Teatro del Giglio is one of the oldest public theaters in Italy, located in Piazza del Giglio, in Lucca. The theater was called Teatro Pubblico or Teatro Nazionale until 1819, and starting with that year it took the name of del Giglio in honor of the Bourbon dynasty, whose coat of arms bears three golden lilies (gigli).
In 1672, the expansion of the art of theater led the Council of the Republic of Lucca to promote the project of a new theater. The theater was built on the site of the ancient convent of the Jesuits, located near the Church of San Girolamo. Two and a half years later, on January 14, 1675, the new Teatro del Giglio was inaugurated.
Organized on three tiers of boxes and with two entrances, the building was designed by Francesco Buonamici and built by the architect Maria Giovanni Padreddio.
On February 16, 1688, the theater burned to the ground. The structure was rebuilt in 1692 after the original project, with the addition of the ceiling frescoes by Angelo Livoratti and a new stage designed by Silvano Barbati.
Between 1754 and 1799, the year of the fall of the Republic of Lucca, the theater had moments of great fame and importance within the city life. After the fall of the Republic, the fame of the public theater was eclipsed by that of a new private theater, the Castiglioncelli Theater, located in Via del Moro.
So it was decided to build a new structure, owned by the State, whose construction was entrusted to the architects Giovanni Lazzarini and Lorenzo Nottolini. The building, started in 1817 and completed in 1819, was called Teatro del Giglio, a name chosen by Maria Luisa of the House of Bourbon, Queen of Etruria and Duchess of Lucca.
The theater had its moment of maximum splendor in the middle of the 19th century, when the most popular singers of the time performed here. Later, the composer Giacomo Puccini supervised the staging of some of his works.
The theater underwent restorations in 1911, before being closed due to the beginning of the First World War, when it was used as a military warehouse. Used as a venue for special gatherings during fascism, it was subjected in 1957 to new restorations.
HOW TO GET THERE
Teatro del Giglio is located about 650 meters away from the Lucca train station. The closest bus station is San Girolamo, on the bus Lines 5, LAM Blu and LAM Verde, located only a few meters away.