12. The Berga Roman theatre and its urban context

The block enclosed by contra’ Santi Apostoli, piazzola San Giuseppe, contra’ Porton del Luzzo and piazzola Gualdi is the result of the progressive overlay of buildings erected on the ruins of the walls of the earlier Roman theatre. The semicircular shape of the theatre is still visible when moving around the block. A number of later buildings, respectful of the significance of the ancient urban context’s architectural tradition, were constructed inside its perimeter.
The unique layout of this part of the urban fabric shows the dimensions, spatial qualities, and radial configuration of the cavea (steps) of the ancient theatre, which was oriented towards the north. Indeed, it adapts organically to become coherent with the curved profile of the theatre and maintains a large portion of its internal subdivisions.
The importance of the location of the Berga theatre in the context of Roman Vicenza was therefore faithfully maintained in later centuries by the buildings erected on its ancient ruins, which are illustrated in important drawings by Andrea Palladio.

Aerial view of the Berga neighbourhood

Aerial view of the Berga neighbourhood

The theatre as seen in Andrea Palladio’s drawings (R.I.B.A., X, 1r)

The theatre as seen in Andrea Palladio’s drawings (R.I.B.A., X, 1r)