History of Verona
This wonderful city
along the Adige river, at the foot of the Lessini Mountains (today
a National Park) has been the site of various human settlements
for the past 300,000 years. Stone was used as one of the
principle natural resources by these early settlers, who began
working with materials other than flint. They fashioned numerous
objects ' from instruments for use in daily life to religious
At the time when the region was first touched by Roman
civilisation, it was probably inhabited by Celts. The Emperor
reinforced the city's defences with strong city walls.
Extraordinary monuments were built and the urban structure began
to take shape ' it was an interesting mix of the Medieval and
Over the years, Verona became a very important city due to its
geographical location (even today, it is an important industrial
and commercial gateway to the north and the centre of Italy) and
its port provided access to northern Europe. For this reason, it
became one of the most highly developed urban centres in Italy.
After the succesive barbarian invasions between the fifth and
the tenth century, Veron was finally made a Free City at the
beginning of the thirteenth century - after a long struggle
against Frederico Barbarossa, it came under the rule of the
Scala family in 1260. It was the Scala family who transformed it
into one of the most important kingdoms of the time. It took in
most of the Veneto, as well as the large regions of Emilia and
Tuscany and was dotted with magnificent buildings and works of
In 1405, it became part of the Venetian Republic. In 1796, it
was occupied for six months by Napoleonic troops. By 1801, it
had been successfully divided up by the French and the Austrians,
and it was definitively annexed by the Hapsburg Empire in 1814.
During the nineteenth century, Verona took on an important
administrative and military role. The city's defences were
reorganised and strengthened: Verona became the principle
stronghold of the 'Quadrilateral' (the other three being Mantua,
Peschiera and Legnano) which became the pivotal point of the
Lombardy-Veneto defence structure during the War of Independence.
The province of Verona officially became part of the Kingdom of
Italy in 1866.
There are several artistic spots to visit around the city ' the
following are a few which are not to be missed: the Piazza dei
Signori, which is a truly beautiful sight, flanked by the
Palazzo del Comune with its neo-classical fa?de; the imposing
Medieval Torre dei Lamberti (83 metres high); the Palazzo
Tribunale, or Palazzo del Capitanio, a Scaligieri palace with a
characteristically angular tower (the Scaligeri ruled Verona
from 1260 to 1387); the Loggia del Consiglio (a splendid example
of Veronese Renaissance architecture) and the 'Duomo' (cathedral).
This was built in the twelfth century, on the site of an
early-Medieval church. It underwent many renovations between the
fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The fa?de successfully
blends Roman and Gothic architectural elements. Its gateway and
Roman entrance hall are beautiful. The interior is Gothic and
houses many priceless artistic treasures including an
altar-piece by Tiziano depicting The Assumption (1535), which is
in the first chapel on the left.
The Palazzo Pompeii (now home to a museum of natural history)
was designed by the architect Sammicheli. In fact, Sammicheli's
work is also visible throughout the city as, he was respnsible
for its complete restructuring.
The Piazza delle Erbe (once the site of an ancient Roman forum)
is characterised by monuments dating back to various periods
which stand opposite the market. It is also home to the Arena -
one of Verona's most famous monuments. It was built in the first
century A.D. and has been expertly preserved, thus making it one
of the world's most evocative and important operatic theatres.
The interior is elliptical and measures 44.43m X 73.58.
The Castelvecchio is a splendid example of military architecture.
It was built towards the end of the fourteenth century, when the
nobility began to doubt the allegiance of the city.
Last but not least, is Juliet's House,- where Shakespeare's
heroine was said to have lived. It is now a place of pilgrimage
for many star-crossed lovers.