The comet, steel and Manni Group: a 34-year-old story
60 metres in height and 82 in length for a structure consisting of a single welded steel beam weighing 80 tonnes: it is the steel Star of Verona which, for the last 34 years, has been peeking out from the Arena.
It has been the symbol of Christmas in Verona since 1984: we are talking about the steel comet that, for the last thirty-four years, has been symbolically starting the festive Christmas season.
The star, a structure that ideally connects the internal space of the Arena amphitheatre with that of Piazza Bra, was created in 1984 with the contribution of Manni Group and Manni Sipre prefabricated elements. Now at its thirty-fourth anniversary, the steel star is now a symbol of Verona and is also an emblem of the elegance and beauty that steel gives to urban design.
A huge piece of work, both in terms of size and weight, the comet star designed by Architect Rinaldo Olivieri is 70 metres tall and 82 metres long, with the tips reaching 22 metres: 80 tonnes of steel and 2,500 bolts were required to make this work. “Architect Olivieri came to see me – said Manni Group President Giuseppe Manni – to find a valid solution. I provided the technical ideas, he provided the drawing. This is how the “Stella della Notte Santa” (Star of the Holy Night) was designed, with a single large welded beam, overcoming all the difficulties involved in non-linear processing”.
“The Christmas Star is a piece of work of global significance – says Giuseppe Riello, President of the Chamber of Commerce of Verona – part of a multi-year development programme, also featuring the “Rassegna dei Presepi” (nativity scene exhibition) and which sees as the main players the Veneto Region, the Municipality of Verona and Confcommercio (Italian General Confederation of Enterprises, Professions and Self-Employment). This is also a piece of work with significant and lasting financial impact on the area over the last 30 years, attracting tourists from all over Northern Italy, Austria, Germany, Spain and France”.
As for the Eiffel Tower, also the Christmas Star of Verona was designed to be set up just once: over the years, however, citizens have made it their own and it has continued to be set up in the main square of the town, Piazza Bra.
A little anecdote: a miniature copy of the Star of Verona was given to Pope John Paul II and to former Presidents Gorbachev and Reagan.