(by Bernardo Pasquali) The 101st Opera Festival at the Arena di Verona begins tomorrow night with the premiere of Puccini’s Turandot. Tonight, a grand gala will be broadcast worldwide on Rai 1 to mark this 2024 edition. Several Verona restaurants are offering dedicated menus and a pre-opera dining experience to delight opera enthusiasts before they head to the amphitheater.

Preludio at Casa Perbellini 12 Apostoli

Chef Giancarlo Perbellini, in his new location at the iconic 12 Apostoli, a two-Michelin-star restaurant, has created a series of three menus called Preludio for the Opera Festival. Giancarlo Perbellini offers “five acts” of tasting menus: “Io e Silvia • Preludio,” “Io e Giorgio • Preludio,” and “L’Essenza • Preludio.” The chosen menu is intended for the entire table and is priced at 180.00 euros per person. A la carte, two courses from the Preludio menus can be selected for 160.00 euros per person. Classic dishes from the Verona chef act as a prelude to the magical atmosphere of the Arena.

Casa Perbellini 12 Apostoli Preludio

Pre-Opera Dinner at Il Desco

For several years, Elia and Matteo Rizzo at Il Desco, a one-Michelin-star restaurant, have offered a special menu for the Opera Festival in the Arena. They propose a gourmet solution inspired by the charming à la carte menu, ideal for those who wish to savor the opera with an excellent introductory meal.

Il Desco restaurant

Pre-Opera at Iris in Palazzo Soave

Chef Giacomo Sacchetto is introducing his new cuisine at Iris during the Verona Arena Opera Festival. This will occur in the beautifully restored Palazzo Soave, which features frescoed halls and medieval vaults. The menu for opera lovers will include classic dishes such as Scampi Brioche with hazelnut butter béarnaise, cold spaghetti with seafood soup, tomato, and prawns, lamb with Verona celery, honey and sesame, shallot and rocket, and “Golden Dreams” sweets in the cellar. The tasting menu is priced at 100 euros, excluding water and coffee.

Iris restaurant

Gong and Operaprima at Ristorante Darì

At the historic Palazzo Veneziano Cà Rezzonico, Corinna and Giuliano have created a menu dedicated to immersing guests in the Opera Festival’s atmosphere. Named Gong, after the instrument that signals the start of the opera, the menu features dishes inspired by the various titles in the festival’s lineup. Chef Andrea Gasbarro has crafted dishes like LA BOHEME: Bisquit financier with malga butter, almonds, anchovies, caper powder, and fermented lemon; TOSCA: turbot-filled tortelli, raw fasolari, Timut cacio e pepe (caciotta cheese and pepper); BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA: sea bass, chorizo, calamari silk, and flowers. 

The menu is priced at 90 euros. Additionally, a pre-opera menu called Operaprima offers three courses for 65 euros.

Pre- and Post-Opera at Torcolo Da Barca

Luca Barca’s Torcolo will be open from 6:30 p.m. until late at night during the Opera Festival, providing entertainment even after the performances. The restaurant will serve its regular à la carte menu in the heart of Verona’s historic center.

Il Torcolo da Barca restaurant

Operart at Byblos Art Hotel Villa Amistà

Located in the Verona province, specifically in Valpolicella, the Byblos Hotel at Villa Amistà in Corrubbio di Negarine offers a luxurious Operart package. This package includes a two-night stay in an Art & Design room, spa access, and shuttle service to the Arena. Guests can enjoy Chef Mattia Bianchi’s intriguing cuisine, which provides a musical backdrop to the pre-opera experience. This includes a three-course menu at Saor restaurant throughout the Opera Festival.

Byblos Art Hotel Villa Amistà