It was 1737 when Charles III decided to build the San Carlo theatre, the most ancient opera house in Europe, which was also praised by eminent artists such as Mozart, Bach, Stendhal and Rousseau. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 1816 a fire destroyed it and the king Ferdinand I decided the architect Antonio Niccolini would be in charge of its restoration. The San Carlo theatre experienced its ‘golden age’ during the 19th century, thanks to the director Domenico Barbaja, one of the most important entrepreneurs in Italy and Europe. The seasons directed by Rossini and Donizetti date back to the same period. As time passed by, other international characters left their footprint on the San Carlo stage, such as Niccolò Paganini, Saverio Mercadante, Giuseppe Verdi, among others.
The theatre can host up to three thousand spectators distributed among five rows of U-shaped galleries, a balcony and a royal dais. The stage is 35 meters long. If you wish to get further information, visit the MEMUS, the historical museum and archive of the San Carlo theatre. It was inaugurated in 2011 and is located inside the Royal Palace. During your visit, you will also find a 3D virtual gallery, a bookshop, a room for events and an information centre about the history of the theatre.