7 things you may not know about the Teatro Massimo
1) It was originally built to be not only an opera house but also a venue for Carnival celebrations and Casinò, but the theatre Halls were never really used for such events.
2) On May 1881, the theatre's architect Giovan Battista Filippo Basile was charged wih fraud. Works were suspended and Basile had to stop working on the theatre. The rest of the work was assigned to Alessandro Antonelli, creator of the world renowned Mole Antonelliana of Torino. But citizens stood by Basile's side so strongly that in 1890 the work was reassigned to him.
3) In spite of many bureaucratic issues and obstacles, construction costs didn't exceed 8,000,000 Lire. According to the papers of that time, Paris and Vienna's theatres were significantly more expensive, around 30,000,000 and 20,000,000 Lire respectively.
4) The construction of the Teatro Massimo was not entirely completed due to lack of fundings. Some details, such as the winged genius that was supposused to be on the porch's tympanum, are missing.
5) On May 16th 1897, during the opening day, 3.000 guests were allowed. Today the safety regulations allow no more then 1.300 people.
6) After its opening, the theatre became the most important employement center after the town Shipyard.
7) Anthony Carcione, Leutenant of the American army, reported that during World War II, pilots and bombardiers were ordered not to target the Cardinal's palace, the Cathedral and the Teatro Massimo.