On the bustling square of Piazza Bra in Verona, Italy, lies the ancient Verona Arena or Arena di Verona. The well preserved Roman Amphitheatre dates to 1st century AD. Once a site of gladiatorial games and shows, visitors would travel from all over Italy to see them. Today, the arena is an upscale concert and performance venue, famous for its incredible acoustics.
One of the greatest experiences in Verona is to visit the atmospheric Arena di Verona. Historians and music-loving travellers will relish a glimpse inside the famous walls of the amphitheatre. In ancient times, over 30,000 people would travel to view gladiators grappling with wild beasts or showing incredible strength during the “ludi” public games. Walk through the labyrinth of arches and tunnels and imagine the roar of a tiger or the sound of a crowd cheering for their chosen gladiator. Those who venture to Verona Arena solely for the music can book tickets for summer operatic performances. The shows are renowned for their elaborate stage designs and acoustics. It is a once in a lifetime experience which shouldn’t be missed. From the outside, on Piazza Bra, the archways and architecture of the amphitheatre can be admired. At night time, dine al fresco on the square and see the venue illuminated in all its ancient glory.
Reaching Piazza Bra and Verona Arena is easy on foot. It is accessible from all the city centre attractions in minutes by walking, bicycle, bus or taxi. Buses operate to the perimeter of Piazza Bra from Porta Nuova Railway Station, and taxis are available throughout the city. Visitors preferring to walk through the charming streets and squares from the station to Verona Arena can do so in around 20 minutes.
Verona Arena dates to the early part of the 1st century. It was built on a site beyond city walls. An earthquake almost destroyed part of the outer ring in 1117. During the early days, it would host “ludi” games. It wasn’t recognised as a performance venue until the 1850s. In 1913, a staging of Verdi’s opera, Aida took place in the arena with Puccini and Mascagni in the audience. Since then, the summer opera seasons have continued, attracting visitors from all over the globe each year.