The Opera Festival at the Arena di Verona began in 10th August 1913, with the first performance of Aida organized by Verona tenor Giovanni Zenatello and impresario Ottone Rovato to commemorate the centenary of the birth of Giuseppe Verdi.
For over a hundred years (except for two short breaks during the two World Wars), every summer the Roman amphitheatre is transformed into the world’s largest open-air opera theatre.
The current organization is the result of the reform ratified by Decree-law N° 134 of 1998 and Decree-law 134 of 1998, which transformed enti lirici (opera institutions) into private law foundations, thus creating the current Fondazione Arena di Verona, and offering private members the possibility of joining. The current founding members of the Foundation are the Republic of Italy, the Veneto Region, the Municipality of Verona, the Province of Verona and Verona Chamber of Commerce. Fondazione Cariverona, Banca Popolare di Verona and the Accademia Filarmonica of Verona were founding members in the past.
The foundation’s institutional objective is to carry out non-profit cultural activity of a public utility nature, pursuing the spread of musical art and the musical education of the community.