Città di Vicenza

Olympic Theater (english)

Updated to: 18/04/2019

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 (

POP interactive visits - Palladio Olimpico Project

The initiative began with the City of Vicenza’s dream to make the visit to the Olympic Theatre memorable and innovative through a narrative method, conceived by Alessandro Baricco and Scuola Holden, which aims to enhance all the historical spaces of the theatre. The entire theatre will be involved in the narration, becoming prologue and epilogue of the show and visitors will take a journey discovering the stories, voices, videos and images. The stage and sets, usually off limits, will also be virtually accessible.
Tour itinerary: starting from the room “Odeo” you will go through a small theatre curtain and enter the room “Antiodeo”, which will host a virtual meeting with the writer Alessandro Baricco, who will recount – through a screen – the history and wonders of the earliest roofed theatre in Western culture. In the theatre hall, the heart of the narration, which will be accessible from the top as it was in the past, you will first see a show of sounds and lights; then through a tablet, you will virtually visit the hidden places of the theatre, and finally, you will be able to admire the extraordinary monument in all its natural beauty.

Interactive visiting hours
10 am and 3 pm

(July and August 11 am and 4 pm)

The interactive visit (the tour takes 45 minutes) may be made at no extra charge to the cost of admission to the theatre by going to the Iat Office in Piazza Matteotti. The ticket is single, cannot be booked and will be issued until the seats in the Olympic Theater have been filled.
Only for groups, reservations are required through the call center tel. +39 0444964380 or via email

Those who wish to visit the theatre in a traditional way can do so during other opening hours.

Info: tel.+39 0444320854, email website

Suspension visits: Saturday 30 and Sunday 31 March 2019 only in the morning (at 10 am)

Single tickets

Valid for seven days from the date of purchase

  • Full price: 11 euro
  • Reduced price: 8 euro
  • Schools: 2 euro

Special tickets Civic museums

Free entry

  • Kids up to the age of 17 included (no school groups)
  • Directors, conservators and museum officials, upon presentation of a valid ID document
  • ICOM members (International Council of Museums)
  • Tour guides
  • Italian and foreign journalists, upon presentation of a valid document attesting their membership to the association
  • Military and law enforcement officials duly recognized
  • Teachers only if accompanying school groups)
  • People with disabilities and their accompanying persons

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

Openings with reduced hours:

  • Saturday 30 March 2019 from 9 am to 10 am (last entry and maximum possible stay until 10.30 am) and from 1 pm to 5 pm (last entry 4.30 pm)
  • Sunday 31 March 2019 from 9 am to 10 am (last entry and maximum stay possible until 10.30 am) and from 1.30 pm to 5 pm (last entry 4.30 pm)

Special openings for public holidays 2019: 6 January, 21, 22 and 25 April, 1 May, 2 June, 15 August, 8 September, 1 November, 8 and 26 December

Time changes: Friday 12 July closing at 5pm (last entry at 4.30 pm) instead of 6 pm for private event

Website: Civici Museums

Ticket Office

Iat, Tourist reception information

Address: Piazza Matteotti 12

Phone: 0444320854


Opening hours:

  • from September to June: every day from 9 am to 5.30 pm
  • July and August: every day from 9 am to 6 pm

Closing: 25th of December

Bookings 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, on Saturday from 9 am to 2 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: 0444320854


Opening hours:

  • Winter timetable: from 1 September to 30 June, from Tuesday to Sunday, from 9 am to 12.30 pm and from 1 pm to 4.45 pm
  • Summer timetable: from 1 July to 31 August, from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 am to 1.45 pm

Closing days: every Monday and Christmas

Special openings for public holidays 2019: 6 January, 21, 22 and 25 April, 1 May, 2 June, 15 August, 8 September, 1 November, 8 and 26 December

Website: Civic Museums Vicenza