The Roman Theatre in Verone
The Roman Theater is the oldest building in Verone. It was built at the end of the first century bc, close to the St Peter's hill, taking advantage of the natural slope of the land to build the bleachers. It was built between the two Roman bridges that crossed the Adige river. The theater was used by the Romans to attend the performances of Greek comedies and tragedies.
Unfortunately there is not much left of this monument. In the Middle Ages it was damaged by earthquakes and floods, and eventually it was buried beneath houses and convents, that were built using the old walls. It was only in the nineteenth century that a rich merchant, Andrea Monga, started excavating the area. In 1904 the city of Verone bought the property and continued the excavation until 1970 when the tunnel below the stage was discovered.
Originally the theater had a semicircular cavea (steps) and a stage closed by a large backdrop. During the performance the backdrop represented a section of the city with houses and doors from which the actors would come out. Between the stage and the bleachers there was the orchestra floor and it was intended to accommodate the most influential people of the time. The bleachers were divided into the cavea bassa (low) and the cavea alta (high). Twenty three of the twenty five steps of the cavea bassa are still used today. At the time of the Romans at the top of the hill there was a temple, the ruins of which were discovered in 1851.
Today the Theater is still used and it is famous for hosting the Shakespeare Festival and the Verone Jazz Festival in the summer.
If you are not lucky enough to be in town during these events, you can still visit the theater. The entrance ticket for the theater also gives you access to the Archaeological Museum of Verone, where you can admire a vast selection of the artifacts found in the territory.