The square is situated in the centre of the ancient town and conveys a particular atmosphere and charm, both for its colours given mostly by the brickwork and pavement, and for its framework. It is entitled to Felice Peretti whose papal image overlooks on the Teatro dell’Arancio (the Orange Theatre) façade in a statue modelled in 1794 by Stefano Interlenghi.
According to the historians, the square has medieval origins, but the current aspect dates back to the end of the XIII century and was realised by the architect Pietro Maggi, who was in charge for the project of both Teatro dell’Arancio and St. Giovanni Battista’s Church.
The east prospect of the square is occupied by the building with its cross vault arch loggia which opens to the sea and which houses the Teatro dell’Arancio, the civil tower and the ancient municipal palace. The civic tower, with its bell tower, shows a clock given by Pio IX in 1857 and a niche with the Madonna and her Child. The prospect of the building ends with the ancient municipal palace, destined to this function till the half of the XIX century: from the Napoleonic cadastre, dated 1822, we read that the building housed the Council Hall, the municipal archive, the pan venale bakery, the pecuniary Mount Peretti, two shops, two space-rooms for use coffee and billiards, the government prison and the military one. In the square there are also St. Giovanni Battista’Church, the old monastery and ancient buildings.
These buildings with their loggia, doors, the street opening among the houses, constitute the structure and the multiplicity of perspectives of the square, delimiting and expanding the space as in a classical theatre’s scene.
It was realised in the last decade of the Seventeenth by the architect Pietro Maggi on a pre-existing structure whose foundations are still visible on the floor of the portico. The interior was entirely of wood and accurately furnished: it had a stage, stalls and three tiers of boxes. There could seat about 250 spectators and every year there was the assignment of the boxes between the Town council and other owners, while common people could seat only on the stalls. According to the communal residents’ formula, the maintenance was up to the town council and to the families owning the boxes, while the management was up to a drama society.
Today there are no remains of its original furnishings, used as wood for the coffins during the Spanish epidemic, between 1916 and 1918. In this period the theatre was not working yet since in the year 1899 the closure was imposed because it did not guarantee any safety for the spectators. It was reopened in 1908, year in which there was the last theatre season.
The structure has recently been restored, which has brought back the old entrance of the external stair of the old town council: and it is from 2004, both the rebuilding of the stalls and the stage have let the hall live again (after 96 years) a new theatre season.
The adjoining ancient municipal palace houses a Permanent Exhibition dedicated to Giacomo Pomili, called the Tarpato (Grottammare 1925-1997), whose works which had received international awards, are the result of a spontaneous and original expression, that has to be translated in an elementary style which reveals innate surrealistic and visionary suggestions.