Piazza Bra is the largest square in Verona, located in historical center of the city. The most important structure in the square is, without doubt, the famous Roman amphitheater known as the Arena di Verona.
The Arena, located in the northern part of the square, was built in the 1st century AD. Still used today, the Arena is one of the best preserved ancient structures of its kind and the world’s eighth-largest Roman amphitheater.
The area began to take the shape of a square only in the first half of the 16th century, when the architect Michele Sanmicheli completed the Honorij Palace (Palazzo degli Honorij), which delimited the western side of the future square.
The first attempt to transform the dirt road into a square belonged to the mayor Alvise Mocenigo, who wanted to create a meeting place for the Veronese bourgeoisie. He inaugurated the first part of the Liston, the paved sidewalk that flanks the Bra Square, in 1770. On March 13, 1782, Francesco Menegatti presented a project for the definitive paving of the Liston and, after his intervention, the Bra became the favorite place for afternoon walks.
Palazzo della Gran Guardia, began by the Venetians in the 17th century and completed by the Austrians in the 19th century, delimited the southern side of the square.
In 1836, the architect Giuseppe Barbieri demolished a hospital, some houses and a small church, to build the Palazzo della Gran Guardia Nuova in the eastern part of the square, a building better known today as the Palazzo Barbieri.
In the 19th century, oil lamps were installed and, in 1845, gas lighting, to make the Liston also a place for evening walks. In 1873, the central garden of the square was created, with a fountain in the center.
Piazza Bra was formed over a long period of time and each of its sides is characterized by an architecture specific to a particular era.
On the northern side, there is the Arena, the oldest structure in the square. On the western side, there are various palaces dating back to the 15th and 18th centuries, and the Liston sidewalk. On the south side, we can find the Palace of the Gran Guardia, and on the eastern side, the most recent building, the Barbieri Palace, the city’s Town Hall.
HOW TO GET THERE
Piazza Bra is located about 1.5 kilometers from the Verona Porta Nuova railway station. The square is an important transport hub for both urban and extra-urban buses, such as the bus Lines 11, 12, 13, 51, 52, 78, 90, 92, 94, 96, 97, 98, 102, 161, 162, 163, 164 and 165.