Arena of Verona

If that stone could speak, it would tell of the bloody gladiator fights and the famous opera festival, which since 1913 makes it the largest outdoor opera house in the world.

It is believed that the Arena of Verona was built around the first century AD, and today it is the best preserved Roman amphitheatre. Initially used as a place for Roman entertainment and therefore located outside the city centre, it hosted gladiatorial events for decades until, at the time of Theodoric, it was restored and used to host singing and musical performances. Later, after the devastating earthquakes of the twelfth century that brought down its outer ring, of which only a small section remains today, it was converted into a marble quarry.

After being used at the end of 1200 as a place for executing heretics, the entrance to the arena was forbidden to all citizens for various reasons concerning the separation of the wealthy part of the city from the “disreputable” area. This situation continued until around 1650, when restoration works were begun, during which the ancient Roman arena was brought to light. At the beginning of 1800, a season of events and shows was opened, lasting to this day, hosting the “cacciata dei tori” (ousting of the bulls) in Napoleonic times, before being reserved for important opera and musical events in 1900, and finally international events such as the Arenian Opera Festival or the many concerts of modern singers that continue today, attracting tens of thousands of people every year.

Archaeology Opera

INTERESTING FACTS

  • During medieval times, both because it seemed too large to be a human product and for the unfortunate events to which it was linked, the local population created numerous legends in which the arena was systematically painted as the work of the devil.

Tips

  • One visit that is interesting because it relates to the history of Roman Verona is the Archaeological Museum at the Roman Theatre, located inside the city of Verona, which tells the history of the time of the arena as well as preserving some artifacts.
  • The Arenian Opera Festival is one of the most prestigious Italian music festivals. Every year some of the world’s most famous operas are produced and the experience is enhanced and made unique by the excellent acoustics of the amphitheatre, which makes this event truly unmissable.