Like the Colosseum in Rome, the Arena is actually formed of two open air amphitheaters built as one circular structure with the stage in the middle, surrounded by original stone seats. Historically, the Arena accommodated thirty thousand seats and was used in the Roman times for entertainment such as gladiator fights, circuses, horse racing and many other events.
In 1913, in order to celebrate one hundred years since the birth of one of Italy’s most distinguished composers, Giuseppe Verdi, the town of Verona decided to use the Arena to stage his most famous opera, Aida, which was such a resounding success that it spawned a yearly opera season running every summer since its conception save only for the periods of the two World Wars.
Nowadays, the Arena holds just over fourteen thousand seats with much taken over by the large stage which every evening, during the season, plays host to a range of different operas. The nightly performances here, orchestrated by a team of hundreds of technicians, dancers and singers are a wonder to behold and a truly magical experience.
Please note that performances usually start quite late, around 9pm to benefit from the dark night sky and allow the lighting to have its full effect. Because the stage is in the open air it is very much susceptible to weather conditions, and although they can adapt the start time of their performances to wait for short periods of rain to pass, performances will be canceled if there is bad weather on the day.