Olympic Theater (English)
Updated to: 12/06/2021
Civic Museums are open from 27 April 2021, Tuesday to Sunday, in compliance with the anti-Covid-19 regulations.
World’s most ancient indoor theatre
Masterpiece and last work by Andrea Palladio, the Olympic theater was commissioned in February 1580 by the Olympic Academy, a congregation of prominent personalities in Vicenza related to literature, sciences, and arts, of which Palladio himself was a member.
The design was inspired by the “ancient” style theater, in the wake of Vitruvius studies revival during the Renaissance. It was also a self-celebratory work for Vicenza aristocracy, taking inspiration from the same classic ideals supported by the members of the Academy.
The construction works began in May 1580, but Palladio did not see them finished because of his sudden death. After several and complex events, the Olympic Theater was completed five years later, and it was solemnly inaugurated the 3rd of March 1585, with the staging of Oedipus Tyrannus by Sophocles.
You enter the theater going through the Odeon and the Anti-Odeon, two large rooms made by Vincenzo Scamozzi, and respectively decorated by Francesco Maffei frescoes depicting divinities and allegorical figures (approximately 1637 A.D.) and a monochrome frieze (approximately 1595 A.D.). The latter represents the theatrical outfitting curated by the Academy before the Olympic Theater construction (L’Amor Costante, Sophonisba), and the shows or events hosted in the new theater (Oedipus Rex, The Japanese legation reception).
Inside a closed space that simulates the classical theaters' outdoor settings, Palladio arranges a monumental Scaenae Frons flanked by two wings or Versurae, and a semi-elliptical Cavea with thirteen steps, closing at the top with an exedra of columns, partially open and partially recessed in the wall.
In the architectural structure tabernacle frames and plinths, there are the statues of the Academics who commissioned the Theater, in classical dress. In the highest order, there is a series of beautiful bas relief depicting Stories of Hercules by Ruggero Bascapè.
Beyond the Scaenae Frons three openings, there are the wooden perspectives representing the streets of Thebes, made by Vicenzo Scamozzi for the inaugural show “Oedipus” and then become fixed and immutable over time.
Sito Unesco (goo.gl/Re34te)
POP - Palladio Olimpico Project interactive visits
The initiative stems from the desire of the Municipality of Vicenza to make the visit to the Olympic Theatre (Teatro Olimpico) memorable and innovative through a narrative model, conceived by Alessandro Baricco and the Holden School, which aims to enhance all the historic spaces of the Theatre.
In this post-Coronavirus emergency phase, you can attend the "Son et Lumière" show, an integral part of the Palladio Olimpico Project.
From Tuesday to Sunday: 9.30 am, 10.30 am, 11.30 am, 2.30 pm, 3.30 pm and 4.30 pm
The show will last around ten minutes.
To take part in it, you must go to the entrance of the Olympic Theatre.
Visiting hours from 15th June to 20th June 2021
from 15th to 17th June 2021: NO shows
from 18th to 20th June 2021: 9.30 am - 10.30 am - 11.30 am
For the 2021-2023 three-year period, the educational service of Vicenza’s Civic Museums has been assigned to Scatola Cultura, a non-profit cooperative that offers a very far-reaching program, with several types of educational courses for the various age brackets, from primary school to high school.
Download here the brochure with educational activities
For information on educational activities:
tel. 3483832395, email@example.com, https://scatolacultura.it/
For bookings: Call Centre: +39 0444 964380 – Monday to Friday 9:00 to 18:00, Saturday 9:00 to 14:00.
- Kids up to the age of 17 included, no school groups (upon presentation of a valid ID document)
- ICOM members - International Council of Museums (upon presentation of a valid ID document)
- Tour guides and tour leaders only with group (upon presentation of a valid ID document)
- Italian and foreign journalists (upon presentation of a valid document attesting their membership to the association)
- Military and law enforcement officials (upon presentation of a valid ID document)
- Teachers only if accompanying school groups
- People with disabilities and their accompanying persons
- Twinned cities or cities linked to Vicenza through a friendship agreement (free access to the host class and to the hosted foreign class)
- Accademia Olimpica and its guests: free access to Teatro Olimpico
Privates, concessions for events and shows
Fees and forms are available at:
Legal marriages and civil unions celebrations
It is possible to book the Olympic theater garden (or the Olympic theater Odeon, in case of rain), Chiericati Palace (the Zodiac Room) and Villa Guiccioli (the auditorium) for the celebration of legal marriages and civil unions.
Where and when
Address: Piazza Matteotti 11
- Winter hours: from the 1st of September to the 30th of June: from Tuesday to Sunday from 9 am to 5 pm (last entry at 4.30 pm)
- Summer hours: from the 1st of July to the 31st of August: from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm (last entry at 5.30 pm)
Closing: Monday, 25th december and the 1st of January
Special openings for public holidays 2021: 5 and 25 April, 1 and 31 May, 2 June, 15 August, 8 September, 1 November, 8 and 26 December
Website: Civici Museums
Iat, Tourist reception information
Address: Piazza Matteotti 12
From 27th April 2021 everyday form 9 am to 5.30 pm
Booking is mandatory for groups and schools (Olympic Theater and Palazzo Chiericati City Museum):
- Call center 0444964380 (Operating from Monday to Friday from 9 am to 1 pm, and from 2 pm to 6 pm (closing days: 25th of December and the 1st of January)
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- groups (min 10 max 25 people): 10 euro
- schools: 5 euro a class
Natural Archaeological Museum
Address: Contra' Santa Corona 4
Not available at the moment
Closing days: every Monday and Christmas
Website: Civic Museums Vicenza