The Arena of Verona, one of the most iconic outdoor opera venues in the world, could be getting a roof, if the Italian city's mayor gets his way.
The nearly 2,000-year-old Roman coliseum, which attracts crowds every summer for grandiose productions of works by Verdi, Rossini, Puccini and others, has one particular shortcoming: there's no cover to shield audiences when weather turns foul.
Determined to bring an end to this unpredictability, mayor Flavio Tosi says that he's planning to launch an international competition to draw suggestions for how the massive architectural task should be accomplished.
Some private sponsors have already expressed their intention to fund a cover, which could cost at least ten million euros.
Northern Italy has been pounded this summer by rain and thunderstorms. About 25 opera performances have been soaked, and same-day tickets have been sold at a 50 percent discount in some cases, according to Verona Sera.
Dario Franceschini, Italy's culture minister, was quoted on Wednesday as saying he wanted to look into the issue further.
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