Strolling through the heart of the historic city centre, amidst the great buildings of the XIX century and the profiles of modern edifices the Goldoni square opens up: Little more than a widening in the road it hosts a theatre’s beautiful neoclassical facade. Back in the XIX century in full swing of the Lorenese era, the city was affirmed as a summer village retreat and one of the main Mediteranean shipping ports. The growth of the merchant bourgeoisie created a need for the development of new civil building projects, parks and plush villas along with public buildings, for the appropriate recreation and enjoyment of the new social class.
The idea to build an impressive theatre was born, “a new and extraordinary Theatre” so great that it would exceed the already existing theatres in town and so Livorno becoming “the third city in Italy to win the praise of such an important Edifice.” The construction of the theatre situated along a road known as the old road to Montenero (black mount), between the new Santa Maria del Soccorso church and the Isrealite hospital, was given to Giuseppe Cappellini a young architect, who completed his work in the space of just four years, from 1843 to 1847. Many different names were given to the theatre: Imperial and Royal Leopold Theatre, Caporali Theatre and in 1860 Royal Goldoni Theatre, thus to underline the strong links between Carlo Goldoni (playwright) and the city of Livorno, where his trilogy “Le smanie per la villeggiatura” (The Craving for the Holiday) was set. Not forgetting that in 1921 the theatre hosted the Socialist Party’s convention leading to the formation of the Italian Communist Party.