With no doubt Verona is more famous for Romeo and Jiuliette’s tragic love rather than its thousand-year old history. And yet, its beauty never leaves the visitors feeling indifferent.
It’s no coincidence that Verona was declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO because of its urban structure and architecture. The city gradually developed during two thousand years of history, integrating extremely important artistic elements from different periods.
The Roman Era
The city still retains the typical Roman castrum system that is arranged around a forum, nowadays known as Piazza Erbe, which at the time, was the civil, political and religious centre. The colourful fruit and vegetable market has been here for thousands of years. Some of the main monuments that date back to the Roman times, like the Arena and Roman theatre are still used today.
In an Italy governed by councils and Lords, Verona passed through a particularly rich stage under the Scaliger dynasty, which, besides the symbolic staircase, reproduced in various corners of the city, also left beautiful monuments like Castel Vecchio. There are also some Romanesque churches dating back to Medieval times, like San Zeno and San Giovanni in Fonte.
The Venetian Era
Starting from 1400, Verona was governed by Venice which guaranteed a long period of peace when the arts and culture flourished. The 16th century in particular was a period in which many important churches and palaces were built. One of the most famous architects was Michele Sammicheli and San Giorgio in Braida is probably one of his most impressive creations.
The Austrian Era
Austrian rule lasted from 1815 to 1866 and is noted for transforming Verona into a real fortress city with the building of strong walls, castles and arsenals. Many of them are still visible today, so well conserved that we can still document the refined engineering and architectural techniques of the Austro-Hunagarian Empire. Palazzo Barbieri is one of the most important buildings of this era and was the ancient seat of the Austrian government; today it is the Town Hall.