THE DISCOVERY OF THE SEAL
WHY CALL VERONA ‘LITTLE JERUSALEM’?
In the Middle Ages it was certainly not so easy to go on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land: it must therefore have seemed useful, and a reason for prestige for a city, to have a little Jerusalem within its walls. It was an urban and spiritual investment that several cities in Italy made: Rome, Bologna, Pisa, Lucca and, in our case, Verona.
VERONA AND JERUSALEM BOUND BY A SEAL
The image of a “Verona small Jerusalem” was made official by the Veronese Statutes of 1450.
The idea, though, dates back at least to the time of Archdeacon Pacifico (Quinzano, 776-778 / Verona, 845), the prefect of the Scriptorium Capitulare. According to an ancient document, he would had written a dictionary, and, under the letter “V”, in the entry dedicated to Verona, he would have spoken of the city as founded by Sem, son of Noah, with the name of “Jerusalem Minor“.
Even before then, the city seal depicted a wall with three towers, each with its own cross: a clear reference to Mount Calvary. In 1474, a smaller seal was introduced, bearing the effigy of Saint Zeno, patron of Verona, and the inscription “VERONA MINOR HIERUSALEM DI ZENONI PATRONO” all around it. The adoption of this seal officially binds the city of Verona to the city of Jerusalem: that is why the Verona Minor Hierusalem Foundation has chosen to identify with this symbol so rich in history and meaning.