A visit to the Arena di Verona can be the experience of a lifetime for opera lovers and newcomers alike. The massive ancient Roman structure, warmed by the Italian sun, comes alight on summer evenings, resonating with the rich sounds of grand opera at its biggest and most extrovert, and illuminated by the gentle glow of the candles handed to audience members as they enter as much as by the vivid stage lights.
Starlight above – and on stage!
The Arena has earned a unique place in operatic history, witnessing some of the key events in the art form’s history since it began staging opera in the 1850s. The greatest names have performed at Verona – the young Maria Callas made her Italian debut there, and met the man who would transform her career – legendary conductor Tullio Serafin – in the process. Grand-scale productions have involved thousands of performers, often with special guest artists – camels, horses, even elephants! – and Franco Zeffirelli staged some of his most iconic productions in the Arena’s vast space.
The modern Summer Festival began in the early Twentieth Century with a massive, staged ‘Aida’ to celebrate the centenary of Giuseppe Verdi’s birth. Since then, interrupted only by two world wars, the Arena has presented four to six, usually Italian, operas every summer, to the delight of up to 15,000 spectators at every performance.
Experience the spectacle yourself
Visitors can choose an experience to suit their budget – and their comfort level. Despite the arena’s large capacity, tickets are hotly sought after and early booking is recommended!
The upper tiers – a birds’ eye view on sun-warmed stone
The upper reaches of the vast stone steps of the body of the arena have a charm of their own, whether you choose an un-numbered seat (arrive early to snap up the best spots!) around the sides of the upper tiers, or a specific, numbered place with a direct view of the stage. With a rented cushion for comfort, up amidst the passionate opera lovers and locals, with a birds’ eye view and surrounded by a sea of candles, opera takes on a new romance.
Lower tiers – a little closer, and a little more comfort
Those who want a closer view and a little more comfort might prefer a seat with backrest – cushions still advised! – in one of the sections named after Italy’s three greatest operatic composers in the lower tiers of the steps: the Rossini sections are closest to the stage in this group, but offer only a side view, while the Puccini seats give a more direct view of the stage. Directly in front of the Puccini section, Verdi seats are central, on the lowest tiers of the steps.
Luxury at ground level – or in the Royal Box!
All stalls tickets offer padded seats and backrests, with the exception of the few 2nd Sector Stalls or ‘Poltrona’ seats located on the lowest tiers, to the side of the stage, which have unpadded seats. 2nd Sector Stalls in the ‘Platea’ (or stalls) do have padded seats. 1st Sector, Gold and Platinum stalls seats are padded and upholstered, with price depending on proximity to the stage and sightlines. A few ‘Gold’ seats can also be found in the raised Royal Box, about halfway up the Arena’s steps.
Whatever your budget, and wherever you choose to sit, a visit to the Arena di Verona will stay in your memory forever. Nowhere else frames opera on quite the same scale – a perfect fit for this most passionate of art forms!
Arena di Verona
Take part in a unique opera tradition in Italy: Experience a performance at the Arena di Verona Festival