Measuring just 765 sq feet, the Teatrino di Vetriano in the village of Vetriano di Pescaglia in Lucca is a small theatre. It is so small that in 1997, Guinness World Records listed the Teatrino di Vetriano as the smallest traditional public theatre in the world.
The tiny theatre has all the facilities of a regular playhouse but on a small scale: rows of seating in an auditorium, a proscenium stage and a two-tiered wooden balcony with seating in boxes. The theatre was built in 1890 when the villagers decided to convert a barn into a venue to stage plays, and locals used to bring chairs for their own seating.
In 1980, the Teatrino di Vetriano closed because the structure was unsound. Then the Fondo Ambiente Italiano Italian heritage association acquired the theatre in 1997 and restored it to its former glory. The beautiful stage curtain painted by the villagers is back in situ and depicts Dante’s face alongside angels and cherubs. The balconies with their floral-shape carvings look resplendent, and the tempera decorative Neoclassical frescoes surrounding the stage glisten.
The theatre now stages productions, both plays and musicals, in collaboration with Milan’s prestigious La Scala opera house. The Teatrino di Vetriano is also available to couples as a wedding venue. It is open to visitors the first and third Sunday of the month. Admission costs €5.
Where: Teatrino Di Vetriano, Vetriano di Pescaglia, Lucca