Opera, romance and history provide the perfect backdrop for excellent food and fine wine in Verona. It does tend to be one of the overlooked tourist destinations, which offers the chance to savour blending in with the locals. This Italian tour has something for everyone and enjoys an easy pace, which is perfect for browsing the cobbled streets and revelling in the flamboyance that only true Italians can carry off . Enjoy up to four operas during this holiday: two of your choice are included in the cost of the tour, in numbered seats, with other performances available should you wish to add on more. A full sensory experience of history, world-class wines and operas await in this glorious part of Italy.
Verona was coined the ‘City of Love’ because of its association with Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. History enthusiasts will enjoy the dramatic Verona Amphitheatre or the city’s most famous square – the Piazza delle Erbe, a Roman forum used by trading merchants over 2,000 years ago.
Verona’s local cuisine includes rice, peas, beans, polenta, and meat, all of which are core staples in this region. Risotto is also a popular dish in Verona as rice is widely grown in northern Italy. Try some risotto al tastasal or risotto with radicchio (risotto with a typical salad of Treviso), both of which are very popular local dishes.
Two operas of your choice are included in the price of this tour upon booking, subject to availability. You are welcome to add additional operas to your booking for an extra cost.
A timeless story of love and betrayal against the backdrop of war. The story explores a rollercoaster of emotions told through Verdi’s powerful music.
Set in Seville around the year 1830, explore the love and jealousy of Don José, lured away from his duty as a soldier and his beloved Micaëla by the gypsy factory-girl Carmen.
• La Traviata
Based upon the 1852 play by Alexandre Dumas fils (La Dame aux camélias), the opera tells the story of ‘the fallen woman’ Violetta Valéry.
Set in Rome at the time of Napoleon’s advance on the city, explore the romance and tragedy of one of Giacomo Puccini’s greatest operas, Tosca.
Some of the world’s most famous wines are produced here, such as the Amarone and Recioto of Valpolicella, both of which are made using indigenous Corvina, Molinara and Rondinella grapes. Amarone is considered among the best and is produced by a very famous winery in the extended Valpolicella area.
We fly into Verona and meet at our traditional 4* hotel, which is situated in the heart of the city. This evening, we will sit down to a delicious dinner at Tre Marchetti before enjoying an optional opera performance. The opera option tonight is Aida.
After breakfast, we head into the valleys of Valpolicella to enjoy our first wine visit of the trip at Tadeschi. This is a very welcoming family-run estate and the attention to detail in the vineyards means their wines – always extremely attractive due to superb wine-making – have reached another level of complexity over the past five years or so. From here, we continue to the delightful estate of Serego Alighieri, which is home to over 30 hectares of vines. It was once the home of poet Dante when he was banished from his native Tuscany. The fruit from here is vinified by their neighbours and partners, Masi, who are widely regarded as being among the finest producers in Veneto. We shall be guided through the picturesque grounds of this pretty villa and through its heady cellars before tasting a selection of their excellent wines over lunch at the estate. After lunch, we return to Verona mid-afternoon and there will be some free time to explore the area. From Juliet’s house and the San Zeno Romanesque church, to the beautiful oasis of tranquillity that is the Giusti Gardens, there is much to be enchanted by here. The opera option tonight is Carmen.
This morning, we head east out of Verona to the Soave region, where we will pay a visit to Pieropan. This winery produces world-class wines of incredible complexity and we enjoy a tasting here as well as a visit to their cellars. Later, we continue on to Anselmi, owned and run by winemaker Roberto Anselmi, who is considered one of the most dynamic producers in the region. His passion for wines made with the Garganega grape led him to study clonal selection in great depth. During a delicious lunch at their Enoteca Realda, we sample incredible wines. In the afternoon, return to Verona for some leisure time. The opera option tonight is La Traviata.
Today, we drive into the Valpolicella hills to the small, modern winery of Ca La Bionda. Home to the Castellani family, who own these vineyards, the impressively smooth and elegant wines are presented to us during a tasting session. After, we move on to Guerrieri-Rizzardi, a wine estate that produces wines from Bardolino, which are lighter in style than their cherryscented Valpolicellas. Our visit will be accompanied by a tasting and glorious lunch on-site. Following our sampling, we head to the attractive town of Lazise on the banks of Lake Garda, where there is time to stroll beside the water or perhaps indulge in some delicious gelato. The opera option this evening is Tosca.
We enjoy free time in Verona this morning before returning to the airport to catch our return flight to London.
Tom has written about the drinks industry, specifically wine and whisky, for more than 20 years. Beginning with the world of wine after spending four years in Italy, he then moved back to Scotland in 1998 and his focus shifted to also include whisky. He has written prolifically for a number of publications, including The Sunday Telegraph, Decanter, Harpers and Whisky Magazine. He has written and co-authored three books on whisky, and currently writes a weekly column for the Herald. He was also recently shortlisted for International Short Copy Columnist of the Year at the Louis Roederer International Wine Writers’ Awards.