Count František Václav of Trauttmansdorff, then owner of the estate of Litomyšl, ordered the construction of the monumental Church of the Finding of the Holy Cross for the Piarist Order. Starting in 1714, the project’s designer and the church’s first builder was the famous Baroque architect Giovanni Battista Alliprandi. After his death, František Maxmilián Kaňka was able to complete the construction by 1722. Numerous important Baroque artists participated in the church’s ornamentation, though the interior suffered noticeably from repeated fires. The church then fell into disrepair during the twentieth century. The socialist regime did not lavish attention on church buildings, and without the necessary repairs and maintenance, the Piarist church found itself in a critical state.
In 1972, it was closed to the public, and it needed to wait a forty-two long years before reopening. Large-scale reconstruction financed by the EU’s Integrated Operational Programme began in 2010, and the church was reconsecrated by Cardinal Miloslav Vlk as part of a celebratory festival mass in 2014. The Baroque ornamentation has been supplemented by contemporary works of art by Václav Cigler and an exhibition of ecclesiastical works from the Diocesan Museum’s collection. The Piarist church is an important, dominant feature of Litomyšl. Its return to city life has brought opportunities not only for sacred use but also for concerts and other cultural events.
During performances at Smetana’s Litomyšl, audience seating is installed for 580 people and two wheelchairs. The church typically has a long reverberation time; the organizers attempt to use it for presenting programs that are appropriate for this type of acoustics. However, the sound quality in the church nave is not the same everywhere; Section C, which tends to have lesser sound quality, is significantly cheaper. Seats are not numbered in Sections A and B, and it’s necessary for audience members to scout out the spots that suit them best. Therefore, we recommend choosing your seat as much in advance as possible.