The Teatro alla Scala was built on the ashes of the Ducal Theater in 1776 by the will of the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, and owes its name to the place on which it was built, the site of the church of Santa Maria alla Scala.
Inaugurated in 1778, on Boxing Day night, on the occasion of the very crowded premiere of Ponchielli’s Mona Lisa: given the importance of the event, 2,450 electric bulbs were lit, giving a new atmosphere to the performance, and making La Scala the first illuminated theater with electricity.
Another curiosity linked to the famous theater is about its boxes, which belonged to individual families, who were free to decorate them as they pleased. So, depending on the splendour it was possible to recognise the rank of the family that owned it. Only the curtains had to be of strictly uniform color and, behind these, there was someone preparing the coffee or something else to eat.
Also, in the past, the 700 chairs intended for the lower classes, and present in the stalls, could be moved freely, so as to allow the actors to dance in the area, and even ride a horse.
Today, the main entrance to the theater is in Piazza della Scala, but spectators with a gallery ticket enter from the entrance of the Theater Museum in Largo Ghiringhelli.
The visit to the Teatro alla Scala is divided into these tours:
Museum, which includes a panoramic visit of the Theater Hall from the panoramic point of the third order boxes, the entrance foyer, the royal box, the historic boxes, the “behind the scenes”, to discover the mechanism of the stage. The visit lasts about 45 minutes.
Scala Ansaldo laboratories are the magical place where the scenography of the shows comes to life. The route crosses the Benois Pavilion and the Caramba Pavilion, where it is also possible to visit the Costume Warehouse. The duration of the visit varies from 60 to 75 minutes.
La Scala and its secrets is a personalised and reserved itinerary, which allows you to visit historic boxes, royal box, entrance foyer, stalls, stage mechanism, prompter’s box, stage tower, gallery, gallery foyer, view of the hall from inside the chandelier. The visit lasts 90 minutes.
- If you are a fan of the Opera, choose the classic tour, as it is certainly more fascinating. If you are on a tight budget and are particularly keen on it, opt for the audio-guided tour, which is cheaper but still interesting.
- Events for children and families:
the Museum organises three different types of workshops dedicated to children. Each workshop also includes a visit to the Theater Museum and the Theatre. For more information, check the Children’s Workshops page
- Pay attention to the restrictions: it is possible to take photos but without flash, it is not possible to enter with food or bottles of water, pets are not allowed
- The program of visits is subject to variations: we therefore recommend that you always check the official website of the theatre before going to the box offices.
- Unless the itinerary reserved for children has been booked, it is not recommended to take them with you on other guided tours