My father-in-law is a devout opera fan so, when we were thinking of 70th birthday presents, a long weekend in Verona floated to the top of the list. The ancient city's association with the arts draws visitors in droves, most of whom come to see the legendary Juliet House, complete with that very balcony from which she famously called to her lover, Romeo.
I am a huge fan of the 'place around the corner'. We were lucky to find the beautifully designed Ristorante L'Orologio around the corner from our hotel. Outstanding food and superb service, the children loved everything they tried, as did I.
The Italians may have a chequered political history, a national debt second only to Greece and high levels of unemployment but if they do one thing really well, it is luxury hotels. Italian luxury hotels are acknowledged worldwide as among the best for style, service and food: they are the standard bearers that others try to follow.
Start at Rialto Bridge to re-live heated conversations from The Merchant of Venice and experience the views this tourist trap offers over the city's canals. Take a trip to the area known as the 'Jewish Ghetto' and see one of the city's stunning synagogues, like the Levantine Synagogue, where Al Pacino prayed in the role of Shylock in the 2004 film.
Getting to Lagacio Mountain Residence might have taken me all day in travelling but it was definitely worth the trek. I flew from Glasgow to Gatwick, Gatwick to Verona. From Verona Airport I caught a cab to the train station, where I caught a train to Bolzano, a two hour journey.