The Roman amphitheatre in Verona, called the Arena di Verona, is one of the largest in the world. Moreover, if other amphitheatres are in ruins nowadays, the Verona’s amphitheatre is in good preservation and its acoustics are excellent. Every summer, the Arena di Verona hosts the famous Opera festival.
The construction of the amphitheatre in Verona was started in 30 AD during the reign of Emperor Tiberius. The famous Colosseum in Rome was built by the Emperor Vespasian in 72, 50 years later. However, the large amphitheatres in Capua and Pozzuoli were built a century earlier.
The arena of the amphitheatre is an ellipse, with galleries that support the stands. The internal area of the Arena di Verona is 73 x 44 meters, while the external area reaches 153 x 124 meters. Previously, the Arena was surrounded by an external wall, but it was destroyed during an earthquake in 1117. Only 4 arcs have preserved to the present day.
Arena di Verona on its 44 tiers accommodates 30 thousand spectators. In the days of Ancient Rome there had a traditional Gladiator fights, as well as nemaha (naval battles). In the middle of the century, the arena was used as a fortress, as well as a venue for tournaments, courts, and executions. The city`s rulers held wedding ceremonies in the arena. During his stay in Verona, Dante Alighieri came here, and perhaps this arena suggested to him the location of the "circles of hell".
In 1913, the first stage of the Opera Aida was held here for the centenary of the composer Verdi. Nowadays, the Opera festival at the Arena di Verona is held annually. It puts on a variety of performances, which are visited by about 600 thousand viewers a year.