Many cities in Italy have what were once important gates through ancient city walls, though most important gates date from the ancient Roman era. The Porta Palio in Verona, instead, dates from the mid-16th century.
The Porta Palio was built on the site of an older gate, dating from the Medieval era. The 16th-century gate was designed by the famed Italian architect of the time, Michele Sanmicheli, who came from Venice. The name “Palio” comes from the word for a type of horse race - the gate was used for a regularly-scheduled horse race in Verona.
Today, most of the structure of the gate is closed off and under the care of a group that rents out interior space for events, performances, and exhibitions. The Porta Palio is only visible from the outside, and today is completely closed to traffic, so locals have nicknamed it the “Porta Stupa,” or “Stupid Gate.”
Walking tours of Verona history typically include the Porta Palio on the itinerary, including a mystery-solving scavenger hunt tour that gives visitors a chance to engage directly with historic elements of the city.
From the back of the Castelvecchio, the Stradone Porta Palio leads directly to the Porta Palio itself. There are tunnels underneath the Porta Palio that connect to the Porta Nuova.