Arena di Verona
The Roman amphitheatre in Verona
After the Colosseum in Rome and the amphitheatre in Capua, the Roman arena in Verona is the third largest Roman amphitheatre. With its gigantic dimensions of 140 metres in length and 110 metres in width it dominates the Piazza Brà from the north. Its great acoustics and unique location make the Roman arena the ideal location for events and it attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors to Verona every year during the Festival season to see the opera and theatre performances.
Arena di Verona: A long history of success
The arena in Verona was built in the 1st century AD by the Flavian emperors according to the principle of “bread and games”. For almost 400 years gladiators fought here and entertained the masses with bloody carnage. When emperor Honorius prohibited the gladiator games in 404 AD, that was the end of the Arena of Verona and the amphitheatre stood empty for centuries. The original four-floor building with a length of 152 metres and a width of 113 metres was damaged in the 12th century by several earthquakes and reduced to its present size – the interior zone. The four-floor exterior – the remains are only three stories tall with 4 arches – still gives a good impression of the glory of the former curtain wall surrounded by columns.
On account of its dark catacombs, the Roman arena was often called the “labyrinth of the devil” by the Veronese people and was primarily used as a quarry for the surrounding residential buildings. The first to return to their roots in the Renaissance, the Venetians restored the venerable walls. Since then, sporadic concerts, bullfights and theatrical performances have been held in the arena once more.
Arena di Verona: A perfect opera experience
There has been a real boom in the Roman Arena in Verona since 1913. On the occasion of Giuseppe Verdi’s birthday the Verona opera festival was inaugurated and has inspired visitors to the 22,000-seat arena since then. From June to August you can admire an event almost every day, and if you have the chance to see one of the great performances you should definitely do it. Short-break visitors also have the chance to purchase a ticket for unnumbered seats for less than 30 euros at the box office – turning up in the morning on time is required. If you have a prior booking and show up in appropriate evening attire you can also buy some of the expensive seat tickets in the stalls.
More details concerning the events and performances in the arena can be found at www.arena.it and www.arena-verona.de. The ticket office is located in Via Dietro Anfiteatro 6, a narrow alley behind the arena.
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