Any visit to Palermo in Sicily will benefit from taking in the city’s opera house, the Teatro Massimo Vittorio Emanuele. Built in the Neoclassical style in the late 19th century in an effort to raise the status of the Sicilian capital in the then newly-unified Italy, it is the largest opera house in the country and one of the most impressive.
Film fans in particular are likely to enjoy seeing the building, which is the location for the final scenes of ‘The Godfather III’. It is the setting for the movie trilogy’s climax when Michael Corleone, played by Al Pacino, witnesses the shooting of his daughter Mary, played by Sofia Coppola, on the grand entrance staircase during a bungled assassination attempt on the mafia boss.
The florid colours and columns of the grandiose exterior are intended to remind viewers of the island’s glorious past by mimicking the ancient Greek architecture of the temples at Agrigento and Selinunte. The interior was refurbished in 1997 and glitters with chandeliers and gleaming marble busts. The horseshoe-shaped auditorium’s gilt balconies and intricate paintings on the seven tiers of boxes reek of grandeur. Going to a performance is worth it just to get dressed up and enjoy the glitzy atmosphere.
It is also possible to take a guided tour of the theatre for €8. Tours run from 9.30am to 5pm Tuesday to Sunday. A tour lasts about 25 minutes and is available in Italian, English, Spanish and French.
Where: Teatro Massimo Vittorio Emanuele, Piazza Verdi, Palermo, Sicily