The Verona Arena in Italian Arena di Verona is a Roman amphitheatre in Verona.
It is one of the best-preserved ancient structures in the world.
The Arena is Verona’s most famous monument, visited by tourists world-wide.
It was built in 30 AD on a site which was then beyond the city walls.
The external dimensions of the elliptic structure are 152 x 123 meters (499 x 403 feet), which made it the third largest Roman amphitheatre after the Colosseum and the Capuan amphitheatre.
The amphitheatre could host more than 30,000 spectators in ancient times. Nowadays, for security reasons, the maximum attendance is 15,000 people.
Its elliptical shape enhances the acoustic quality of the performances.
Originally there were three tiers of arches reaching a height of 30 meters (98 feet), but today only two tiers survive except in one small portion where four arches survive of the top tier.
The round façade of the building was originally composed of white and pink limestone from Valpolicella, but after a major earthquake in 1117, which almost completely destroyed the structure’s outer ring, except for the so-called “ala” (wing), the stone was quarried for re-use in other buildings.
The Arena floor is also now 2 meters below ground-level.
The first interventions to recover the arena’s function as a theatre began during the Renaissance.
Some operatic performances were later mounted in the building during the 1850s, owing to its outstanding acoustics.
The Arena was originally used to host gladiator, circus, and equestrian events and, even today, it continues to host concerts and, most famously, an opera season every summer.
Every year over 500,000 people see productions of the popular operas in this arena.
Modern-day travellers are advised that admission tickets to sit on the arena’s stone steps are much cheaper to buy than tickets giving access to the padded chairs available on lower levels. Candles are distributed to the audience and lit after sunset around the arena.
The opera productions in the Verona Arena had not used any microphones or loudspeakers until an electronic sound reinforcement system was installed in 2011.