Find the best sights and sounds in the city of Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers, writes Anne Hanley
Summer means opera in Verona, where spectacles in the Arena - the city's Roman amphitheatre - showcase one of the most remarkable surviving ancient building. This year's programme runs until September 7, with productions including La Traviata, Carmen and a night celebrating Placido Domingo.
The Hotel Due Torri is an elegant haven close to the Arena. Doubles from around $426, including breakfast. Contemporary blends with classic in the Grand Hotel des Arts, which is also well placed for the Arena. Double rooms with breakfast begin at around $300.
With the Arena behind you in Piazza Bra, head along Via Anfiteatro. The popular, although not necessarily authentic, House of Juliet is on the left in Via Cappello, which continues on to the magnificent, adjoining squares of Piazza Erbe and Piazza dei Signori, the hubs of medieval Veronese commerce. Head northwest, past the church of Sant'Anastasia with Pisanello's fresco of St George and the Princess, to the cafe-filled bend in the river Adige and the city's oldest bridge, the Ponte di Pietra.
If you see one church in Verona, make it San Zeno. Verona has an official cathedral but it hardly gets a look-in compared with this basilica dedicated to the city's patron saint.
Scale the 12th-century Torre dei Lamberti in Piazza delle Erbe for a 360-degree view over the city's historic centre. If you don't feel you can cope with the stairs, there's a glass lift to whisk you up the 84m structure. (torredeilamberti.it/en, $13).
Via Mazzini and Corso Porta Borsari cater to the whims of the most dedicated shopaholic. Designer Simone Villa has his Riot Clothing Space shop on Via dei Filippini: clothes for men and women, plus accessories and objects, all in dazzling hues.
Osteria del Bugiardo on Corso Porta Borsari serves wines from the owner's valpolicella vineyard, plus other tipples and snacks. A glass of wine starts at $4.50.
Osteria Sottoriva under the arches on Via Sottoriva serves Veronese specialities (think meat) and seriously good wine. Expect to pay around $51 per person.
Off the map
For a change of scenery, head west to Lake Garda. Impossibly picturesque on a peninsula thrusting into the lake, Sirmione is a 20-minute train ride ($7.50) from Verona.
Fly from Auckland to Milan with Qatar Airways (via Doha) or Emirates (via Dubai). Verona is two hours' drive from Milan.