Naples is often defined as a theatre in the open air since every corner of this city as well as its inhabitants show an incredible theatricality.
Among the art traditions of Naples the theatre is surely one of the most ancient and renowned, loved and appreciated by Neapolitan people. Apart from the remains of the ancient Roman theatre in the historical center where according to the legend emperor Nerone sang, there are a lot of more recent theatres still in use. Famous artists have contributed to make the Neapolitan theatre famous all over the world as the unforgettable author and actor Eduardo De Filippo. He wrote his plays in the Neapolitan dialect now regarded as a real language and belonging to the Unesco heritage. De Filippo mostly performed them in the San Ferdinando theatre that he had founded. He defined the universal language of the theatre as “The desperate effort of a man to give a meaning to his life”.
The most famous Neapolitan theatre is the San Carlo theatre, the oldest opera house in Europe. Considered as one of the most beautiful theatres in the word it has also been declared a Unesco heritage site. It derives its name from king Carlo of Borbone who wanted it built in 1737 and is one of the largest in Europe.
Another important theatre is the Mercadante theatre built in 1667 with a capacity of about 500 seats. Great musicians and composers as Rossini, Mozart, Donizetti and famous actors of comedies and tragedies have performed there.
Also very important is the Bellini theatre with its 1200 seats and boasting a façade sumptuously decorated. It hosted circus shows in the past while nowadays prose plays are performed there.
Always in the center of the city is the Augusteo theatre very loved by the Neapolitan middle class for its performances of musicals and comedies.
Very similar for the choice of works is the Diana theatre in the center of the Vomero district. But these are only few of the several Neapolitan theatres that testify the love of this city for this fascinating and always up-to-date form of art.