Città di Vicenza

Olympic Theater (English)

Updated to: 04/11/2020


As part of the measures adopted to contain the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus), museums are closed.


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.

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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.

Visiting hours
From Tuesday to Sunday: 9.30 10.30 11.30 14.30 15.30 16.30

The show will last around ten minutes.

To take part in it, you must go to the entrance of the Olympic Theatre.


Tickets Civic museums 


Free entry

  • 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


Olympic Theater

Address: Piazza Matteotti 11

Phone: 0444222800


Opening hours:

  • 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, Christmas and the 1st of January

Special openings for public holidays 2020: 6 January, 12, 13 and 25 April, 1 May, 1 and 2 June, 15 August, 7 and 8 September, 1 November, 7, 8 and 26 December


Website: Civici Museums

Ticket Office

Iat, Tourist reception information

Address: Piazza Matteotti 12

Phone: 0444320854


Opening hours:

  • July to August open every day from 9 am to 6 pm, from September to June open from 9.00 am to 5.30 pm

Closing: 25th of December and 1st January

Booking is mandatory 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:

Booking price:

  • groups (min 10 max 25 people): 10 euro
  • schools: 5 euro a class


Ticket Office

Natural Archaeological Museum

Address: Contra' Santa Corona 4

Phone: 0444222815


Opening hours:

Not available at the moment

Closing days: every Monday and Christmas

Website: Civic Museums Vicenza

Infopoint and Ticket Office

Basilica palladiana

Address: Piazza dei Signori

Phone: 0444222855


Opening hours:

From Friday to Sunday from 10.00 to 4pm

Website: Consorzio Vicenza è