Tips for Attending the Italian Theater

theaterThe Italian theater is revered, and many who travel to Italy wish to attend a production while they are there. Opera, symphony and other forms of artistic entertainment go year round in many of Italy’s larger cities, but the hardest part of attending a show is finding tickets to one. Tickets to many of the country’s most popular productions might be sold out well ahead of time or no longer be on sale during the time you’ll be visiting. However, the best way to find tickets in many cases is simply to fight for them.

Before leaving home, do as much searching online as possible to see if you can nail down information about what shows are performing where. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to secure tickets ahead of time online, but you might luck into something on La Scala and the Arena in Verona for example. Try websites for major theaters in the cities where you’ll be staying to see if any information or tickets are available.

When you arrive in Italy, look for weekly publications in the airport, train stations and hotels. The English language weekly planner will tell you what is happening that week and let you make some last minute plans to attend one or more events. This is likely the most updated and relevant information you can find about the theater in any city, including free shows in the summer.

Armed with your copy of This Week in Rome or Florence Today, visit with the hotel concierge to see if tickets are available to productions you’re interested in seeing. Having the hotel concierge call ahead to secure you tickets is one option, or you can gamble on available tickets and walk to the theater box office on your own. Be warned that in some cases, your long wait might be for nothing if the right tickets aren’t available. But then you might luck into another show that is just as interesting that you learned about only because you were in the right place at the right time.

Should you not be able to secure tickets to the show of your choice, you can still enjoy the extensive summer programs that are almost always held outside and usually completely improvised. Improvisation is a major part of the Italian art scene and over the summer virtually every town and city has outdoor programs ranging from famous classical and operatic performances to rock concerts. It’s all in the spirit of the arts, after all.