Teatro del Maggio

The project for the new Teatro del Maggio was realised on a part of the city that, until now, was marginal, which today hosts important and prestigious public institutions. The area provided for its construction is along the line that separates the Florence  “green” (the Cascine park starts precisely from via Fratelli Roselli), from the historical and central part of Florence. In this way the project plays a delicate integration role between the different parts of the city. This ambitious objective was achieved through the realization of a vast system of open areas that are pedestrian accessable and at various points link up, putting in process the new spaces for the two auditoriums and outdoor cavea. The system of the artificial stage, established from the building’s accessable roofing, connects with that natural of the Cascine through an inclined pedestrian level that south west crosses the Macinante channel.  The grouping together of these spaces and locations expressly dedicated to music, describes a site of great urban and scenic value, a system of terraces and open spaces bluntly “Tuscan”, destined to unite town planning, architectural and visual with the immediate surrounding buildings and the entire city of Florence.

On a local context scale, the new project is designed to realise a large European class cultural complex, the Park of Music and Culture, containing the auditorium’s awe inspiring spaces and services connected with the important pre-existing Leopolda, even to establish a new urban centrality dedicated to cultural and musical activities, giving at the same time response to a functional set up and a symbolic complex.

On an architectural scale, the project is designed to guarantee the best attributes of a first class musical complex, through a performance range of extreme distinction and absolute excellence at the opera and concert level, from chamber to rock, in a flexible and multi-purpose complex with multiple potential.

The principal design is inspired by an architectural clarity: a sort of large platform, an inclined plinth where the two large halls music are inserted and the enigmatic volume of the tower. A project that presents a majestic massività, moderated by the existence of a dense network of internal and external paths consisting of ramps, terraces and enclosed spaces, that, dimensioned on a human scale, returns the project to the architectural scale conformity. All the internal public spaces are serviced from the sweeping foyer, which is accessable through the area below the  large urban projecting roof or, coming from Parco delle Cascine, through the glass wall underneath the inclined space of the large hall.

The cavea is able to contain more than 2,000 spectators. It is positioned on the theatre’s roof, an integration and conclusion of the extended system of squares, terraces and lookouts. Its usage however is not only relegated to the temporary nature of performances, but is extended throughout the entire day, seasons and year. Its terraces of “stone” are designed as real and actual “urban living rooms”, alternated with sections treated to small gardens, offering a use continuous and free to the public. The adjoining bar-cafeteria-restaurant complex supports the structure’s function adapted to an ‘en plein air’ lifestyle.  The cavea’s location at the base of the large tower’s mass also provides additional structural functionality, finding on the large wall above a vast surface for projections, able to sustain any large spectacular event.

The large hall of 1,800 seats is contained inside an inclined stereo-metric space, intergrated within the inclined ascending floor.

The form adopted is “horseshoe”, traditional but innovative in its design influence, contained between the two  perimiteral distribution bands of stairs and ramps, that ensure a distribution function and contribute to the detachment of the walls from the casing, for an improved acoustic output.

The realization of the new Opera House fitted out with the most innovative and technical scenery equipment and the endowment of a modern and efficient auditorium established for the city of Florence, the indispensable premise of belonging to the international circuit of cultured music, be it for the performance of classical and contemporary music, where Italy has historically held undisputed supremacy. The shape of the hall is conceived, as for a musical instrument, with the objective to ensure the best acoustic result.

The hall’s arrangement includes a broad stalls area, directly accessible from the foyer, and only a single balcony level, accessible from the distribution system along the hall. In the two lateral portions, obtained from the continuation of the balcony level towards the stage, there are boxes, with a small area located behind for the reception of guests.

The stage, conforming in shape and dimensions to international standards, is designed to accommodate at the centre of the stage the performance and in the two side pockets, up to two stagings ready to be moved during the intervals. The handling of the scenery occurs horizontally through the use of mobile platforms that are mounted on trolleys.

Another unique aspect of the new Teatro del Maggio comes from the stage’s dimensional flexibility, that can accommodate theatrical performances with a stage depth double that permitted by traditional Italian and European theaters.

In the new project we are systematically striving to overcome the false dialectic between antique and new, between classic and modern, in the belief that architecture can reconquer the debate with context and history, beyond styles, through the ability to recontextualise work through materials, colours and textures. The Cipollino marble that covers the volumes of the new theatrical complex; the baked enamel of the great “urban lantern” of the tower; the gold used for the curved walls of the large and majestic foyer are all materials, textures and colours belonging to the historical tradition of Medician architecture.


Maria Laura Arlotti, Michele Beccu, Paolo Desideri, Filippo Raimondo

ABDR Architetti Associati


21186.09 sqm

13301.60 sqm

2198.58 sqm

2711.32 sqm

5651.50 sqm

sqm 1.2394,0

57443.09 sqm

total room capacity: 1800 seats

Stage “T” surface – 2,624 sqm
Main Stage – 416 sqm
Proscenium – 18×12 – 14×8
Orchestra pit 45 sqm – 108-150

capacity: 1100 seats

capacity : 2000 seats

Overall volume mc. 360,000