Will rain force cover up of historic opera arena?

31 July 2014, 12:22 | Updated: 31 July 2014, 12:25

The mayor of Verona, Italy, is calling for a cover to be put over the city's 2,000-year-old amphitheatre because unusually wet weather is ruining this summer’s programme of open-air operas.

At least half of this season’s evening performances at the Arena di Verona have been affected, with several cancelled and others starting late or being rained off before the end. Ticket sales have also been substantially reduced.

The city’s mayor Flavio Tosi believes the Roman arena should now get a detachable roof both to shield audiences during bad weather and strengthen the fabric of the building.

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Mayor Tosi told Italian newspaper L’Arena that he now wants to launch an international architectural competition to see how the auditorium could be appropriately covered. He added that there are already private sponsors willing to raise the estimated ten million euros required.

The plan will now have to be considered by the Italian government. The country’s Minister for Culture minister told L’Arena he wants to examine the issue further.