Theatre House of Cesenatico

The Origins of the Theatre House of Cesenatico Architecture Changes and Restoration

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Among the monuments of Cesenatico the historic Theatre House is worth a visit. The building is located in the old town, near the Canal Harbour, among restaurants, bars, shops and other monuments like the Antiquarian, the Museo della Marineria (Seamanship museum) and the Casa Moretti (Moretti House).

The Theatre House of Cesenatico was built between 1863 and 1865 upon a request of the local people. The citizens of Cesenatico, after collecting signatures in favour of the construction of a theatre, collected the amount of 80,000 liras requested to start the works. The project is the work of engineer Candido Panzani from Gambettola (1811-1902) who worked in the Town Hall at the time. The management was entrusted to engineer Enrico Bocchini from Cesena.

The building belongs to the architectonic style of the theatres from Romagna in the 1800. The rectangular shape plan was initially 500 sq m. big (488.99 sq m. to be precise, plus current expansions) but despite the modest dimensions, it is perfectly functioning and fully equipped. The aspect is sober and elegant, with harmonious neoclassic proportions.

Several events have contributed to the transformation, some in the beginning of the 1900 to make improvements to the building, some others because of damage caused during the World War II, after which was necessary to do restoration works.

The exterior is certainly the best kept and most faithful to the original. The fašade is made by bricks, composed by two orders separated by a delicate cornice.

The lower order is characterized by an embossed work that marks the surface with regular horizontal strips. The bottom part is subdivided in five spans which expand with half module on both sides. The three rounded central arches are abreast two rectangular doors.

The entrance portal is dug in the central arch, while the other two arches frame two broad windows. Some sort of dynamism in the fašade is obtained not only by the openings on the masonry of the doors and windows, but also by the several levels of depth, in a delicate back and forth effect. A light projection makes the centre with the three arches come out; and withdraw the two extreme wings, tighter. A pleasant light and shade effect is obtained also in the arches using a double archivolt arches, an inspiration from the Roman architecture, but also seen in some examples of contemporary industrial architecture from Romagna.

In the upper order the two extreme span sleek surfaces contrast with the livelier central sector, where the subdivision in three parts is obtained by four elegant pillars of the Ionic order supported by a trabeation. In the central compartments there are three rectangular windows topped by three doubled archivolt arches (similar to those of the lower order) with decorated lunettes. The fašade is finished with a triangular pediment with a notched frame. In the pediment spire the shape of a lyre, almost a modern acroterion, indicates that this is a theatre.

The original characteristics of the construction are still recognised in the whole of the structure, in the division of the spaces and in its interior. But there have been modifications made during the restoration works or during the changes required by the current health and safety policy.

The servicing for the equipment develops on both floors, with identical lay out. On the ground floor, just after the entrance there are two lateral service rooms, the lobby for the stalls and the stage of the first order. The foyer is on the first floor, as well as other rooms, once used for the local school of music and today transformed in services.

The central room, used for the performances, has a horseshoe shape cavea  where the stalls and the orchestra pit are located, as well as two orders with 15 boxes each one and a third order where the grand circle is located.
The stage has a set, side wings and a balustrade for the machinery and for dealing with the sets, reached by wooden stairs.

Originally the roof had a big wood rose window carved by the Bolognese Cuccoli and painted by Bellani and Canepa, with a series of medallions portraying famous personages of the theatre. There were also the plaster bas-relief from Vittorio Rambelli, the gildings from Morsiani and the scenes from Pirro Rota, as well as the celebrated curtains painted by Pompeo Randi. With a few exceptions, unfortunately most of the decorations were lost.

During the careful and demanding restoration works between 1981 and 1992, managed by the architect Augusto Savini, many parts of the decoration were remade, and some were recovered.

Today, despite some loss, the Theatre of Cesenatico is presented as a small architectonic treasure, a comfortable and welcoming place where even the colours and interior design contribute to create a harmonious and pleasant atmosphere.

A. Cocchi


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Tags:Alessandra Cocchi. A. Sturmer, theater, architecture, show, .


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C. Panzani. Theatre House of Cesenatico. 1883-85. Fašade.

C. Panzani. Theatre House of Cesenatico. 1883-85. Fašade. Detail of the arches and the Ionic pillars.

C. Panzani. Theatre House of Cesenatico. 1883-85. View from the stall towards the boxes.

C. Panzani. Theatre House of Cesenatico. 1883-85. View of the stage.

C. Panzani. Theatre House of Cesenatico. 1883-85. View of the boxes.

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