Think what entertainment can do for hotels. The long list of various cultural modes includes children’s books – think Kay Thompson’s 1950’s books on Eloise, supposedly living in New York’s The Plaza, a Fairmont Hotel. with her nanny, puppy and turtle. Think musicals, and how Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 1965 classic The Sound of Music still leads to non-stop von Trapp addicts singing their way around Salzburg and upping occupancy at The Sacher Hotel Salzburg.
And then there is serious drama, influenced after over five centuries by The Bard himself. Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet would by itself have boosted the appeal of Verona to some extent but this has been considerably increased by Gary Winick’s 2010 movie Letters to Juliet, starring Vanessa Redgrave et al. There’s a nonstop deluge of incoming messages coming into this gorgeous Italian city from more countries, it seems, than those that are part of the United Nations. Marvellously, teams of Verona volunteers email back, spreading the appeal of actually coming to visit.
As well as oozing Romeo and Juliet culture and the nationwide appeal of Brand Italy, Verona, a UNESCO World Heritage, is also renowned, by the way, for its opera, in the Roman Arena di Verona amphitheatre. Its next highly-renowned Opera Festival, its 99th, is slated for 17 June through to 4 September 2022.
Where to stay, at any time, in Verona? Hotel Indigo – Grand Hotel Des Arts is eight minutes’ walk from the Arena, straight along Corso Porta Nuova to #105 Corso Porta Nuova. The clever conversion of a central-city palace dating back to the 18th century is now a 62-room stylish hotel. There are four 48sq m corner suites, one on each floor. All have the same layout but the ground floor one looks directly into the hotel’s inner garden.
The visitor is tempted to wonder if Hotel Indigo – Grand Hotel Des Arts could, possibly, once have been Juliet Capulet’s family home, perhaps? In fact what is usually considered her base, Casa di Giulietta, is only 16 minutes’ walk away. Indigo’s GM Tina Ingaldi loves trekking the city, and she tells me that as well as visiting cultural sites, one of her favourite excursions is to a fascinating fleamarket, 20 minutes’ walk away. And back at your Indigo base, recover with a Shakespeare Martini, based around Grapeheart Gin.
Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo? That could be a romantic cry not only during your stay but as a lasting stand-out of Verona.
Lead image: Hotel Indigo Verona – Grand Hotel Des Arts, standard room with terrace.