First big town on the routes that from northern or eastern Europe bring to Rome, Verona was besieged and conquered many times by the barbarians who flocked in the Italian peninsula after the fall of the Roman Empire. Thanks to its strategic importance, it became an important fortified center under the ruling of Odoaker, Theodoric, who built his fortress on the hill of San Pietro, Alboin, Pipin. Even if sometimes well hidden, many are the signs of the old middle age Verona.
The churches built along the old via Postumia (nowadays via Cavour) like the mysterious luoghi di culto sorti lungo l'antica via Postumia (oggi via Cavour) come il misterioso sacellumof the Saints Teuteria and Tosca, probably the oldest church in Veneto, whose origins dates back to the fith century. The church of St. Lorenzo, with its unusual towers, Saint Stephen built on an old Roman temple or San Giovanni in Valle, an old Arian church built in the Castrum Gotorum, the defensive area where the Goths dominators lived separated from the rest of the town.
Saint Teuteria and Tosca
The Church of the Saints Teuteria and Tosca is probably the oldest in Veneto. Proof of its ancientness, beside its structure, which recalls the Byzantine architecture of Ravenna, is the level on which it stands, almost two meters below the current street level near the Roman one. Legends of the two Saints and the construction of the Church dedicated to them lies in a strange myth and in mysticism.
The church of San Lorenzo probably rose on the remains of a Roman villa immediately outside the city walls. Its structure is very unusual in Italy and testifies Northern Europe influences in medieval Verona, with the twp towers on the sides of the romanesque facade , and the matroneni still perfectly preserved.
Le collezioni di gioielli, suppellettili, armi longobarde conservate al Museo di Castelvecchio, assieme alle sculture romaniche, testimonianze della vita quotidiana e artistica dell'alto medioevo a Verona e nella sua provincia.
The Capitolare Library, dates back to VI century one of the oldest still existing in the world. It remained for all the Middle Age one of the centers of cultural life, not only in Verona, but in the whole Europe. "An Ark of salvation during the centuries hard for men, harder for books." The Capitolare library can be visited previous booking. in addition to the beautiful codexes and incunabula, the famous riddle of Verona can be admired, one of earliest proof of written Italian language dating back to the nith or eith century.
In the aftermath of the first millenium and the dramatic earthquake in 1117, Verona experienced an important recovery, not only in the society and the arts but also in its architecture, that made of Verona one o most importat ceter of Romanesque architecture, with important monuments like the St Zeno Abbey, an undisputed Romanesque masterpiece with his mysterious and archaic bronze portals, the Cathedral, with the design of the misterious Nicolò and the splendid sculptures by Brioloto.
The Church of the patron saint of Verona, masterpiece of Romanesque architecture, still bears that singular combination of sacred and profane, spiritual and hearthly elements, typical of medieval culture. This church, since the death of St. Zeno in 380 A.D. was sacked, damaged, burnt, and each time, layer after layer, rebuilt. The battlemented tower is the only remain of the once immense Abbey, and host Italy oldest fresco of secular subject since the fall of Roman Empire. On its facade meet biblical scenes together with representation of the duel between Odoaker and Theodoric, and the "infernal hunting" from the legendary story of the dramatic end of Theodoric. On St. Zeno portal bronze, numinous figures emerge from and archaic magmatic medieval fantasy, and are still leaving the viewer appalled as they've been doing for more than a thousand years.
Guided tours af Romanesque architecture and medieval itineraries can be follewed in the province of Verona also, like in St Severo and St Maria of Cisano, on the Lake Garda, San Floriano and San Giorgio in Valpolicella
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