Verona – Veneto, Italy

Home of Romeo, Juliet, and Aida

Suspend all disbelief and immerse yourself in the romance of Verona. Local officials, determined to keep the Romeo and Juliet myth alive, have desig­nated a 14th-century palazzo—complete with requisite balcony—as the residence of the Capulets.

Millions of the curious and lovelorn come here to breathe the air that Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers once did. The graffiti and love notes left behind are innocent, humorous, and sometimes bitter­sweet, scribbled in every language.

Don’t leave the simple courtyard without rubbing the right breast of a nubile bronze Juliet—a peculiar tradition no one can seem to explain.

If it’s summertime, join your fellow romantic pilgrims for a night of opera in the impeccably preserved 2,000-year-old Roman amphitheater. The perfect acoustics have sur­vived the millennia, making this one of the most fascinating venues for live (and micro­phoneless) performances today.

Since 1913, when it was first performed to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Verdi’s birth, Aida has been the one constant in each year’s changing schedule, and tickets to it are the most cher­ished.

Jose Carreras may seem an inch tall from the highest and cheapest seats in the house (which you’ll be lucky to get, as all 20,000 seats regularly sell out), but his voice will be as crystal clear as the cool night air, and the view of the surrounding hills of the Veneto is thrown in at no extra cost.

Even the opera-challenged will take home the memory of a lifetime when hundreds of cast members fill the stage during Aidas Triumphal March. Post-opera, head to the historic Caffe Dante and sit outdoors in Verona’s most beautiful square, the Piazza dei Signori.

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