A Night at the Opera

Trip Start Jul 25, 2007
Trip End Sep 01, 2007

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Flag of Italy  ,
Saturday, August 25, 2007

(Note - Keen readers may have noticed a gap since the last update. We never got round to blogging the end of our trip, so I'm adding it now for completeness sake.)

Venice was gorgeous, but two days there felt like enough, and we headed on to Verona, where Tess had been before and was enthusiastic about taking me to.

The campsite we had been recommended was the strangest we'd encountered so far - a tiny place perched amongst the remains of a castle on the steep hillside surrounding the town. Our pitch was in an enclosed bit of old castle, with a roof of grape vines over our head. Lovely, but so small we struggled to squeeze our mighty tent into the allotted pitch.

Having got settled, we headed into town, as we had tickets to the opera. Verona is a gorgeous little town dripping with history and with a nice laid-back charm. Its almost surrounded by a river which gives it the feeling of a little island somehow. We wandered the streets stocking up on goodies for the opera.

As well as a bit of culture, the opera seemed the best way to visit Verona's centrepiece - the roman arena. Unlike the Coliseum in Rome,this is still very much a working building rather than a monument, hosting all sorts of concerts and events. Tess had been to the opera here on her last visit, and recommended we brought wine and pizza to enjoy as we watched. Unfortunately this time it was much much busier, and we had to cram ourselves onto the end of one of the stone benches, where our pizza boxes and proseco bottles were a little in the way. We were already getting disaproving looks from some of our neighbours when an usher appeared and told us we were not allowed glass bottles. Its not a problem though, as he produces a series of plastic cups which I hurriedly decant a litre and a half of fizzy wine into. So now we're sitting in the way and surrounded by pizza boxes and precariously balanced cups of wine. Best thing to do  - drink some of the wine to get it out of the way.

So, the opera? It was great. Neither of us had any idea what was going on, or indeed which one of the many people on stage actually was the barber of seville, but it didn't matter at all. The music was beautiful, the set spectacular, and everything was staged with so much colour and spectacle that we were swept up in it anyway. Obviously the litre and a half of proseco helped too. The atmosphere in the arena was amazing - especially at the start when they dim the lights and everybody lights tiny candles, so the whole ampitheatre is lit by tiny points of golden light. Its amazing to feel the worn smoothness of the stone seat, and think about the generations of people who have sat there as we did over the last 2000 years of so...
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