The intermedio (also intromessa, introdutto, tramessa, tramezzo, intermezzo), in the Italian Renaissance, was a theatrical performance or spectacle with music and often dance which was performed between the acts of a play to celebrate special occasions in Italian courts. It was one of the important predecessors to opera, and an influence on other forms like the English court masque. Weddings in ruling families and similar state occasions were the usual occasion for the most lavish intermedi, in cities such as Florence and Ferrara. Some of the best documentation of intermedi comes from weddings in the Medici family, in particular the 1589 Medici wedding, which featured what was undoubtedly both the most spectacular set of intermedi, and the best known, thanks to no fewer than 18 contemporary published festival books and sets of prints that were financed by the Grand Duke.
Intermedi were written and performed from the late 15th century through the 17th century, although the peak of development of the genre was in the late 16th century. After 1600 the form merged with opera, for the most part, though intermedi continued to be used in non-musical plays in certain settings (for example in academies), and also continued to be performed between the acts of operas.
i Sebastiani Brief defintion of Intermezzo.
Prentice Hall Definition of Intermezzo.