Restored theatre reopens after 70 years
The theatre at Rome's Villa Torlonia has reopened following a six-year restoration process and a 70-year closure.
The renovated theatre is part of the city's Villa Torlonia museum complex on Via Nomentana and was reopened on 7 December for the Musei in musica initiative. The theatrical and musical production recounted the history of the theatre, marking the theatre's first performance since 1905. It has now become part of the city's Casa dei Teatri e della Drammaturgia Contemporanea network, and from 1 February until 31 May it will hold four-week theatre residencies, after which each company presents its work to the public.
Years of neglect and theft left the building in a poor state prior to its restoration programme which was overseen by the city with the support of Italian tyre company Pirelli. Rome's mayor Ignazio Marino described the newly enhanced Villa Torlonia as a "candidate to become a central attraction of the city" while former mayor Francesco Rutelli, under whose administration the theatre's restoration process was first announced, said "a jewel has been returned to the city."
The theatre's history dates back to 1841 when it was commissioned by Prince Alessandro Torlonia to celebrate his marriage to Teresa Colonna, but the work was only completed in 1874.
The project's design by architect Quintiliano Raimondi mirrored the eclectic taste of the era, combining a mixture of architectural styles such as classic, Gothic and Moorish.
The theatre was decorated by Roman artist Costantino Brumidi who was little heard of in Italy but famed in the United States where he was known as the "Michelangelo of America" after frescoeing the Capitol in Washington.
Acquired by the capital in 1978, Villa Torlonia was home to Benito Mussolini and his family from 1925 until 1943.