Opera in Rome, Outdoors, at the Ancient Baths of Caracalla (Updated for 2013)

Baths of Caracalla at nightThere's nothing like seeing opera in Rome… especially when it's outdoors, backdropped by the ancient Baths of Caracalla.

Once again this summer, Rome's 3rd-century baths are hosting one of Italy's most famous summer opera series (there are ballet performances, too). And it's definitely worth doing.

The enormous Baths of Caracalla, which deserve a visit in their own right, are especially atmospheric at night. And so they're a breathtaking (if not always entirely plot-appropriate) backdrop for some of Italy's best-loved operas and ballets. The indoor performance space of Rome's Teatro dell'Opera is wonderful, too. But in summer, there's nothing quite like catching the performances out in the fresh air, with the colored light playing on the ancient ruins.

The Teatro dell'Opera summer 2013 lineup includes not only opera, but ballet and concerts. Top picks include an American Ballet Theatre production by Robert Bollet and friends on July 21 and 22, the one-off concert directed by Ennio Morricone on July 25, and, of course, the classic, Puccini's opera Tosca, from Aug. 1 to 6. 

Tickets start at €25, but I'd advise springing for the more-expensive seats. (The "cheap seats" are all the way on the sides, where it's be hard to see much at all). When I went, I sprang for a middle-of-the-road €60 seat, which had a great view… even if the plastic chair still had me squirming with discomfort by the show's end.

Book your tickets for the Baths of Caracalla performances online, by calling 800 907080
(from abroad, 0039 (0)6 48078400), or buy them ticket points around the city. If you're a student, under 25, or older than 65, with your ID, you can get 25 percent off. 

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