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The secret city that lies beneath the Colomba d’Oro

The secret city that lies beneath the Colomba d’Oro

Silent, hidden, even mysterious: underground Verona, the secret city that lies beneath the Colomba d’Oro and under the streets where thousands of people walk every day, is even more fascinating than everything that your eyes can see every day in sunlight. 

Verona, is famous worldwide as a “music city” due to the shows in the Arena and as a “city of love” due to the myth of Romeo and Juliet, but also boasts the privilege of being second only to Rome itself in terms of archaeological heritage, testimony of what the Roman Empire was; in addition to easily visible Roman remains “on the surface”, from the Ponte Pietra bridge to the Roman Theater and obviously to the famous Arena, there are many others hidden treasures right under our feet, which tell what life was like two thousand years ago. 

The Colomba d’Oro, the four-star hotel closest to the Verona Arena, in the Verona LTZ, invites you to discover some of the archaeological areas that are worth a visit during a romantic getaway in Verona. 

Leaving the Colomba d’Oro, passing next to the so-called “Wing” of the Verona Arena, you will get in Piazza Nogara in just a few minutes. Here, less than 4 meters below street level, easily visible from above, you can admire the remains of one of the most sumptuous Roman “Domus” (luxury town house) of the time, whose discovery dates back to the 1970s. The mosaic floors and the “impluvium” (the tub used at the time to collect water) are still preserved today. 

From Piazza Nogara you then easily pass to Piazza Erbe, in a few minutes on foot or even more quickly on the bike rented at the Colomba d’Oro, and here you will find the “Capitolium“, the main temple of Roman Verona, dedicated to Minerva, Juno and Jupiter . The remains of the majestic building, surrounded by columns and the cryptoporticus, are partly under the Maffei Restaurant, and partly under the adjacent small square called Corte Sgarzerie, where you can visit an archaeological site that allows you to travel through a piece of the city’s history from Roman times to the Middle Ages: the remains of an ice house, a cellar and the foundations of a medieval tower are still evident today. 

Right next door, inside the Michelin Star restaurant Casa Perbellini 12 Apostoli, in Corticella San Marco, you can go down into the cellar of the restaurant and find the remains of the “curia”, one of the main buildings where political and administrative life took place in the Verona of 1st century BC. Here you can walk along a stretch of an ancient Roman walkway, complete with its sidewalk ! This treasure was discovered by chance in the 1980s, and crossing it you can observe other finds, such as the base of a medieval tower house. 

Not far from here, in the Tribunale Courtyard, you will find the « Scavi Scaligeri » International Center of Photography: the archaeological site is integrated within the museum space, so when visiting the photographic exhibition you will walk among mosaics of two ancient Roman residences and a road paved, still well preserved, with still traces of the sidewalk and the sewer system. 

Further along the walk along Via Cappello, where the famous Juliet’s Balcony is located, you will reach Porta Leoni, an ancient city gate built with white stone from the nearby Valpantena. In Roman times this gate marked the beginning of the “Cardo Massimo”, one of the two main streets that crossed the city. Two meters below street level, you can contemplate from above the fragments of the Roman road that once crossed the gate itself, together with the base of the gate surrounded by two towers, which overlooked the countryside. 

Exploring Verona underground is an experience that allows guests of the Colomba d’Oro to immerse in the fascinating history of the city, discovering the secrets hidden beneath its streets. Staying at the Colomba d’Oro you can also walk above history!