One of the oldest public museums in Europe, the Lapidario (with collections of Greek, Etruscan, Paleo-Veneta and Roman, as well as Arab epigraphs) was founded in 1745 by one of Verona’s most illustrious figures, Scipione Maffei, whose personal collection formed the basis of the museum’s holdings. Located at a site within the antique walls that join Piazza Bra and Castelvecchio, the museum was conceived as a sort of access garden to the Philharmonic Academy. The Academy, as of 1612, had acquired some 28 epigraphs which were displayed in the courtyard in front of their building.
The initial transformation of this collection into a true museum was due to the efforts of Scipione Maffei; the museum was subsequently acquired by the city (1883) and was reinstalled in a contemporary style in 1982. The epigraphic materials and reliefs are arranged in chronological sections in the courtyard, from which one enters the Philharmonic theatre foyer, the underground level, and two upper-level rooms. From this point a connecting walkway over the Della Scala walls leads to the Gran Guardia.