'In fair Verona' doth beauty, culture lie

Quaint little restaurants and cafes can be found throughout the streets of Verona, Italy, for a relaxing meal in the city. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Lindsey Maurice)

Quaint little restaurants and cafes can be found throughout the streets of Verona, Italy, for a relaxing meal in the city. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Lindsey Maurice)

The Fountain of Our Lady, a Gothic monument built under the Della Scala Family and erected in 1368, rests in the center of the Piazza delle Erbe in Verona, Italy. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Lindsey Maurice)

The Fountain of Our Lady, a Gothic monument built under the Della Scala Family and erected in 1368, rests in the center of the Piazza delle Erbe in Verona, Italy. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Lindsey Maurice)

The third largest amphitheatre in Italy rests at the end of the Piazza Bra in Verona, Italy. Completed around 30 A.D. and able to seat about 25,000 people, the  arena showcases a variety of operas throughout the summer. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Lindsey Maurice)

The third largest amphitheatre in Italy rests at the end of the Piazza Bra in Verona, Italy. Completed around 30 A.D. and able to seat about 25,000 people, the arena showcases a variety of operas throughout the summer. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Lindsey Maurice)

The Museo Archeologico or Archaeological Museum in Verona, Italy, houses the majority of historic Roman treasures of Verona from mosaic tiles to fresco paintings and statues. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Lindsey Maurice)

The Museo Archeologico or Archaeological Museum in Verona, Italy, houses the majority of historic Roman treasures of Verona from mosaic tiles to fresco paintings and statues. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Lindsey Maurice)

The Museo Archeologico or Archaeological Museum in Verona, Italy, houses the majority of the historic Roman treasures of Verona from mosaic tiles to fresco paintings and statues. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Lindsey Maurice)

The Museo Archeologico or Archaeological Museum in Verona, Italy, houses the majority of the historic Roman treasures of Verona from mosaic tiles to fresco paintings and statues. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Lindsey Maurice)

AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy -- Perhaps best known as the setting for William Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet," Verona is one of the main tourist destinations of northern Italy, located in the provincial capital of Veneto. 

Offering a beautiful landscape for a relaxing stroll, an abundance of shops, a Roman amphitheatre featuring live operas, a variety of historic monuments and delicious food, the city has something to offer just about anyone. 

One of the biggest stops on any tourist's agenda is Casa di Giulietta, the house of Shakespeare's fictitious character Juliet. The house includes the balcony from which Juliet called out to her Romeo and a bronze statue of the starlet with one breast polished by visitors touching it for luck in love. 

While not quite as popular, as visitors are not permitted inside, the city also features the house of Romeo. Enthusiasts wanting to at least get a glimpse inside the courtyard can dine upstairs in the neighboring restaurant, Osteria Dal Duca, while dining on authentic Verona delicacies, including homemade pasta with ground donkey meat. 

One of the biggest attractions of the city during the summer months is the Roman amphitheatre, the third largest in Italy, completed around 30 A.D. Able to seat about 25,000 spectators, the arena features a variety of operas between June and August including "Aida," "The Barber of Seville," "Carmen," and "Tosca." Tickets for the opera average about 80 euro per person, but with it being such a rare and an amazing opportunity, it's well worth the money. Those interested should bring a seat cushion for comfort as the arena seating is concrete, and remember to dress for the usually hot summer outdoors. 

For those travelers looking for a more historical experience, the city also houses a variety of Roman monuments from a theatre that dates back to the 1st century B.C., the Arco dei Gavi or Gavi Arch, that dates back to the 1st century A.D. and is dedicated to the prominent Roman Gavi Family, and the Porta dei Leoni, a first century B.C. ruin of the former Roman city gate. 

Verona also features a variety of historic churches, including the Basilica of San Zeno Maggiore and Church of Santa Maria Antica; as well as monuments, structures and museums such as the Della Scala Tombs, Fountain of Our Lady, Ponte Pietra, Castelvecchio, the Piazza del Signori. 

Finally, for those people just looking for a relaxing place to sit back, sip on a café or glass of wine, and take in the city, there is the Piazza Bra, the largest square in the city which stretches out in front of the amphitheatre. Lined with sidewalk umbrella top tables on one side and a flower landscaped park on the other, it makes for a picturesque Italian setting and a great way to end the day. 

The easiest way to get to Verona is by train from the Pordenone or Sacile train stations. To find exact times, visit www.trenitalia.it. For those opting to travel by car, the city is about 120 miles from Aviano, but drivers may face hectic traffic. 

The base Information, Ticket and Travel office also offers regular tours to Verona, with the next one leaving on June 13. In addition to a visit to the city, the tour also includes dinner and a show at Medieval Times. For more information, call 632-3107.