In the 18th century, the city had a wooden theatre in the square. The “Teatro del Giglio”, with stirrup plan, vestibule and double row of boxes and connected to the family palace, was built in 1825 by the local nobleman Bonaventura Luigi Balsamo, in the circuit of the ancient “Corte Grande”. Subjected to forced expropriation in 1874, it was later purchased by the Gallipoli Municipality and restructured on a design by Oronzo Bernardini (architect of the Paisiello Theatre in Lecce), assisted by engineers Gregorio Consiglio and Giacomo Pantaleo. Between 1877 and 1879 it was provided with a new neoclassical façade with Doric colonnade and a foyer, and embellished with wooden decorations by Salvatore Buccarella, Luigi Epifani and Francesco Nocera from Gallipoli, under the expert guidance of Melchiorre Zalardi from Lecce and finely gilded by the Neapolitan masters Tuvoli.
According to the tastes of the time, the planner certainly had the San Carlo theatre in Naples as a model.
It was inaugurated in 1879 with the representation of a lyric scene composed by master Gaetano Briganti. Closed to public use since late 70s, it has been recently restored.
Original text – Elio Pindinelli
English translation by Rocco Merenda