Hidden treasures

The jousts in the Verona Arena

Historical Curiosities

The jousts in the Verona Arena

The Verona Arena is undoubtedly the symbol of the city in the Veneto region, and one of the most famous Roman monuments of Italy.

All the tourists who visit it every year, even just to attend concerts and operas, do not imagine all the different uses it had over the centuries…

The most unusual use that is definitely the most surprising is jousts: these were equestrian games and tournaments between knights who had to clash with each other with a spear or make a dummy dressed as a Turk fall off a rotating platform.

In 1590 the first documented joust inside the Arena took place, while in 1622 a great Giostra della Quintana was held, whose performance was described by some chroniclers as it saw Veronese knights and strangers participate, some of which even came from Sweden.

The last tournament that was held in the Arena was in 1716, in honour of the Prince-Elector of Bavaria and organized by Scipione Maffei, who had complained about the fact that the Verona nobles had stopped holding jousts inside it. From that year onwards, the Arena was used for performances of comedians and dancers, who built the stage inside the amphitheatre. In 1751, instead, a rhino was transported within the Arena, which made all the spectators turn silent as soon as they saw it, not believing such an animal could exist. But the most pleasing form of entertainment was the hunting of bulls, in which a bull (or in some cases an ox) had to fight against dogs trained by butchers. Goethe visited Verona in September 1786 and was surprised to discover that the popular ball games did not take place inside it.

If you are interested in visiting the Verona Arena with a fascinating guided tour we recommend our Guided tour of the Arena di Verona with skip-the-line entrance! An experienced guide from Verona will accompany you to explore this famous amphitheatre with stories, legends and anecdotes!

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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