Sanzio Theatre


In 1829 the aristocrats of Urbino considered that it was necessary to build a new theatre -“the first and fundamental ornament of every erudite city”- in order to replace the Teatro dei Pascolini (Pascolini Theatre) inside the Palazzo Ducale (Ducal Palace), which was still in operation until 1848. In 1840 the architect Vincenzo Ghinelli presented its own project that integrated the construction of the theatre into a comprehensive urban plan, which also included the Colonnade in Corso Garibaldi, the exedra “a semi-circular widening for a better facilitation of the carriages turning” and the transformation of the steep scarp of the Pincio into a public garden. The Façade, made of bricks, is divided into two tiers by a wide band. The lower part is decorated with six Doric semi-columns, the upper part with large lunette windows and two stone sphinxes. The two historical curtains, painted by Francesco Serafini in 1850-1851, respectively depict a glimpse of the Cathedral and the Ducal Palace and The glory of Urbino, an imaginary convention between prominent personalities of the city. The theatre was finally inaugurated in 1853 with the performance of the Rigoletto and the Troubadour by Giuseppe Verdi. As the years passed, in the 1970s the building presented the need for a restoration which was entrusted to the Genoese architect Giancarlo De Carlo by the local administration. The foyer embodies De Carlo’s concept of the theatre as an “urban space”. Extended vertically with a series of balconies different in shape, it features few calibrated openings, a porthole, a skylight in the ceiling and the semi-circular neoclassical windows, which establish subtle relations with the colonnade and the Turrets. After thirty years of downtime, the theatre was reopened on the 15th November 1982. The opening performances were dedicated to the figure of Oedipus.


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