Spoleto Theater City
Each era has left the city theatrical signs: the Roman Spoleto, the Medieval Spoleto, the Renaissance, Baroque and Neoclassical Spoleto, were enhanced with scenic spaces: the Amphitheater - outside the city walls - the second Amphitheater, where the Complesso Agostiniano di S. Nicolò will stand, the Roman Theater, the Caio Melisso Theater, and then the wooden theater, which was staged in Piazza Campello in the 1700s, and finally the nineteenth-century Teatro Nuovo.
The whole city grew like a scenic area where the element of surprise, which is the essence of the Theater, was enhanced: with backdrops of magnificent aristocratic palaces that open up unexpectedly after long and narrow steep streets among medieval homes behind the scenes, with Squares that are unsettling due to their new perspectives and their asymmetry.
A theater city, where once again, guests will feel they are not just spectators, but actors with a special emotion, filled with nature, architecture, culture.
Spoleto stands at an altitude of 396 mt. (1300 feet) along the Flaminia Road. Its dominant and strategic position determined its status of Caput Umbriae that lasted unceasingly from the 4th century B.C., when the city was fortified with the "Cyclopean walls", until the Unification of Italy, when the capital of the Region became Perugia.
Its economical development and the urban and architectonic transformation did not cease with the end of the Roman Empire, thanks to its Dukedom status, to the vitality maintained by the Flaminia Road and to the more or less beneficial interest of several emperors, like Teodorico, who reclaimed the surrounding valleys (at the beginning of the 6th century), Narsete who restored the town walls in 553 after Totila’s ransacking; and finally Barbarossa who razed the city in 1155 during the Communal age, determining a radical urban redevelopment.
In the 13th century, the arrival in town of several "mendicant" religious Orders determined a new urban expansion: Dominicans, Minor Franciscans, Augustinians, and Continent Tertiaries built several monumental compounds, while the Commune built a new town wall to embrace the urban growth. During the Renaissance and in the Baroque age the patrician buildings, with their closed courtyards and stables, enriched the town’s architecture.
After 1860, the transfer of the region’s capital to Perugia determined the economical decline of the city, which finally reflourished starting from the 50s, thanks to the growth of tourism and cultural institutions, among which the Festival dei Due Mondi, founded in 1958 by the musician Gian Carlo Menotti.