April 22, 2021     Sabrina Nikolov

The Best Outdoor Performance Venues in Italy


Italy has a wealth of incredible performance venue options all over this beautiful and historic country.  In the summer months, a wonderful opportunity for traveling ensembles, especially large choral and instrumental ensembles, is to perform a concert in an outdoor open-air venue. As you can see in map above, there are a plethora of these amazing open-air venues in Italy — and that doesn’t even account for the many possibilities for impromptu outdoor performances!  Performing al fresco in the summer months is a great way to experience a true Italian tradition, as many locals enjoy attending evening concerts outdoors surrounded by friends and family through the warm Italian evenings.

In this post, we will highlight several wonderful outdoor venue options in Italy.

Villa Pennisi in Acireale (Sicily)

Located in the heart of Acireale in Sicily, this lovely venue, built in 1880, is perfect for small instrumental ensembles.  The Villa, which was completely restored to its original splendor in 2008, was once visited by the Italian Royal Family and by other important politicians and even artists such as Wagner.  Artist, composer, and writer Francesco Pennisi also grew up in the Villa.  A festival established at the villa makes this location a center point of musical and cultural activities in the area and is a great venue for instrumental concerts!

Chiostro San Francesco in Sorrento

This beautiful cloister is one of Sorrento’s most ancient monuments.  Located in the heart of Sorrento, the building dates back to the 14th century and was built upon the remains of a 7th century monastery.  The Cloister is a perfect fusion of different architectural styles, on two sides there are crossed tuff arches, a stylistic expression of the late fourteenth century; and on the other two sides one finds impressive round arches on octagonal pillars.  It’s a wonderful venue for orchestras or large choirs, as the setting is a peaceful and romantic open-air beautiful green garden, which hosts many concerts every summer.

Piazza Grande del Duomo in Montepulciano

This piazza is one of the most beautiful piazzas in Tuscany and is an ideal space for large orchestras to perform.   It’s truly the heart of the city of Montepulciano and hosts a number of musical and cultural events every summer.  The architecture of the buildings surrounding the square encompasses an interesting blend of Florentine architecture as well as remains of Roman buildings.  The piazza is home to Montepulciano’s cathedral and its most important palazzi that had been built by the city’s most influential families.  It’s a fantastic place for summer concerts under the Tuscan stars!

Terme Tettuccio in Montecatini

Terme Tettuccio, Montecatini by Richard Barrett-Small

The spa town of Montecatini in Tuscany is renowned for its spring waters that have been coveted for generations, even stretching as far back as the Roman times.  The Terme Tettuccio, which is not only the oldest spa in town but also a fabulous venue for orchestras, is the epitome of beauty, with its current structure renovations dating back to the early 20th century.  It is a fantastic place for choral and orchestra concerts with full audiences as the town attracts many visitors from all over Europe due to its wonderful natural mineral waters.

Piazza del Comune in Cremona

Cremona piazza del comune by Magagnini Carlo Alberto

The heart of historic Cremona, this piazza is surrounded by structures from the Middle Ages, when Cremona was in its height as a center of commercial and cultural importance, even competing with Milan at the time.  The Cathedral, at the center of the piazza, was consecrated in the 16th century and has an impressive façade.  Performing in this lovely square during the summer months is an unforgettable experience!

Chiostro San Marco in Abano Terme (near Venice)

This beautiful cloister, located inside an ancient convent which by the 20th century was in a state of abandon, is now a lovely hotel and is an ideal place to hold summer concerts.  The historic cloister is decorated by a well carved from one piece of marble dating back to 1589 as well as a Renaissance portal from a Paduan noble house, and gorgeous Zeloti frescos.  The space is intimate enough to work for many types of ensembles and is a very special performance venue.

Piazza Degli Scacchi in Marostica (near Venice)

Piazza degli scacchi a Marostica by Lucamenini

This al fresco venue has a fascinating history.  For more than 90 years, every other year, on the second weekend in September, a game of living chess is played out, involving the entire town, with people acting as the chess pieces, as well as fireworks, light shows, song and dance.  It follows a legend dating back to 1454 when Taddeo Parisio prevented a duel between two men who were in love with his daughter and instead made them play a game of chess to win her hand in marriage.  This historic piazza is a great space for bands and orchestras, as it’s in the town center and has such a unique stage to perform on! 

Beautiful churches, historic buildings, bustling piazzas, local conservatories and schools are just some of the fantastic Italian venues that await your ensemble. Learn more about taking your ensemble on a performance tour to Italy by visiting our website.

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