The scenography of the Teatro Olimpico (‘Olympic theatre’)Historical Curiosities
The scenography of the Teatro Olimpico (‘Olympic theatre’)
Vicenza is the city of Andrea Palladio (1508- 1580), one of the greatest architects of all time, especially as his classicism influenced architecture in the following centuries.
The masterpiece that perhaps most of all reflects his ideals of returning to the classical age is certainly the Olympic theatre, commissioned by the Accademia Olimpica for the representation of classical plays in 1580. At Palladio's death, the theatre was completed by his pupil Vincenzo Scamozzi.
The theatre was inaugurated on March 3, 1585 with a performance of Oedipus the King by Sophocles. The wooden and stucco scenes, representing the seven streets of the city of Thebes, were made by Scamozzi for this occasion. They were supposed to be used only for this representation but were never removed and, despite a fire hazard and wartime bombing, they have been miraculously preserved to this day, and are unique for their time.
On the opening night they were illuminated with an original and complex artificial lighting system, devised again by Scamozzi.
The Teatro Olimpico in Vincenza has been used as a set for the film 'Casanova' by Lasse Hallstrom (2005), in the scene in which the female protagonist Francesca (played by Sienna Miller) discusses equality between men and women with her university professors.
The theatre still hosts plays and concerts and, in 1994, was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, like other works by Palladio in Vicenza.
The Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza is included in our Vicenza city itinerary, one of the exciting offers developed by our guide Michela to help you discover the city of Palladio with an exclusive private guided tour!
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