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VERONA Veneto, Italy.

On the Adige river 104 km W of Venice, the original settlement, even in earliest times, was a center of the early Veneti. The first contacts with Rome are not well known. The Veneti remained loyal to Rome against Hannibal and were amply rewarded, for the Romans respected the territory of the Veneti from Livenza all'Olio to the borders of Brixia. The oldest Latin inscription from Verona is a miliarium from the Via Postumia dating to 148 B.C. (CIL I, 624 = V.8045) and presently preserved in the Museo Maffeiano. The road crossed Regio X, joining Genoa and Aquileia by way of Piacenza, Cremona, Verona, Vicenza, and Oderzo. Originally a defensive road, it later became a powerful commercial artery.

Already at the time of the Via Postumia, the first bridge over the Adige must have been constructed at the site of a very early ferry. It was on that spot that the Ponte della Pietra would later span the river. Two arches of that bridge remain, with definite traces of later restorations.

Historical and epigraphical sources are silent until the age of Caesar. There has been and still is much discussion regarding the legal status of Verona during this interlude of nearly a century. Although Catullus called Verona a Latin colony (17.1) it seems improbable that it was a true colonia, with the introduction of new inhabitants as colonists, particularly in the period when Aquileia and Lucca (181-179 B.C.) were the last two definite colonies in Italy under Roman law.

From an archaeological point of view, no trace of a center antedates the Roman city. As a result of the social war Latin law was extended to the entire territory between the Alps and the Po, but it was only in 49 B.C. that all the Latin colonies beyond the Po river became municipia. From then on an ever-increasing number of inscriptions and of monumental buildings confirm the development of Roman Verona, cited by Strabo (5.213) and by Martial (14.195.1) as one of the most important cities of Venetia. The gens Gavia, originally from the S central area of Italy, is mentioned in particular and is responsible for the famous arch, an aqueduct, and perhaps the first theater.

Tacitus (Hist. 3.8.1) mentions that Verona was at the center of the struggles between the Flavian faction and the followers of Vitellius. Gallienus later revitalized the city, incorporating it into a defensive system from Concordia to Milan. His actions are mentioned in the inscription of 265 set on the architrave above the vault of the Porta Borsari (CIL V, 3329). The text mentions Verona as the Colonia Augusta Nova Gallieniana, an honor conferred upon it probably by Gallienus himself.

After the reform of Diocletian, which reduced Italy to the status of a province, Verona preserved its importance, becoming a vacation haunt of emperors. The famous laterculum maius, list of the provinces of the late Empire, dating to the first years of the 4th c., comes from here. After the defeat of Brescia, the troops of Maxentius took refuge in Verona. An inscription (CIL V, 3331) and one panel of the Arch of Constantine in Rome commemorate the victorious siege of Constantine.

An inscription of Valerius Palladius records the decline of the city. As governor of Venetia et Histria (CIL V, 3332) from 379 to 383, he had re-erected a statue (surely of votive type) which lay for a time in the Capitolium. The importance accorded a pagan relic focuses attention on the struggles between pagans and Christians which characterized the second half of the 4th c. in the provinces as well as at Rome. Christianity had its first Ecclesia in a building recently unearthed near the cathedral. The building shows a plan which had already reached a sophisticated development. At the end of the 4th c. or at the beginning of thc 5th, it was probably abandoned in favor of the large basilica which usually bears the name of the first important bishop of Verona, San Zeno. With it ended the series of ancient buildings.

Verona's monuments are particularly well preserved. In addition to the gates and walls there is the theater, along the Adige opposite Colle di San Pietro. It had two upper passageways which offered the spectator a unique view of the stage. The entire complex recalls Augustan art where, as on the arch of the Gabii, traditional Hellenistic elements are mingled with others of clearly Roman taste.

Within the circuit walls of the city in the period of Caesar, the huge amphitheater, usually called the Arena, was built. Numerous restorations, both medieaval and modern (e.g., the 16th c. reconstruction of the stairways), make it difficult to assign a precise date, despite the recent excavations of the substructures, of the vaulted galleries, of the monumental entrances, and of the series of arcades, and despite the strengthening of the Ala.

Other buildings of which there is definite evidence include the Thermae Juventianae (CIL v, 3342), dating to the beginning of the 3d c.; the Capitolium, whose high podium and inner underground reservoir have been discovered; a basilica of perhaps the Flavian era; and an interesting house, also of the Flavian period, discovered some years ago around Valdonega, with mosaic pavements and remains of frescos.

In the Museo del Teatro are notable sculptures of the so-called sophisticated art, among which is a splendid portrait of an emperor of the Julio-Claudian house and a torso in armor. Although the Bevilacqua collection and many other private collections of importance have been sold, Verona still maintains the oldest epigraphic museum in Italy, owing to the efforts in the middle of the 18th c. of the great humanist Scipione Maffei. The Museo Civico of Castelvecchio preserves the Venera coin repository (more than 50,000 pieces) discovered at the end of the last century.


CIL V, 319ff, 942ff; 1074ff; C. Anti, “L'Arco dei Gavi a Verona,” Arch. e Arti decorative, I (1921-22) 121ff; B. Forlati Tamaro, “Un iscrizione votiva di Sommacampagna,” Epigraphica 3 (1941) 271ff; id., “Iscrizioni votive di Verona,” ibid. 4 (1942) 159ff; id., “La casa romana nel Veneto e una nuova scoperta a Verona,” ArchCl 10 (1958) 116ff; id., “La romanizzazione dell'Italia settentrionale vista nelle iscrizioni,” Aquileia nostra 32-33 (1961-62) 109ff; id., “A proposito degli Arusnates,” Atti X riunione scientifica Istitut. ital. Preistoria e Protostoria (1965) 237ff; id., “Verona” in Arte e Civiltàl romana nell'Italia settentrionale (1964) 564ff; id., “Ii restauro della porta detta dei Leoni,” NSc Suppl. (1965) 12ff; id., “Scavi e scoperte negli ultimi anni nelle Venezie,” Atti II Congr. Arch. Crist. (1970) 185ff; id., “Statua loricata scoperta a Verona,” Gli archeologi italicini in onore di A. Maiuri, ed. Di Mauro, s.d.; A. Zarpellon, “Verona e l'agro veronese in età romana,” Nova Historia (1954); H. Kähler, “Die römischen Stadtore von Verona,” JdI 4 (1955) 138ff; L. Beschi, “Verona romana e i monumenti,” Verona e il suo territorio, I (1960) 368; id., I bronzetti romani di Montorio Veronese (1962); F. Sartori, “Verona romana, Storia politica, economica, amministrativa,” Verona e suo territorio, I (1960) 157ff; P. Gazzola, Ponti romani I (1963); L. Franzoni, “L'iscrizione di Valerio Palladio dal Foro di Verona,” Atti e Memorie Accad. Agric. Sc. e Lettere di Verona (1965-66) 425ff; id., La Galleria Bevilacqua (1970); L. Bosio, Itinerari e strade della Venetia romana (1970); G. Fogolari, “Ritrovamenti archeologici nell'ultimo decennio,” Atti II Congr. Arch. Crist. (1970) 35ff; G. Tosi, La casa romana di Valdonega e il problema degli Oeci collonnati (1971).


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