Walking up towards the Cathedral, halfway along Via Mazzini, we come to the splendid city theatre “dell’Aquila”.
It was built to a design by the Architect Cosimo Morelli of Imola (1729-1812) starting in 1780 to replace the old wooden theatre, which had been destroyed by fire, and which was located in what is now the Sala dei Ritratti (the “Portrait Room”) in the Palazzo dei Priori.
The theatre opened on 26 September 1790, and for more than 200 years it has been one of the main centres of cultural activity in Le Marche.
It has one hundred and twenty-four boxes on five levels in frame audience and a total capacity of around 1000 seats.
The fine ceiling painting in tempera is by Luigi Cochetti (Rome 1802 - 1884), a pupil of Minardi, and depicts the Gods of Olympus, with Jupiter, Juno, the three Graces and the six dancing nocturnal Horae, intent on listening to the song of Apollo.
At the centre is a splendid chandelier with 56 gilded metal branches and wooden leaves, originally illuminated by carbide, which was ordered from Paris in 1830.
Noteworthy too is the old curtain, also the work of the painter Luigi Cochetti, depicting Harmonia handing a cithara to the guardian spirit of Fermo.
The scenographer of La Scala Alessandro Sanquirico (Milan 1777-1849), the greatest of his time, painted six evocative backdrops for the Theatre; these are extremely important because they are the only surviving works by the artist, and are still preserved in the warehouse.
The stage of about 350 square metres and the perfect acoustics make it one of the most prestigious facilities in Italy.
The Theatre, which lived through the splendours of the nineteenth century with operas and plays in simultaneous premières with the leading European capitals and with the presence of the greatest international artists, is once again the centre of wide-ranging and prestigious artistic activity after the restoration which brought it back, in 1997, to its ancient glory.