The Teatro alla Scala was founded, under the auspices of the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, to replace the Royal Ducal Theatre, which was destroyed by fire on 26 February 1776 and had until then been the home of opera in Milan.
The cost of building the new theatre was borne by the owners of the boxes at the Ducal, in exchange for possession of the land on which stood the church of Santa Maria alla Scala (hence the name) and for renewed ownership of their boxes.
Designed by the great neoclassical architect Giuseppe Piermarini, La Scala opened on 3 August 1778 with Antonio Salieri's opera L'Europa riconosciuta, to a libretto by Mattia Verazi.
On 7 December 2004 the new season - the first after the definitive closing of the Theatre at the end of 2001 - opened with Salieri's opera that 266 years ago inaugurated the Theatre. Conducted by Riccardo Muti, directed by Luca Ronconi, scenes and costumes by Pier Luigi Pizzi, the opera also presented an original ballet, with music by Salieri, substituting the original ballet for which the music was lost.
Restoration and renovation works started on 4 July 2002 and continued for the whole of 2003 until October 2004, when Fondazione Scala had its first access to the restored rooms. Besides the restoration to preserve the monumental area and the modernization of the service mechanical plants, the most evident aspect of the renovated Teatro alla Scala is the majestic ellipsis and the new stage tower.
The Box Office is open every day from 9.00am - 6.00pm.
For evening performances the Box Office remains open until the start of the performance.