Porta Leoni, Verona

Porta Leoni is an ancient Roman gate in Verona, northern Italy.

The gate was built during the Roman Republic by P. Valerius, Q. Caecilius, Q. Servilius and P. Cornelius, and restructured in imperial times. It was connected to the road which led to Bologna and Aquileia.

The original Roman name is unknown. During the Middle Ages it was called Porta San Fermo, due to the nearby church, while in the Renaissance it was known as Arco di Valerio. The current name derives from a Roman tomb decorated with two lions (Italian: leoni), now moved near Ponte Navi.

The gate has a square structures, with a double façade and two towers which looked towards the countryside. Now only half of the inner façade, covered with white stone in the imperial age, and the foundings are visible. The original decorations are all lost. The lower part is similar to that of Porta Borsari (also in Verona), while the upper part has an exedra with twisted columns.

The foundations are visible in the main street where a large hole in the pavement shows the excavations below. To the side there is the remains of a archway and a here are the drawings of the original Porta Leoni along with the following descriptions :-

“Schematic plan and horizontal section of the archaelogical remains. The late republican gate (50/40 B.C.) was a brick construction with corner towers and cetral courtyard. The Kardo maximus – the main north-south street of Roman Verona – passed beneath the covered passageways to the north and south. The gate was incorporated into the city walls. Two new masonry facades were built up against the gate’s north and south frontages between 50 and 70 A.D. The partially demolished and ruined city walls were replaced in 265 A.D. by a new circuit built by the Emperor Gallienus. The new walls were located about 9m in front of the earlier ones. ”

“Reconstruction of the northern facade which is built of stone quarried in the Valpolicella. It was added to the late republican building together with another on the gate’s south side which faced out onto the countryside. This modification of the monument is datable to the mid 1st century A.D. possibly to commemorate an important event in the city’s history.”

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