The Theater and the Corso Marrucino

The name of Corso Marrucino is reminiscent of the ancient people who founded the town. The Corso di Chieti was called until about 1890 “Corso Galliani” and included the stretch of road between Largo Trento and Trieste (largo della Trinità) and the wide San Gabriele Valignani (called Largo del Pozzo).

The City of Chieti, since ancient times, has been characterized by the presence of imposing architectural structures used for public performances and public shows. In the Teate Marrocinorum, the Roman name of the city, in fact, they were erected between the end of the 1st century BC and half of the next one is a theater and an amphitheater, still preserved today in what was once the acropolis. The Theater, a privileged physical place for the dissemination of culture and socialization activities, is immediately identified as a fundamental value of the life of the community. For this reason, Teate, no less than other cities in the Roman provinces, had equipped itself with an architectural space capable of hosting shows and recreational events at the service of the populations.
However, the history of theatrical buildings built in Chieti in Roman times followed the fate of most of the contemporary theaters and was marked by that decline which, during the period of the barbarian invasions, gave rise to a long period of forfeiture of the structures destined to take place representations. In fact, throughout the medieval period, the shows took place exclusively in the squares, in the churches and in the large halls of the palaces and the theaters were completely abandoned.
In line with what is reported in the history of Italian theater, also in the City of Chieti the need to return to represent shows in dedicated buildings,
built in compliance with the criteria dictated by the various genres, it returns to be felt only in the modern era following the birth of the sixteenth century theater, characterized by a closed and delimited scene, a stage for performances and bleachers for the public. The city of Chieti, reviving its cultural vocation, built a new theater building in the second half of the 18th century: it is the so-called Teatro Vecchio, one of the first modern theaters in Abruzzo. The architectural lines of the building and its original dimensions remain almost unknown, due to the many transformations of which it was the object over time and, not least, of the different uses to which it was used. From the plan for booking seats, dating back to 1790, it can however be noted that the Theater included three tiers of boxes, an audience and probably a gallery. Today, of this building, only the façade remains, enriched with graffiti of Venetian art executed by the soldiers who served in the Military District of Venice who, during the First World War, was instituted there. The love and interest of the City of Chieti for culture and theater are also expressed in two other testimonies: it is the construction of two small theaters that, in the same years, were built at Palazzo Martinetti, by the Jesuits, and in the current gym of the Liceo Classico GB Vico, by the Scolopi.

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