Verona is a city situated in Veneto, Italy. It covers an area of eighty square miles and has a population of over two hundred and sixty-five thousand residents. Verona is the historical setting for the story of Romeo and Juliet and has also been the home to many prominent people. Notable citizens from Verona include Aleardo Aleardi, Marc Antonio Ingegneri, Giovanni Francesco Caroto, Romano Guardini, Mario Capecchi, Ippolito Pindemonte, Scipione Maffei, Matteo Manassero, Vincenzo Ruffo, Cesare Lombroso, Franco Donatoni, Paolo Bellasio, Michele Sammicheli, Damiano Cunego, Marcantonio Negri, Antonio Salieri, Sara Simeoni, Girolamo Fracastoro, Catullus, Ratherius, Emilio Salgari, Giovanni Giocondo, Bartolomeo Tromboncino, St. Peter Martyr, Paolo Caliari, Walter Chiari and Gigliola Cinquetti.
The true origins of the city is the subject of much debate. Some theories contend that Verona was a city of a ethnic group known as the Euganei. According to this theory, they were forced to cede Verona to the Cenomani during 550 BC. Other historians believe that the city was founded by the Arusnati, a group of people who may have related to the Etruscans. If that was the case, than the name of Verona would have been taken from an Etruscan word meaning “Venetian city located on a river”. Regardless of whic account is true, one thing is known for certain. Verona had a very favorable relationship with the Roman Empire. in 89 BC, Verona became a colony of Rome and would later become a municipium in 49 BC. The Roman Empire erected two bridges, a forum and an aquaduct in the city during this time. Though the city enjoyed these amemnities and numerous others during this period of time, the city also had its share of unrest. Because of its political position in Italy, Verona was often the epicenter of the many Roman civil wars that waged during this time. Famouse warriors who fought within the city include Constantine the Great, Vespasian, Sabinus Iulianus and Vitellius. In the third century, the emperor Gallienus extended the walls of the city to protect it from attack. After the extension of the city walls, Verona went through a period where its citizens were slowly converting to Christianity. During the Middle Ages, the city enjoyed an extensive period of ever increasing wealth. But, the city was also invaded several times by the armies of the Visigoths, the Ostrogoths and the Lombards.
The modern era of the city began with its occupation by Napoleon at the end of the eighteenth century. But, the occupation of the city by the French didn’t last long, as the citizens of Verona rose up on Easter Monday and drove the invaders out of the city. In October of 1797, Verona became a possession of the Austrians under the Treaty of Campo Formio. The Austria Territory took official possession of the city in January of 1798. In 1805, the Treaty of Pressburg transfered control of the city from Austria back to Napoleon. This lasted until 1814, when the city became of part of the Austrian Lombardy Venetia Kingdom, after the defeat of Napoleon. Fifty-two years later, the Austrians left the city and it fell under Italian control. Today, Verona is known for its many historical buildings and the city has been named a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. The city has preserved much of its Roman heritage, though there were many medieval monuments that were damaged during the earthquake of 1117. After the earthquake, a massive rebuilding took place which involved the construction of many Romanesque buildings.
A popular attraction in the city is the Arena di Verona (Verona Arena). This amphitheater was built in 30 AD and was situated just outside the walls of the city. This amphitheater could contain more then thirty thousand spectators and it hosted many games and shows. Arena di Verona’s facade was initially made of pink and white limestone, but after the twelfth century earthquake the stone was reused in other building projects. During the Renaissance, the build was renovated to be used as an opera house. This amphitheater has been used for grande opera productions for the past century and it is one of the most well preserved ancient structures of its kind in existence.
Another prominent attraction in the city of Verona is the Castelvecchio Museum. The Castelvecchio Museum is located in a medieval castle that was restored by architect Carlo Scarpa from 1959 to 1973. The museum has a collection of gold works, sculptures, paintings, statues, ceramics and ancient weapons. Paintings in its collection include ”Crucifixion and Madonna dell’umilta” by Jacopo Bellini, ”Holy Family” by Andrea Mantegna, ”Madonna del roseto” by Stefano da Verona, ”Madonna della quaglia” by Pisanello and ”Madonna with Child” by Gentile Bellini. Prominent sculptures in its collection include “St. Cecilia and Catherina” by St. Anastasia, “Crucifix” by St. Anastasia, ”Cangrande I della Scala” from Scaliger Tombs and a bas relief of Bacchus from the twelfth century. Torre dei Lamberti is another fascinating attraction in the city. It’s a tower that stands at two hundred and fifty-two feet high. It was constructed in 1172, but in 1403 was struck by lightning. Forty-five years later, renovation was begun on it and took another sixteen years. During this restoration the tower was enlarged. In 1779, a clock was added.
Other popular attractions in Verona include Giardini Giusti Garden, Piazza delle Erbe, Museo di Castelvecchio, Parco Giardino Sigurta, SS. Siro e Libera, Arche Scaligeri, Piazza dei Signori, Parco delle Cascate di Molina, Arco della Costa, Verona’s Cathedral, Bertani Vineyards, Casa di Giulietta, S. Giorgio in Braida, Piazza Bra, Casa di Romeo, Santa Anastasia, Church of San Francesco al Corso, Arca di Mastino II, Museo Storico Naturale, Arca di Cansignorio, San Zeno Maggiore Church, Museo Archeologico, San Tomaso Cantuariense, Church Santa Maria in Organo, Piazzale Castel San Pietro, Teatro Romano, S. Pietro Incarnario, Arca di Cangrande I, Galleria d’Arte Moderna Palazzo Forti, Gavi Arch (Arco dei Gavi) and APT Arena. Prominent hotels in the city of Verona include Due Torri hotel Baglioni, Grand Hotel, Hotel Giberti, Hotel Antica Porta Leona, Hotel Porta Palio and Hotel Verona.