Fondazione Arena Di Verona. A Record Year For The 67 Columns

Over 2.1 million euro raised through the fundraising project. And over 2.75 million euro from sponsors

Parliamo di

2024 Mission: the Arena di Verona as a worldwide ambassador for Made in Italy


Contributions to the 67 Columns for the Arena di Verona project hits a record amount of over 2.1 million euro, to which sponsors, with the Main Partner, UniCredit, added a further 2.75 million euro. In four years, large companies and small entrepreneurs, united by the desire to be part of a cultural, economic and social initiative with an international scope, have contributed to making the Fondazione Arena di Verona flourish - a hugely important enterprise, not only for the region of Verona but for the whole of Italy.


The foresight of Gianluca Rana, CEO, Pastificio Rana, and Sandro Veronesi, Founder and President, Oniverse, the first to join the project, together with the media partnership of the Athesis Media Group, provided, without doubt, an evolutionary impetus that has resulted in many more businesses and entities, as well as Professional Associations and Trade Associations, first and foremost Confindustria Verona, becoming increasingly involved. They have been joined by numerous sponsors, including new for 2024: Poste Italiane, ManPower, Consorzio di Tutela dell’Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena DOP; as well as the fundamental support of BCC Veneta for the Teatro Filarmonico.


The Fondazione Arena di Verona’s fundraising activity is experiencing constant growth: from 1.5 million in 2021, the success of 67 Columns for the Arena di Verona continued with 1.6 million contributed in 2022, 2 million in 2023, up to the current record result of 2.1 million reached this year.


It was in 2021 when, while the entire world of live entertainment was counting the economic cost of the pandemic, the Fondazione Arena di Verona, together with Oniverse and the Pastificio Giovanni Rana, launched one of the most innovative fundraising activities the world of culture can remember. 67 Columns for the Arena di Verona is a fundraising and corporate membership tool designed to support the cultural and economic activities at the centre of which stands the Arena di Verona, identified symbolically in the 67 Columns of the Roman amphitheatre’s third ring, which was destroyed in the earthquake of 1117.


The value and quality of the project, together with the economic impact on the territory and the Fondazione Arena brand, have seen membership in the project remain constant year after year with great, mutual satisfaction. Indeed, turnover in membership is less than 10%.


The mission in 2024 for the 67 Columns for the Arena di Verona project is to consolidate the role of the Fondazione Arena di Verona as a worldwide ambassador of Made in Italy, a standard bearer of art and culture, as well as of craftsmanship and tailoring, as it was at the last Milan Design Week. It is also the leader of other entities of excellence that accompany it on international tours that have been continuing non-stop since 2022 to promote the Festival and Italy in every corner of the world, from Korea to New York.


The recent recognition by UNESCO of opera singing in Italy as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, which will be celebrated at a special worldwide telecast on the evening of 7 June in the presence of the highest offices of the State, represents the ultimate acclaim and, at the same time, marks a turning point in the evolution of the Fondazione Arena di Verona brand, now ready to be, to all intents and purposes, a cultural, economic and social Made in Italy example of excellence.


This evolution is also reflected in the numbers that the Arena di Verona Opera Festival is able to generate, starting with the total, estimated, all-inclusive revenue of 450 million euro, a measure of the significant economic impact on the region.


The contributions by Pastificio Rana and Oniverse are evident not only in economic terms but also in terms of entrepreneurial approach and outlook: their prestigious brand recognition outside Italy, in the respective sectors in which they operate, has helped the Fondazione Arena di Verona to proactively expand its own brand and its cultural products on the global market.


The success of the internationalisation process, which began in 2018 with the arrival of Cecilia Gasdia taking the helm of the Foundation, is now a solid reality. In commercial and communication terms (with some fifteen stops on the 2023-24 promotional tour, including Los Angeles, Tokyo, Seoul, Paris, Madrid, Sofia, Munich, Brussels, Toronto and Washington), the internationalisation of the Arena, consolidated over the last five years, has led to astounding results: out of a total of more than 400,000 spectators each year, 230,000 come from as many as 125 countries. 57.7% of the Arena’s audience comes from abroad, from an average distance of 800 kilometres away.


Also to be considered is the importance and centrality that the spectators attach to the live experience in the Arena when planning their trip, with tickets being purchased, on average, more than 80 days in advance of the performance.


This data, beyond the mere numerical value, highlights a fundamental aspect: the Fondazione Arena di Verona has become an Ambassador for Italy throughout the world and is a driving force for tourism, since Italy is a country with a vocation for tourism. The Arena di Verona is, therefore, a cultural enterprise that presides over a special sector of culture, that of opera, which has Made in Italy in its DNA and finds, in the Arena di Verona, its main stage.


The evening dedicated to the sponsors and the columns, which took place last night in the Arena, was the opportunity to highlight the importance of the achievements. In attendance were the Undersecretary for Culture, Gianmarco Mazzi, the President of the Fondazione Arena, the Mayor of Verona, Damiano Tommasi, together with the General Manager Cecilia Gasdia and the business men and women who made the project such a success. The host was the philosopher, director and writer, Igor Sibaldi.



