Turbulent history, Shakespeare and stunning architecture meet in this compelling Italian city
Bestriding the Adige River in north-east Italy's Veneto region, the handsome and dynamic city of Verona is both a popular destination with visitors and a UNESCO World Heritage site thanks to the diversity and historical value of its architecture.
The vestiges of Verona's Roman-era origins are still present today; the remarkable two-thousand year old Roman arena at the heart of the city has been adopted as Verona's open-air opera house and can seat and audience of thirty thousand spectators.
In the centuries following the departure of the Romans Verona's history featured episodes of romance, drama, political intrigue and bloody murder to rival anything that Shakespeare could conjure up when he set his play Romeo and Juliet in the city. Successive territorial conflicts and hostile occupations, the Black Death and the rise of fascism during the Second World War defined some of Verona's darkest hours.
Happily, Verona has managed to emerge from the shadows of its turbulent past and is today a relaxed and cosmopolitan city that invites guests to admire its abundant architectural treasures, indulge in cultural pursuits - especially opera - and even visit the purported house of Juliet Capulet with its famous balcony, beneath which a besotted Romeo declared his love for her.