Opera enthusiast visiting Verona, even outside the main tourist season, can enjoy an evening of great opera even when concerts of Arena Festival are not performed. In fact, in Verona there is a Philharmonic Theatre among the oldest in Italy, with a long tradition that still offers a rich program of operatic, symphonic and balletevents from early autumn to late spring.
The Theater and the Museum
At the beginning of 1700s, like in many Italian cities, Verona too felt the need of an opera house. The city, despite three centuries of political-administrative subjection to Venice, was able to maintain its artistic identity and a vibrant cultural life. Among Verona intellectuals there was Scipione Maffei, member of a noble family and a typical example of multi-faceted Enlightment personality. Maffei convinced the Philharmonic Academy (Accademia Filarmonica) to create a location up to the prestige of the institution. Founded way back in 1543, the Philarmonic Academy was a sort of exclusive club attended through the years by the most prominent figures of Verona society. The building should have also accommodate a theater and a museum. The project of the theater was entrusted to Francesco Galli Bibbiena, the most famous architect of the time specialized in the design of music and opera halls. He conceived a typical horseshoe-shaped Italian style theater, with subsequent orders of boxes and a rich relief and gold leaf decoration. In the same years were made theaters such as La Fenice in Venice, the Teatro Argentina in Rome, San Carlo in Naples, La Scala in Milan. A very unique feature of Verona Philharmonic Theatre is the main entrance through a courtyard that houses the main collections of the of Maffei Lapidary Museum. This is the evolution of the museum, conceived by Scipione Maffei, after whom it is named, to house the collections of antiquities, especially Greek and Latin inscriptions, collected by the Maffei himself and other noble Veronese collectors, pioneers of modern archeology. It is the oldest lapidary museum in the world and one of the oldest in Europe. The courtyard leads to the vestibule of the theater through the imposing neoclassical facade with gigantic Doric columns, designed by Alassandro Pompei.
In 1770, young Mozart, traveling to Italy with his father, gave a concert in the Great Hall of the Theater (now Sala Maffeiana), astonishing with his talent those who attended and being appointed Master of Chapel of the Academy. Verona Philharmonic Theatre was destroyed twice, due to a fire in 1749 and in 1945 because of Second World War bombings. In the subsequent reconstruction, however, they tried to keep and rebuild the structure originally designed by Bibbiena.
There is always a good reason to come to Verona! For information on events scheduled at the Verona Philharmonic Theatre or on visits and guided tours to the Maffei Lapidary Museum during your trip to Verona:
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Transfer on private car with driver from airport or train station to the chosen hotel Two nights in double room in three stars hotel close to Verona city center Breakfast in hotel Opera Tickets, two performances Verona Card granting free access to major Verona museums and monuments