Among the artistic jewels of Vicenza, the Teatro Olimpico is the last work of Andrea Palladio and the first example of a modern theater complex. Begun in 1582 and completed three years later, it was included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1994, as well as other Palladian works in Vicenza, still hosting performances and concerts.
Teatro Olimpico History
The first and oldest covered permanent theater of the modern era, the Teatro Olimpico is the last work of the Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio and is considered one of his greatest masterpieces.
The theater was commissioned by the famous Venetian architect and received by the Vicenza Olympic Academy. In this work he poured out the results of his studies on the theme of classical theater, based on the "De Architectura" treatise by Vitruvius and the direct analysis on the ruins of the theaters. Romans, at the time still visible. Construction began in 1580, but the same year Palladio died; the works were then continued by his son Silla with faithful adherence to the paternal notes and ended in 1584. Essential and meaty outside as pompous in the scenic spaces, the Olympic is in this coherent with the sixteenth century conception of the theater and at the same time act as a a place of self-congratulation for Vicentine nobility, inspired by the same classic ideals cherished by the members of the Academy.
The first performance, on the occasion of the Carnival of 1585, is memorable: the choice falls on a Greek tragedy, the Edipo Tiranno, and the scenography of Vincenzo Scamozzi, in wood and stucco reproduces the seven streets of Thebes that can be seen in the five openings of the proscenium with a refined perspective game. The effect is so successful that these wooden superstructures will become an integral part of the theater.
Despite the exhilarating start, the activity of the Olimpico was interrupted by the anti-theatrical censorship imposed by the Counter-Reformation and the theater was reduced to a simple place of representation: representation: Pope Pius VI was received there in 1782, Emperor Francis I of Austria in 1816 and his heir Ferdinand I in 1838.
The theater is still used, especially for classical performances and concerts, mainly in spring and autumn because, in fear of damaging its delicate structures, it has never been equipped with heating or air conditioning systems.