Palermo’s beautiful opera house, the Teatro Massimo, is the largest opera house in the entire country. It’s an important landmark in the center of historic Palermo, and even if you don’t like opera you may be familiar with the theater’s imposing front staircase.
The Teatro Massimo was built in the late 1800s, opening in 1897 with a production of “Falstaff” by Giuseppe Verdi. The original plan called for seating for 3,000 in the audience, but the theater seats 1,350 today. There are seven levels of theater boxes in a semi-circle around the seats on the floor, all pointed toward the stage - a design very typical of opera houses at the time. As mentioned, it’s the largest opera house in Italy - and it ranks third in size in Europe.
The regular opera season in the Teatro Massimo excludes the summer, so if you’re visiting in the fall, winter, or early spring you can check with the box office to find out what’s playing and whether there are any seats available. In the summer, there are sometimes smaller orchestral or ballet performances in the Teatro della Verdura in Palermo instead of the Teatro Massimo. Palermo’s grand opera house is open for tours year-round, however. Inquire at the box office inside the main doors.