Massimo Bellini Opera House (Teatro Massimo Bellini)
Named for the 19th-century Catania-born composer Vincenzo Bellini, Teatro Massimo Bellini opened its doors in 1890 with a performance of the maestro’s masterpiece, Norma. Today, Bellini’s works feature largely among the theater’s annual roster of operas, concerts, and performances held in the 1,200-seat theater created by architect Carlo Sada. To see the theater’s stuccoed “Ridotto” foyer, plush red velvet auditorium, and ceiling murals painted by Ernesto Bellandi depicting scenes from Bellini’s most popular operas, purchase tickets to a performance or join a walking tour of Catania’s historic center that includes a visit of the Teatro Massimo along with other city highlights like the UNESCO-listed baroque Piazza Duomo and Via Crociferi.
Things to know before you go
- Walking tours of Catania’s historic center require a significant amount of time outdoors, so wear sunscreen, a hat, and comfortable shoes.
- If visiting the theater for an evening concert or opera, choose elegant attire; daytime tours require informal dress.
- The theater is accessible to wheelchair users.
- Photography buffs should visit the theater during a daytime tour, as photography is not permitted during performances.
How to get there
Teatro Massimo Bellini is located just off the square of the same name on Via Giuseppe Perrotta in the historic center, a short walk from the Catania Centrale train station and most major attractions.
When to get there
If you love opera and classical music, by far the best time to visit is during one of the scheduled performances most evenings during the season from September through May. If visiting during the summer months when there are no scheduled performances, you can join a walking tour of the city that includes a stop at the theater during daytime hours.
Catania’s Sicilian Baroque Highlights
Much of Catania’s historic center has been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site for its ornate 18th-century baroque architecture, which the 19th-century facade of the Teatro Massimo Bellini imitates to match the surrounding palaces. Excellent examples include Piazza Duomo—including Palazzo degli Elefanti, Cathedral di Sant’Agata, and the Fontana dell’Elefante—and much of Via Crociferi, notably the Church of St. Francesco Borgia, the Jesuit College, the Church of San Giuliano, and Villa Cerami.
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- Piazza Duomo
- Via Crociferi (Via dei Crociferi)
- San Benedetto Church (Chiesa San Benedetto)
- Catania Archaeological Park (Parco Archeologico Greco-Romano di Catania)
- Benedictine Monastery of San Nicolò l'Arena (Monastero Benedettini di San Nicolò l'Arena)
- Villa Bellini
- Ursino Castle (Castello di Ursino)
- Via Etnea
- Gambino Winery (Vini Gambino)