Of the many theatres still in operation throughout the province of Pesaro and Urbino, the largest historic theatres are those of Fano and Pesaro.
The original Teatro della Fortuna in Fano was built in 1665 by the great theatre and set designer Giacomo Torelli though it was rebuilt in its present form in the 19th century by the architect Luigi Poletti and opened in 1863. It was re - opened for a second time in April 1998 after being restored to its original splendour following damage during the Second World War. The 900-seat interior is in neo-classical style. At that time, Poletti's design represented a new, innovative approach to the use of space in the theatre which succeeded in re-interpreting the traditional Italian Classica
l theatre style with a unique architectural harmony.
The Teatro Rossini, in Pesaro, has seating for an audience of 872.
Its interior provides an excellent acoustic, thanks to its wide proscenium arch and immense 353 sq.m stage, making it possible to stage works for unusually large forces.
The Teatro Rossini was designed by Pietro Ghinelli and opened in 1818 with Rossini's opera La Gazza Ladra ("The Thieving Magpie").
The late 19th - century Teatro Comunale in Cagli, decorated in a magnificently eclectic style, is another fine example of theatre design.
The original stage machinery for operating the sets still survives as well as a machine for producing light using a salt solution and a number of original set designs.
The history of the Teatro della Concordia in San Costanzo can be traced back as early as 1757.
The theatre was housed in the residential wing of the imposing 15th-century tower, built to protect the north-eastern flank of the castle. The original decoration of the auditorium was removed in 1935 though it retains the classical layout of a historic theatre.
The Teatro del Trionfo in the olive growing village of Cartoceto is also well worth a visit. It was built between 1725 and 1730 in what was once an olive store. The small auditorium has a simple ribbon and scroll decoration and although it is no longer in use it remains a particularly fascinating theatrical landmark.
Before the present-day theatre, Urbino had another purpose -built structure, the Teatro Pascolini, erected by the Accademia of the same name in 1683. It was dismantled after the new theatre was opened. The new theatre was built between 1840 and 1853, on the 15th - century tower dominating the Mercatale area and containing the famous helical ramp-stair by Francesco di Giorgio Martini. When the theatre was built, the architect Vincenzo Ghinelli from Senigallia, an expert of theatre constructions, renewed the city as a whole. The main façade of the theatre still retains the late neo-classical style decoration that Ghinelli gave it.
In the auditorium, the three tiers of boxes and the gallery form a U-shaped plan, but the most remarkable feature are the ceiling decorations, the work of Raffaele Antonioli from Gubbio. The decorations give the auditorium a festive atmosphere and depict the nine Muses, each one in their compartment, forming a circle. The decorations on the balustraded boxes, nineteen tondi depicting illustrious figures including Raphael (after whom the theatre is named), are no longer visible. Such decorations were erased and partly removed during the most recent restoration, carried out in 1982 by architect Giancarlo De Carlo. The atrium, the foyer and the near-by spaces were also modified.
In 1984, shortly after the unification of Italy, the new theatre of Urbania, named after Donato Bramante (an illustrious figure from Urbania), was inaugurated with a performance of Il trovatore by Giuseppe Verdi. The painter Romolo Liverani from Faenza painted the scenes in the wings and the curtain with a view of the square, Piazza San Cristoforo, in a Romantic style. The painter Lancisi da Sant’Arcangelo executed the medallions on the ceiling depicting the four elements (air, earth, water and fire), interpreted through an elegant mythology. The Pesarese artist Pietro Gai sculpted the busts of Donato Bramante and of the singer Girolamo Crescentini, who became very famous all over Europe at the time of Napoleon. Gai also executed the golden friezes around the medallions, depicting illustrious figures from the Renaissance and the Risorgimento who were linked to the history of the city: Francesco Maria II Della Rovere, Donato Bramante, Girolamo Crescentini, Filippo Ugolini, Gioachino Rossini, and Giuseppe Verdi.
The theatre in Sassocorvaro is housed inside what was once the main hall of the town's castle, designed by Francesco di Giorgio Martini. In 1860, when the castle was acquired by the municipality, the theatre opened to the public. Unlike most theatre from that time, this one does not have boxes, but a single wooden palchettone occupying the two sides of the auditorium. The theatre was decorated in 1895 by the local painter Enrico Mancini (1867-1917), in a neo-classical style combined with elements of Art Nouveau. It is a true gem.
The Teatro Apollo in Mondavio dates from the late 18th century, was erected on the former church of San Filippo Neri and was completely rebuilt in 1887. It is a true gem, made even more splendid by its recent restoration. Originally managed by the Accademia del Teatro, it was particularly active in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Of particular interest are the harmony of its spaces and the elegance of its decorations – festoons, acanthus leaves and grotesques – exalted by a beautiful velarium ceiling depicting putti dancing in circles around Apollo. Today, the theatre has regained its social and cultural function, which is not limited to the town of Mondavio.
The Teatro Mario Tiberini in San Lorenzo in Campo is located in the Della Rovere palace, the former municipal palace of the 16th century, belonging to the Castello Roveresco, with elements dating from the 17th century (such as the coat of arms of Cardinal Giulio della Rovere). Marquis Ippolito bequeathed it to the Municipality. It was originally called ‘Teatro Trionfo’ and was believed to have been built from the Della Rovere family’s dance hall. Documents from the years 1813 and 1814 reveal that there was great disagreement in San Lorenzo between those who wanted to build a theatre and those who feared that the structure of the palace might be ruined. After being restored in 1981, the theatre was renamed after the local tenor Mario Tiberini, who was much appreciated by Giuseppe Verdi.
Pergola has a long tradition of theatres. As early as 1696, the Accademia degli Immaturi organised plays in the local palace, which featured prestigious sceneries by Francesco and Ferdinando Bibiena. In 1752, when Pope Benedict XIV declared Pergola a city, the decision was made to give Pergola a new theatre. It was built between 1754 and 1758 by the Bolognese architect Raimondo Compagnini, helped by Giuseppe Torregiani for the scenery and by the Pergolese Giovan Francesco Ferri.
The theatre still retains the original layout designed by Compagnini: a U-shaped plan (believed by some to be the first of its kind in Italy) surrounded by three tiers of boxes (totalling 44), with an open gallery. It was initially called Teatro della Luna, but upon the unification of Italy was renamed after Angel Dal Foco, a famous condottiere who lived between the 14th and the 15th centuries. The theatre was used for more than two centuries without interruption. It fell into decline in the aftermath of the First World War, when it was occupied by displaced persons and deprived of its furniture and scenery, including the curtain. It was abandoned for decades, and in 1981 a part of the roof even collapsed, but it was finally restored and brought back to life in 2002.