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Teatro Massimo Foundation - Palermo
The Teatro Massimo in Palermo, inaugurated in 1897, is the largest theatrical building in Italy. It is managed by the private law foundation of the same name born from the transformation of the Autonomous Body established in 1935. The institutional program of operas, ballets and concerts with over 260 evenings of shows is among the richest in Italy.

Museum space

The Theater has a Library and Historical Archive open to the public, which can be consulted by appointment. Contacts and information: - +390916053134 The theater can be visited every day from 9.30 to 17.30 (guided tour in the Great Hall and in the other monumental spaces)

The Massimo Theater Foundation promotes the dissemination and knowledge of music, opera and dance, with particular commitment to young people, is active in training the public and aims at the conservation and dissemination of the historical and cultural heritage matured in its more than centennial activity.

The Seasons of operas, ballets and concerts they are among the richest in the context of Italian opera foundations, with over 260 show evenings involving more than 145,000 spectators a year (of which almost 30% are young people under 35).

In recent years, the Teatro Massimo has given life to an increasingly diversified cultural offer and has developed a prestigious off-site activity that has contributed to the prestige of the theater, even abroad.

Alongside the seasonal billboard they are added themed events, series of conferences, meetings with interpreters, aimed in particular at the young audience. Very rich then the Educational program, with activities aimed at schools and proposed by the nursery school at the University.

The activity of the Teatro Massimo Foundation has been rewarded by a growing influx of public and visitors (over 106,000) of all ages, testifying to the centrality of the Teatro Massimo and its role in promoting and protecting an extraordinary heritage of culture and art.


The Teatro Massimo opened its doors to the public in 1897 and with its 7730 square meters of area is the largest theater in Italy and the third in Europe, second only to the Opéra National (Palaia Garnier) in Paris and the Staatsoper of Vienna.

In the first decades of activity the theater was entrusted to private companies, often different from year to year, up to 1935, when it was proclaimed by ministerial decree Autonomous Theater Organization, assuming from the following year the official name of Autonomous Body Teatro Massimo of Palermo.

In 1974 the Theater was closed for renovations that lasted until 1997. The Massimo Theater reopened on May 12 of that year with a concert conducted in the first part by Franco Mannino and in the second part by Claudio Abbado with the Berliner Philharmoniker.

The Teatro Massimo Foundation of Palermo, which has legal personality under private law, was established following the transformation of the Teatro Massimo Autonomous Body, implemented pursuant to and by effect of art. 1 of Legislative Decree 24 November 2000 n. 345, converted into Law no. 6.


Even before the unification of Italy, Palermo felt the need for a new, large and modern opera house, for which a location had been identified since 1859. The project took shape after the annexation to the Kingdom of Italy with competition - open to Italian and foreign architects - banned in 1864 by the then Mayor Antonio Starabba, Marquis of Rudinì. There were 35 participants, twelve of whom were foreigners.

He won the victory Giovan Battista Filippo Basile, well-known architect from Palermo. The works began only in January 1875, were suspended in 1878 and resumed in 1890 with the aim of completing them in time for the following year's Exhibition. On the death of the architect in June 1891, his son Ernesto, also an architect, took over the direction of the works and agreed to complete the work in progress.

The Massimo Vittorio Emanuele Theater, this was the official name of the time, finally came inaugurated on May 16, 1897 with Giuseppe Verdi's Falstaff, an opera never performed before in Palermo, under the direction of Leopoldo Mugnone At the opening, the monumental building, the largest theater in Italy, was third in size in Europe, surpassed only by the Paris opera houses and Vienna. The capacity was 3,000 seats (today reduced to just under 1250 due to compliance with safety standards).

Since then, there are many illustrious artists who have trod the scenes; to remember, in the first years of activity, the absolute premieres of the works Barbarina by Gino Marinuzzi (1903), Marian month by Umberto Giordano (1910), Mimi Pinson by Ruggero Leoncavallo (1912).

Teatro Massimo Foundation - Palermo

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