NID Venues

Teatro Olimpico di Vicenza _ph Pino Ninfa_01

Teatro Olimpico

The Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza is Andrea Palladio’s last work, an architectural masterpiece, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Known as the first permanent covered theatre in Europe, it stands within the Palazzo del Territorio, which faces Piazza Matteotti, with its shapes following the harmonious proportions of Vitruvian memory.

In 1580, when Palladio was 72 years old, he received the assignment from the Olympic Academy, the cultural forum he too was a member of, of creating a permanent theatre venue. The project is explicitly inspired by the Roman theatres described by Vitruvius: an elliptical cavea with steps, surrounded by a colonnade, with statues on the frieze, facing a rectangular stage and a majestic proscenium on two architectural orders, opened by three arches and punctuated by semi-columns, inside of which are aedicules and niches with statues and panels with bas-reliefs.
Palladio prepared the design just a few months before his death and would never witness its completion; his son Silla oversaw the execution, delivering the theatre to the city in 1583.

The first representation, during the Carnival of 1585, was memorable: a Greek tragedy was chosen, Oedipus Rex by Sophocles, and the set represented the seven streets of Thebes that could be seen in the five openings of the proscenium with a sophisticated game of perspectives. The mind behind this little masterpiece was Vincenzo Scamozzi, Palladio’s spiritual successor. The effect was so well done that these wooden superstructures became a permanent, integral part of the theatre. Scamozzi was also entrusted with the realisation of the accessory environments: the Odèo, i.e. the room where the Academy’s meetings were held, and the Antiodèo, decorated in the 1600s with monochrome panels by the fine painter from Vicenza Francesco Maffei.

The fame of the new theatre reached Venice and then the rest of Italy.

The Theatre still hosts plays and concerts, and its appearance and integrity have remained unchanged.

Municipal Theatre of Vicenza

The Municipal Theatre of Vicenza is a modern theatre structure designed by the architect Gino Valle and inaugurated in 2007. It includes two rooms, the largest containing 910 seats (but it can reach up to 954 seats) and the smaller one 380, with bright indoor spaces and a large terrace, suitable for hosting all kinds of events.

Each room has an independent entrance and its foyer, along with a cloakroom, a bar as well as a restaurant for the larger room.

The larger room is equipped with a large theatre stage that can fit big screens, as well as very large sets and installations. It can be used in many ways, including very original ones.

Outside the Theatre includes an alternation of lines of red bricks and white stone inserts, which recall the overlooking medieval walls, as well as the colours of the city. It includes a large free car park.

Sala Maggiore_Teatro Comunale (1)
Teatro Astra di Vicenza_03

Astra Theatre

Vicenza’s Astra Theatre belongs to the ex-GIL complex, built between December 1934 and April 1936 as part of the project of the architectural firm of Francesco Mansutti and Gino Miozzo, based in Padua. Renovated in 1986, in partnership with the Municipality of Vicenza, since then it has been the seat of the La Piccionaia Theatrical Production Centre.

It hosts the production of prose plays, children’s theatre and the planning of seasons featuring the most prominent artists of the new Italian scene, with great focus on research, young emerging companies, experimentation and language innovation.

Along with its vocation for contemporary theatre, Vicenza’s Astra Theatre also focuses on the young generations with specific initiatives that, thanks to matinées and Sunday afternoon shows, make it a reference point for schools and families in Vicenza and the rest of the province.  Moreover, the first stage of the selection process of the Premio Scenario (Theatre Scenery Prize) and Premio Scenario Infanzia (Children’s Theatre Scenery Prize), two of the most important national prizes in the field, is hosted here.

Basilica Palladiana

The Palladian Basilica, listed since as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994, is the symbol of the city of Vicenza. 

The beating heart of Vicenza’s political and economic activity, in the Middle Ages the Palazzo della Ragione looked like a Gothic building, characterized by a vast hall on the upper floor and animated on the ground floor by an active group of shops. Following the collapse of the 15th-century loggias designed by Tommaso Formenton in the 16th century, the Council of the city discussed the renovation of the building. Some of the greatest names in architecture of the time were involved in these debates, from Giulio Romano to Sebastiano Serlio, from Jacopo Sansovino to Michele Sanmicheli. Despite such illustrious opinions, in March 1546 the Council approved the project of a decidedly little-known local architect who was merely thirty-eight years old: Andrea Palladio. He proposed an “elastic” structure, able to take into account the necessary alignments with the openings and gates of the pre-existing fifteenth-century palace. The system was based on the use of the so-called serliana, a structure composed of a central opening with an arch over it flanked by two rectangular openings of variable width and, therefore, able to absorb the width differences of the spans. 

The construction site of the lodges constituted a definitive turning point for Palladio’s career. He officially became the architect of the city of Vicenza, author of a grandiose factory unparalleled in Veneto in the sixteenth century. This project was so representative of the architect’s genius that it is known as Basilica Palladiana. Still, today, it represents an ideal place for meetings and culture, a suggestive museum for exhibitions and events.