An inspection visit has been made to Verona Arena with the ancient venue due to host the Milan-Cortina 2026 Closing Ceremonies ©Getty Images

An inspection team has visited Verona Arena to assess what work must be carried out to allow the ancient venue to host the Closing Ceremonies of the 2026 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games being staged jointly by Milan and Cortina d'Ampezzo.

The Roman amphitheatre was built in 30AD and is still in use today, most notably for major opera performances.

The logistics of Olympic and Paralympic Closing Ceremonies mean improvements will need to be carried over the next three years.

Damiano Tommasi, the Mayor of Verona, accompanied the inspection team alongside Milan-Cortina 2026 officials.

Accessibility to the Arena - important particularly because of the Paralympics - has been highlighted as the most important issue.

"During the inspection we examined which are the most critical elements," said Tommasi to the Chronicle of Verona.

"The accessibility of the Arena and the spaces reserved for the 2026 Ceremonies are undoubtedly among the hottest topics, which need a lot of attention.

"Also it is necessary to coordinate the adaptation works in the best possible way with the activity of the amphitheatre, regarding both the winter fruition and the management of the summer opera season." 

Verona Arena has become known as a venue for opera ©Getty Images
Verona Arena has become known as a venue for opera ©Getty Images

In January, a first meeting took place between Tommasi and the managing director of the Milan-Cortina 2026 Foundation, Andrea Varnier, with the Arena a key topic.

Both of the Milan-Cortina 2026 Opening Ceremonies are due to be held at the San Siro in Milan.

Organisers have unveiled a venue plan which covers a large part of northern Italy.

Verona Arena is around 160 kilometres from Milan, a drive of more than two hours.

In ancient times, the venue hosted "Ludi" - Roman public games - in front of 30,000 people.

The capacity now for opera is around 22,000 - well short of what would normally be expected at an Olympic or Paralympic Closing Ceremony.

On five occasions, the Arena has hosted podium presentations for the Giro D'Italia cycling race.