Five great things to do
Arrive in Venice by sea and watch the city rise from the water as you pass magnificent fortified islands such as the San Giorgio Maggiore.
Skip the gondola, which can cost up to €100 for a 40-minute trip, and take the vaporetto, the water buses that ply the main canals. A single ticket costs €6.50.
Get a sense of the opulent old Venice with a trip around the Doge's Palace on the Piazza San Marco. Don't miss the frescoed walls and gilted ceilings.
Paintings by Titian and Tintoretto hang in the Doge's apartments.
Be dazzled by the Basilica of San Zeno Maggiore. A shrine to Verona's patron saint, it has a beautiful Veronese stone interior and a spectacular, 72m bell tower.
Soak up the opera in Verona -- a musical experience of a lifetime. This year's Verona Opera Festival runs until September 2, and will feature performances of 'Aida', 'Carmen', 'Don Giovanni', 'Tosca', 'Turandot' and 'Romeo and Juliet'.
Ticket prices start at €70 and rise to almost €200 for the fancy seats. See verona.com and tickitaly.com.