Located in the heart of the city along Corso Cavour, it is the largest cultural container of Bari and the fourth largest theater in Italy with 1482 seats. The history of the theater began when Onofrio and Antonio Petruzzelli, traders and ship-owners originally from Trieste, presented the design of the theater of their brother-in-law, the engineer Angelo Cicciomessere (later Messeni) at the municipal seat of Bari. Two years later, in 1898, the construction work began and it was completed in 1903. The theater was inaugurated in that year with the masterpiece of Meyerbeer, “Gli Ugonotti”.
Internally, it is composed of a horseshoe-shaped hall with two tiers of complete boxes and two ones at each side, a central gallery and the gods. The theater was frescoed by Raffaele Armenise. In the night between 26 and 27 October 1991 it was completely destroyed by arson. The last opera performance was “Norma”.
Reconstructed entirely with public money in 2008, it was returned to the Municipality of Bari and officially reopened October 4th, 2009, nearly 18 years after the fire.