Apart from beautiful beaches, crystal clear sea water and great parties during the summer, the island of Hvar is also known for its cultural heritage.
In the very heart of the historical centre of Hvar is situated one of the oldest theatres in Europe – the Theatre of Hvar. According to data the oldest one is the Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza from 1585 and the Teatro all' antica in Sabbioneta from 1588, whilst the Theatre of Hvar was built in 1612. The most interesting thing is that this theatre opened its doors to all classes and not only for the wealthy high class.
It is a well known fact that theatres all over Europe were exclusively intended for rich members of European societies, the ruling class, whilst the poor citizens were not allowed to attend drama performances. However, the Rector Pietro Semitecolo opened the theatre in Hvar in 1612 and enabled all citizens, regardless of their social status to participate in various cultural and social events. This way he established the first public theatre in Europe.
At the time, the Rector's move caused a lot of controversy and a big drama among the rich, but he was very persistent in enforcing his decision thus subverted many of the social norms of the time.
Over the centuries, the theatre has lived through many changes; it was renovated several times so the present-day Neo-baroque appearance of the theatre dates back from the mid-19th century.
Therefore, apart from being the first European public theatre, the Theatre of Hvar is also one of the ten oldest and best preserved Baroque theatres in Europe.