Together with Julia’s House the Arena is the most famous tourist attraction in Verona. The amphitheatre takes up the east side of the picturesque Piazza Bra. In the summer months the Arena hosts prestigious opera productions.
Address, opening hours and admission
Address: Piazza Bra – 37121 Verona. Phone: +39 0458003204. Bus: 11, 12, 13, 72, 90, 92, 93, 96, 97, 98 en 510. Opening hours: From 08.30 till 19.30 (Mondays from 13.00 till 19.00). Last admission: 18.45. Closed: Monday mornings. Admission: 10 Euros (Free for children below the age of 8; 1 Euro for children aged 8 to 14; free for Verona Card holders; 1 Euro on the first Suday of the month from October till May.) Note: During the summer months the opera performances may cause changes in the visiting hours and usually the Arena will then close at 16.30.
History and description
The Arena is really a Roman amphitheatre. Just like Rome‘s even more famous Colosseum, it was originally used for gladiator fights. Construction of the monument was completed in the year 30 AD (though not everyone agrees on the exact date).
The exterior is made of brick and a pinkish type of marble called rosso Verona, which is found in the immediate surroundings of the city itself.
In 1183 an earthquake destroyed a big part of the triple row of arcades. Despite this the Arena is still the best preserved Roman amphitheatre.
When it was built it was still outside the city walls. This changed when Emperor Gallienus in the year 265 has an extra wall constructed, in order to protect the Arena from barbarian invasions.
The first time an opera (Aida) was performed in the Arena was in 1913. The occasion was the centenary of the birth of Giuseppe Verdi. One of the people present was Franz Kafka.
There are about 50 performances a year in the Arena, with a total number of visitors of around 600,000 people. There are sometimes over 600 people on stage, including the orchestra, the choir and the dancers.
After the gladiator combats in the times of the Roman Empire all sorts of events have been held in the Arena. These include tournaments, circuses, ballets and even bull fights.
Apart from the Roman Colosseum and the Amphitheatre of Santa Maria Capua Vetere the Arena is the biggest of its kind in Italy. The amphitheatre of Milan was also bigger, but was destroyed during a barbarian attack on the city.
The maximum capacity of the Arena was 30,000 people. It measures 75 by 40 meters. The cavea has a width of 39 meters. The outer wall measures 152 by 123 meters.