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Tor di Nona

Carlo Fontana

history of the theatresupplementtechnical dataHistoric equipment

Important events

(detail)1671 | opening
Opened with Scipione affricano by Francesco Cavalli.
(detail)1888 | demolition


(detail)Cosimo Morelli |architect

Cosimo Morelli, Italian architect, was born and died in Imola in 1732-1812. He was a representative of neo-Renaissance current in architecture, and executed works as: Theatre (1779-1780) and Duomo (1781) in Imola, and some other works in Fermo and Macerata. His most famous creation is Palazzo Braschi in Rome (1790-1804), with a facade inspired by Renaissance tradition.


IN: http://rometour.org/morelli-cosimo-1732-1812.html

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Tor di Nona is an area right in the heart of the historic city of Rome where once a tower stood. In the middle of the 17th Century the tower was restored and reconstructed as a theatre, which was patronised by the Queen of Sweden.After many reconstructions and several fires, the theatre was swept away by the Tiber at the end of the 19th Century. This event ended a key episode in Roman artistic history as it used to be the home of the best company in town. In the last few years of its existence the theatre had the name of Teatro Apollo - which was the most famous lyrical theatre in Rome. Today the Theatre Tor di Nona has a disputable connection with both - the tower and theatre that once existed. With all its history, its also presents an interesting programme and talented actors.


In: http://www.europe-cities.com/en/786/italy/rome/place/23228_teatro_tor_di_nona/


The seventeenth-century architects of public theatres were faced with a variety of new problems—problems of sight-lines, acoustics, seating, circulation, proportion, style. The solutions achieved by Carlo Fontana in the second Teatro Tor di Nona, Rome  may be said to mark the beginning of the modern theatre. Notice the horseshoe-shaped auditorium, the two staircases in the corners, the box divisions angled towards the stage and the single columns of the proscenium arch. ...

For this theatre,  a number of projects were prepared by Carlo Fontana, or possibly his pupil Alessandro Specchi, varying not only in the geometry of the auditorium but also in such things as the placing and form of staircases. The shape finally chosen was the horseshoe, a compromise between the favourite Baroque oval and the fan. With the Tor di Nona the transition between the Renaissance and modern is complete. Almost all theatres, for the next two centuries, will conform to this pattern.


In: Tidworth, Simon : Theatres: An Illustrated History. London 1973 p. 70 - 71



Author: Simon Tidworth

Additional information


He was born in Verona to Pietro Maderni, a sculptor native to Codilago in the Ticino. Giovanni Battista studied in the Academy of Fine Arts of Florence. Returning to Verona, he painted a canvas of Fall of the Jews in Mantua for a local church. He traveled to Paris, Berlin, London, Netherlands. He made a set of engravings on describing the art and architecture of the Teatro Tordinona in Rome. He then moved to St Petersburg, and finally to Stockholm.


Descrizione delle Pitture, degl'ordini, Volta, e Sipario del Nuovo Teatro di Tordinona.
Dizionario storico raggionato degli uomini illustri del canton Ticino, by Gian Alfonso Oldelli (1807)
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ANTON BIEDERWOLF - 19.11. 2017

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