My first step on Italian ground was at the Verona airport. My first “formal” visit to Verona was to see the Arena and the Balcony of Romeo and Juliet, only to find out there is so much more to see. In this post, let me focus on the Arena. It was our first time to purchase a map from a vending machine since we were not staying in any hotel where they give it for free. The place is just 45 minutes away from where we currently live in Italy. It became very useful because we went to Verona both in winter and summer to see the two faces of the place.
|A tourist map vending machine in the parking area|
|Verona tourist map with discount coupons|
In Verona, any sight becomes an introduction either to the ancient times or to modernity. The most significant evidence of the Roman era is the Verona Arena (Arena di Verona), a Roman amphitheater located in Piazza Bra. It is ingeniously preserved and is today the largest open-air opera theater in the world. It is the third largest of its kind in Italy, smaller than the Colosseum in Rome and amphitheater in Capua. The structure was built in 30 AD and could host 30,000 spectators during that time. The number of spectators was now limited for safety reasons. Today it holds 15,000 people. The building’s outer ring was almost completely destroyed during an earthquake in 1117. It was remarkably restored and during the Renaissance, its theatrical function was recovered. The spectators traditionally light candles or “mocoleto” as darkness falls and performances begin at dusk. In recent times, the Verona Arena has also hosted some international bands of different genres. Examples are Duran Duran, Sting, Rod Stewart, and Pearl Jam.
|The Verona Arena (Arena di Verona)|
|Verona Arena's balcony|
|View of the inside from the balcony|
|A winter scene near the Arena. The brown stalls on the opposite end of the rink were used during an open-market.|
|Cafes near the Arena|
|A store near the Arena|
Around the Arena, you can take photos with men and women in costumes. They usually depend their dress on the theme of the show or opera scheduled to be presented in the amphitheater. The default costume is that of a Roman soldier, but during the season when Aida will be played, a lot were dressed as Egyptians. They don’t charge you with a fixed fee, they will just ask you for a donation.
|An exhibition that drew people|
|An informative flyer about scheduled shows and stage plays|
|Loacker Moccaria in Verona|
|Loacker Moccaria provides good food and Verona Arena flyers|
(RediscoverMore is a blog also maintained, but no longer updated, by me.)