How did a tiny, isolated, backward area of Italy come to have over 100 theatres. Many of them are architectural gems and still in working order today. What drove almost every small town or village to demand - and get - its own theatre? Award-winning architect Ian Arnott discovered a small region of great character and beauty, 100 miles by 50 miles, little known even to the rest of Italy, which, in the eighteenth century, with a population of less than a million, had 113 functioning theatres. This legacy was truly unique and, it seemed, largely unknown outside the Marche. But why and how did it happen? Why theatres? How did they manage to build all of them? Ian was given a Sir William Gillies Award from the Royal Scottish Academy of Art and Architecture (RSA) to find out, and he presents these findings in this fascinating and entertaining book. He examines the origins of the Marche's theatre boom and analyses the historic, social and architectural significance of this remarkable theatre heritage from the Renaissance to the nineteenth century and examines the factors which led to such an explosion of theatre building in this relatively isolated area of Italy. Joseph Farrell, Professor Emeritus of the University of Strathclyde and an eminent authority of Italian theatre, provides a foreword for the book. The Hidden Theatres of the Marche will not only interest theatre enthusiasts, but travellers and students of human behaviour. The book will also appeal to those who are interested in architecture and design, and the symbiosis of visual and performing arts so beautifully realised in many of these theatres.