Tips for Going to the Opera in Italy

September 29, 2022

If you do decide to go to an opera in Italy, here are some helpful tips to maximize your experience.

Some people view opera as boring or pretentious, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Opera showcases amazing musical talent and gripping stories that explore powerful emotions, so absolutely anyone can be enthralled by these fantastic shows.

Travel tips when attending an opera in Italy
Photo by Alexandro D'Elia

Tips for Going to the Opera in Italy

    Italy is the birthplace of opera, so you’re bound to find the greatest shows there. Some opera theatres like the Verona Arena have been in use since the days of the Roman Empire, which means you can really absorb the culture and atmosphere at these performances. If you’re thinking of going to the opera in Italy, here are some tips to help you if you’ve never been before.

    Book tickets in advance

    First of all, as with any other show, you’ll have to book tickets if you want to go to the opera. However, you shouldn’t wait until the last minute to get this done. Opera shows, and particularly the most famous operas like Carmen, La Bohème and Tosca, are always incredibly popular, so they might be sold out if you try to buy tickets closer to the date. 

    Instead, you should try to plan out your trip to Italy in advance and figure out if there are any operas you’d like to see. Then, you can buy your tickets for an opera in Rome or wherever you’re staying before you leave so you know you won’t miss out.

    Learn some Italian

    Many operas are performed in languages other than English, and if you’re going to the opera in Italy, there’s a strong chance that you’ll be watching an Italian opera. This doesn’t mean you’ll have to understand Italian as operas provide subtitles nowadays, but it could elevate your experience if you try to learn a little bit of Italian. This will be useful for the rest of your trip too!

    Dress up

    Going to the opera often means dressing up a bit to suit the occasion, but don’t worry about putting on a ball gown or tuxedo. Many people worry about what to wear to the opera, but just wearing some smarter evening clothes should be absolutely fine. Of course, if you enjoy dressing up, then this is the perfect opportunity to wear those posh dresses or suits you don’t get to show off enough!

    Eat beforehand

    Operas are usually rather long, so you’ll be sitting down for at least a couple of hours during the performance. Getting up in the middle of an emotional song to go to the toilet or grab a snack obviously isn’t ideal, so it’s important that you eat and have a bathroom break before the opera starts. During the show, you’ll usually have an intermission at the halfway point, so you can have another toilet break and grab a snack then if needed.


    Finally, make sure you applaud the performers enthusiastically to show your appreciation. There will be lots of clapping at various points throughout the performance, so if you’re not sure when to clap, just join in with everyone else. If you hear applause but can’t see anyone on stage, this probably means that the conductor is walking to their stand, so make sure you applaud them too.

    Going to the opera can be a magical experience, especially if you’re going to the opera in Italy. Follow the tips listed above if you’re going to the opera for the first time.

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