The Public Theatre, "architected -wrote the historian Luigi Lanzi in a guide to the city in 1899- by cavalier Luigi Poletti in 1840, conceived when the city had fewer than ten thousand inhabitants, and become much too narrow for a population that has more than tripled". The theatre, named after Giuseppe Verdi, is once again waiting for restoration work to finish and to adapt to new rules and requirements.
Precisely in 1840, in fact, was the first stone laid of Terni's public theatre, "in the presence of the distinguished Pontifical Architect of the sacred Apostolic Palaces, Luigi Poletti", whose project was preferred by the Municipal over that of Luigi Santini, from Perugia. The work was finished in 8 years, and so, in August 1849, the theatre was inaugurated with the performance of the melodrama "Saffo". Its name was not yet teatro Verdi, obviously, given that the musician was still very much alive and at the peak of his activities. The new theatre was born on far more ancient foundation of the old Palazzo dei Priori, which then became the location of the "public bakery".
In the middle of the nineteenth century the instability of the foundations led to its demolition and the construction of a new building which became a theatre awarding the project to an expert such as Luigi Poletti, who realised one of his best works, with a large external staircase, and an inside decorated with stucco and paintings.
The Terni public theatre was one of the first to use electric lighting (it was 1888) produced by the Cassian Bon Valnerina Electric company, and to have an adjoining building which held changing rooms. In 1908 the electrical plant had to be made safer, and more modern, and so at the same time the stage was enlargened. The naming of the theatre after Giuseppe Verdi, who had died seven years before, dates back to then and gave rise to a second inauguration , this time with "Othello.
The changing requirements resulted in a series of works and plant remakes, the last of which - the most invasive that completely cancelled the original work by Poletti except for the facade- came as a consequence of the destruction caused by the bombing during the second world war. It was rebuilt in accordance more with the requirements of a cinema than a theatre, until, in recent years, it was shut down waiting for a new, essential restoration which, so far, has involved only the facade.