Arena Sferisterio

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By giove @ 2011-06-04 11:34:03
The Sferisterio of Macerata stands out as one of the most prominent architectural structures of the late European Neoclassical Style. In the first half of the Nineteenth century, a few wealthy gentlemen living in Macerata decided to enrich their city with a permanent structure used to host the game with ball and bangle and, at the same time, as an arena for the ’steccato’ and for bull fighting, which was very popular at the time of the Papal State.
Construction began on 2 October, 1820, according to the drawings provided by Salvatore Innocenzi. However, these were soon replaced by a project designed by Ireneo Aleandri, a young architect from San Severino Marche (MC).
The Sferisterio was inaugurated on 5 September, 1829. The very special shape of the building –which includes a playing field, a series of rooms for various purposes, a supporting wall, boxes and balconies– was carefully designed to encompass the needs of the sports activities which were popular in the first half of the Nineteenth century.
Walking inside, one may be struck by the surprisingly wide space the Sferisterio reveals: a huge arena (90 x 36 mt.) marked by two straight edges joined by means of a long, wide curve facing the huge background wall, which is 18 metres high and almost 90 metres wide. This high wall, nowadays so widely praised, was part of the requirements for the game with ball and bangle, whose rules foresaw a wall for the ball to bounce against. The wide stalls are placed on the grass and surrounded by a grand tier, below which were kept the animals to be used in the bull fighting.
A series of 56 Doric columns with Attic base stretch from both sides of the royal stage, supporting the boxes and ending in the stone terrace which beautifully crowns the whole structure. The building, which is in line with the best Neoclassical taste and betrays a Palladian influence, is not only magnificent per se, but it perfectly blends with the city landscape. The harmonious structure ensures perfect visibility and wonderful acoustics.
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