As famous as Romeo and Juliet's balcony, the Verona Arena is one of the representative monument of the city. It was built by the Romans in the Augustan period, 1st century AD.
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The name Arena comes from the latin word "arena" that means sand - it covers the central part of the amphitheatre.
Originally it was built outside the city walls for logistical reasons, so that it could be easily reached by people arriving from outside the city, and for public order reasons, as densely crowded it could become a source of fights and riots.
In ancient times there were three tiers of arches reaching a height of 30 metres, today only two survive, except in one portion where four arches survive of the sumptuous top tier. This is the result of constant removal of materials as in medieval times the amphitheatre became an enormous, rich source of recycled construction materials. Also the terrible earthquake in the 12th century left indelible traces on the monument. Like in the Colosseum, the Arena hosted gladiator fights, venationes (the hunt of exotic animals), equestrian events. Today concerts are held in the amphitheatre where 20000 spectators enjoy the unique atmosphere of an open-air spectacle, like roman times!