Verona, perhaps by booking a tasting at Tenuta Serego Alighieri, nestled among the vineyards of Valpolicella, where some of the most prestigious wines in the world, such as Amarone, are born. Home to the descendants of the great poet Dante Alighieri, here you can book all the amazing Masi Wine Experiences, between horseback riding and signature tastings.
Not far from San Pietro in Cariano, for a fabulous stay, is Ludwig House, a Palladian villa from the 16th century. Inspired by Ludwig of Bavaria, the revolutionary of aesthetics, it is conceived as the home with swimming pool of a modern explorer and decorated with fantastic objects and furniture from all over the world.
From there, it’s a snap to get to Lake Garda and stay in the places dear to Maria Callas, who lived in Verona for many years, continuing to be carried away by the promise of the romantic dream of the City of Love of Aida and Tosca.
The Arena of Verona was originally decorated with statues in the highest ring, which almost completely collapsed following the violent earthquake that struck the city in 1117. Its inhabitants used the stones and debris from the Arena to rebuild their houses destroyed by the calamity.