Visit the San Carlo Theatre in Naples: tickets, prices, opening hours

Visiter le théâtre San Carlo à Naples

Fancy spending your next vacation in southern Italy? A visit to the San Carlo Theatre in Naples is a must if you want to take in the sights, so follow the guide!

The San Carlo Theater in Naples is a magnificent architectural masterpiece that’s a must-see when visiting the Campania region of southwestern Italy. It is the oldest opera house still in operation and one of the most prestigious in Europe. Built in 1737, it has been home to the most famous opera singers ever since, and numerous performances take place on a regular basis. While impressive from the outside, the interior is even more sumptuous, with its red and gold velvet decor. Guided tours of the San Carlo Theatre are organized daily.

Whether you’re a theater lover or just a tourist in Naples, this monument is a must-see. With tickets, prices and opening times, we tell you everything you need to know about this building steeped in history.

History of the San Carlo Theatre

Histoire du Théâtre San Carlo à Naples

Photo Credit: Shutterstock / Isogood_patrick

The San Carlo Theatre was built in 1737 at the request of King Charles Bourbon III, who wanted to make Naples a city of power. At the time, the main theater was the Teatro San Bartolomeo (now converted into a church), which soon gave way to the one we all know today. Under the direction of the director of this former theater and Spanish architect Giovanni Antonio Medrano, San Carlo was built in just eight months. The inauguration took place on November 4, 1737.

The first performance wasPietro Metastasio’s operaAchille in Sciro. Over the years, several major renovation projects were carried out. First, for the wedding of the King of Naples in 1767, then for the restructuring of the neoclassical façade in 1809 by Antonio Niccolini. But on February 13, 1816, a fire destroyed much of the building. The same architect took charge of the reconstruction. Nine months later, the monument seems to have retained all its authenticity, with the addition of a royal lodge. Today, the historic monument is a Unesco World Heritage Site.

The main hall has six tiers of boxes and can accommodate 1,300 people in a horseshoe arrangement. Numerous events take place throughout the year: plays, dance ballets, song recitals, as well as exhibitions, conferences and private receptions.

What to see and do at the San Carlo Theatre in Naples

Que faire et voir au Théâtre San Carlo à Naples ?

Photo Credit: Instagram – saragison

The historic hall

This is the main room, where every performance has been staged for 300 years. The decor is simply sumptuous, with its red and gold colors making this horseshoe-shaped room a warm and luxurious place to be. The ceiling features a magnificent fresco by Giuseppe Cammarano. It depicts Apollo presenting the most famous poets to Athena. The auditorium has six tiers of boxes, with a seating capacity of 1,300. Spectators in the Royal box have the privilege of the best position, facing the stage.

The Hall of Mirrors

This modern hall, also known as the Foyer or Salone degli Specchi, is reserved for major events and receptions. Ideal for weddings, it also regularly welcomes the general public for dinners, conferences and solidarity days. It has a capacity of 300 seated and 700 standing. Why is it called the Galerie des Glaces? Quite simply, because the walls are lined with mirrors. Just look out of the window and you can see the gardens of the Royal Palace in Naples.

Scaturchio opera house

To really get to know the San Carlo Theatre, you need to take the time to immerse yourself in the place. The best way to do this is to dine at the Scaturchio opera café, located in the entrance hall. The San Carlo Theatre and the Scaturchio Neapolitan patisserie open the doors to this elegant lounge, open daily from 8am to 9pm. Before or after your visit, a cup of coffee, an aperitif or lunch will do you a world of good.

The MEMUS

The Museum of Memory and Music, which opened in 2011, is well worth a visit if you want to find out more about the history of Naples’ San Carlo theater. It brings together all the historical archives in an area of 300 square meters. There are exhibitions, a 3D virtual gallery, a bookshop and a meeting room. If you’re interested, you can also consult a whole host of documents and multimedia testimonials.

How to get to the San Carlo Theatre in Naples

The exact address of the San Carlo Theatre is: via San Carlo, 98 / F, 80132 Naples. It’s in the San Ferdinando district, close to the Piazza de Plescito and the Royal Palace.

From France

Naples’ international airport, Cadopichino, serves southern Italy. It is located seven kilometers northeast of the city. From Paris, the flight takes 2 hours 15 minutes. At certain times of the year, airfares can be really attractive, so it’s best to compare them on Ulysse, the essential tool for booking your ticket at the best price.

Once there, there are several options for getting to the center of Naples, and then to the Opera House.

  • By shuttle

It runs regularly and drops tourists off at various points in the city, including their accommodation. There’s also an Alibus airport shuttle that runs to strategic points for public transport.

  • By car

Renting a car gives you autonomy, and is especially useful if you want to explore the surrounding area. However, traffic in Naples is heavy. If you opt for a cab, be sure to ask for one and negotiate the price before the journey.

From Naples

By public transport, here’s the nearest stop to the theater:

  • Bus: R2 (from Central Station), San Carlo stop or R3 (from Mergellina Station), Piazza Municipio stop
  • Metro: line 1, Toledo stop
  • Funicular: Central, Augusto stop

San Carlo Theatre opening times and prices

Horaires et tarifs du Théâtre San Carlo à Naples

Photo credit: Shutterstock / MZeta

There are two ways to visit the San Carlo Theatre. Either attend a performance, or take the 45-minute guided tour.

Of course, the first option is certainly the best if you really want to soak up the atmosphere. As you’ll see, Neapolitans are dynamic spectators.

If opera and theater aren’t your cup of tea, the guided tour should satisfy you.

SCHEDULES

Theater

The theater is open daily from 10am to 5:15pm, with last admission at 4:30pm.

Guided tours

Tours must be accompanied by a guide in French, English or Italian, depending on the schedule:

  • French: one visit per week, Saturday at 5 p.m.
  • English: 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.
  • Italian: 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Please note: Allow around 45 minutes for the tour. Reservations are recommended. A visit to the MeMUS theater’s multimedia museum is also possible.

RATES

Guided tour

  • Adults: €9
  • Under 30 and over 60: €7

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Is there a dress code?

You don’t have to wear a fancy dress or suit. The most important thing is to feel comfortable, and to dress appropriately.

Is there disabled access?

Yes, entrance is via Piazza Trieste e Trento. There are ramps and elevators specially designed for wheelchairs. People with a 100% disability are admitted free of charge. In this case, the accompanying person must purchase a ticket at the normal rate.