“Three Tits on Tour” in Verona

I’ve just returned from an incredible weekend in Verona, Italy. Those of you who know me well, know my love of Opera, travel and architecture. So Verona offers the perfect combination.

Add to that great company, a lot of laughs, good food and friendships then you’ve just about summed up our weekend.

Verona 20132 generalFor many many years I’ve had Opera in Verona on my ‘to do list’. Mum and I talked about going. I’ve discussed going with friends. But somehow it’s always seemed out of reach as I’d been told how expensive it was and how accommodation was almost impossible to get during the Opera season. Why I ever listened to anyone, I’m not now sure… but at the beginning of 2013 I booked my flights and then sent an email to a few girlfriends to invite them to join me. Two wonderful friends, Ismena and Kelly, booked flights and emailed me back to say they were ‘in’. I think now that my years of delay in going to Verona were so that I could make the trip with Issy and Kelly.

DSCN0568The three of us have been friends for such a short period of time in our lives. However the reason we met was because of cancer and with that bond there is an intensity of a shared experience and friendship that means months and year counts don’t really matter.

I remember seeing How to Look Good Naked, the Gok Wan show, a few days before my second surgery was due. (How to Look Good Naked Part I and Part II) As you will know from this website my surgeon had suggested I prepare for the possibility that I may need a mastectomy. Kelly’s experience on the show, coupled with my reading Lisa Lynch’s book The C Word and Janice Day’s book Getting it off my chest were all part of my preparation and journey.

Little could I have imagined then that I would soon meet all three of these incredible ladies.

Sadly Lisa passed away earlier this year. Too soon. Too young. I miss her funny and poignant twitter posts in my timeline but I can still hear her mischevious laugh!

Issy and I, despite having a mutual friend met via Shine Cancer Support and subsequently discovered that we live a few minutes apart. What I also didn’t know was that on Issy’s ‘List for Living’ she wanted to see an Opera in Verona.

The three of us met up on Thursday afternoon at Gatwick and headed for the plane. Kelly confessed to being an opera virgin… and both Issy and I felt that by the end of the weekend Kelly would be converted!

A quick flight with BA however was marred a little by lack of organisation and wheelchair assistance particularly at Verona airport.  We eventually arrived at our accommodation and were warmly welcomed.  Quick to settle in to our fabulous Arena B&B we then set out in search of a light dinner, a glass of bubbles and an early night! What a fabulous find Arena B&B is. Literally 5 minutes wander to the Arena and the main square. Truly couldn’t be better placed. Affordable, friendly, clean AND best placed. Perfect. During our stay they were incredibly accommodating as Issy was exhausted after recent hospital visits and needed to rest on Friday during the day. They were also kind enough to get extra pillows and allow us to keep the room on our final day in case Issy needed a rest before flying home. Really exceptional and considerate service.

After breakfast on the balcony together on Friday morning, Kelly & I headed out to explore Verona. We walked and wandered down alleyways, across squares, through arches and over bridges. An exquisite historic city full of beautiful architecture and secret spots to explore. We might have stopped for a little gelati in the afternoon and perhaps a little lunch with bubbles!

IMG_3993After a short rest at the B&B, scrub up and beautify, the 3 of us headed out for a bite to eat before the main event for the day – Rigoletto in the Arena.

IMG_3991For this evening’s performance we had booked cheaper seats on the stone steps higher up the Arena. Still perfect for the ambiance and view of the stage but we were very grateful to our B&B for lending us cushions to sit on! What a performance! Perhaps not the best opera for Kelly’s first as it’s a little darker and deeper than others but certainly an introduction in an incredible setting. Late in the night the breeze got up and the odd exchange of glances took place between us as we envisaged the weather coming in and us getting soaked high up in the Arena. Little did we imagine that during the interval part of the set would be blown over! The interval was therefore longer whilst the stage hands set about fixing it. The oddest thing happened… well perhaps for an Opera venue. A Mexican wave was started… and the orchestra joined in! Hilarious.

Verona 20134 bridge Ponte Scaligero, VeronaWe woke up to another sunny and glorious day in Verona. Breakfast on the balcony amongst the vines. Then the three of us set out in search of the little City Sightseeing bus. A great way to see the sites, with tourguide in our ears and, if we’d chosen a hop-off/on option too.  Our blue route was perfect… and we’d also worked out that if we alighted by Juliet’s balcony we could stop at a restaurant, Antico Caffe Dante, that our B&B had recommended for a long lunch. I in turn cannot recommend this restaurant highly enough. Truly exceptional food of the highest calibre. The restaurant is set in Piazza dei Signori, romantically known as the ‘Drawing Room of Verona’, which is slightly away from the hustle and bustle of the main squares.

After lunch, Issy headed off back to the B&B.  Kelly & I headed up the Torre dei Lamberti, a tall medieval bell tower. Stunning views of the City and beyond from the top… however we truly did jump when the bell rang!!

IMG_3990A short rest and scrub up before a quick snack and then the biggest performance of our trip. Aida.

Not just any performance nor any date. We are not only attending opera in Verona during the Festival dei Centenario (100 years of opera in the Arena) BUT it is also Verdi’s 100th birthday year. Tonight’s performance is even more special as they are recreating the Aida performance given 100 years ago!

IMG_3992The entire Arena was packed. More seats have been created farther around the Arena and near the stage. The excitement as we took our seats (posh ones lower down the Arena!). Candles were lit by those attending the performance to recreate the atmosphere 100 years ago when there was no electricity and the public would light a candle to illuminate the Arena and stage. Now it is used to signify our presence at the event unique to the world.

DSCN0661 DSCN0664Beautiful spellbinding performance that captured and drew us all in. The costumes, stage and music were an incredible tribute to Verdi’s opera. Amazing.

Fair to say that Kelly is now an opera convert too!

Sunday was spent with another long lunch, a little sightseeing, gelati, prosecco and laughter before our flight home. Fabulous.

Castelvecchio, Verona Verona 20133sculptureOh, one more thing… Late one night this weekend we realised that because of cancer related surgeries there were only three breasts between us… hence ‘3 tits on tour’!

Next overseas adventure for 3 tits on tour – La Traviata in La Scala – http://www.abitofaboob.com/where-are-you-alfredo/

3 thoughts on ““Three Tits on Tour” in Verona

  1. Pingback: Breast Cancer Care Fashion Show 2013 | AnnaGoAnna Wallace

  2. Pingback: Issy’s ‘List for Life’ continues…. | AnnaGoAnna Wallace

  3. Pingback: Farewell Issy | AnnaGoAnna Wallace

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