- Art & Culture
Brescia, a Theatre City
From the Teatro Grande to the Brescia Opera Festival, to the Vittoriale degli Italiani in Gardone. Discover a stage city
Ever since the mid-1600s, when the Accademia degli Erranti represented the pinnacle of “equestrian arts, morality and dance”, theatre has played an important role in Brescia’s civic life.
The Teatro Grande, with its sumptuous auditorium and magnificent Rococo foyer, attracts stars of the stage from all over the world. In spring, it is the setting for the International Piano Festival, while in September the performances spill out into Brescia’s streets, museums and courtyards with the Festival of Opera.
The Teatro Sociale and Teatro Santa Chiara feature stunning productions and have spawned new events, such as “Brescia Contemporanea” and “La Palestra del Teatro”. The distance between theatre and literature is minute, and while Aleardo Aleardi and Giosuè Carducci wrote odes to Italy’s Lioness – Brescia – and Manzoni chose the city for his tragedy Adelchi, Gabriele D’Annunzio opted for Gardone Riviera as the place to live out the last years of his life. Located around an hour from Brescia, D’Annunzio built the Vittoriale degli Italiani on the banks of Lake Garda.
An extraordinary complex which serves as a tribute to his incredible life, it includes the Prioria – the poet’s home, packed with a treasure trove of memorabilia and manuscripts – as well as museums, an open-air theatre, gardens and waterways. Now, the Parco del Vittoriale – which was named Italy’s most beautiful park in 2012 – is also the stunning setting of the Tener-a-mente Festival, which has seen visits from some of the biggest names in international music and theatre.