Olympic Theatre - Vicenza.
Teatro Olimpico - Vicenza.
A masterpiece and the last work by Andrea Palladio, the Teatro Olimpico was commissioned in February 1580 by the Accademia Olimpica, a congregation of important figures from Vicenza in the fields of literature, science and the arts, of which Palladio himself was a member. The project was inspired by the model of “old-fashioned” theatre, in the wake of the rediscovery of Vitruvian studies during the Renaissance, and at the same time served as a place of self-celebration for the Vicenza aristocracy, inspired by the same classical ideals supported by the members of the Academy. Construction began in May 1580, but Palladio did not see its completion due to his sudden death. The Olimpico, after diverse and complex events, was completed five years later and was solemnly inaugurated on the 3rd of March 1585 with the memorable staging of Sophocles’ Tyrant Oedipus. Access to the theatre is via the Odeon and the Antiodeum, two large halls created by Vincenzo Scamozzi and decorated respectively with frescoes by Francesco Maffei depicting divinities and allegorical figures (around 1637) and a monochrome frieze (around 1595), reproducing the theatrical stagings organised by the Academy before the construction of the Olimpico (Amor costante, Sofonisba) and the shows or events organised inside the new theatre (Edipo Re, Ambasceria dei legati giapponesi). Inside an enclosed space that simulates the open air setting of ancient theatres. Palladio presents a monumental frontal stage flanked by two wings or lush greenery and a semi-elliptical cavea of thirteen steps, finished at the top by a columnar exedra, partially open with niches in the wall.