The Coccia Theatre of Novara replaced the old Morelliano Theatre in 1888, symbolising the development of a city with strong ties to the past, and the importance that music and drama have had for centuries in the lives of the people of Novara.
The theatre is called after the Neapolitan maestro Carlo Coccia, who for 32 years was the choirmaster of Novara Cathedral, and who spent the last decades of his life highly esteemed in his adopted city. When he died in 1873 his solemn funeral was a sign of the great affection in which he was held by the populace. In July of the same year the old Morelliano Theatre was named after him.
The theatre, designed by the Milan architect Giuseppe Oliviero, is in a splendidly florid style, with spectacular frescoes by the Galliari brothers, decorations, carving and gilding in pure gold by top craftsmen from Milan.
The programme of events offered by the Coccia is very varied and designed for a wide audience; it includes opera, concerts, plays, classical and modern dance, shows for children, evenings of comedy and cultural events.
Also part of the Coccia Foundation are the Piccolo Coccia, a new theatre opened in November 2005 and aimed at promoting young talent, and the Faraggiana Theatre.