3 Best Performing Arts Venues in The Veneto and Friuli–Venezia Giulia, Italy

Arena di Verona Opera Festival

Fodor's choice

Milan's La Scala and Naples's San Carlo offer performances more likely to attract serious opera fans, but neither offers a greater spectacle than the Arena di Verona. During the venue's summer season (June to August), as many as 16,000 attendees sit on the original stone terraces or in modern cushioned stalls. Most of the operas presented are big and splashy, like Aida or Turandot, demanding huge choruses, lots of color and movement, and, if possible, camels, horses, or elephants. Order tickets by phone or through the arena website. If you book a spot on the cheaper terraces, be sure to take or rent a cushion—four hours on a 2,000-year-old stone bench can be an ordeal.

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Via Dietro Anfiteatro 6/b, Verona, Veneto, 37100, Italy
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Rate Includes: From €35 (for general admission)

Partita a Scacchi

A human-scale chess game known as the Partita a Scacchi is acted out by players in medieval costume on the second weekend in September in even-number years. The game dates from 1454 and originated as a peaceful way of settling a love dispute for the hand of the daughter of the lord of Marostica Castle. The orders are still given in the local Veneto dialect. A game is presented on Friday and weekend evenings as well as Sunday afternoon. If you book an evening show and do not have a hotel reservation in Marostica, be sure you have a way of getting back afterward. Buses do not run late in the evening, and taxis, if you can find one, may hike up their rates. Tickets go on sale in February; the tourist office can help with bookings.

Teatro Verdi

Trieste's main opera house, built under Austrian rule in 1801, is of interest to aficionados of fine architecture as well as music lovers. Gian Antonio Selva, the architect of Venice's Teatro La Fenice, designed the interior, and Matteo Pertsch, responsible for Milan's Teatro alla Scala, designed the facade. You'll have to attend a performance to view Teatro Verdi's interior; guided tours aren't conducted for individuals. Opera season runs from October through May, with a brief operetta festival in July and August.

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