Europe’s oldest indoor theatre
The last work of Andrea Palladio, the Olympic Theatre in Vicenza is an architectural masterpiece, recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Known for being Europe’s first permanent indoor theatre, it is a rare pearl of perfection and elegance. It stands inside the Palazzo del Territorio, overlooking Piazza Matteotti, and follows the harmonious Vitruvian proportions in its architectural forms.
Despite its small size, the interior of the Olympic Theatre is richly decorated with friezes and exquisite details, which lend themselves to spectacular chiaroscuro effects. The perspective effect of the seating area, which reproduces the seven streets of Thebes, is also sensational.
Although it is indoors, the structure simulates the open-air setting of classical theatres. The monumental scaenae frons back screen arranged by Palladio is flanked by two wings and a semi-circular thirteen-tiered seating area. Statues of the Academicians who commissioned the theatre are placed in the various tabernacles, while splendid bas-reliefs depict the Stories of Hercules.
The theatre still hosts performances and concerts and retains its original appearance and integrity.