If you had told me back in 1999, when I’d first heard about Verona’s famous opera venue, that we’d be watching AIDA out in the open, under the stars and a cool Italian breeze, I’d never have believed you. Living in South Africa, Europe and the European culture seems like such an enigma. One of those things you’d love to do, but doubt you’ll ever get the chance … our cultural fortune changed when we moved to Holland, and we’re now able to visit these “exotic places”.

Romeo & Juliet hail from Verona

What’s exotic to us is often totally mundane to the locals. For instance, many South Africans think, “Kruger Park, Big Five? Ag, we’ve been there sooo times …” Just as an Italian might think, “Aida at Verona? Been there, done that!” I reckon that Kruger and AIDA are both awesome experiences worthy of repeating. Sigh, there’s so much to do, so little time 🙂

We’d booked tickets to the opera online and took along ticket vouchers that needed redeeming at the theatre. Always a nerve-wracking thing when you’ve made a booking and you aren’t sure if it’s a bone-fide ticket agency, especially when your taking along a bunch of other people .. with little ones.

If it’s just the two of you, you can always shrug off the disappointment with an oh-well … We also enjoy driving around, so for us, the 45 minute trip to Verona isn’t a big deal. Unlike what we can imagine it must be like travelling with children … “are we there yet” whining in the background.

The glimpses of Romeo and Juliet’s Verona that we got while trying to find suitable parking near the Arena were quite breathtaking. Especially how the streets curve around the Adige River and the buildings clutch the hillsides.

AIDA was spectacular. In the beginning everything sounded so soft. Opera singers don’t use microphones. I did think it was going to be a loooong 3 hours. But our ears attuned themselves and you could hear everything. We took in every song and every movement. The scene with the horses … wow!

It was even worth getting locked outside the safe camping parking lot because we got back after 11pm. In fact, we got back round about 2am from Verona.