The Acoustic Analysis of Palladio’s Teatro Olimpico, Vicenza


in The Music Room in Early Modern France and Italy

Published by British Academy

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780197265055
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754166 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

The Acoustic Analysis of Palladio’s Teatro Olimpico, Vicenza

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In the history of theatre buildings, the Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza by Andrea Palladio is often regarded as the archetype of the evolution of spaces for drama and music in modern European culture. Even within the specific subject of architectural acoustics, the Olympic Theatre represents a sort of symbolic beginning of a new era, since the main idea which led to its realisation, that is, the transformation of the Greco-Roman theatre into a closed volume, started to pose problems that had previously been unknown or neglected due to the completely different sound-propagation processes experienced in the open-air theatres of antiquity. This chapter focuses on the recent campaign of acoustic measurements carried out by the author in the Teatro Olimpico. Among the results discussed are the long reverberation time and low clarity, which make the hall more suitable for music than speech.

Keywords: Andrea Palladio; Vicenza; theatre; Teatro Olimpico; antiquity; acoustics; clarity; reverberation

Chapter.  3254 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Opera

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