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La Scala

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The Teatro alla Scala, often just called La Scala, is one of the most famous opera houses in the world. It was opened as early as 1778, and operas such as Verdi's Nabucco, Otello and Puccini's Turandot had their premieres here. More about the long and interesting history of the house can be learned during a visit to the in-house museum or a tour behind the scenes of the theatre.
Miriam DewamBy Miriam Dewam
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Guided Tours

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Milan: La Scala Theatre and Museum Guided Tour
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Milan: La Scala Museum and Theater Tour
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Da Vinci's Last Supper & Milan Sightseeing Tour
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Milan: La Scala Theater and Museum Tour with Entry Tickets
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4 tips for visiting the La Scala

The Teatro alla Scala | Unsplash: Martin Anselmo - CC BY 2.0
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Book your ticket onlineDue to the high demand and the ongoing schedules in the opera Teatro alla Scala, it is recommended to book tickets online in advance to guarantee admission for a tour of this house.
A view from the box | Flickr: George M. Groutas - CC BY 2.0
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Included AdmissionThe visit to the La Scala Museum and Theater is included in the Milan City Pass, which is valid for 48 hours. You also have the option to include the free use of local transport and/or Hop-On/Hop-Off buses. With the City Pass, you can also visit the Milan Cathedral, the interactive Leonardo3 Museum – The World of Leonardo or the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana.
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Learn more on a tour of the opera houseOn a guided tour, you can learn more about Milan's rich music history. The museum of the theater is the perfect starting point: here you can expect a comprehensive collection of costumes, instruments, and paintings, which tell fascinating stories about former composers and musicians like Giuseppe Verdi, Gioachino Rossini, Luciano Pavarotti, and Maria Callas. At the end of the tour, you can take a seat in one of the boxes and admire the stage from a bird's eye view. Tours usually also include a Skip-the-Line-Ticket, which saves you from queuing at the box office.
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An exclusive look behind the scenesHave you ever wanted to take a look behind the scenes at La Scala? Then this tour is just right for you! You will get an exclusive insight into the Laboratori Ansaldo (Ansaldo workshops), the place where the costumes and stage sets of the Teatro alla Scala are created. You will also pass the Pavilion Benois and Pavilion Caramba, where the costume warehouse is located. This tour must be booked at least two days in advance and can only be done for a group of a minimum of four people. The one-hour tour takes place at 10:30 am in French, 1:00 pm in Italian or French and 4:00 pm in English.
A look at the stage | Photo: Flickr, George M. Groutas - CC-BY-SA 2.0

The theater in the former capital of Lombardy

The Teatro alla Scala is one of the most famous opera houses in the world and has had a museum since 1912, where significant pieces from the theater and music world are exhibited. The theater's season always starts on December 7th in honor of Saint Ambrosius. For centuries, classical music, ballet, and operas have been performed here, including, among others, premieres by composers such as Verdi and Puccini.

Creation of the new theater

When the Teatro Regio Ducale, which was predominantly constructed of wood, burned down for unexplained reasons on February 25th, 1776, the architect Giuseppe Piermarini was commissioned by Empress Maria Theresia of Austria to build a new theater. Piermarini relied on high functionality, using the most modern technical devices of the time. The old church Santa Maria della Scala was to give way to the new theater Teatro alla Scala, which was built between 1776 and 1778.

Theater nights at the time

In the past, it was customary to meet in the theater around 6:00 pm to spend the evening together with food and games. Each box had a back room where the food was prepared. Only at a later hour did the theater performances begin, which were considered secondary; dancing could even take place on the parquet floor below.

