There’s a 2000-year-old stone colosseum in the centre of Verona that’s still in full working order; Homebush, I’m looking at you. Adele, Bruce Springsteen, Radiohead, One Direction and Deep Purple have all performed here, though most commonly it houses performances of the grandest of Italian operas. On press trips I generally turn off my brain and go through the motions of going where I’m told, when I’m told. The schedule said we’d attend the opera Aida at the open-air Verona Arena. Hope it doesn’t rain, I thought. Must remember to pack a jumper, I noted later. With our tickets checked, we went through security, and then stepped down into the stone bowels of this epically storied building. The place seats 15,000 people, and people bustled everywhere. Then the most ferocious shiver went down my spine. Gladiators also once shivered in these underground corridors. Brothels operated from the hidden rooms within. The stone walls are bulky and cold; you feel lost, cold, frightened, intrigued and excited all at once. Then the trumpets started and everyone shooshed, and another world of entertainment took over. I tried to count the number of people on stage in the cast of Aida at one point and lost count at 300. As the cool kids say: mind, blown.