The Middle Ages in Verona

Under Scaliger rule, the Middle Ages in Verona were another moment of prosperity and expansion; trade and commerce were revived and architecture and art followed. This is when the tradition of painting the exterior façades of common houses started, marking the beginning of a decorative journey that, centuries later, made Verona one of the most painted cities in Italy which, during the Renaissance, earned it the nickname of urbs picta (painted city). Although many medieval buildings are located in the historic centre, the most notable are concentrated in areas adjacent to Piazza Erbe: Piazza dei Signori, whose boundaries were defined by the palaces claimed by the Scaliger for their homes or offices; the Mazzanti houses; the Cortile Mercato Vecchio which is surrounded by the Palazzo della Ragione and dominated by the Torre dei Lamberti, originally built in 1172 and from the top of which we can enjoy spectacular views of Verona and its environs. Nearby there is a small and delicate marvel: the Arche Scaligere (Scaliger Tombs); these tombs, where the princes of Verona are buried, represent one of the most significant moments of transition between the Romanesque and the Gothic styles and they are one of the best examples that can be found in Verona. In the background there is the small and sober Santa Maria Antica, church of the Scaliger family which probably dates from the 8th century but which was rebuilt in its present form after the earthquake of 1117. Another impressive Scaliger architectural work is the Castelvecchio (namely ‘old castle’), originally called San Martino in Acquaro, and called vecchio (old) only after the construction of the Hapsburg Castel San Pietro in the 19th century. Built together with the Ponte Scaligero, which departs from it, between 1354 and 1375, it was brought to its present form after a restoration and renovation launched in 1958 by Carlo Scarpa and completed in 1975. Castelvecchio is the seat of the Castelvecchio Museum.