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“Palladio's outdoor amphitheater, inside”
Review of Teatro Olimpico

Teatro Olimpico
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The Palladio and Bassano del Grappa Private Tour
Ranked #1 of 168 things to do in Vicenza
Certificate of Excellence
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Recommended length of visit: <1 hour
Owner description: Andrea Palladio’s last work and masterpiece, the Olympic Theatre was commissioned in February 1580 by the Accademia Olimpica, a society of mixed social classes founded in Vicenza in 1555 for cultural and scientific purposes and to which Palladio himself belonged. Construction began in May 1580, but Palladio died suddenly on 19 August of that year so did not see its completion. After various, complex delays, the theatre was completed five years later and opened on 3 March 1585 with the memorable staging of Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannus. The theatre is reached by way of the odeon and anti-odeon, two large rooms designed by Vincenzo Scamozzi and decorated respectively with frescoes by Francesco Maffei portraying divinities and allegorical figures (c. 1637) and a monochrome frieze of considerable documentary interest (c. 1595). This depicts theatrical productions presented by the Accademia before construction of the Olimpic Theatre (Amor costante, Sophonisba) and shows or events held in the new theatre (Oedipus the King, the diplomatic mission of Japanese envoys). Palladio designed a monumental scenae frons within an enclosed space intended to simulate classical theatres in the open air. It is flanked by two wings or stage doors and a semi-elliptical cavea with thirteen tiers, ending in a columned exedra at the top, partly open and partly with niches in the wall. Statues of the academicians who commissioned the theatre, dressed in classical costume, occupy the niches and plinths of the structure. A series of splendid bas reliefs showing stories of Hercules by Ruggero Bascape occupies the highest row. Wooden perspective scenery of the streets of Thebes runs back from the three openings in the scenea frons. This was designed by Scamozzi for the opening performance of Oedipus Tyrannus and has remained as a permanent feature
Reviewed 3 May 2014

Palladio's vision of a Greco-Roman outdoor amphitheater inside a medieval building is astonishing. When you sit in the middle of the theater, on the original 500+ year old wood, you are under a sky, with the ground rising behind you to a loggia at the edge of the amphitheater, and a view in front of you of a small town behind the stage. Scamozzi's sets built into 3 openings at the back of the stage, using Palladio's designs, use perspective to transform a few meters into streets that appear to extend to far fields. It is an amazing accomplishment, still considered Palladio's great feat even though he died near the beginning of construction.

The excess of statuary was a detriment, for me at least, since the wedding cake-like excess detracted from the primary accomplishment. Since the statues ended up being in honor of the various Academicians who raised money for the Teatro, their over-abundance was just beside the point. However, that's a small quibble to have with such a masterpiece.

Make sure to spring for the extra €3,00 for the headset. Cheap way to get a huge amount of info while you're there, looking at the points being discussed.

All in all, not to be missed.

Thank Martha E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"indoor theatre"
in 13 reviews
"amazing theatre"
in 11 reviews
"stage set"
in 16 reviews
"light show"
in 7 reviews
"trompe l'oeil"
in 7 reviews
"andrea palladio"
in 21 reviews
"italian renaissance"
in 5 reviews
"visiting vicenza"
in 13 reviews
"an absolute"
in 4 reviews
"take your time"
in 4 reviews
"palladio museum"
in 6 reviews
"museum card"
in 7 reviews
in 49 reviews
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in 19 reviews

267 - 271 of 2,309 reviews

Reviewed 1 May 2014

a fantastic and amazing theatre that though static really brought to life how it would have been.
I found the steps rather difficult

Thank Jaycee2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 April 2014

Definitely the most impressive sight of Vicenza - to say the least. You walk in and admire that man's -Palladio's-genius. I must admit that it was one of the reasons I wanted to visit Vicenza for and I can now confirm that I was right. An absolute must !
It is convenient to buy the combined ticket that allows entry to other sights as well and remember they are closed on Mondays

Thank atravelcat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 April 2014

This is the oldest indoor theater in the world, and the architecture and perspective are truly amazing. You can spend a lot of time trying to figure out how Palladio executed this design.

Supposedly the acoustics are not as good as they were originally, before the building was reinforced with "cemento armato", but you have to be more of an audiophile than me to notice. And considering the theater is over 400 years old, we should not begrudge it some support.

Thank dven8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 15 April 2014

Beautiful theatre - a UNESCO site - don't miss it! I don't believe I saw anything else like this in Italy.

Thank chrisvega123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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