Art & cultureHistorical facts

Classical Theatre in Sicily

Taormina Greek theatre

Ancient classical Theatre in Sicily can boast a great genius as its adoptive father,

since Aeschylus (525 – 456),

who is regarded as inventor as Greek tragedy,

spent long periods in Sicily and died here.

A number of his works were first produced in Syracuse.

Sicily was therefore well acquainted with,

and assimilated,

the subject matter of Greek Theatre and classical Theatre in Sicily:

freedom versus destiny,

the sense of divine power and human suffering,

the anguish of the Tragedies and excoriating,

bitter satire of the comedies.

Classical Theatre decline with the fall of the western Roman empire,

the great tragedies were again performed in Sicily not until the 20th century.

In 1913, Count Mario Tommaso Gargallo and his fellow Syracusans,

including archaeologist Paolo Orsi decided to champion the production of Aeschylus’ Agamemnon.

The premiere was held on 16 April 1914 and since then,

with the exception of war-time,

the Greek Theatre in Syracuse,

one of the most beautiful in the world,

has remained a venue for ancient Theatre,

thanks to the effort of the Istituto Nazionale del Dramma Antico.

Many famous Theatre personalities have participated in this productions over the years,

including poets Salvatore Quasimodo and Pier Paolo Pasolini as translators,

and the actor Giorgio Albertazzi and Vittorio Gassman.