Teatro Olimpico

7:00 AM

Teatro Olimpico, Vicenza Italy, 1580-1585
By SAI GONDI

Andrea Palladio was an Italian architect who developed the style behind many modern day governmental buildings, including the Capital Building and British Central Bank. He fused together classical Greco-Roman styles with the mathematical usage of shapes, domes, and columns to birth what is known today as Palladian architecture. His influence spread to all corners of the western world. Palladio is most famous for his extensive work on upper class villas such as the Villa Rotonda and facades for large churches worth millions today. However, one of his most under-appreciated marvels lies in an old, abandoned fortress. 

The Teatro Olimpico incorporates more classical elements in comparison to Palladio's other works. The colosseum-style theatre compliments the modernization of theatre and arts with rustic, classic architecture. The theatre was designed at the end of Palladio's life and carried through by his apprentice Scamozzi. Ironically, one of Palladio's final masterpieces brings his style back to his roots. When he was young, he explored the vast beauty of Rome's architecture before arriving in Vicenza where he would begin his own work, developing the Palladian standard for geometry and Greco-Roman designs. However, the Teatro Olimpico brings it back to ancient Rome, a time where architecture flourished and developed its own artistic identity. 

The theatre incorporates one of Palladio's signature components, pillars. Each pillar, comprised of various materials to recreate a marble finish, supports smaller, poised statues. The palace style walls have various windows with triangles and arches harboring more statues and designs. The entire layout is symmetrical, including the panels in the ceiling. The audience sits under a blue sky on stone benches surrounded by a semicircle of pillars with statues, placed in a seemingly Roman coliseum. The illusionary city hallway adds depth to the set, making the audience see more than is truly there. Though Palladio did not live to see the grand opening, his Teatro Olimpico is true site to experience, embodying his roots of classical Greco-Roman architecture. 

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