In the northern Italian city of Como, the Teatro Cressoni is currently being demolished in order to build noble condominiums on the same site.
An important archaeological discovery was made. In a soapstone container of unusual shapes and in some ways similar to an urn, a treasure was kept which came to light on Wednesday 7 September during the excavations near the theatre’s former stage.
The approximately three hundred gold coins would probably have been used to finance military action to pay the soldiers. This is at least one of the most widely accepted hypotheses at present.
A well-preserved inscription found not far from the coins is also of some value.
A surprising discovery is the quality of the coins found, which, thanks to the purity of the gold used by the Romans, seem to have been minted, even if the true value of the discovery is not numismatic but, above all, historical. In fact, Roman gold coins are very rare, the precious material was melted in successive epochs to transform into other coins of different mintages or jewels.
“We do not yet know in detail the historical and cultural significance of the find“,
said Alberto Bonisoli, Minister of Cultural Heritage.
Certainly, the container with the coins was opened for the last time in the late imperial period, when Rome was already in decline and the emperor and his court had retreated to Ravenna. Ravenna was easier to defend when the army was besieged by the barbarian tribes, often led by former Roman generals. However, some coins can go back centuries, but this question can only be answered in the coming months when archaeologists have emptied the urn and catalogued it piece by piece.
The opening of the Teatro Cressoni (originally simply called Teatro Nuovo) took place on 30 December 1870 with the performance of the drama Il Proscritto, but the official inauguration took place on the evening of 4 March 1871 with Il Trovatore. From then on, about ninety opera performances were performed. The most important performances in the history of the Teatro Cressoni were certainly the Lucia of Lammermoor and the Barber of Seville in 1901, who saw Luisa Tetrazzini as the main actress, while the last opera performed by Maria Passeri in 1907 was a Carmen.
The theatre was built on the initiative of Hannibal Cressoni, patriot, poet and journalist and designed by Pietro Luzzani. The vault of the room was painted by Vincenzo De Bernardi, while the interior was by Luigi Borgomainerio. Giovanni Pessina, costume designer and set designer of the Scala, painted the scenes and the characteristic sail that represented the old port of Como with several figures of that time.
In addition to the best operetta companies, numerous ensembles such as the Compagnia Milanese by Edoardo Ferravilla (almost every year), the Compagnia Goldoniana by Giacinto Gallina, the Compagnia Comica Italiana Dina Galli, the ensembles by Giacinta Pezzana, Italia Vitaliani, Ermete Zacconi and Ernesto Rossi have performed at the Teatro Cressoni.
The Cressoni also hosted the first screening of the Reale Cinematografo Lumière on 12 May 1897.
In 1910, the theatre was closed, renovated and reopened to the public in 1913. It kept the name Cressoni until 1932, when it was renamed Odeon. Some thirty years later it was further rebuilt and turned into the Central Cinema until it was finally closed in 1997.
In 2018, the interior of the building was demolished and only the surrounding walls of the theatre are preserved.