The theatre of Montecastello di Vibio, with its 99 seats divided between the stalls and boxes, is called the “smallest theatre in the world”. A historic document says that “it was built so small to suit the village’s size”.
It was planned in a full post-French Revolution climate, 1789, and then named after that “harmony among peoples” that was created in Europe at the beginning of 1800. Its construction was financed by nine eminent families of the village who got involved in order to turn it into a place of amusement and meetings. There was also a coffee - lounge, and it was launched in 1808.
In 1892 Luigi Agretti, just 14 years old, who was on holiday in Monte Castello visiting from La Spezia, frescoed the halls. His father Cesare was a Perugia native and had decorated the stage curtain and theatre backdrops. Luigi Agretti released his first artistic expressions. The young man left in the colours of his paintings the sensations of his youthful vitality, so contributing to make this spot, through the dedication addressed to the village, an oasis of peace. .
Unfortunately the theatre closed down in 1951 and in the 1960s the building suffered a roof collapse. the inhabitants of Monte Castello resorted to self-taxation to finance the first repair work. The Region later continued the restoration with some European Community funding. The building today maintains the same original wooden structure supporting the theatre boxes, finished in 1993; in 1914 the stalls had 36 seats, and there are 37 today. In 1997 the “smallest theatre in the world” was twinned with the Farnese Theatre in Parma, the “biggest in the world”, with 4000 seats.
The young soprano Antonietta Stella from Todi performed in the theatre in 1929 and she went on to become one of the best performers of the Verdi repertoire. In 1945 the theatre hosted an early appearance by another future celebrity, the then very young Gina Lollobrigida. She came to in Monte Castello to act in “Santarellina” by Scarpetta, a comedy staged by the director and stage director Tenneroni of Todi.