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The history of the Teatro Massimo begins following two events that erased the two most important theatres of Cagliari: the fire, which destroyed the Politeama in 1942, and the terrible bombing which devastated the Teatro Civico in 1943. Therefore the Massimo was completed between 1944 and 1947. Two young architects of Cagliari, Oddone Devoto and Emilio Stefano Garau developed the project, planning the birth of the Massimo from the walls of an old steam-mill owned by the Merello entrepreneurs.
The original project involved not only the restoration and conversion of the mill into a theatre, but also planned, taking up an overall surface of 7500 square meters, the building of an outdoor cinema-theatre, surrounded by green areas, in that part of Su Brughixeddu block which hosted the Semoleria and the Merellos’ factories. It was built in a record time and the first performances achieved an immediate success. It enabled the still narrow-minded city to admire the great opera singers, like Maria Callas, Beniamino Gigli, Tito Schipa, or renowned actors such as Gassman and Eduardo de Filippo.
The plays were performed until the Seventies, but later, since the Merellos wanted to demolish the Theatre, they were suspended for a long period. On March 1981 the Massimo reopened its gates for a comedy show, but it was a partial reopening, because it was not possible to use the stage for the most complex performances. So, the Massimo carried on its activity until the disastrous fire, which marked the Theatre downfall. In fact, even though the damages were not enormous and the aspect or the features of the Theatre were not compromised, in the following years there were no interventions to recover or reuse it, until 2005 when the city government financed the works for a complete renovation. It was inaugurated in February 2009. Nine earthenware water reserves of the Roman Age, and a squared well, used for the maintenance of the Roman aqueduct, were rediscovered during the restoration.