La Scala Opera House

    Milan’s world-famous opera house Teatro alla Scala is an unmissable experience, and it is part of our Major City Sights walking tour in Milan.
    We advise all visitors to Milan to try to book tickets for a performance well in advance of your arrival. A concert or an opera in this famous opera house in Milan will be a memorable part of your time in Milan. If you are unable to reserve tickets, a visit with A Friend in Milan to the La Scala Museum – Museo Teatrale alla Scala – may include a glimpse into the theatre.

    Book a Major City Sights walking tour that includes Teatro alla Scala

    scala milan walking tour La Scala in Milan was built from 1776 after the previous opera house, at the Royal Palace, was destroyed by fire.

    To make room for the new theatre, the church Santa Maria della Scala, was demolished, but it is recalled by the name of the opera house. “Scala” means ladder, as can be seen on the coat of arms of the Della Scala family, originally from Verona. Beatrice Regina della Scala, a member of this powerful Veronese family, married Bernabò Visconti, Duke of Milan, in 1345, and commissioned the church that celebrated her family name.

    The La Scala opera house, Milan, was designed by Giuseppe Piermarini, and its Neoclassical façade became a prototype for many other opera houses. More importantly, the interior was very beautiful, and provided excellent acoustics. La Scala was financed by the sale of boxes to Milan’s aristocratic families, which could furnish their private box as they wished. For decades, the opera house was more of a social venue than a cultural temple, with gambling in the foyer, and trading on the main floor.
    teatro alla scala milan walking tour
    teatro alla scala milan walking tour The opera house was damaged by Allied air-raids in 1943, and subsequently restored and reopened in 1946. La Scala underwent another major renovation from 2002 to 2004, in a design by Mario Botta. This completely revised the technical parts of the building, and improved acoustics even more.
    La Scala Museum
    The opera house is celebrated by La Scala museum, Museo Teatrale alla Scala, which has many exhibits regarding performances, performers, musicians and composers. The many premieres that have been staged here include operas by Salieri, Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti, Verdi, Puccini and Stockhausen.
    teatro alla scala milan la scala museum walking tour
    teatro alla scala milan la scala museum walking tour teatro alla scala milan la scala museum walking tour

    Why is Leonardo da Vinci outside Teatro alla Scala?

    The idea for a monument to Leonardo da Vinci, who worked in Milan from 1482 to 1500, began in 1834, but it finally saw the light only much later, sculpted by Pietro Magni and inaugurated in 1872. In this Leonardo da Vinci sculpture, he is shown together with four of his apprentices, Boltraffio, Marco d’Oggiono, Cesare da Sesto, and Gian Giacomo Caprotti known as Salaino. Bas-reliefs on the octagonal base show Leonardo’s multiple talents, as a painter, sculptor, architect and engineer.