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Bologna City | Attractions | Theatres

The Arena del Sole, "a place for day-time shows", as reported on the inscription above the entrance, was inaugurated on 5 July 1810.


The open-air, stone theatre was built on the initiative of Pietro Bonini, a businessman who dealt in poultry, on the site of the sixteenth-century convent of the Domenican nuns of St. Maria Maddalena, which was abandoned at the time of the suppression of religious organisations during Napoleonic occupation of Bologna.


Some parts of this ancient convent are still visible today: the cloister for example, serves a theatrical use in summer.


The architecture was of neoclassic inspiration, antagonist to the baroque, considered as classist, and the Jacobean ideology that attributed to the theatre a crucial role in the cultural and political education of the people. 


Throughout the 1800s and the early 1900s, from Easter until the end of September, the Arena was visited by many great companies.


To quote just some of the great performers who appeared on its stage: Tommaso Salvini, Eleonora Duse, Giovanni Emanuel, Irma Gramatica, Ermete Zacconi, Ermete Novelli, Ruggero Ruggeri, Dina Galli, Virginia Marini, Lyda Borelli, Ettore Petrolini, Maria Melato, Paola Borboni, Marta Abba, Renzo Ricci.


From 1916, the theatre was fitted with removable roofs which were continually improved and which, besides enabling a winter programme, also made it possible the movie projection which was intensified in the 1930s as an anticipation of the drastic transformation of the theatre into a cinema in 1949. The rest is recent history.


In 1984 the Municipality of Bologna purchased the building. The theatre hosted two seasons, 1984-85 and 1985-86, under the artistic direction of Yuri Lyubimov.


Its radical restructuring began in 1986 as a result of the efforts of the City Council and the Emilia Romagna Region, and resulted in the theatre's rebirth in 1995 under the direction of Nuova Scena-Teatro Stabile di Bologna.

Via Dell' Indipendenza, 44
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Program For January:


26, 27, 28 January 

Vancouver City Dance Theatre

Dreams of Dalì

Coreography by Roberta Baseggio

In collaboration with ATERDANZA


from the 31st of January - 19th of February


Written by Francesco Freyrie

Casting by Daniele Sala

with Vito & Les Triplettes de Belleville:

Silvia Donati, Daniela Galli, Barbara Giorgi


Program For February:


3, 4 February

Fondazione Teatro Piemonte Europa

in collaboration with Musica90

"Viaggio al termine della notte"

by Louis-Ferdinand Céline

(copyright Editions Gallimard - Paris)

with Elio Germano & Teho Teardo

Violoncello Martina Bertoni

From the 7th to the 12th of February

Fondazione del Teatro Stabile di Torino

in collaboration with Teatro di Dioniso

"Signorina Giulia"

by August Strindberg

A spectacle by Valter Malosti

with Valeria Solarino, Valter Malosti, Federica Fracassi


From the 16th to the 19th of February

Teatro dell'Archivolto

"Eretici e Corsari"

From the works of Giorgio Gaber, Sandro Luporini & Pier Paolo Pasolini


Teatro Comunale Bologna

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Daily flights to Bologna from 3rd November 2015

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Lifting the lid on the city's glorious parks and gardens

Walking around Bologna, the streets of the historic centre can...

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The Lost Map of Bologna Comes Home - Palazzo Pepoli

At some point during the jubilee year of 1575, when Rome was filled with tens of thousands of pilgrims from all over Christendom, Pope Gregory XIII commissioned a new...

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Bologna for Connoisseurs Spring 2014 - Issue 6

Bologna has been rated Italy’s third most livable city – a good seven spots up from where it was last year.


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The monumental site of Santa Maria della Vita, the cupola of which was designed by Bibiena, is the most important example of Baroque...

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