Is it possible to see examples of ancient Roman, Medieval, Renaissance, and classical architecture, plus a couple of artifacts of the 20th century all in one place? Easy! Just go to the center of Bra Square and take a look around.
There is quite a lot of stuff around here! In the very center, you can see something resembling grater or a lemon squeezer. It is actually a sculpture donated in 1975 by Munich, Verona’s sister city. The ribs in the middle are the Alps dividing Italy and Germany. In exchange, Verona presented Munich with a copy of the statue of Juliet. Do you think it was a fair exchange?
Next to the fountain you’ll see an equestrian monument to Victor Emanuel II of Savoy, the first king of the united Italy. It was bought by the citizen’s donations and installed on the fifth anniversary of the king’s death. There was just one problem, Victor Emanuel was quite short in stature. In order to improve his silhouette, it was lengthened by a high helmet with plumes, and his bellicose protruding mustache was emphasized.
Even the public toilet comes with a story here. At the beginning of the 20th century, archaeological excavations took place in this square. After all, things to explore had been explored, the question arose: was the excavated pit to be refilled with earth or not? Of course, it was not! That’s how the toilet was created, and it’s still decorated with interior details from the past.
The latest addition to the decoration of the square are the brightly painted cement barriers blocking the entrance from two sides. It’s forbidden to ride across the square. After the events in Nice in summer of 2017, barriers were put in, in order to protect the crowds of spectators that gather in summer for performances in the Arena from possible danger. The rough cement barriers did not stand in their raw form for long: a month later the students of the local Art School painted them with cheerful colors.
What this square looked like in the past? Only imagination can help us to see it as it was. It started from a huge empty space crossed by the consular road Via Postumia. This place was often filled with chariots and horses of those who came to attend the performances in the Arena.
In the Middle Ages, the area was enclosed by a protective wall, guarded by soldiers. In the 16th century, masons used to gather here. It was much more pleasant to process stone in the open air than in a damp workshop. When it became necessary to renew the pavement in the square, the workers had plenty of broken stone to clean out.
In 1770-82, the Venetians paved the western side of the square with marble, creating the “Liston”, and the square became an elegant place for nobility to walk. However, the rest of the square was still an ordinary dark wasteland. Only in 1846 did they install gas lanterns, for strolls in the evening. In 1873 they planted trees and installed a fountain in the center.
All most important events were celebrated here: from voting on the union of the city with Italy to winning the World Cup.
They also held fairs, traded horses, hay and firewood. Here soldiers marched and children skated in an ice rink in winter.
Until 1951 a tram and trolleybuses used to cross the square, and cars drove around. Now it is a favorite place for the promenade of the Veronese.