Top Opera Houses in Italy

Elevated view of Verona old town at dusk. Verona, Veneto, Italy
Verona, Veneto, Italy. Andrea Comi / Getty Images

Italy has a wealth of beautiful, historic opera houses, many still serving as theaters. Opera fans should try to visit at least one opera house and enjoy a live performance in Italy. The opera season is generally October through March or April but outdoor performances are held in the summer. Opera houses hold theater and dance performances at other times of the year, too, and some can be toured without going to a performance.

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Milan's Teatro Alla Scala

Teatro alla Scala, Milan, Italy

TripSavvy / Christopher Larson

Via Filodrammatici, 2, 20121 Milano MI, Italy

Teatro Alla Scala, the famous opera house in Milan, reopened in December 2004 after an extensive renovation. It has a bookshop, bar, and history museum, too. The original opera house, designed by neoclassical architect Giuseppe Piermarini, opened in 1778 and many famous operas were first performed here. La Scala was badly bombed during World War II but reopened in 1946 and quickly regained its reputation as a top Italian opera house.

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Venice's Teatro La Fenice

La Fenice
Youflavio / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 4.0
Campo S. Fantin, 1965, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
Phone +39 041 786654

La Fenice (the Phoenix) in Venice, is one of the most famous theaters in Europe. La Fenice first opened in 1792 but was twice badly damaged by fire. It has recently been renovated and reopened. La Fenice is in Venice's San Marco neighborhood.

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Teatro di San Carlo in Naples

Teatro di San Carlo in Naples

TripSavvy / Christopher Larson

Via San Carlo, 98, 80132 Napoli NA, Italy
Phone +39 081 797 2331

The Teatro di San Carlo in Naples is the oldest opera house in Italy, founded in 1737. Some of the first ballet productions were also performed here during the opera intermissions. Opera, ballet, and short comic opera are still performed at Teatro San Carlo. A museum is in the planning stage.

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Teatro Comunale in Bologna

Teatro Comunale in Bologna
Lorenzo Gaudenzi / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 4.0
Largo Respighi, 1, 40126 Bologna BO, Italy
Phone +39 051 529019

The opera house in Bologna is one of the top theaters in Italy and also one of the oldest. It is a stunning example of 18th-century baroque architecture. Located in the heart of Bologna's historic district, the Teatro Comunale di Bologna holds opera, musical, and symphony performances.

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Teatro Massimo in Palermo

Theater, Teatro Massimo, Palermo, Sicily, Italy
Domingo Leiva / Getty Images
Piazza Verdi, 90138 Palermo PA, Italy
Phone +39 091 605 3521

Teatro Massimo in Palermo is the foremost opera house in Sicily as well as one of the finest in Europe. It's opening in 1897 signaled the beginning of Palermo's belle epoque. Year-round performances include opera, ballet, and music.

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Teatro Regio di Parma

colonnade Teatro of Regio di Parma - opera house
VvoeVale / Getty Images
Str. Giuseppe Garibaldi, 16/a, 43121 Parma PR, Italy
Phone +39 0521 203911

Built in 1829, the neo-classical theater of Parma is rich in gold and stucco work. The theater holds opera, dance, and drama performances as well as concerts and special events.

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Teatro Verdi in Pisa

Teatro Verdi in Pisa
 Teatro Verdi
Via Palestro, 40, 56127 Pisa PI, Italy
Phone +39 050 941111

Teatro Verdi in Pisa is one of the most beautiful theaters in central Italy. The 900-seat auditorium, inaugurated in 1867, has a beautiful ceiling fresco and today houses opera, dance, and drama performances.

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Teatro Regio in Torino

Teatro Regio
Valerio Pennicino / Getty Images
Str. Giuseppe Garibaldi, 16/a, 43121 Parma PR, Italy
Phone +39 0521 203911

Teatro Regio, the prominent opera house in Piazza Castello, a beautiful square in Torino, was rebuilt in 1973. The original ​19th-century theater was destroyed by fire in 1936. It is a popular spot for musicals and plays as well as opera.

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Teatro dell'opera di Roma

Teatro dell'Opera
Jordiferrer / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 4.0
Piazza Beniamino Gigli, 00184 Roma RM, Italy
Phone +39 06 481601

Rome has a beautiful opera house and holds many classical dance concerts and opera performances there. In the summer, opera and dance performances are held in the ancient Baths of Caracalla, a spectacular setting for opera under the stars.

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Arena di Verona

Arena di Verona, Italy

TripSavvy / Christopher Larson

Address Bra, 1, 37121 Verona VR, Italy
Phone +39 045 800 5151

Although not an opera house, another fantastic historic setting for opera is the Arena di Verona, a restored Roman arena. The open-air opera season starts in June but there are sometimes other performances during the year.

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Puccini Festival, Tuscany

Puccini Festival
 Festival Puccini Torre del Lago
55049 Torre del Lago, Province of Lucca, Italy

The Puccini Festival is held in Torre del Lago Puccini, once the home of opera composer Giacomo Puccini, in July and August. The new outdoor arena is in a beautiful setting overlooking the lake.

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Sferisterio Opera Festival, Macerata

Macerata Opera Festival 2015
 Macerata Opera Festival - Sferisterio
Piazza Nazario Sauro, 62100 Macerata MC, Italy
Phone +39 0733 271709

The Sferisterio Opera Festival is held in an open-air arena in the countryside of Macerata, in central Italy's Marche region. Performances take place in July and August and often draw top-name performers.

Top Summer Music Festivals

For more top performance venues in Italy, see these popular summer music festivals. Going to a concert in an outdoor setting is one of the top summer experiences. Be sure to buy tickets in advance.

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Where to Go for Opera in Italy