Built in the 1550s, Porta Palio is a monumental city gate in Verona. It stands on the site of a former gate in the Medieval walled city. While the gate is now closed to traffic—whether horse, car, or pedestrian—it stands a reminder of 16th-century Verona.
Porta Palio was designed by the Venetian architect Michele Sanmicheli to celebrate the ancient Roman road Via Postumia, which once crossed much of northern Italy. With Doric columns and regularly spaced arches, the design was influenced by Roman architecture. A horse race (palio in Italian) used to be held at the former Medieval gate, hence the monument’s name. The gateway has been closed to traffic for much of its life, which has led to it being nicknamed “Porta Stupa” or “closed gate” by locals.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The gate can only be viewed from the outside.
- The interior spaces are often used for events performances and exhibitions.
- Find out more about the gate and its history with a guided walking tour of the city.
How to Get There
Porta Palio is located at the edge of the Centro Storico (historic center), linked to Castelvecchio by Stradone Porta Palio. It’s approximately a 20-minute walk from the city center and is also accessible by bus or taxi. Hop-on-hop-off tour buses pass by the gate for those who want to see the monument without the walk.
When to Get There
A public monument, Porta Palio can be seen all year round. As only the outside of the gate is accessible to visitors, many people stop here while on a larger walking tour of the city.
Walk the City Wall
From Porta Palio, you can see a length of the Medieval city wall built in the 1200s. These walls were built upon the foundations of pre-existing Roman structures. Like many European cities, Verona was once encircled by defensive walls—and large sections of them remain. In fact, some sections were in use as late as the 19th century, when the city was occupied by Austrian forces. Walk down to nearby Castelvecchio to see the fortified bridge across the river.