City of Verona
City Of Verona
Cultural Italy Europe And North America City And Province Of Verona, Veneto Region

In its urban structure and its architecture, Verona is an outstanding example of a town that has developed progressively and uninterruptedly over 2,000 years, incorporating artistic elements of the highest quality from each succeeding period. It also represents in an exceptional way the concept of the fortified town at several seminal stages of European history.

The city is situated in northern Italy at the foot of Monte Lessini on the River Adige. It was founded by ancient tribes and became a Roman colony in the 1st century BC, rising rapidly in importance. It was occupied by the Ostrogoth Theodoric I (5th century), by the Lombards, and by Charlemagne (774). In the early 12th century, it became an independent commune, suffering during the wars of Guelphs and Ghibellines. It prospered under the rule of the Scaliger family and particularly under Cangrande I. It fell to Venice in 1405, was part of the Austrian Empire from 1797, and joined the Kingdom of Italy in 1866.

The core of the city consists of the Roman town in the loop of the river. The Scaligers rebuilt the walls, embracing a much larger territory in the west and another vast area on the east bank of the river. This remained the size of the city until the 20th century. The heart of Verona is the ensemble consisting of the Piazza delle Erbe (with its picturesque vegetable market) and the Piazza dei Signori, with their historic buildings, including the Palazzo del Comune, Palazzo del Governo, Loggia del Consiglio, Arche Scaligere and Domus Nova. The Piazza Bra has a number of classicist buildings.

In the north of Italy, Verona is one of the richest cities in Roman remains. These include the Porta Borsari, a city gate at the beginning of the decumanus maximus;the Porta Leoni, only half of which remains, attached to a later building;the Arco dei Gavi, dismantled in the Napoleonic period and rebuilt next to Castelvecchio in the 1930s;the Ponte Pietra;the Roman theatre, excavated in the mid-19th century and restored for use in spectacles;and the Amphitheatre Arena, the second-largest after the Colosseum in Rome (originally a wall of three orders surrounded it, but this collapsed in an earthquake in the 12th century).

In the Romanesque period (8th-12th centuries), the church of San Giovanni in Valle was built on the ruins of previous buildings. The interior has three aisles and there is pre-Romanesque crypt. The elevations of the church of San Lorenzo consist of a mixture of materials, tuff in the lower parts, and tuff and brick alternating in the upper part. The entrance has a Renaissance porch. The church of San Fermo was built from tuff and brick on the remains of an earlier basilica of the 8th century. The tombs are on the exterior;the church has small arches, tall windows, ample staircases, and a beautiful Romanesque porch. The cathedral (Duomo) was first built in the 6th century but rebuilt in the 12th century after an earthquake. The facade, completed in the 14th century, is in Verona marble and has bas-reliefs representing sacred and profane episodes of different types. There is a fine 12th-century cloister with arcades on double colonnades.

During the Scaliger period (13th-14th centuries), the church of Sant'Anastasia was built by the Dominicans;its facade remained incomplete. The Arche Scaligere is the cemetery of the Scaliger family, close to the Piazza dei Signori. Castelvecchio is the fortified residence of the Scaliger family, built at the time of Cangrande II over a previous fortification. The House of Juliet is a small genuine medieval palace;a balcony was added in the 1930s, inspired by Shakespeare's drama. The House of Romeo is a medieval complex, greatly transformed in later periods, and relatively little remains from the original building.

There are also numerous buildings that date from the Renaissance in the centre of Verona: the churches of Santi Nazaro e Celso, Santa Maria in Organo, San Giorgio, San Tomaso, San Bernardino, and Sant'Eufemia. There are the palaces of Canossa, Pompei and Bevilacqua, the gates of Porta Palio, Porta Nuova, Porta Vescovo and Porta San Zeno, as well as the Bishop's Palace and the Giusti Garden and Palace. From the Austrian period of the 19th century, notable buildings include the Castel San Pietro and the Caserma Santa Marta.