The Teatro Massimo is Palermo’s dominant opera house and performance hall for ballet. Built between 1875 and 1897, it was completely refurbished in 1997 for its 100th birthday. It looks stunning, and for many American guests, oddly familiar.
The familiarity of the Teatro Massimo stems from it’s role in The Godfather: Part III, a trivia fact you can use to get even non-opera lovers and teenagers in the door. In addition to the evening performances, the Teatro Massimo offers guided tours in English four times a day Tuesday to Saturday. Tours are €5.
For tickets, you can talk to your concierge or visit the box office Tuesday to Sunday 10 am to 3:30 pm. Tickets range from €10 to €97. As the largest theater stage in Italy, some of the productions are truly remarkable.
While the Teatro Massimo may get all the glory and the movie roles, the Politeama Garibaldi is no slouch either. Three decades older than its rival, loyalists insist that the Garibaldi has superior acoustics. As the two opera houses are just a few minutes walk from each other, it’s only fair to visit both to see which is really the best acoustically.
The program at the Garibaldi is tailored to smaller productions, as the interior space is not as large. It is also not exclusively dedicated to operatic pursuits. Evening performances may include concerts by the Sicilian Regional Orchestra or solo singers.
For art fans, the restored frescoes are certainly a draw. The building also houses the Gallery of Modern Art, making a visit here doubly worth your time.