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Verona

Verona (population est. 260,000) is an ancient town, episcopal see and province in the Veneto, Northern Italy. The ancient town, and the centre of the modern city, is situated in a loop of the Adige River near Lake Garda.

History

Verona was supposedly founded by Etruscans or by the Eugaei or Raeti tribes, but the first historical records are from the 4th century BC. It became a notable political and commercial center during Roman times. During the middle ages, it was the capital of the Italian Kingdom of Theodorich.

Verona was flooded many and many times. Before the Mori-Torbole tunnel (500 cubic metre of discharge from the Adige river to the Garda lake in case of flood danger) was built in 1956 this happened on average every 70 years. Now this time average is supposed to be 200 years. The city reached the pinnacle of its political influence during the 14th century as the seat of power of the della Scala family (also known as the Scaligeri).

After the Venetian domination (1402-1797), Verona had known the French revolution and become part of the Cisalpine Republic. With the fault of Bonaparte, it become part of the Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia and one of the fortress group called Quadrilatero.

Verona become part of the Kingdom of Italy only on 1866.

Monuments

For its importance, Verona is a UNESCO world heritage.

Roman monuments: Verona is famous for its Roman amphitheatre, the "Arena di Verona" where opera is now performed in the summer months. The Arena (whose shape and use immediately recall the Roman Colosseum) was built in the mid-1st century AD on a site which at the time was outside the city walls. The ludi (shows and games) played in it were so famous that spectators came to Verona for them from many other (sometimes very distant) places. The amphitheatre could host more than 30,000 spectators, and the most requested events were gladiators' fights (against lions too). The round façade was originally in white and pink limestone from Valpolicella, but during the Middle Ages the Arena was used as a sort of quarry for other buildings. The first interventions to recover its functionality as a theatre were started during the Renaissance.

But other Roman monuments too are in the town, like the Roman theatre, built in the 1st century BC and retrieved in the 18th century thanks to Andrea Monga, a wealthy Veronese who bought all the houses that in time had been built over the theatre, demolished them and saved the monument. Verona hosts indeed one of the richest collections of Roman remains of all Northern Italy.

The Arco dei Gavi (Gavi Arch), dedicated to the important Roman family of the Gavii, was built in the same 1st century AD, and is famous for having the name of the builder (architect Lucius Vitruvius Cordone) engraved on it, a really rare case in the architecture of the epoque. It had been demolished by the French troops in 1805 and was rebuilt in 1932.

Medieval monuments: The Saint Zeno Basilica (San Zeno) is a masterpiece of Romanesque architecture. It was rebuilt in 1117 on the remains of an older church, following from an earthquake.

Other information

Verona was the birthplace of Catullus, Vitruvius, and the town that Julius Caesar selected for his relaxing stays. In its history many important names passed and events happened that were relevant for the European history, like Theodoric the Great, king of Ostrogoths, Alboin and Rosamunda, the Lombard Dukes, Charlemagne and Pippin of Italy, Berengar I, Dante. Conclaves were held here, as were important congresses. Verona was in the travel diaries of Goethe, Stendhal, Paul Valéry.

Verona is the setting of the story of Romeo and Juliet, made famous by William Shakespeare. Although the earliest version of the story is set in Siena, not Verona - the move was made in Luigi da Porto's "Istoria novellamente ritrovata di due Nobili Amanti" - a balcony falsely claiming historical connection to the fictional lovers has become a tourist attraction for lovers; the wall beneath it is covered with their graffiti.

Its Natural history museum contains one of the most valuable collections of fossils and archaeological remains of Europe.

The colors of the city are the yellow and the blue.

Things from Verona (and sometimes people) are called Veronese. The most famous example of this can lead to confusion, however, as the Renaissance painter, Paolo Veronese is often referred to as simply "Veronese".