Not the largest but the oldest theatre in Italy, Teatro San Carlo. It's 41 years older than the Scala in Milan. It was built in 1737 by order of King Charles III. In 1816 Naples was plunged into mourning when the theatre was destroyed by fire. Less than six days later, the rebuilding began in its original state, with one difference: the acoustics were significantly improved. The Teatro San Carlo has perhaps the best acoustics in the world. Since the reopening hardly anything has changed, with the exception of the construction of an orchestra pit (at Verdi's suggestion), and - with the advent of electricity in 1890 - the removal of the chandelier. This makes the opera theatre one of the popular attractions in Naples.
The theatre is very impressive: it can seat 3000 people and has 6 floors with 184 boxes. Notice the funny clock above the stage with a finger that tries to stop the hands. You can visit the theatre hall without a guide. If you want to wander around the complicated system of corridors of the theatre, you can only do so if you book a guided tour. These tours are provided by Itinera. The theatre has now also opened a museum.
At 11.00 a.m. there are regular special performances to familiarize young audiences with opera and ballet. A ticket for these performances are quite affordable. On the website of the Teatro di San Carlo you can download the program.
Website: Teatro di San Carlo
Address: Via San Carlo
Opening hours: guided tour 9.00-17.30, performances (from the beginning of October until the end of May) start at 19.00, 19.30 or 20.00
Admission price: prices differ per performance.
Website: Memus Teatro di San Carlo
Address: Piazza del Plebiscito Opening
Hours: 09.00-17.00 (on Sundays until 14.00
Consult the websites for up-to-date price information and opening hours.