Tragic air raid

After the theater was severely damaged in air raids by the Royal Air Force on the night of August 15-16, 1943 during World War II, reconstruction followed. However, the orchestra was not deterred by the setback and even held concerts amid the rubble, with the audience sitting on regular chairs. On May 11, 1946, La Scala was reopened with an unforgettable concert under the conductor Arturo Toscanini. The architect Mario Botta directed extensive, faithful restoration and modernization work between 2002 and 2004. To improve the acoustics and stage technology, the entire rear part of the theater was demolished. The theater was also re-seated and the boxes were clothed in red damask.
The entrance to the Museo Teatrale alla Scala | Photo: Flickr, Samantha Gass - CC-BY-SA 2.0

The Museum

The well-known building of the Museo Teatrale alla Scala dates back to 1831 and was designed by Giacomo Tazzini, replacing the Casino dei Nobili. In 1910, the most important Milanese personalities, including the artist Lodovico Pogliaghi and composer Arrigo Boito, met to plan the opening of a museum. Two years later, the museum was officially opened with the exhibition of the collection of Giulio Sambon. The Biblioteca Livia Simoni, founded in 1952, is located on the second floor of the museum.
In the Museo Teatrale alla Scala museum | Photo: Flickr, George M. Groutas - CC-BY-SA 2.0

Delicate undertaking

The antiquarian Giulio Nino -Jules- Sambon auctioned off his valuable theatre collection pieces in 1911, which would have been of great importance for the future museum. The collection was to be offered for 450,000 lire. The Italian state and a citizens' initiative of 50 people would have had to raise this sum first. It quickly became known that influential businessman J.P. Morgan was interested in the lot and would sell directly to Sambon. However, due to the reputation of the Teatro alla Scala, the Milanese were able to dissuade the entrepreneur from buying, allowing them to win the auction for the collection.

The Collection

The highly adorned halls of the Museo Teatrale alla Scala display, among other things, the private collection of Sambon, thus providing a deep insight into the world of music and theater. Among other things, stage sets, costumes, and paintings of musicians and actors are exhibited. Among the most famous works of the collection is the scenery “The Island” by Maiolino Bisaccioni, which was printed in Venice in 1648. There are also bronze busts of Richard Wagner and Giuseppe Verdi in the exhibition. Furthermore, some musical instruments, such as a rectangular spinet, are on display.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Teatro alla Scala barrier-free accessible?

The theater is completely accessible for people with disabilities. Read more.

Is there any parking available?

While the theater itself does not have its own parking facilities, nearby options include Matteotti Parking, Diaz Car Park, and Senato Parking. Read more.

Can you carry bags and backpacks during the visit?

For security reasons, large items of luggage such as bags and backpacks cannot be taken into the museum and theater and must be left in the cloakroom. Read more.

Are audio guides available?

La Scala offers an online audio guide that can be downloaded for free. The audio guide is available in Arabic, German, English, Spanish, French, Italian, Japanese, and Russian. Read more.

Are dogs allowed in the theatre?

No, no animals are allowed in the building. An exception is only made for certified assistance dogs. Read more.

Is it allowed to take photos and videos on the premises?

For personal purposes, videos and photos can be taken during the visit. Please note that the use of flash is not allowed in any of the premises. Read more.

General information

opening hours

The Teatro alla Scala and the Museo Teatrale alla Scala are open daily from 9:30 am till 5:30 pm. The last admission is 30 minutes before closing. On December 7th, 25th and 26th, January 1st, Easter holidays, May 1st and August 15th, the museum and theater are closed. On December 24th and 31st, the attraction is only open until 3:00 pm.

address

Teatro alla Scala
Via Filodrammatici 2
20121 Milan

tickets

On site, admission tickets can be purchased for a price of 12 € per person. Children under 13 years old, holders of a disability card and their accompanying person have free admission. A reduced ticket can be purchased on site for 8 € by students 13 years and older, seniors 65 years and older, and visitors to the Gallerie d'Italia or the Amici di Brera. Please note, appropriate proof must be provided.

how to get there

The theater is served by the tram line 1 through the Teatro alla Scala stop and is only a short walk from the nearest metro stop, Cordusio. Here, the metro line 1, the trams 16 and 19, as well as the bus of the line NM1 stop.
Miriam Dewam
Written byMiriam DewamMiriam is keen on traveling and has a passion for photography, which she can enhance through her cross-media studies. She uses her knowledge as well as first hand experience from diverse travels to help other travellers as a content creator at TicketLens.
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