Italy boasts some of the most enchanting opera houses in the world. A map of Italy’s most important opera houses is a helpful tool since almost every Italian city proudly shows off its theater as the jewel in the crown of its historic center – imposing and sumptuous buildings that changed the history of music for good. According to National Geographic, two out of ten of the world’s best opera houses are in Italy and Teatro alla Scala in Milan is the most famous in the world. Opera enthusiasts should visit Italy from October through March or April when the concert season is in full swing, while astonishing outdoor performances are held in the summer. Opera houses host theater and dance performances at other times of the year, and some can be toured without going to a performance.
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Map of Italy’s Opera Houses[googlemaps https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/embed?mid=zmzGL2289v4Q.kOH_VjmxZ6TI&w=730&h=480]
Teatro alla Scala – Milan
The undisputed King of Opera Houses, Teatro alla Scala doesn’t need any presentation. Regarded as the leading opera and ballet theater in the world, it was inaugurated on August 3rd, 1778 with the premiere performance of Antonio Salieri’s “Europa Riconosciuta.” Many of the finest singers and artists from around the world have appeared at Teatro alla Scala during the past 200 years, thanks to a greater and greater program schedule of operas, ballets and concerts.
Teatro La Fenice – Venice
Inaugurated in 1792, the astonishing Teatro La Fenice has a long, curious history of troubles and rebirths. Named La Fenice (the phoenix) because it rose from the ashes of a former theater that burned to the ground, the theater has been struck down by the fire two more times, with the last devastating fire happening not long ago in 1996. Today the theater is a magnificent example of the 18th-century style, a bright gem in the timeless city of Venice where spectators can experience some of the finest operas in Europe.
Arena – Verona
Arena di Verona isn’t just the second biggest amphitheater in Italy after the Colosseum, but is also the world’s largest opera theater. To get the most out of this masterpiece of Roman architecture, an incomparable experience is to attend one of the concerts and operas that are held here in summer. The perfect acoustics and the astonishing atmosphere that only an open-air amphitheater can give, blend together with the romantic and elegant flair of a city like Verona to produce a one-of-a-kind experience for opera fans from all over the world.
Teatro Regio – Turin
Opened in 1740 with a sumptuous premiere, this prominent theater went through a long series of unfortunate events, a common destiny for many of Italy’s opera houses. But the closure during the Napoleonic Wars, the fire in 1936 and the bombing during the Second World War didn’t affect the original grandeur of one of the oldest theaters in Italy. After being reconstructed in 1973, Teatro Regio is back to its original splendor and continues to be a place of musical excellence in Europe. The season runs from October to June, offering a range of 19th century operas and contemporary works.
Teatro Verdi – Trieste
Named after Giuseppe Verdi, the most famous Italian composer, Teatro Verdi takes its inspiration from renowned Italian opera houses such as La Scala and La Fenice. Thanks to a restoration that took place in 1997, the theater is today one of the most beautiful musical venues in the country, able to compete with the best opera houses in Italy and Europe. The theatre offers a refined program of operas, ballets and symphonic concerts that spans from ancient music to the contemporary.
Teatro Carlo Felice – Genoa
Opened in 1828 and named after Duke Carlo Felice, the theater is a splendid example of a modern theater encased in a neoclassical shell. Aldo Rossi designed the new auditorium, which opened in 1991, to reflect the city of Genoa itself. Spectators have the sensation of being in the middle of an enormous town square, modeled after those that are a distinguishing feature of Genoa. Performances of opera, ballet, recitals and orchestral music are held here.
St. Mark’s Anglican Church – Florence
Founded in 1877 by the English community in Florence, St. Marks’s Anglican Church offers a fantastic musical experience that differs from that of traditional Italian opera houses. Situated inside an ancient Medici palace of rare beauty, the church boasts an intimate atmosphere for musical events, allowing the audience to enjoy the performance while being seated very close to the artists. Classical concerts and operas held in this incredible setting have been critically acclaimed by newspapers worldwide.
Teatro Comunale – Bologna
Opera fans who are also interested in history should visit Bologna’s opera house. Teatro Comunale is not only the second oldest theater in Italy (it was built in 1763), but it is also one of the most original. Unlike most other Italian theaters, Teatro Comunale has had a rather trouble-free history: no fires or bombings have struck the theater and only minor restorations have been needed so far to keep it in shape. A good example of 18th century architecture, the theater hosts opera and symphonic performances all year round.
Teatro Regio – Parma
Paying a visit to Teatro Regio in Parma is also a fantastic occasion to take a stroll around one of the nicest cities in Italy. The beautiful neoclassical style of the building and the busy schedule that pays tribute to Italy’s most famous composer and local hero, Giuseppe Verdi, will made the trip to Parma an unparalleled experience.
Arena Sferisterio – Macerata
Second only to the Arena di Verona, Arena Sferisterio is an impressive open-air theater that is quickly gaining popularity as one of the most prestigious summer opera festivals in Europe. Originally built to host the Italian national handball team, the building was later transformed into one of the most magical musical places in Italy. The Sferisterio Opera Festival takes place in July and August and often draws top-name performers from all over the world.
Teatro dell’Opera – Rome
Teatro dell’Opera reflects the magnificence of the city of Rome. Originally opened in 1880, the theater has undergone several changes of name, as well as modifications and improvements, all made to attract some of the world’s most renowned musical talents to Rome. Teatro dell’Opera’s busy schedule becomes even more interesting during the summer, when operas and concerts are staged under the stars in the impressive ruins of the Terme di Caracalla.
Teatro San Carlo – Naples
Listed by National Geographic among the top ten opera houses in the world, Teatro San Carlo is a must for opera lovers. Founded in 1737 – it is the oldest opera house in Italy – by King Charles of Bourbon, this enormous theater has been one of the most important musical and cultural centers in Europe for over two centuries. Teatro San Carlo is still celebrated today for the magnificence of its architecture and the perfection of its acoustics; opera, ballet and short comic operas are performed in this traditional, horseshoe-shaped auditorium.
Teatro Petruzzelli – Bari
Inaugurated in 1903, Teatro Petruzzelli was destroyed in 1991 by arson, causing public indignation all around the country. It took years for its reconstruction, which eventually ended in 2009, when the theater re-opened with a performance of the “Ninth Symphony” by Beethoven. Teatro Petruzzelli is the fourth largest Italian theater in size, and offers an exciting season of symphonic performances and wonderfully-staged opera and ballet.
Teatro Massimo – Palermo
Dedicated to King Victor Emanuel II, Teatro Massimo is the biggest opera house in Italy and the third largest in Europe. The theater is a magnificent example of the typical Italian-style theatre. The atmosphere, with its color scheme of sumptuous gold and red, is surpassed only by its sight lines and acoustics, to this day considered among the best in all of Europe. Year-round performances include opera, ballet and concerts.
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