Nestled along the banks of the River Adige, Verona became a Roman municipality during the first century BC, and even then was a hub of national communication and trade. Evidence of this bustling Roman metropolis can be found all over the city in its streets, doorways, and amphitheaters. The remains of the wall built by the Emperor Gallienus in order to protect Verona from the first barbarian invasions can be found behind the Arena.
In the 5th century AD, arrived the Goths whose king, Theodoric, established the headquarters of his army in the city, and built his royal palace on the hills that rise above the river. Sometime afterward, the Longobards entered Italy. The last Longobard King was defeated in 774 by Charlemagne and his son Pepin. Pepin reinforced the walls with stones taken from the partially destroyed outer ring that encircled the Arena.
A free commune, medieval Verona was devoted to crafts and commerce with its Venetian and Lombard neighbors. The powerful and liberal Scaligeri family ruled the city during the 13th century and the following 200 years. They transformed the city into one of the most important kingdoms of the time. Modeling on a Venetian style, they developed culture as well as commerce by inviting artists and men of letters to their court. With this in mind, Verona became the city that sheltered Dante, then exiled from Florence and composing "The Divine Comedy".
The Republic of Venice was established in the early 1400s at which time they included Verona in its territory. During the 16th century, Verona became artistically rich, and construction of new public and private buildings, such as the palaces by Sammicheli began. In 1796, the Napoleonic troops occupied the city for six months. By 1801, it was divided up by the French and the Austrians, and annexed by the Hapsburg Empire in 1814.
Verona took an important administrative and military role during the 19th century. The city's defenses were reorganized and strengthened and became the principle stronghold of the Quadrilateral (the other three were Mantua, Peschiera, and Legnano), becoming the pivotal point of the Lombardy-Veneto defense structure during the War of Independence.
In 1866, the province of Verona officially became part of the Kingdom of Italy.