Vetriano’s Playhouse: the Guiness Record smallest historical theatre in the world between the Garfagnana and the marble-laden Apuan Alps

On Saturday and Sunday the 26th and 27th of March The F.A.I (Fondo Ambiente Italiano) organizes visits to the  Italian historic artistic heritage  that have  been rescued  from ruin and  neglect. Among the several spots in Tuscany a  real curiosity is represented, directly north of Lucca, by Vetriano, an out-of-the way hamlet,  in the Middle Serchio Valley, far from the madding crowd. Here the pint-sized theatre brings back   the memories of  an agricultural community who preferred tearjerking drama  to the folkstales in front of fireplaces . It sprang up in 1889  when the  villagers  accepted the offer of Vetriano’s bigwig Mr Virgilio Biagini.  He offered them  a small hayloft to be specifically used as a theatre. The restoration was to be started within two months. A poor theatrical association started   directly financing their shared dream with all their heart and soul. Hectic days followed. The  whole village rallied around, busy  at the two tiers of wooden painted balconies , the 6 metre wide hand-painted panels working as curtains between the acts. The inhabitants’ participation was total, ranging from the seating brought from home to the stage props and acting itself. Their efforts lead to the final birth of the “Teatrino” as they affectionately used to call it. For 70 years it  honourably accomplished its task until  the roof started to leek, the walls to crack, the paintwork to peel. The new difficult times were coming: the original association members headed elsewhere, often to foreign lands, for a brighter future  and the alluring television was  starting to woo the few residents. The theatre doors closed. The decay changed it into a storage depot until 1997 when the F.A.I. brought it a new life, through a loving and faithful restoration. Vetriano’s  playhouse is now enjoying a new start. A new promising  life  for this 60seat” bomboniera” – as somebody defines  it- .The concerts, the  modern and old plays  staged here bring us back the flavour of the “old good days “ pleasantly linking past and present.

A spring date not to be missed.

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In particular the Tuscan charme at  our accommodation in lucca.

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