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Verona Opera Holiday – The History of Verona

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By | Blog, Verona Opera | Posted 07 Jan 2016

Verona Opera Holiday – The History of Verona

When you take your Verona Opera holiday you will be very aware of the historical sites around you. The main one that dominates the city is the Roman arena which was built in 79AD. This arena stopped its gladiatorial shows quite some time ago, however, now the summer opera season takes place within the historical building. Aside from this, how much do you know about the ancient city when you are walking through on your Verona opera holiday?

Verona’s connection with Rome dates back to at least the first century when the Veronese fought alongside the Romans against the Teutones and Cimbri. The city was ideal as it had the main ford located on the River Adige. In 89BC Verona became a Roman colony.

The arena was ideally located between the four main roads; the Via Gallica from Turin to Aquileia, the Via Claudia Augusta from Modena to Germany, the Via Portumia from Liguaria to Illyria, and the Vicum Veronesis which was a connection to Ostiglia.

Verona played its part in the various Roman civil wars. Some of the famous figures who fought in Verona include Vespasian and Vitellius, Philip the Arab and Decius, Carinus and Sabinus Iulianus, and Constantine the Great.

Historically the city went through the creation and building of forty-eight towers in the medieval ages, before getting taken over by Emperor Maximilian I in 1490. During his reign of the city, Verona suffered a devastating plague through 1511 – 1512 which wiped out 13,000 inhabitants.  Maximilian gave control of Verona to his grandson, Charles V of Spain, which then was ceded to France. Eventually it was handed back to the Veronese. By 1626 the population soared to 55,000, but in 1630 a further plague reduced this back to around 20,000.  In the late 18th century to early 19th century, Napoleon ruled the city, before Austria briefly took control. In 1882 the city flooded and was forever changed.

During World War II Verona was strategically position Verona was one of the most heavily bombed cities in the north of Italy. By April 1945 the Germans destroyed all the bridges before departing. Verona received a Gold Medal of Military Valour for supporting the partisan war during the conflict.

Next time you walk around Verona you will now understand a small part of its history!

Aerial view of Verona

Castelvecchio in Verona

The Arena di Verona, where the opera takes place every summer

Juliet statue with the famous balcony in Verona

About Hannah Netting

Hannah has had the travel bug from an early age where she was fortunate enough to travel widely, including a four month trip around the world. For her experiencing new cultures, sights and wonders was very important.

Lately her focus has been heavily on Italy enhanced by many wonderful trips including Verona, Venice, Top to Toe, Florence, amongst many others. In Venice she got lost in true Venetian style and got to experience the amazing acoustics of the Verona Arena. Currently Florence is her favourite, but this can always change! With plenty on offer in Italy, it will keep her entertained for many more trips to come!

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