A nod to the past – Italy

Located in the small commune of Rotello near Campobasso of Saint Rocco in southern Italy , the historic church has been restored into a permanent performance venue and multi-purpose hall. Fragments of the stone floor stand out against the white-washed theatre space, hidden within the existing exterior masonry walls.The ornamental interior, including the cornice, pilasters and arched niches were previously painted white but showed uneven broken paintwork near the ceiling. The church’s beige natural stone flooring was replaced with a white floor to match the walls, where the majority was repainted to create a solid uniform colour.
Arranged in the centre of the auditorium are 90 small black armchairs facing the stage, which will be used for for theatre performances and conferences.
Re-imagined by architects Luigi Valente and Mauro Di BonaIn, the architects retained a remnant of the natural stone flooring laid in an irregular semi-circular formation. The continuous white colour of the overall interior breaks into the line of the stone arc, designed as a visual nod to the renovation process of Saint Rocco’s church.
A series of previous renovation projects to the building had caused the old church to become unused. The original timber ceiling had been demolished with a false ceiling installed. Valente and Di Bona removed this and reconstructed a timber ceiling using the original wooden beams, which can now be seen spanning the hall at regular intervals.
Following an epidemic in Rotello in the 1600s, the church was named after the patron saint Rocco, protector against the plague.
The community began to use the structure to host theatrical performances from the 1950s. As the renovation allows for the church to continue hosting performance.


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