The Palazzo della Gran Guardia is one of the buildings that contribute to create the space that forms the Bra, the large square where the Arena of Verona stands, together with Palazzo Barbieri (the Town Hall), and Liston: the wide promenade paved with Lessinia limestone that connects a long row of Venetian era noble family houses. Gran Guardia building was built at the beginning of the 17th century as a military structure, requested by the then Venetian Captain Mocenigo. They needed a large and spacious building, above all provided with a wide and high porch where the army could do its fencing exercises and review the troops in the days when the weather did not allow to do it outdoors.
Domenico Curtoni, the Project and Completion
The project was entrusted to Domenico Curtoni, the architect that
more than anyone else had inherited the legacy of Michele
Sanmicheli, father of Renaissance architecture in
Verona. The Gran Guardia was begun in 1610 on the southern side of
Piazza Bra, close to the old medieval wall that was incorporated
in it. The large and imposing building takes up
much of the lesson of Michele Sanmicheli, while adapting it to the
new architectural demands of the seventeenth century.
However, due to economic difficulties, the works were interrupted after a short time, and resumed with lots of stop and go in the following centuries. Some eighteenth-century prints of Piazza Bra show the Gran Guardia completed only on the right half. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, under Austrian domination, it was finally possible to complete the Grand Guardia and to rearrange the square that in the meantime had become a real open-air landfill of building material and stone of all kinds. Having freed Piazza Bra from the waste material that covered it, the entrance to the portico of the Gran Guardia resulted a couple of meters higher than the new street level, which is why it was added to the beautiful staircase that still adorns it today.
In the mid-2000's, the Gran Guardia underwent a meticulous and accurate restoration work that brought it back to its former glory. The large building has thus been transformed into a modern and well-equipped multifunctional center with an auditorium, a large terrace, exhibition areas that host important art shows, international conferences, exhibitions and events of various kinds. Among the exhibitions that have been held there: Mantegna and the arts in Verona, The eighteenth century, Paolo Veronese, Post-Impressionism, The Maya.
The Palazzo della Gran Guardia with its explanation it part of the guided tours of the tourist guides of Verona. The interiors of the seventeenth-century palace can be admired during temporary events and exhibitions. As tourist guides of Verona we are also engaged in visits to temporary exhibitions that take place inside the building. Do not hesitate to contact us for further information.