Hidden Florence Mysteries: Theaters of the Past

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Hidden Florence Mysteries: Theaters of the Past

Possible layout of the Roman Theater of Florence. Photo found on www.museicivicifiorentini.comune.fi.it

Possible layout of the Roman Theater of Florence. Photo found on www.museicivicifiorentini.comune.fi.it

Dating back to the 1st century AD, the Roman Theater of Florence is situated below Palazzo Vecchio, the Old Palace, once the home of the Medici. The semicircular amphitheater was built to fit a total of 15,000 – 20,000 spectators. In the late 13th century the Palazzo Vecchio, originally called the Palazzo della Signoria, was built on top of the Roman Theater and forgotten about until 1875 when Architect, Corinto Corinti, discovered and excavated the seating sections. Since then, more excavations have been done to reveal a stage and orchestra pit all made from stone.

View of the Amphitheater of Boboli. Photo found on www.firenzepost.it

View of the Amphitheater of Boboli. Photo found on www.firenzepost.it

Situated behind the back facade of Pitti Palace, the Amphitheater of Boboli is located in the famous Boboli Gardens. It’s the first outside structure that was added to the gardens in 1637 for the crowning ceremony of Vittoria della Rovere, wife of Ferdinando II de’ Medici. The architectural design of the amphitheater mimics the Ancient Greek hippodrome, horse racing stadium, which were typically built on a hillside and not intended for theatrical productions but were used only for horse and chariot racing. It is one half the size of a typical Ancient Greek hippodrome and staged performances for the court’s entertainment.

Map of where the Roman Amphitheater of Florence once stood. Photo found on www.hotelsantacroce.it

Map of where the Roman Amphitheater of Florence once stood. Photo found on www.hotelsantacroce.it

The Roman Amphitheater of Florence, a.k.a. the Colosseum of Florence was built between 124 and 130 AD. It’s structure was elliptical in shape with about 20,000 seats compared to the 87,000 spectator seats at the Colosseum in Rome. It was originally located outside the Florence walls. However, over time the borders of Florence expanded and two large streets were eventually built through the amphitheater allowing access to and from Piazza Santa Croce and Piazza della Signoria. The rounded walls have been used in the design of buildings and can still be seen on Via de’ Bentaccordi and Via Torta.

Would you like to learn more about Florence theaters? Let us know!

Post by Tessa Cole

2016-10-14T12:00:48+00:00 October 3rd, 2016|