Best Theaters in Rome
Italy has given the world many opera singers, musicians, actors and artists. All across the country, numerous theaters and opera houses are witnesses of the rich artistic life that the country enjoys.
As the capital and Italy’s most visited city, Rome holds some of the most beautiful and important theaters in the country. If you are passionate about opera, ballet, drama and musical performances, read on and take note. I’m about to introduce you to the best theaters in Rome.
Teatro dell’Opera di Roma
Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, built in 1880 by Milanese architect Achille Sfrondrini, is the most iconic opera house in Rome. The theater was formally named Teatro Costanzi after Domenico Costanzi, who financed the construction.
After the inauguration, the popularity of the opera house rapidly spread. By the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century, Teatro dell’Opera di Roma had already witnessed several world premieres.
Renata Tebaldi, Pavarotti, Marylin Horne, Domingo, Gigli, Caruso, Tito Gobbu, Del Monaco, and Maria Callas are among the famous performers who have entertained the audience at theater.
The interior of Teatro dell’Opera di Roma is a piece of art. The golden tiers of boxes are finely carved, and the red walls and seats – like in other theaters – create an extremely sophisticated atmosphere. In addition to that, the ceiling is decorated with a six-meter chandelier composed of 27,000 crystal drops and amazing frescoes painted by Italian painter Annibale Brugnoli.
Nowadays, Teatro dell’Opera is renowned for not only opera performances, but also for ballet and dance, and concerts. It has 1,600 seats and tickets usually cost between 20 and 100 euros depending on the seat location.
Address: Piazza Beniamino Gigli, 7
Teatro Valle was an opera house built in 1726 by the Capranica family with Tommaso Morelli as architect. The theater was named after its first director, Domenico Valle, and was inaugurated with Simon Falconio Pratoli’s tragedy “Matilde” on stage.
With the final disposal of the Italian Theater Authority, Teatro Valle suspended its activities on May 19, 2011. It was then occupied by a group of entertainment workers and activists who demanded the building was kept public through popular participation.
The occupants managed the theater for three years and were awarded several prizes. However, the occupation came to an end in 2014 and the theater was closed again. In 2016, some activists re-occupied it symbolically.
Address: Via del Teatro Valle, 23a
Alongside Teatro Valle, Teatro Argentina is one of the oldest theaters in Rome. It was designed by architect Gerolamo Theodoli and commissioned by the Sforza-Cesarini family. It was inaugurated in 1732, and after many restorations, the theater is very well conserved despite having nearly 300 years of history.
Teatro Argentina has staged all sorts of performances. Between 1944 and 1945, special opera performances were held, initially dedicated to the British and the American troops during World War II.
Address: Largo Argentina, 52
Teatro Brancaccio, formally called Teatro Morgana, designed by architect Luca Carimini and realized by engineer Carlo Sacconi, has definitely had its bad days. After its inauguration in 1916, the theater witnessed years of decadence, until it was restored and reopened in 1978 by Gabriele Lavia and Gigi Proietti.
Since the restoration, the theater has completely come back to life, with many opera, ballet, prose and musical performances.
Address: Via Merulana, 244 (Esquilino)
Teatro Quirino was built in 1871. It was commissioned by Prince Maffeo Sciarra and built on his property near the Trevi Fountain. The name Quirino is derived from the Quirinale hill, where the theater is located, and the god Quirino.
The theater initially held popular puppet shows and farces. After two restorations, one in 1882 and another in 1898, opera and ballet performances started to take place at the theater to please the city’s bourgeois.
Ettore Petrolini, Eduardo De Filippo, Vittorio Gassman, Carmelo Bene, Carlo Giuffrè, Giorgio Strehler, Paolo Stoppa, Paola Borboni and Luca Ronconi are among the prestigious artists who have performed at Teatro Quirino.
Address: Via delle Vergini, 7
Teatro Sala Umberto
Teatro Sala Umberto was designed by architect Andrea Busiri Vici with decorations by renowned designer Alessandro Bazzani. The theater was inaugurated in 1882 as a concert hall with the name of Teatro della Piccola Borsa, and has changed its agenda back and forth from film exhibition to theatrical activities.
In the 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s, Teatro Sala Umberto mainly exhibited films. However, after being restored in 1980, it went back to hosting different types of performances. From 1983 to 1991, the artistic program was assumed by the Ente Teatrale Italiano. From 1991 to 2001, the Teatro Sala Umberto returned to exhibit films. Theatrical activity was completely restored in 2002 after further restructuring.
Address: Via della Mercede, 50
If you are a fan of comedy, L’Ambra Jovinelli is your favorite theater in town.
The theater was inaugurated in 1909 thanks to theatrical impresario Giuseppe Jovinelli, whose vision was to build a theater of variety with a luxurious face.
The theater’s original structure had innovative landscaping lines in liberty style with the entire façade crossed by stucco pilasters. The ground floor had three doors with round arches that led spectators to their seats, while the second floor and upper level housed offices, dressing rooms and stage equipment.
In 1982, a fire destroyed the whole structure and the theater was closed. It re-opened in 2001 after restoration works.
Address: Via Guglielmo Pepe, 43/47 (Esquilino)