Teatro Petruzzelli is the largest theater in Bari and the fourth largest in Italy. Owned until the fire of 1991 by the Messeni Nemagna family, the theater is currently being disputed between the City of Bari and the previous owners.
In 1896, the traders and ship builders Onofrio and Antonio Petruzzelli, originating from Trieste, presented to the Municipality of Bari the project of a new theater by the architect Angelo Cicciomessere, husband of their sister, Maria. Their proposal was accepted and, two years later, in 1898, the work began, financed exclusively by the Petruzzelli family.
The theater was frescoed by Raffaele Armenise and decorated in pure gold. Also, the theater was equipped with heating and electric light, and it had a capacity of 2,192 seats.
The works were completed in 1903, and the theater was inaugurated on February 14, 1903, with Les Huguenots by the German opera composer Giacomo Meyerbeer.
In addition to operas and ballets, important concerts were held at the Petruzzelli Theater. Over time, many great artists performed on its stage: Herbert von Karajan, Rudolf Nureyev, Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, Liza Minnelli and Luciano Pavarotti.
On the night of October 27, 1991, the theater was devastated by a violent fire and only the collapse of the dome, which extinguished the flames, prevented its total destruction.
The first reconstruction works were carried out between 1993 and 1998. In 2005, the foyer and its decorative apparatus were recovered, and the foundations were consolidated.
The rebuilding of the theater was completed in 2008, with public money. The Petruzzelli Theater officially reopened on Sunday, October 4, 2009, almost 18 years after the fire.
HOW TO GET THERE
The Petruzzelli Theater is located on Corso Cavour, about 850 meters away from the Bari Centrale train station. The closest bus station is Corso Cavour, located about 80 meters away, on the bus Lines 2, 2/, 4, 10, 14 and 35.