Jewel of a theatre
Teatrino di Vetriano
A tiny theatre created in the remote Tuscan village of Vetriano more than a century ago and has been restored, and is once again staging plays and concerts.
In 1889, villagers created an enchanting playhouse that, at 71 sq m, that would later enter the records as the smallest historical theatre in the world.
Vetriano, directly north of Lucca is neatly sandwiched between the Garfagnana and the craggy, marble-laden Apuan Alps.
Heart and soul were poured into renovating the hayloft as a performance centre by the villagers. Two tiers of wooden balconies were built and lovingly decorated with garlanded floral themes. Hand painted vertical panels for the 6 metre wide stage pulled out, as curtains between acts. Seating was something you brought from home.
The pint-sized playhouse, which they called simply ‘Il Teatrino’ soldiered on for over 70 years, until the place simply wore out: the roof began to leak, paintwork peeled, earth tremors etched cracks in the walls and the descendants of the original association members migrated, often to foreign lands. Tastes changed too with TV wooing residents away from the little stage. The site became a storage depot and eventually the doors closed to any further entertainment.
But in 2002, finally, after years of hard work, the Teatrino di Vetriano held its formal opening ceremony. With that, the little theatre was once again up and running and can be viewed by the public on a private tour.