Since the mid-17th century a theatre hall had operated in Giglio palace, via Cartoleria, for end-of-the.year and carnival performances of the students of the Jesuits' Collegio dei Nobili. In 1822 the hall was purchased by Antonio Brunetti who rented it out to puppet shows. The renovation carried out a few years later, in 1830, was not sufficient to raise the square-shaped small theatre with fourteen boxes to the level of a 'venale', which was the qualification the owner aspired to. Inherited by his grandsons, Cesare and Emilio, in 1860 the theatre reopened with the music opera and, after a renovation, it was inaugurated five years later with a masked ball. The hall had two tiers of balconies and one gallery supported by iron columns, while the painted decorations were by V. Solmi and G. Lodi. Fitted with a mobile skylight and other modern appliances, such as a gas lighting system, the theatre knew a fortunate and prestigious season of popular success. In the 1870's both operetta and popular music concerts were held there. Among the illustrious patrons of 1878 let us recall King Umberto I and Queen Margherita, while Crispi and Carducci were conference lecturers, and Sarah Bernardt acted in the plays La Dame aux camélias and Frou-Frou. Today's dedication of the theatre to actress Eleonora Duse dates back to 1898 after a change of ownership. More recent restoration work dates back to 1904 after a project by Lorenzo Colliva and 1940-42 when, with engineer Paolo Graziani, the theatre took today's outlook with wide balconies replacing galleries. Famous theatre and musical review companies, together with singers and dancers, have continued to perform and please audiences.