Teatro La Fenice
If you’re a fan of theatre shows and operas, pay a visit to the Gran Teatro La Fenice in Venice, Italy. Arguably the most famous Italian theatre, the likes of Bellini, Rossini and Donizetti have all staged memorable operas at the Teatro La Fenice. With shows selling out fast, it’s worth checking the year-round schedule before you visit to make sure you get the tickets you want and don’t miss out. Whether you’re into classical opera performances, orchestral concerts or ballet, you can find various shows hitting the stage throughout the year.
Since the show schedule is constantly changing, it’s almost impossible to predict what will be showing during your visit. One day, you might get to see a world-class edition of Black Swan; the next, you could catch a classical orchestra show that’ll leave you awestruck. Opera season runs from January to July and picks back up again from September to October. Even if you aren’t a fan of the opera, you can still explore the theatre with a guided tour. It’s worth a visit since its one of Venice’s top landmarks and is steeped in rich history and Italian culture.
A burning past
Knowing a little about the history of the theatre goes a long way and helps you appreciate the landmark even more. The Gran Teatro La Fenice was re-built in 1792 and has an interesting past, to say the least. Tragedy struck the original building back in 1774 when a raging fire consumed three of its main theatres. It took time to rebuild, but the theatre eventually re-opened in 1792. However, luck was never on its side as another fire ran rapidly through the building in 1836, and again in 1996. After multiple rebuilds and a lot of hard work, the Teatro La Fenice is still standing today. Thankfully, it hasn’t had a fire in over two decades.
The theatre today
It took around 650 days to rebuild the theatre, in all its glory, since the 1996 fire. It cost €90 million and was based on a design by Also Rossi. On its open day in 2003, an inaugural concert was held and featured Wagner, Stravinsky and Beethoven. If you’re sitting in the theatre and look up, you’ll see an optical illusion of a vaulted ceiling, which took many man-hours to perfect. Decorative details fill the theatre and include young maidens with various musical instruments, smiling cherubs, classical poets and more. Adding to the glamour of the Gran Teatro La Fenice are its glitzy chandeliers, which dip from the ceiling and glisten with elegance.
The best seats in the house belong to whoever is lucky enough to sit in the Royal Box. Velvet red curtains hang down from the top frame of the box, which is surrounded in lavish gold décor. Guests enter the box from their own private entrance and are able watch the performance with an unobstructed view.
Exploring the Gran Teatro La Fenice
There are many ways to reach the Teatro La Fenice. You can hop on a public boat from Tronchetto or head over to the Santa Lucia train station. From there, take line 1 to Rialto Bridge or line 2 to St Mark. If you’d rather take the boat service, keep an eye out for the orange line or the blue line as both will take you pretty close to the theatre. When you arrive, take the main entrance. If you already have tickets, you won’t have to wait as long in the ticket queue, but if you didn’t manage to get tickets before arriving, you can purchase them at the entrance. After the show, stop by the theatre bookshop or souvenir store. Here, you can shop for a few mementos before leaving. The theatre is open from 9:30 to 18:00, but it’s worth double checking the times in case there have been any changes for whatever reason.
If you like, you can take a solo audio guide tour of the theatre, or you can join a 45 minute guided tour and have the history relayed to you from your tour guide. Learn about the rich history and discover more about the people who performed on stage throughout the years. You’ll also be given access to stroll around the theatre and check out everything from the 19th century style foyer to the auditorium. Depending on your tour, you may also get a chance to visit the Royal Box and see the stage from the best seats in the house.