I’ve always been curious to see Naples’ Teatro San Carlo – the oldest continuously active public opera in the world.
On a recent visit to Naples, I went on a guided tour to see the recent renovations that restored this historic opera house to its former splendor.
San Carlo Opera was commissioned by the Bourbon King Carlo VII of Naples, and was inaugurated on 4 November 1737.
During World War II, the opera house was damaged once again by bombing, but was quickly reconstructed.
The third major renovation came in 2008-2009 – a 67 million euro project that brought the opera back to its former splendor.
The San Carlo was the crown jewel of operas on the Italian peninsula through the mid-19th century. Composers in residence included Gioachino Rossini and Gaetano Donizetti. Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida had its European debut (after opening in Cairo) at the San Carlo Opera.
Forty-five minute guided tours are offered daily, in Italian and English, and provide a good overview of the history of the theatre, and the chance to see the splendors of the renovations.
If you’re staying longer in Naples, be sure to get tickets to the opera or ballet. I’ll be doing that on my next stay in beautiful Naples.