A camel trekking? Climbing in a volcano? Felucca down the Nile? Riding elephants or dog-sledding? What would you rather do? Maybe watching Aida in the best-preserved Roman amphitheater in the world, the Arena of Verona. Watching the opera Aida in Verona (just like climbing a volcano, riding elephants… etc. etc.) is the only Italian stop on the list drawn up by the BBC TV program “40 unforgettable things to do before you die”, which has also become a book. Join us on our Verona-To Run (Before You Die)- 5k tour, and let’s go running.
The authors, Steve Watkins (a professional photographer and writer who covers adventure sports and cultural topics) and Clare Jones (travel writer, photographer, and also a sponsored athlete for The North Face) have been to Verona and were struck by this experience. If we run on the largest opera stage in the world during the Aida concert we’ll be arrested… but we can see during our running tour the gigantic sets of Aida and other operas scattered around the city. Of course, the Roman Arena will be one of our stops, as well as the other world-famous monument, Juliet’s balcony. But Verona is much more… and our tour as well.
On our Verona-To Run (Before You Die)- we’ll run on a Roman bridge built when Rome was still a Republic, we’ll pass by the Roman theater erected when the future emperor Augustus was still a child, we’ll cross the Adige river on a romantic medieval bridge, a night-time destination for many couples of lovers …
In short, we’ll quickly cross over 2000 years of Art and History, but there’ll also be a lot of real life. The life of the Veronese who will watch us from the bars drinking their strong black espresso or, from late morning onwards, enjoying one of the many local wines, in taverns often little known to tourists.
You’ll discover how the city was a European crossroad, an indispensable goal for the great Roman emperors, all the barbarian kings, and then for all the conquerors, from Charlemagne to Napoleon, until the terrible days of two world wars. And the silent witnesses of all this will accompany us as we run: the oriental decorations brought by the Venetian merchants, the Roman classicism in the gigantic public buildings of 2000 years ago, the severe German Gothic style in many monuments, the warm and cheerful colors of the Italian Mediterranean culture on the facades.
Yes, the colors … we’ll put our running shoes on the smooth and grey stones of the river, on the white and red Veronese marbles, the yellow tuff of the local mountains which were volcanoes, the black basalt from the nearby Alps. What else will we see?
Piazza Erbe, a medieval market surrounded by frescoed houses, the elegant Piazza dei Signori, the extraordinary funeral monuments of the dynasty that ruled Verona for a century. You’ll discover things that even locals and Italian visitors do not know. We’ll pass by the places where the Italian language was born.
Dante Alighieri wrote many masterpieces in Verona, including at least two-thirds of the Divine Comedy, the basis of the Italian that is still spoken.
We’ll pass by the oldest library in the world, which has still existed for over 1500 years, in a picturesque neighborhood that is the small Vatican. That’s enough… you will see all the rest running on our Verona- To Run (Before You Die) group tour.