Teatro Massimo

Teatro Massimo, Palermo: Address, Phone Number, Teatro Massimo Reviews: 4.5/5

Teatro Massimo
One of the biggest opera houses in Europe, Teatro Massimo is renowned for its excellent acoustiscs and holds over 1,300 seats.The venue hosts more than 130 music, opera and dance events every year.The exteriors are in neo-classical style with influences from Greek Sicilian temples, while the interiors are art-nouveau.
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3,494 reviews
Very good

United Kingdom6,324 contributions
Feb 2020
This is an impressive pile. However it was still a surprise to learn that it’s the largest opera house in Italy, outstripping Milan’s La Scala or Venice’s La Fenice. It's the 3rd largest in the world and all the greats like Pavarotti, Maria Callas, Joan Sutherland have performed here.
The monumental façade has a sweeping staircase, which featured in the final scenes of Godfather III and leads to a Pantheon-like entry. At the top are Corinthian columns, a triangular portico and a lofty Latin inscription across the architrave, “Art renews the people and reveals life. Love of art is in vain if it does not aim to prepare the future”
The classical architecture and ancient Greek styling made me think it was much older than it is. I was again surprised to learn that it was actually built in late 19th century, with the first performance, Falstaff by Verdi, on 16th May, 1897.
However, it’s still old enough to have a good ghost story. Apparently a nun’s grave was destroyed during the construction and she now haunts the theatre’s backstage. Non-believers and skeptics are liable to trip on a particular part of the staircase known as the nun’s step.
I particularly liked the 2 bronze lions, standing either side of the grand staircase. The one on the right looked vicious. His teeth are bared, his tail tuck out, ramrod straight and he looks ready to attack at any moment. It amused us that even the figure sitting on his back, holding a Greek theatre mask, seems a bit alarmed and looks ready to jump off and make good an escape. The lion on the left looks a bit better humoured but perhaps that is because the figure on his back playing the pipes. Maybe a case of music calming the savage beast?
You can only see inside by joining the guided tour or having tickets to a performance. The tour (8€) is available several times a day in English and Italian. Although it’s not long (only 30 min), we ran out of time to do this. However, you can see the outside very clearly from the street as there are no other buildings blocking the façade or sides. It is also worth walking past at night if your travels take you that way because it is dramatically lit at night time and looks quite beautiful.
Written October 31, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Edam, The Netherlands14 contributions
Aug 2020 • Friends
I watched all 3 parts of The Godfather with my father a few years back, so when me I my friend booked our trip I told her it was a must to visit the theatre. I personally am not a big fan of tours; I prefer to do my own thing. But the lady that gave us the tour was very sweet and knew a lot about the building. Her English was not the best and due to COVID-19 she was wearing a facemask so she was a bit hard to understand at times, but she really tried and told everthing with lots passion. The tour only takes about 20/30 minutes and costs only about 5 euros pp, so it’s definitely worth a visit.
Written August 7, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

athens62 contributions
Dec 2021
The building itself is stunning; definitely worth a visit. We did a bilingual guided tour. You get to visit some amazing parts of the theatre up close - the royal box and echo room are highlights. The information we were given was interesting but was really the bare minimum and delivered by a very unenthusiastic guide. We would have loved to hear more anecdotes and interesting details to bring the place and our visit to life. At 25 minutes, it was a little short too - we could happily have spent an hour hearing more.
Written January 2, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Montreal, Canada215 contributions
Apr 2022
I loved this experience. The building is beautiful inside and out. The guide was attentive and knew her stuff. She answered all the extra questions we had.

Some people mentioned the Opera House seems to be neglected. I kind of disagree. Yes, I noticed watermarks on the ceiling. But I'm also one of those strange hipsters who thinks it adds character to the space and represents a long and rich history. I wouldn't get rid of those watermarks, I'd highlight them.

I particularly appreciated the Murano glass chandeliers spread out all over. All original from when it opened in the 1890s as well.

We also were treated to the stage crew setting up for a few minutes, and the orchestra rehearsing. That was a special experience. We even got to sit in the royal suite.

The tour lasts for approximately 30 minutes. I think ours went a little over to about 35 or 40 minutes. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. A wonderful lesson in Palermo's artistic history.
Written May 4, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Brian E
Santa Rosa, CA400 contributions
Mar 2022 • Couples
The opera house itself is spectacular. And, I’ve not attended an opera there, yet. I write, instead, about the paid tour. One of the experiences my wife and I love is taking tours of opera houses around the world (Sydney, Vienna, The Met in NYC, etc.). And always the tours have been in-depth with behind-the-scenes access to what goes into producing these sumptuous, complex performances. “Expecting” something similar (which is probably my mistake), the tour was brief — 20 minutes maybe — with visits to the main hall, the smoking area, and one of the private suits. I’m not saying don’t do the tour, as it is one of the top opera houses in Europe, but have realistic expectations about what is being offered.
Written March 17, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

New York City, NY1,215 contributions
Mar 2019
I'm going to keep this brief, there's so many GREAT reviews here on TA already, but I will add a few photo's... a picture is worth a thousand words.

Do you have any idea what it's like to be the only one standing in an Opera House, I do and it's an incredible feeling. One of my best and dearest friends lives in Palermo, in her ten thousand square foot mansion, and with one call, I was standing inside this grand theater watching as the house lights came on... a real goose bumps moment.

I understand there's extensive work going on, but that didn't bother me in the last, a building this old deserves nothing but respect. I highly recommend a tour it only takes and hour or so and the price of admission goes to a good cause.

Enjoy every adventure ahead of you and the diversity our planet offers
Written February 13, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Singapore, Singapore723 contributions
Jan 2020 • Friends
Fascinating to know that while Teatro Massimo is not as well known, it is the largest theatre in Italy. We didn’t manage to catch a show here as the year-end performances were hugely popular. But we managed to watch the performances broadcast live on a big screen right outside the theatre. We later learned that this practice stems from their belief that theatre is for everyone, not just the elites and they’ve a mission to bring it to the masses, by keeping fees low and by live streaming their performances. Bravo!
Written May 24, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Crowborough, UK992 contributions
Feb 2020 • Couples
We enjoyed the services of a very helpful guide who spoke perfect English. Some you win and this was a fine example of that saying. We were lucky to be there on a day that a performance was to take place in the evening. We thought that this might cramp the occasion but no, the exact opposite. We were allowed to sit for quite a while in the stalls and listen to the orchestra performing on the stage. Then we were taken up to sit in the "Royal Box" and watch some more. All in all, a delightful experience. Magnificent historic building.
Written February 20, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Marie V
Paris, France246 contributions
Jul 2021
We took a guided tour of this magnificent place. 8 euros per person as the backstage tour was not available because of Covid. The tour was in Italian and English. The guide did not show a single smile during the visit ! Impersonal, hasty informations of nearly NO interest. You should not be a guide if you are not interested in the job. You had to be careful to understand as she started in Italian and swapped to English suddenly. We knew the tour was short but we thought the "guided" tour would be more informative. Thank goodness the place is great and there was a rehearsal taking place ...that we had a little more than a minute and a half to enjoy. Too expensive a visit.
Written July 20, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Marlboro, NJ786 contributions
Sep 2021
We got lucky by walking in 5 minutes before a bilingual Italian-English tour was about to start, otherwise we probably would have decided to skip. The building is beautiful, although probably less grand on the inside than some other famous opera houses. The tour itself lasts about 25 minutes and makes 4 stops - foyer, orchestra, the royal box, and finally the "echo room", which is probably the most unusual highlight on account of its weird acoustics. Worth it on balance, could have been less so if we had to wait for the tour.
Written October 7, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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