Piazza Bra is the main square in Verona. The word bra comes from the German word for broad, because Piazza Bra is a very wide open square. Piazza Bra is surrounded by many beautiful old buildings and there are many cafes and restaurants on this square, too.
Part of the square is surrounded by Verona's old city walls and its old city gate. This square is also home to the Gran Guardia Palace, the Lapidary Museum and the town hall.
In the centre of Piazza Bra there is a statue of the Italian King Vittorio Emanuele II mounted on a horse.
However, the most noticeable and prominent building on the square is the Ancient Roman arena. We did not actually go inside the arena. Nowadays it is used to stage operas and at Christmas time it houses an exhibition on nativity scenes.
At Christmas time in Verona a huge Comet Star is raised over the arena. Naturally this represents the star which led the three wise men to the stable where Jesus was born This iron structure is seventy meters high and weighs seventy-eight tons. It dates from 1984 and was built for the first Verona Christmas Crib Exhibition. It was intended to be used only once but was so popular it has been used every Christmas since 1984.
This is more or less the heart of Verona with the big Arena where operas are performed. There is also a little park with the statue of Vittorio Emanuele. Also at Piazza Bra is the Palazzo Barbieri, which serves as townhall.
In 2006 I unfortunately didn't see the new production of Puccini's Tosca, which is too bad because it was highly praised by the critics. The staging, set design, costumes and lighting for Tosca were all by Hugo de Ana (not Zeffirelli).
While other operas were being performed, they stored parts of the Tosca stage set out on Piazza Bra. (The building in the background is called the Gran Guardia, by the way.)
Second photo: Parts of the Tosca stage, from above.
Third photo: Evidently they used this wooden wagon in Tosca.
Fourth and fifth photos: Cannons and other stage elements from Tosca.
These folks are at the top of the Arena steps looking out at Piazza Bra, which is the big open square in front of the Arena. The building in the background is the City Hall.
Second photo: Looking out at another corner of Piazza Bra.
Third photo: Part of Piazza Bra at night after the opera performance.
Fourth and fifth photos: If you walk around Piazza Bra past the front of the Arena in the late afternoon, you can look into some of the archways and see where they keep the costumes for the hundreds of supernumeraries (extra players) who appear in the operas.
This historic theater was built on the Via Roma, at one corner of the Piazza Bra, starting in 1716. For three decades it was the city's opera house, until it burned down (set on fire by a forgotten torch) on the night of January 21st, 1749. But it was rebuilt, and reopened in 1754.
191 years later the theater was destroyed again, this time by an air raid on February 23rd, 1945. But again it was rebuilt, and was reopened in 1975.
Today the Filarmonico is not only an opera venue. Besides operas, they put on numerous other musical events such as concerts and ballets. There are no performances there during the summer, but I did notice an orchestra rehearsal going on there.
Second photo: Entrance to the box office on Via Roma (with bicycles).
Third photo: Colonnade of the Teatro Filarmonico on Via Roma.
Fourth photo: Back of the Teatro Filarmonico.
Fifth photo: Stage entrance.
The Bra’ (from the German "breit", meaning "broad") began to be defined as a square only around mid sixteenth century, when Michele Sammicheli built the Palace of the Honours and gave a correct perspective to the Arena, limiting the perimeter of the future square towards the west. Another contribution was made by construction of the Palace of the Grand Guard, which defines the southern limit of the area. After paving of the area, which was finished in 1782, the Brà became the preferred place for a vespers stroll, instead of Lord’s Square. Around mid XII century, it was used for the wood, hay, straw and livestock market, to the extent that ancient documents often refer to the Brà as the “livestock market”. The traditional fair of Saint Lucy survives as a remnant of the ancient custom of holding a fair in Piazza Brà. This recurrence takes place each year between the 11th and 13th of December.
Monuments. See the respective analytical cards for the Arena and Lapidary Museum
There is this small column right in the middle of the street, where Via Mazzini starts on Piazza Bra and high above the ground you will see the sculptured reliefs of 4 saints watching over the people passing by.
I could not find any explanations about it in my books, but still I think it is worth to take a closer look.
Don't oversee this great fresco in the very beginning of Via Mazzini and at the same time still facing Piazza Bra. Most of the colors have faded away unfortunately, but still you will see some great details of that very special work of art.
For me such small sights along my way through an old town are somehow more important than some of the tourist-traps everybody is going to...
Piazza Bra is the the name of the big square right in front of the famous Arena di Verona, that dates back to the roman empire and is more than 2000 years old now.
Piazza Bra is still used for various festivities, like a big festivity that was going on, while we were there. They had a lovely performance of dancers, exotic music and culinary delights.
Piazza Bra is the place, where you will mostly be dropped by the busdrivers, in case you make a stop-over of 1 or 2 hours, while taking a bustour through Italy.
With a heritage that dates back more than two thousand years, Verona was once a very important Roman town, and today remains one of Italy’s best kept archeological sites. The historical center lies hidden behind the town’s roman walls, and it is within these ancient stones that the majority of the monuments and historic sites can be located. First up, head down to the Piazza Bra; a large open square dominated by the famous Roman Arena. In Roman times, this was the principal area for entertainment, seating over 20,000 spectators. The high arched structure arena has been impeccably reserved, and is now open to a contemporary public to come and have a look around. If visiting the city in the summer months, one of the most famous local events is the summer opera season which is held in this impressive amphitheater, and is a truly amazing location and spectacular event not to be missed
After either a long days shopping or sightseeing you should dump your bags at your feet and grab an ice cream or 'gelato' at one of the many ice cream parlours in Piazza Bra.
There are some beautiful buildings in this square including the arena, but also the town hall and the old city gates.
Stay on a bit later and have dinner in one of the numerous restaurants or take a stroll along the quaint cobbles . Great people watching spot and very romantic!
Unfortunately this is a very popular area so in summer be prepared to face crowds. Also the restaurants are pricey and there are better and cheaper places to eat.
But do grab a coke or an icecream and spend a few hours soaking up the unique atmosphere of Verona!