Teatro di San Carlo, Naples
The world’s oldest continuously active opera house first opened its doors on 4 November 1737. With six tiers of boxes, it used to seat more than 3,000, though the composer Spohr thought it was too large. It now seats 1,386.
Teatro alla Scala, Milan
La Fenice, Venice
Teatro Massimo, Palermo
Italy’s largest opera house in terms of area, if not number of seats, hosted its first performance in 1897. In 1974, a contentious renovation project closed the venue for 23 years.
Teatro Petruzzelli, Bari
This 1903 venue enjoyed a reputation for punching above its weight in terms of ambitious programming – until 1991, that is, when a fire ripped right through the building, leading to an 18-year closure.