Teatro Niccolini

Florence, Italy | C.1658

Photo Credit: Alessandra Caretto

Lights up on the oldest theatre in the city of Florence. The narrow wooden stage looks out on a sea of plush red seats and three levels of suites where once upon a time the unofficial rulers of Florence came to see, and be seen. One of the oldest modern playhouses in Europe, the regal Teatro Niccolini is a portal back into when one of the most important European families ruled the region. 

The Niccolini, then known as the “Teatro del Cocomero” after the street it was located on, has had noble connections since its construction in the mid-17th Century. It began as the home to the Caompagnia dei Concordi, the first independent drama academy in the region under the sponsorship of Prince Don Lorenzo de’ Medici. For centuries, the Medicis had built an immense empire as the bankers of Florentine city-state, and Don Lorenzo was woven into the fabric of this continued tradition. Not heir to the title of Duke, Don Lorenzo enjoyed the fruits of simply being a Medici, becoming a patron of the arts, theatre, or a leisurely afternoon of sports. 

First only host to a single level of seating, four successive tiers along with its classic horseshoe shape were added to the theater through the 18th Century. In 1805, the performance space was renamed after Giovanni Battista Niccolini, a local playwright whose comedies sat well with audiences in all tiers of the theater, and society. Later, in 1888, Teatro Niccolini would become the first theater in Tuscany to be electrically lit. 

In 2016, the theatre was meticulously restored to match its heyday of earlier centuries. Repainted and cleaned along with the addition of modern amenities, it’s the perfect spot to live like a Medici and immerse yourself in the theatrical arts.

Written By: Seamus McMahon

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