Monte Castello Vibio, a small village that has preserved its medieval shape, holds within itself a place so special and unique: the Concordia theater, the smallest theater in the world.
But is it really the smallest one? The challenge is open with the theater of Vetriano, near Lucca, which is registered to Guinness, but in this case it is not a space born as a theater, but a nineteenth century building, conceived for other use, then converted to a meeting place in which it was made a theater.
The Concordia Theatre (then called “establishment”), was founded by 9 upper-class families of Monte Castello di Vibio in the early 1800s as a private place, where the entrance was possible only by invitation of the owners.
After about 40 years of total neglect, in 1993 the theater came back to life. A dream of a child came true, a child whose portrait can be seen in a vintage photo of the theater dated 1929: the child’s name was Nello Latini.
That child, who was allowed to enter to watch a puppet show on the day of the Epiphany, fell in love with the Concordia Theater and loved it until the last day of his life.
75 year old in 1993, in possession of the theater keys, he began to open it to tourists and the curious, and showed the theater returned to its former glory, giving way to the activity the association is involved in: the theater guided tours.
He used to make such as theater stamps reducing the image and cutting the borders, and in 2002 , with the approval of the then President of the Italian Republic Azeglio Ciampi, the stamp with the effigy of the Concordia Theatre in Monte Castello was issued: another dream came true.
The theater is decorated with frescoes made by the Agrettis, father and son (that was 14 years old!), and the perfect acoustics is due to the wood that covers the ceiling. This little space has a particular atmosphere that everyone can discover and live, visiting and becoming a friend of the theater and helping it to grow.
Volunteers welcome visitors and, always with renewed enthusiasm, tell the history, stories and lives, linked to this magical heritage.
by Benedetta Tintillini
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