La Scala

Price guide: Budget

Largo Ghiringhelli 1, Piazza Scala, Milan, 20121

Price guide: Budget

Auditorium, La Scala, Milan
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#4 of 20
expert-rated things to do in Milan
Expert overall rating:4.9 out of 5
Value for money:
Recommended for:
Business travellers, Couples, Culture vultures, Mature travellers, Seasoned travellers, Art, Design and architecture, Nightlife, Romance, Special occasions

Best for Culture - Expert review of La Scala

Scale the operatic heights.

There’s said to be a ghostly soprano backstage at La Scala, though pundits can’t agree whether it is Maria Callas, for whom this was ‘home’, or another 19th-century Maria. Either way, since the opera house was inaugurated in 1778 with a performance of Salieri’s less than memorable opera L'Europa Riconosciuta, this has been one of the finest opera houses in the world. Founded by Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, and designed by architect Giuseppe Piermarini, luminaries such as Verdi and Puccini premiered works including Nabucco and Turandot here.

Even if you can’t manage to get to a performance, visit the fascinating theatre museum, which showcases a tiny proportion of the theatre’s treasures, from Verdi’s piano to a room dedicated to the Comedia dell’Arte (Harlequin and Pierrot) and even old board games played by the in-crowd during the intervals. The tour includes a peek into the fabulously grand scarlet and gold auditorium if there is no performance on.

The theatre archives include 24,000 drawings and paintings by artists from Picasso to Chagall and Hockney, along with around one million photographs, 17,000 posters and 5,000 operatic recordings of singers and conductors including Callas, Pavarroti, Toscanini and von Karajan. Everything is being digitised and made accessible.

Price advice: 

A museum ticket costs five euros; opera performance tickets range from 10-190 euros.

Expert tips: 
If you do want to include the opera on a trip to the city, plan your trip around your tickets - go online, get your seats and then book your flights.
Il Marchesina does pre- and post-theatre meals for a night out on the town.

More information on La Scala:

Price guide:
Historic site, Museum, Theatre / opera house / concert hall
Largo Ghiringhelli 1, Piazza Scala, Milan, 20121
02 8879 2473/7473
Months open:
All year round
Opening times:
Museum open Mon-Sun 9am–12.30pm, 1.30pm–5.30pm (last entrance 30 mins earlier); closed 7 Dec, 24 Dec afternoon, 25 and 26 Dec, 31 Dec afternoon, 1 Jan, Easter Sun, 1 May, 15 Aug.

Have you been to La Scala? Would you recommended it?