Lights…Camera…Action!: Theatre in Florence

By: Kyla Gaibor, FFE, 2019

You’ve eaten Italian food, learned at least a little bit of the Italian language, and surely have picked up a thing or two about the Renaissance. Perhaps now you’re ready to change things up a bit! In the United States, you may be used to the theatre being considered a past time of the upper class, but here in Florence, you have the opportunity to enjoy an affordable night out on the town.

Before looking at some plays you can see today, let’s take a look at how theatre developed in Italy.

Teatro della Pergola

As with many things, Italian theatre took shape during the Renaissance. Even before the Renaissance, Roman plays were still read in Italy, just not performed. Then, during the Renaissance, Roman plays were translated into Italian and performed with small adaptations, creating the Neoclassical plays. Renaissance writers, such as Niccolo Machiavelli (the author of ‘The Prince’) began writing commedia erudita plays, which would remain a popular genre in Italy for centuries. These plays were based on classical models, featuring stories that had a specific lesson or focused on certain values. The Commedia dell’Arte would be a style of plays that developed in the later Renaissance and included more lighthearted subjects and themes. Today, examples of this style of play are seen in the comedy genre known as “slapstick”. Modern musicals and dramas would develop outside of Italy, but would be brought into Italian society in the 1800s.

Image result for teatro del maggio
Teatro del Maggio

Finally, if you’re eager to experience Italian theatre in Italy, check out some of these theatres in Florence.

If you’re up to challenging your Italian language skills, try visiting the Teatro del Maggio to see an adaptation of Shakespeare’s King Lear, or the Teatro della Pergola for a play on the life of Leonardo da Vinci. The Teatro del Maggio is a twenty minute bus ride from the Piazza Indipendenza, while the Teatro della Pergola is just a ten minute walk from San Lorenzo.

If you want to enjoy the sounds of the symphony, try the Teatro Goldoni. It’s just a twenty minute bus ride from the Piazza Indipendenza.

Image result for teatro goldoni
Teatro Goldoni

All three of these theatres offer tickets between fifteen and twenty euro; a great price for a show!

So, now that you have a little bit of background information and a few places to snag some tickets, finish off your experience in Italy with a visit to an Italian theatre!

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