Today the Arena is set in the historical centre and acts as a backdrop for Piazza Brà. But once upon a time, when the Romans built it, the monument was located at the margins of the urban area, outside the circle of the walls. The Arena summarises in itself almost twenty centuries of local history. Through time, it has become the very symbol of the city. Its cult has far away roots, that go back to Carolingian humanism. The fame that the amphitheatre has enjoyed in the civic consciousness of the Veronese has gradually led the monument to increasingly assume the character of the very symbol of ancient nobility.
From here the measures for its conservation and many deep restorations originate. The Arena has always served the special purpose of spectacular events. During Roman times, for example, it was used for spectacles of gladiator fighting.
In Medieval times and until the mid eighteenths century, games and tournaments were common events at the Arena.
In 1913, the Arena was finally discovered for what it has become known for today, as the first true and most important open-air opera theatre in the world.
Architecture. The most solemn monument in Roman Verona, with various orders of tiers of seats and, in the centre, an area or arena for gladiator shows, struggles with wild beasts or other events of a popular nature. It was built with well-squared blocks of marble in the 1st century A.D., namely between the end of the empire of Augustus and the empire of Claudio.
It is one of the best-conserved monuments of its kind. The perimeter of the current seating stalls is 391 metres, and including the wing it is 435 meters.
The amphitheatre is built from three concentric circles. Only one side of the external ring remains. It is commonly referred to as the “Wing”. The tiers of the amphitheatre are all made of Veronese marble. Underneath the tiers there are galleries, cells and passageways (which cannot be visited today) which once served and still serve, in part, for the complex operation of the amphitheatre.