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  • Address: Piazza Bra, 1
  • Hours: Tue-Sun: 9:am-7pm , Mon: 1:45pm-7:30pm. Opera season is June through August. Check web site or visit ticket office for times and ticketing
  • Admission: €3.10 to enter arena when not in use for opera performances
There's nothing quite like sitting where you know others have sat and watched performances for two thousand years. The lovely pink marble Roman amphitheatre built in 1AD still proudly dominates the piazza in the middle of Verona, and people still travel from miles around to witness a spectacle; these days it's opera rather than sports, games and gladiatorial battles. The third largest amphitheatre in Italy, Arena di Verona could once seat 30,000, these days its capacity is 15,000.

With the decline of the Roman Empire, the outer walls were ripped down and used for building materials. In the twelfth century, an earthquake damaged the place and it wasn't really until the nineteenth century that there was an interest in using it once more to stage performances. The current incarnation as a major outdoor opera venue began in 1913 with a celebratory mounting of Verdi's Aida to mark 100 years since his birth. Since then four operas have been staged annually from June to August. During the winter months, the local opera and ballet companies use the amphitheatre.

Tickets for the stepped stone seating are cheaper than the cushioned seats on the flat and the view is worth the slight discomfort. At sunset candles are lit and this sight together with the wonderful acoustics make seeing opera here a magical experience.

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