The Porta dei Leoni is located on the Via dei Leoni in Verona, near the former Cardus Maximus from ancient Roman times. The gate has a small central courtyard. It used to be flanked by two towers, the foundations of which can still be seen. Another one was built against the original gate at a later date.
Porta dei Leoni Verona
The Porta Leoni stood on the cardo massimo (the main street in north-south direction) of Roman Verona.
It was built in the 1st century B.C., of brick and volcanic tuff stone. A century later, a white stone wall with the structure of the original facade but more richly decorated, was constructed against it.
The name “Lions’ Gate” was coined in the 15th century and comes from a nearby stone sarcophagus with two lions on it.
The gate stood 13 metres tall, like the city walls, and was flanked by two towers. It was square, with double arches on the facade. There were corridors in the upper floors. Both the corridors and the towers had windows.
What remains of the Porta dei Leoni has been incorporated into a 13th century palace. About half of both the original old façade and the white second façade built against it are still visible. At the very top one can distinguish what is left of an exedra, with pilasters on either side.
On the architrave is an inscription with the name of one of the quattorviri. A quattorviro was a group of four elected magistrates in charge of the police and of administering justice. They had also been in charge of the upkeep of the gate.
More pieces of the monument have been found underneath Via Leoni, including the foundations of the towers, pieces of the floor of the central part of the gate (where there was a small courtyard) and part of the side wall.
The sarcophagus with the two lions now stands near the Monument to Umberto I.