Verona Art City
Verona has always been a melting pot of different civilizations, each of which left cultural, artistic and architectural treasures that created an immense wealth of history and tradition over the centuries.
Founded in the third century BC, Verona became a Roman municipality in the year 49 BC when all inhabitants of Verona became full Roman citizens.
Presiding over important communication arteries, Verona was crossed by the Via Postumia – that connected Genoa with the Adriatic sea and which can still be followed for a very long urban stretch – and by the Via Claudio-Augusta which, following the Adige valley, climbed up toward the Germanic regions. The direct control of trade and of military transport made it an important enough centre to be recognized as “the most Roman city after Rome”.
After the fall of the Western Roman Empire and from the fourth century it was conquered by the Barbarians of the north-eastern regions who were attracted by its prosperity and strategic position; they were followed by the Longobards and the Franks.
In 1136 Verona became a Commune until 1226 when Ezzelino da Romano assumed power; he ordered the construction of the second Verona walls, portions of which can still be seen embracing the historic centre. In 1259 Mastino Della Scala became Podestà (chief magistrate), marking the rise of his rich family of wool merchants. He was the first in a series of Scaliger who ruled Verona until 1375 in a modern participatory rule shared by the Signoria (the governing authority)and the Citizens. The Scaliger were rulers of great power and immense wealth, to the point that in 1336 Mastino II was considered one of the richest men of the known world; under their guidance Verona came to a position of supremacy by conquering a territory stretching from Belluno (in the very north of the Veneto region) to Lucca (in Tuscany), and enjoyed a period of prosperity and economic and cultural expansion. The Scaliger were skilled conquerors, enlightened administrators and great patrons of the arts; Dante Alighieri was a frequent visitor to their court as a guest, friend and political refugee; and William Shakespeare set his masterpiece, Romeo and Juliet, in the city during their rule.
After a short rule by the Visconti of Milan, in 1405 Verona came under the government of the Republic of Venice: the Venetian regime lasted nearly 400 years, giving new stability and prosperity.
On June 1st 1796, Napoleonic troops occupied Verona; after a few years it was annexed to the Hapsburg Empire until 1866, when it joined the Kingdom of Italy.