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Teatro Olimpico

Piazza Giacomo Matteotti 11, 36100 Vicenza, Italy
+39 0444 964380
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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
  • Excellent83%
  • Very good13%
  • Average2%
  • Poor1%
  • Terrible1%
Travellers talk about
“amazing theatre” (12 reviews)
“indoor theatre” (13 reviews)
“stage set” (19 reviews)
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Hours
Hours Today: 9:00 AM - 4:45 PM
Suggested Duration: < 1 hour
LOCATION
Piazza Giacomo Matteotti 11, 36100 Vicenza, Italy
CONTACT
Website
+39 0444 964380
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JPMiles / Payback Arrow
Reviews (2,499)
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All reviews
"amazing theatre"
in 12 reviews
"indoor theatre"
in 13 reviews
"stage set"
in 19 reviews
"light show"
in 8 reviews
"trompe l'oeil"
in 9 reviews
"andrea palladio"
in 22 reviews
"italian renaissance"
in 5 reviews
"visiting vicenza"
in 14 reviews
"an absolute"
in 5 reviews
"take your time"
in 6 reviews
"audio guide"
in 6 reviews
"amazing building"
in 6 reviews
"palladio museum"
in 6 reviews
"well worth the visit"
in 6 reviews
"museum card"
in 8 reviews
"performance"
in 37 reviews
"perspective"
in 54 reviews
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1 - 10 of 421 reviews

Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

We did a self-guided tour of this theatre. There is so much history within its walls and the theatre itself is so beautiful. The architecture and artwork is magnificent. The entry and exit is well-organized and not overly crowded. The garden is also a nice...More

Thank Kelsey C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 week ago

Not only is it the first modern theatre but also the scene decoration is genuinely impressive. Like movie sets from Universal Studies, only 400 years earlier :)

Thank Tomek K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

This theater is one of Palladio's masterpieces. Well worth the visit. The new POP visit with AV support is well worth it, as it gives you real feel for the theater.

Thank Michael C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 4 weeks ago

We really wanted to visit this old Greek Theatre even if we had only 15 minutes but it was still worth it. The scene "trompe l'oeil" is amazing. It should be wonderful to come for a music show as the acoustic is so special in...More

Thank Selma C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

The most ancient covered theatre in Europe! Your can find at the end of Corso Palladio, near to Chiericati Palace, on the left. After an atrium all painted in frescos (not in Good conditions, however), you go down to the teathre, with its architectonic scenario...More

Thank Luca C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 July 2018 via mobile

This has to be seen to be believed. Photos in no way do justice to the reality of this amazing building. It is was so much bigger than I expected and the optical illusions generated by the original sets are so much more convincing when...More

Thank Paul R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 July 2018

Old statues, great detail, very well preserved, under UNESCO protection. It's really something one must see in Vicenza. It's a little pricey just to get in, but worth it anyway.

Thank Ziggy-SLO
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 June 2018 via mobile

Delighted to arrive here at last having studied some of Palladio’s architecture. The theatre is magical and very atmospheric, carrying the original backdrop from 1500’s I understand. The guided tour was enchanting with coordinating tablet based information. We are very grateful to Giulia in the...More

1  Thank Hypothalamusbbb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 June 2018

While the theater itself is fantastic, I found the hallway leading to the theater filled with stories of how the theater was built, how the opening night looked like and description of the first play also very interesting. That is why my rating is "only"...More

Thank mmadjer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 June 2018

When you enter the small attractive area tucked away at the corner of the square with shady seats under the trees little do you know what an amazing spectacle awaits you. Truthfully, the much overused expression wow!!! just pops out of your mouth when you...More

Thank LindylooCleveland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Questions & Answers
Janet S
6 April 2016|
AnswerShow all 6 answers
Response from Miha P | Reviewed this property |
For performances you need to go directily to Teatro Olimpico information Office. They will explain you the timetable. All good, M.
0
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Joanna M
13 February 2016|
AnswerShow all 3 answers
Response from cadelvento2015 | Reviewed this property |
Hi. This is what I found about the Olimpico theatre: "mercoledì 27 aprile 2016 ore 20.45 Alexander Lonquich direttore Andrea Lucchesini solista al pianoforte Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy Sinfonia n. 4 in la maggiore op... More
1
Vote
Karma M
13 November 2015|
AnswerShow all 5 answers
Response from drwho00 | Reviewed this property |
One adult ticket to just the Olympic Theater is 11 euro. The Museum card is better deal. It's good for one week, costs 15 euro, and includes entrance to Teatro Olimpico, Gallerie d'Italia Palazzo Leoni Montanari, Chiesa di... More
2
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