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From Lake Garda to Verona – Even though we enjoy every minute we can be at Lake Garda, we are also drawn to cultural highlights from time to time – this time to the cultural mecca of Verona, known for its opera festivals in the Arena di Verona. This year, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary, we had… Arena di Verona Festival, the choice between eight different operas. We decided on Verdi’s “Rigoletto” – at least that was the plan. (How Verdi’s “Rigoletto” became Puccini’s “Tosca” – more on this later). But first to the path!

Travel from Lake Garda to Verona

From Lake Garda to Verona – Going by car was the fastest and most convenient solution for us, even though traveling by train would have been perfectly possible. (You can go by car from Riva del Garda to Rovereto, park there, then take the train to Verona. The train ride takes about two hours and ten minutes). Our trip lasted an hour and a half. We went on a Friday afternoon, without traffic jams, in the sunshine and with anticipation of our opera pleasure in our luggage.

Parking was also easy at the Parcheggio Interrato CITTADELLA | APCOA. It was convenient that the parking fees could be paid via Telepass, so no parking ticket was needed. It was also convenient that we were right in the heart of Verona, a five-minute walk from the Arena di Verona, a five-minute walk from our accommodation.


Tosca head from stage design

Parking in Verona

Parking in Verona is not always easy. The historic city has limited parking facilities and strict traffic regulations. There are public parking lots near the city center, but these often fill up quickly. So the best option is to find a suitable parking garage. On-street parking is limited and heavily monitored. There are also several park-and-ride options outside the city where visitors can leave their car and travel to the city center by public transport.

In our guide to parking in Verona you will find extensive information on this topic. Parking in Verona can be stressful, so it is advisable to think about the parking options in Verona in advance.

Our Airbnb in the heart of Verona: the perfect base for visiting the opera

Our chosen accommodation – an Airbnb at Casa Castelli Verona NEW II – was the perfect starting point for our visit to the Arena di Verona. We entered our room via an electronic door lock – modern and clean, just right for one night.

Breakfast options were plentiful nearby, as we were in the heart of the city! So there were also “Ristorantes” nearby as well as many sights (Porta Leoni, Piazza delle Erbe, Scaliger tombs and many more). A really good starting point!

How Verdi’s “Rigoletto” became Puccini’s “Tosca” or the drama with the rain

Finally it had come, the moment of the opera visit. From the beginning of the journey we were looking forward to the court jester Rigoletto, the hunchbacked outsider who tries everything to protect his daughter Gilda from the pleasure-seeking company of the Duke. Two hours of a cultural highlight awaited us in the breathtaking atmosphere of the arena. Of course, such a special evening is not possible without prior refreshment. Dinner (a burger, for once) at the “Hard Rock” — what a cultural contrast — followed by an aperitif befitting the occasion put us in the mood.

Many people, many opera enthusiasts from all over the world came to the arena, which filled up under an unfortunately cloudy sky. What variety, what sight, what atmosphere!

But sometimes things turn out differently than you think. That the weather this year brings various surprises, we know mainly from reports and stories. Despite this knowledge, what came surprised us and all opera fans. Had we hoped for a performance under a cloudless starry sky, the atmosphere of a fantastic performance at pleasant temperatures in August.

After about 20 minutes – shortly before the end of the first act – this hope was dashed. Due to the increasingly heavy rain, the performance had to be stopped and could not be resumed. The rain was too heavy and lasting. The disappointment was great, because we knew that if we had to cancel due to rain, there would be no refund of the ticket price or that the refund would be complicated. So that should have been it?

As a consolation – sightseeing the next day with Francesca

Feeling disappointed, however, we didn’t want to just go back to Lake Garda the next day. So we booked a tour through GetourGuide and got lucky with our tour guide Francesca. She showed us less touristy places and real insider tips. (Here we do not want to reveal more – experience it yourself). At the end of the sightseeing we were treated to local wines, cheese and sausage, (which was included in the tour price). So we were somewhat comforted and had a nice dry day until then. But it should come even better!

Opera Tosca Verona Arena stage design

How “Rigoletto” became “Tosca” – the second chance

To our surprise, we received an email from the Arena di Verona. Expectation? Hope? We got a second chance! We could buy tickets for an opera during the season for a symbolic price of 2.50€ in the same category. Of course, we didn’t want to miss this second chance. It quickly became clear that we wanted to watch Puccini’s opera “Tosca” that same evening. Thought, done, we booked the tickets.

But there was one more challenge – that of accommodation and clothing. After all, we had only booked accommodation for one night, so we consequently now needed a new one. Booking made it possible – fortunately. And clean clothes we also no longer had in our luggage. But this one was still acceptable (and it is dark in the evening). Challenge mastered!

Experiencing Puccini’s opera “Tosca

Anticipation, excitement, expectation (and hope that it would not rain again): Transposed to Rome in 1800, we were to see and hear one of the most performed operas. Love, death and terror , gripping duets and the famous aria “Tosca” – and that in the Arena di Verona – what more could you want. The equally impressive atmosphere, the imposing stage set, the beginning of the performance – what a unique experience.

But also this time the rain came and the performance had to be interrupted. Fortunately, it could be resumed after a short time. (Peter was merciful to us and all the opera lovers of the evening after all). Thus we were able to experience Tosca’s “kiss” as well as Cavaradossi’s and her sad end.

The traditional and sweet conclusion

Still in the opera frenzy, overwhelmed by the impressions, the music, the action, we cooled our emotions with an ice cream in the middle of Verona. At Gelateria Savoia Verona we treated ourselves to a cooling palate experience – typical Veronese ice cream “Semifreddo” – A good end to this special, exciting day with its unexpected twists.

Gelateria Savoia Verona
Gelateria Savoia Verona Semifreddo

From Verona back to Lake Garda

After a dreamy night and a wonderful breakfast right next to our accommodation, we drove back to Lake Garda. In us emotions, images, suggestions, thoughts, so diverse after this opera experience, which nevertheless went quite differently than thought, planned. We take away from our trip many beautiful moments, the experience that after all (usually) everything turns out “fine” and in the end can be more exciting and lively than expected – no matter if it rains or not! It was just beautiful from Lake Garda to Verona!

FAQ – From Lake Garda to Verona

How much does parking cost in Rovereto?

The daily rate for the parking lot “Rovereto Centro” in Via Manzoni is 4,00 € (from 07.00 to 21.00), the night rate is 3,00 € (from 21.00 to 07.00) and the weekly rate is 31,00 € (7 days/6 nights). You can also find more information in our guide to parking in Verona.

How much does parking cost at Parcheggio Interrato CITTADELLA?

We paid a daily rate (24 hours) in the amount of 20 € in August 2023.

Opera ticket exchange and refund in case of rain?

Here you can find all information: https://www.arena.it/de/arena-di-verona/reglement



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