Verona (city, Italy)

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Verona (city, Italy)

Verona (vərô´nä), city (1991 pop. 255,824), capital of Verona prov., Venetia, NE Italy, on the Adige River. It is a transportation junction and a major industrial and agricultural center, with noted annual agricultural fairs. Its diversified manufactures include food and paper products, textiles, metals, machinery, and chemicals. Handicrafts using metal and marble, and the making of wine are two other important industries. Verona's position on the Brenner road to central Europe has given it commercial and strategic importance since Roman times. The date of its founding is obscure, but it was an important settlement before its conquest by Rome in 89 BC During the barbarian invasions of Rome (5th–6th cent. AD) Odoacer made it his fortress, and Theodoric later made it his favorite residence. Verona later became the seat of a Lombard duchy and then of Frankish counts. In the 12th cent. it was made a free commune. Along with other communes of Venetia, Verona formed (1164) the Veronese League, which joined (1167) the Lombard League in opposing Emperor Frederick I. Ezzelino da Romano ruled the city from 1226 to 1259. The story of Romeo and Juliet embodies the strife between the Guelphs (of whom Romeo's family were members) and the Ghibellines (Juliet's family) that tore Verona in the 13th and 14th cent. The Ghibelline Della Scala (or Scaligeri) family became lords of Verona in the 1260s; under Can Francesco (Can Grande) della Scala (1291–1329) the city reached its greatest power. His successors gradually lost all the city's possessions, and in 1387 Verona fell to Milan. Venice conquered Verona in 1405, and the city fared well under Venetian rule (to 1797). During the Renaissance, Verona produced major artists, e.g., the architects Giocondo and Sanmichele and the painters Pisanello and Paolo Veronese, who embellished both Verona and Venice. In the 19th cent. Austria, which then ruled Venetia, made Verona one of its chief fortresses in N Italy. The Congress of Verona (see Verona, Congress of) was held there in 1822. After Austrian rule of Venetia was ended as a result of the Austro-Prussian War (1866), Verona joined the kingdom of Italy. Because of its strategic position Verona was the target of heavy Allied bombings in World War II and suffered considerable damage. It was further damaged by retreating Germans in Apr., 1945. Among the numerous points of interest in Verona (some reconstructed after 1945) are the Romanesque Church of San Zeno Maggiore (9th–15th cent.), which has a fine triptych (1459) by Mantegna; the large Roman amphitheater (1st cent. AD); a Roman theater; the castle and bridge of the Scaligeri (both 1354); the Gothic tombs of the Scaligeri; the Romanesque cathedral (12th–15th cent.); the Gothic Church of Sant' Anastasia (13th–15th cent.); the Giusti Gardens (c.1580); and the Renaissance-style Loggia del Consiglio (15th cent.).

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