Social Dinner Location

Circolo Unione – Inside The Petruzzelli’s Theater

Please, pay ATTENTION: Book the social dinner that will be held on 12 November 2018. You will taste 6 typical dishes of the Apulian cuisine, from appetizers to desserts, tasting white, red and dessert wines. The cost, not included in the registration, is 37 euros per person. Only 120 seats are available. If you want to reserve a ticket, please, send an email to with the subject “RESERVATIONS FOR THE SOCIAL DINNER”


The Teatro Petruzzelli is the largest theatre of the city of Bari and the fourth Italian theatre by size.


The birth and the golden age

The history of the Teatro Petruzzelli of Bari begins when Onofrio and Antonio Petruzzelli, traders and ship builders of Trieste, presented the designs for the theatre drawn up by their brother-in-law, the engineer Angelo Bari Cicciomessere (then Messeni) to the city of Bari. The proposal for building the Petruzzelli was accepted and, on 29 January 1896, a contract was signed between the family and the city administration. Two years later, in October 1898, work began and it ended in 1903.


The interior of the theatre was painted by Raffaele Armenise. On completion the Teatro Petruzzelli overtook the Teatro Comunale of Corato as the largest theatre of Apulia. The theatre was inaugurated on Saturday, 14 February 1903 with Meyerbeer’s Les Huguenots.

download (8)

In the 1980s, the theatre hosted two major operatic debuts, that of Iphigénie en Tauride by Niccolò Piccinni which had never been presented after its debut in Paris in 1779, and the Neapolitan version of Bellini’s I Puritani, which was written for Maria Malibran but was never performed by her. Both events contributed to making the city world famous.


In addition to operas, ballets and big concerts were presented. Many great international artists have performed at the Petruzzelli: these include Tito Schipa, Herbert von Karajan, Rudolf Nureyev, Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, Liza Minnelli, Juliette Gréco. Great Italian artists include Eduardo De Filippo, Riccardo Muti, Carla Fracci, Luciano Pavarotti, Piero Cappuccilli and Giorgio Gaber.


The Petruzzelli also hosted important concerts of light music (among others concerts by Paolo Conte and Ornella Vanoni) and it was the headquarters of Azzurro, a musical programme, for almost all of the 1980s. The interior was also used as a location by directors such as Franco Zeffirelli and Alberto Sordi, whose Polvere di stelle was shot there.


The burning and reconstruction

During the night of 26 and 27 October 1991 the theatre was completely destroyed by fire, the result of arson. The last opera presented was Norma.

The Petruzzelli, reconstructed entirely with public money in 2008, was returned to the City of Bari on 7 September 2009 for breach of article 5 of the contract dated 29 January 1896 between the City of Bari and Antonio Onofrio and Petruzzelli. The article stated: “In the event that the building collapses because of an earthquake, fire or for any other cause, the grantee and its successors would have the right to rebuild the Politeama to its original state, provided that the work was undertaken within a year and be completed in three years from the date on which the collapse has occurred, or have a duty to clear the land and leave it free of debris and return it to the City within a year counting from the above term.”