Teatro della Commedia Vecchia
Built around 1550, the Commedia Vecchia was the first public theatre in Naples. It was the professional home to acting troupes from Spain "playing the provinces," and it provided a stage for the improvised antics of the masked and costumed figures in the then innovative Italian commedia dell'arte. In its heyday, the theatre was so successful that the government put a tax on their proceeds to finance the Casa dei Incurabili, a home for people with incurable diseases. The theatre was acquired in 1587 by a consortium of merchants and seamen from Genoa. It was torn down in the early 17th century and replaced by the church San Giorgio dei Genovesi, built to serve the considerable Genovese population in Naples at the time. For many years, however, the church was called "San Giorgo alla Commedia Vecchia", thus recalling its origins.