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Teatro Olimpico (Olympic Theatre)

Visit the most ancient permanent indoor theatre of the modern age

One of Andrea Palladio’s most appreciated works is definitely the Teatro Olimpico (Olympic Theatre) in Vicenza. Apart from its beauty and grandeur, it is also famous for being the first permanent indoor theatre of the modern age.

Its history

In 1580, the great master of architecture Palladio was commissioned by the Olympic Academy cultural institution in Vicenza to design a permanent theatre to stage classic plays.

The master died in that same year, yet he managed to design the great Olympic Theatre in Vicenza which was subsequently completed and inaugurated in 1585, with the theatrical representation of Oedipus Rex (Oedipus the King) by Sophocles.

The authentic Renaissance scenery can still be seen

There is something that is quite unique and that is worth noting in the Olympic Theatre in Vicenza: the authentic wooden scenery that was created at the end of the 16th century that has survived being destroyed by bombings and fires can still be seen today.

In fact, upon completing the theatre, it was necessary to create perspective scenery in order to allow the plays to be performed in the best possible way. For this purpose, after the death of Palladio, the second most important architect in Vicenza was called upon: Vincenzo Scamozzi.

So, the wooden scenery created by Scamozzi can still be seen today in the theatre.

The Teatro Olympico (Olympic Theatre) today

Today, the Olympic Theatre in Vicenza still carries out the ancient purpose for which it was initially created more than four centuries ago: to stage performances. In fact, concerts, plays, classic theatrical representations are still held here today. Usually, these events are held in seasons when the climate is mild since a central heating system has never been installed in the Olympic Theatre due to reasons associated with the proper conservation of the theatre itself.
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