Teatro Olimpico

Vicenza, Italy

The Teatro Olimpico ('Olympic Theatre') was constructed in 1580-1585. The theatre was the final design by the Italian Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio and was not completed until after his death. The trompe-l'œil onstage scenery, designed by Vincenzo Scamozzi, to give the appearance of long streets receding to a distant horizon, was installed in 1585 for the very first performance held in the theatre, and is the oldest surviving stage set still in existence. The full Roman-style scaenae frons back screen across the stage is made from wood and stucco imitating marble. It was the home of the Accademia Olimpica, which was founded there in 1555.

The Teatro Olimpico is one of only three Renaissance theatres remaining in existence. It is still used several times a year.

Since 1994, the Teatro Olimpico, together with other Palladian buildings in and around Vicenza, has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto.

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Founded: 1580-1585
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User Reviews

Thomas Larabee (20 months ago)
The Teatro Olimpico is a 16th century masterpiece designed by the famous Architect Andrea Palladio. It wasn't completed until 1585, after his death. It's still in use today. Overlooked, by most tourists, in favor of the more famous cities of Verona, and Venice, Vicenza is well worth the visit. I was fortunate enough to be stationed here as a young GI in the 80's.
Reagan Vadell (2 years ago)
Holy cow. This place is amazing. The set alone is worth the trip. Highly recommend visiting! You get a brief tour of the building learning about the history of how it was built and how it was salvaged during World War II. This is done on an iPad in whatever language you choose. Then you go into the theater itself for a light show. It’s breathtaking!
Nicole Allen (2 years ago)
Such a hidden treasure. The architecture is amazing. I will definitely go back.
J Suarez (2 years ago)
It is simply outstanding, the first indoor theatre of the world. I could sit in the grades and look at the stage for ages! It is simply a masterpiece. The last work of Palladio who died before completion.
Linda Martin (2 years ago)
There is an audiovisual show here to introduce the theatre. This remains an amazing sight in my view and the only thing missing is that you can't walk on the stage
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