The Mayor of Verona, Damiano Tommasi, received a delegation of more than 20 representatives from the Chinese city of Hangzhou, accompanied by the Secretary General, Mario Turetta, and the International Relations Officer, Maria Assunta Peci, of the Italian Ministry of Culture, at Palazzo Barbieri (the City Council building).

Palazzo Barbieri

The day began with a visit to the exhibition “From Antiquity to the Present”, set up in the atrium of Palazzo Barbieri, which illustrates the traditions and curiosities of Chinese culture and traces the stages of the twinning between Verona and Hangzhou. During the meeting, the intention was expressed to set up working tables for the mutual promotion of cultural and artistic heritage and the activation of trade agreements.

At the end of the meeting, the delegation was taken on a tour of Juliet’s house, through Piazza Erbe and the streets of the city centre to the entrance of the Arena, where the opera Turandot was being rehearsed.

Turandot Opera in Arena di Verona

Hangzhou, famous for its scenic heritage near the West Lake, is a popular tourist destination in China, comparable to the beauty of Lake Garda. The two cities are linked by famous unhappy love stories: the Shakespearean tragedy of Romeo and Juliet in Verona and the legend of Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai, the ‘butterfly lovers’ in Hangzhou.

The legend of Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai

Mayor Tommasi, who also has personal memories of China, expressed his satisfaction: “It is a great honour for Verona to officially host for the first time a delegation from the city of Hangzhou, with which we have been twinned for five years. We are delighted to share our history, culture and activities with such an important city for China. We are united by the beauty and the importance of preserving it for our communities. Fifteen years ago, I was the first footballer to play in a Chinese football championship and China became part of my personal history“.