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Non solo il Colosseo… Anfiteatri d’Italia

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Architectural jewels, symbols of power, and places of entertainment are our open-air theatres, places of the battles between gladiators, and arenas for combat rituals. There are more than 200 theatres, scattered around the world, from the mighty Colosseum in Rome to the ruins of the Chester arena in England, but in Italy, the Roman amphitheatres are among the most beautiful.

Arena di Verona

It is the third-largest Roman amphitheatre, and one of the best-preserved in Italy. Expression of the romantic city of Verona, the theatre is located right in the city center. The passing of the centuries has not affected this exceptional work, which is still used today as it once was: to hosts shows and music festival. Attending an event inside the Arena di Verona allows you  to experience a truly special sound adventure. Built between 2 and 14 AD, during the empire of Augustus, the theatre hosted fights, hunting shows of ferocious animals, and even a gladiator school. When the fighting was forbidden, the building was definitively incorporated into the new walls that Theodoric, king of the Goths, built-in Verona. It was only in 1913 that the first opera performance was held inside the Arena which ever since continues uninterruptedly to host famous artists.  Verona not only offers the opportunity of a full immersion in the architectural grandeur of the Roman people but also in the refinement of the love story between Romeo and Juliet. The city hosts, then, examples of Romanesque architecture as the Church of San Zeno Maggiore. But to experience the popular Veronese life swing by Piazza Delle Erbe, or in Piazza, Brà, the places where the Veronese people love to meet, stroll and chat and admire the liston, the pink marble paving of Valpolicella, the same used to build the Roman amphitheater.

Where to stay: Hotel Mastino.

Where to eat:La Lanterna, Trattoria da Ropeton, Il Mangiabottoni

More info at: www.arena.it  www.tourism.verona.it

Teatro Romano di Trieste

 

Trieste has a prickly grace (…)

Everything there turns a strange air, a tormenting air, the air of home.’

Umberto Saba.

On the seashore, at the lower end of the hill of S. Giusto, the Arena Vecchia, as it is called, can hold 6,000 spectators. The construction of the theater dates back to around the second half of the 1st century. The Roman theater was brought to light in the 1930s, eliminating the medieval houses that had arisen by exploiting its walls. Restored and partially reconstructed, it shows the cavea (steps for spectators) which rests on the slope of the hill of S. Giusto, the orchestra at its feet, and part of the stage with wings decorated with niches in which statues of members of the imperial family.

In Trieste do not miss:

Castles, churches, museums, literary cafes, Art Nouveau buildings, artisan shops.

Castello di San Giusto and its cathedral: considered by many to be the most important symbol of Trieste. Piazza Unità d’Italia, where the Town Hall is located

The Opicina tram, which is not a simple public means of transport, but a suggestive and panoramic trip out of town.

More info at:    www.turismofvg.it/Siti-Archeologici/Teatro-Romano   www.turismofvg.it

Where to stay: Hotel Filoxenia, Hotel Savoia, Urban Hotel

Where to eat: Pepi s’ciavo, Ai tre magnoni, caffè san marco, suban, nero di seppia

Anfiteatro campano di Santa Maria di Capua Vetere

L’Anfiteatro Campano is an amphitheatre from the Roman era located in the city of Capua, and second in size only to the Colosseum, to which it probably served as a model. It was the seat of the first and very famous school of gladiators. It has a place of great importance in classical and modern culture, and in the collective imagination worldwide, for being the place from which the gladiator Spartacus led in 73 BC. the revolt that for two years kept Rome in check in the years immediately preceding the first triumvirate.

Just 20 minutes by car from the amphitheatre you cannot miss the Royal Palace of Caserta, a Unesco heritage site and an ancient royal residence, historically belonging to the Bourbons of the Two Sicilies, located in Caserta.

Where to sleep: Grand Hotel Vanvitelli in Caserta, B&B Mariella’s House, Santa Maria Capua Vetere

Where to eat: Hostè, La Botte, Santa Maria Capua Vetere, Osteria da Miduccia, La Contrada, Caserta

More info at: www.santamariacapuavetere.it

Anfiteatro Romano di  Lecce

Lecce, the absolute queen of Salento, incredibly rich in history and architecture, is the perfect stage where the charm of the Baroque style shines in all its magnificence. This city is much older. At the time of the Roman Empire, it represented a significant springboard towards Greece and the Middle East.

The Amphitheater of Lecce is located in the heart of the city, in Piazza Sant’Oronzo, and represents an open window to the past.

Due to its size, it seems that the Amphitheater could host about 25,000 spectators. The construction, dated back to the 2nd century AD, rests gracefully on tuff pillars, surmounted by arched architecture, and has now only partially emerged from the ground thanks to excavations.

Under the wonderful sky of Salento, during the day, or under the night light of the historic center of Lecce, the images of this ancient monument emerge clear and magnificent.

The Basilica of Santa Croce with the adjacent Convent of the Celestines, now the Government Palace, and a typical example of Lecce Baroque, the amazing Duomo, ancient fulcrum of religious life as well as the Castle built by King Charles V in 1539, make Lecce a destination unmissable in southern Italy.

More info at: musei.puglia.beniculturali.it/musei/anfiteatro-romano-lecce/, www.comune.lecce.it

Where to sleep: Masseria Trapana, Dimora Storica Torre del Parco 1419, B&B Idomeneo 63

Where to eat: La Prelibatezza, Radici, L’angolino di via Matteotti

Teatro Greco di Taormina

The Greek Theatre of Taormina is the second-largest theatre in Sicily after that of Syracuse, but it is also the best known in the world and the most admired. The gash that time has then opened has enriched it with the magnificent view of the Gulf of Schisò and the majesty of Etna, magnificent with its white plume for most of the season. Since the 1950s, the theatre has been used to host various forms of entertainment ranging from theatre to concerts, from David di Donatello award ceremonies to symphonic concerts from opera to ballet. The Greek Theatre today has a capacity of 4500 seats inside, and for that one of the most sought-after locations by contemporary artists.

If you want to visit one of the typical Sicilian churches, you can visit the cathedral of Taormina. Located in Corso Umberto, you can recognize it due to its beautiful medieval facade and its Baroque-style door.

Corso Umberto is the main street that crosses the whole center of Taormina. On both sides, you can find a number of luxury boutiques, jewellers, and souvenir shops, it is no coincidence that Taormina is nicknamed “the Sicilian Saint Tropez”.

Along the way, you will surely come across Piazza IX Aprile, one of the best viewpoints in Taormina, with its incredible panoramic terrace overlooking the bay below and Mount Etna.

During your walk in the center, take a look at the elegant Renaissance buildings that overlook the streets and squares, in particular Palazzo Duca di Santo Stefano, Palazzo Ciampoli, and Palazzo Corvaja.

More info at: www.traveltaormina.com

Where to sleep: Hotel san Domenico, La Plage Resort, Hotel Villa Carlotta

Where to eat: Villa Antonio, Osteria da Rita, Arco Rosso

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