Damiano Tommasi, Mayor of Verona and President of Fondazione Arena

“Thank you for what you do. It is a source of pride to think that there are so many companies in the region that recognise themselves in the Opera Festival, getting involved and networking for a universal project. The Arena is an experience and experiences must be lived. A heritage that imposes a double responsibility on us, to preserve it and to promote it. This year marks the beginning of a new century of opera in the Arena. And Verona is assuming a unique centrality. A few weeks ago we saw Pope Francis with the Arena of Peace. And in a few years the 2026 Olympics. These events make us dream big, with an international outlook and represent us in the world”.


Cecilia Gasdia, General Manager of the Fondazione Arena

“The world’s largest open-air theatre lives on thanks to each and every one of you, to the contributions from donors, supporters and workers. With this strong sense of awareness we are ready to kick off the Arena Opera Festival’s new century and a season full of celebrations and major anniversaries. The host of companies supporting us is testament to the strength and trust that the Arena di Verona brand enjoys domestically and internationally. Precisely for this reason, as the founders of the 67 Columns, Gian Luca Rana and Sandro Veronesi, did four years ago by taking on this incredible challenge, we would like to mark a new milestone and ensure that the Fondazione Arena establishes itself as a worldwide ambassador for the excellence that is Made in Italy. First and foremost for art, music and culture, our main mission, but also for craftsmanship and the companies that accompany it on this new path”.


Gianmarco Mazzi, Undersecretary for Culture

“This project is a model that, I hope, will inspire other Foundations. The Art Bonus is a fundamental tool for attracting businesses and for creating public-private collaboration. This year’s Festival will open with an evening that the Ministry wanted in order to celebrate opera, Italian pride and world heritage. Opera is hugely important, culturally and artistically. It is an instrument for disseminating the Italian language and an extraordinary performance device that was created before the technological era and that, thanks to the incredibly talented people who work in Opera, continues to create passion in the public. That is why we have invited members of the UNESCO commission, as well as ambassadors from all parts of the world. It will be an unforgettable evening, an opportunity to show the world an excellence that represents us internationally”.


Gian Luca Rana, CEO, Pastificio Rana

“I am extremely proud to support the 67 Columns project for the fourth consecutive year in favour of the Fondazione Arena. It is an initiative in which I have believed from the very beginning and which I see bearing extraordinary fruit: thanks to the support provided by business men and women, the Fondazione Arena has enriched the variety of its artistic offerings, thus attracting an even wider audience. Being able to involve many more people, not only in Italy, but also from beyond our national borders, means bringing the Arena di Verona back to the centre of the international cultural and artistic panorama, renewing its authentic splendour and promoting its role of outstanding Italian excellence in the world.  For me, it is an immense joy and an indescribable honour to be able to celebrate, in this unique setting, opera singing as a UNESCO-recognised Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. I deeply believe in the indissoluble link between business, culture and art. For this reason, I feel a profound sense of responsibility and privilege to support projects like this one, which aim to make Italy’s immense cultural heritage an even greater protagonist. Our country is able to inspire - in an unsurpassed way - all those who wish to nourish their spirit through beauty and culture”.


Sandro Veronesi, President and Founder, Oniverse

“The preservation of the Arena - a cultural institution of excellence - makes a concrete contribution to the international positioning and support of the city. Oniverse has always been at the forefront of this goal, together with the Fondazione Arena - which it has supported for almost twenty years - and since the beginning of the 67 Columns project. Reconfirming this initiative is, in fact, an important statement on how companies are increasingly supporting Italian Art and Opera Singing, now an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity recognised by UNESCO, in programmes of sustainability that become true bridges towards tomorrow: preserving and being able to pass on the region to new generations will be the added value of the future”.


Andrea Pietro Faltracco, General Manager, the Athesis Media Group

“First of all, I would like to thank the Fondazione Arena for once again selecting us as a partner in this beautiful and meritorious cultural fundraising and corporate membership project. A project that achieved another extraordinary result this year, exceeding the 2023 figure by 25%. This is an initiative that allows our media group to do its job at its best, which is to inform but also to create connections and relationships between the region, communities, institutions and companies. Connections that we create every day through our newspapers, our supplements - such as the 24-page Economie monthly magazine with a focus on the Veronese economy - but which we also create through our Special Events and Initiatives. By way of example, I would like to mention the events dedicated to the business world in particular: from Top500, four appointments with which we try to give entrepreneurs the keys to understanding the main challenges they face in their competitive arena, to the Festival of the Future, a major event made possible in collaboration with Eccellenze d’Impresa and MIT Sloan which, for the first time this year, will be held in collaboration with and within JOB&Orienta, and in which we will address the major issues and challenges of the future with a human-centric interpretation. Our job is not only to connect, but also to inform and discuss: to tell the stories about the community, the institutions, the region, the companies and entrepreneurs who are the engine and life of the community”.


The Fondazione Arena would also like to thank all the sponsors and partners, starting with UniCredit, then the Volkswagen Group Italia, Oniverse, Pastificio Giovanni Rana, Forno Bonomi, DB Bahn Italia, Genny, Müller, BCC Veneta, Generali, RTL 102.5, Veronafiere, Consorzio Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena, Sartori di Verona, Manpower, Poste Italiane, Air Dolomiti, A4 Holding, SABA Italia, Mantova Village, SDG Group, Metinvest and Palazzo Maffei Casa Museo.

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