It is one of the largest amphitheatres in Italy and the most famous monument in Verona. This building was erected by the Romans around the middle of the first century AD and was used to host various types of performances: gladiator battles and fights with ferocious and exotic animals. Its elliptical shape was designed to accommodate a large number of spectators (about 30,000) and to provide enough space for the games. It was built outside the Roman city walls to help the influx of spectators and avoid crowding in the city centre.
Only the Ala, a short section of the outer ring that was the façade of the Arena, has been preserved. Under the reign of Theodoric (493-526 AD), the outer ring was partially demolished for the construction of a second set of defensive walls, and until the Renaissance the Arena was used as a stone quarry. The façade features just one architectural style, the Tuscan order, with bossages and limestone blocks from Valpolicella.
It consists of two main parts: the central arena that hosted the shows, and the cavea in different levels for the audience. In ancient times, the seats in the cavea were separated from the arena by a podium which probably had nets to ensure the safety of spectators. Today, the cavea has large reconstructed stone steps but originally it was divided into horizontal sectors through walkways and featured a portico covered with a roof at the top.
The amphitheatre after the Roman age
In the Middle Ages, the outside arches called “arcovoli” were rented out by the Municipality: until the 16th century there were used by prostitutes, but later they became the location of craft shops. Over time, the interior was used for different purposes such as justice administration, parties, shows, races; in 1913 though, Aida by Verdi was staged in the Arena for the first time and since then, the monument has been a venue for summer opera events.
open on Mondays from 1.30pm to 7.30pm
Tuesday to Sunday from 8.30am to 7.30pm
(ticket office closes at 6.30pm)
- full price: € 10,00
- reduced for groups, senior citizens (over 60) and students: € 7,50
- reduced for schools/children 8-14 years (only if accompanied): € 1,00
- reduced for residents of the City of Verona: € 1,00
- combined Museo Museo Maffeiano/full-price Arena: € 11,00 – reduced: € 8,00
- free admission: senior residents of the City of Verona (over 65) – disabled people and their carers – children up to 7 years of age – with VeronaCard pass