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La Scala Milan Dress Code (and What You Can’t Wear!)

June 14, 2024

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Stepping into Teatro alla Scala (also known as La Scala), Milan’s renowned opera house, is like entering a world where opera thrived and became one of the most celebrated forms of entertainment!

From its illustrious history to stunning architecture, La Scala is a treasure for those who appreciate the arts. This is why La Scala is definitely worth a visit via tour or to see an Opera performance when you visit Milan.

Before you go, make sure meet Teatro alla Scala’s strict dress code, or you risk not being allowed inside the auditorium, and your tickets will not be reimbursed!

In this article, we’ll go over the La Scala dress code, guidelines of what to wear, and what you cannot wear and bring inside.

But first, here is the best ticket deal for La Scala: (yes, you should buy in advance to skip the line!)

A peak inside Milan La Scala Opera House that houses extraordinary artists of our time

It is unthinkable to be in Milan and not visit this temple of the arts.

We recently traveled across Italy, check out our free Milan two day itinerary and our one day in Venice itinerary. You may also be interested in downloading these best travel apps for Italy.

Teatro alla Scala Dress Code

How Strict is the La Scala Opera House Dress Code?

The dress code at La Scala varies in strictness depending on the type of performance and seating area. For opera premieres and certain areas like the orchestra and balcony boxes, the dress code is strictly enforced, requiring formal attire (more on that below). For other seating areas, the guidelines are more relaxed, though a certain level of decorum is still expected, which we’ll cover below.

The official la Scala website says: “The public is kindly requested to dress in keeping with the decorum of the Theatre, out of respect for the Theatre and for other viewers.” and gently warns that if one doesn’t meet the code, they’ll be refused entry.

We’ll provide a more in-depth guide on what the dress code is below.

What Can You Wear When Visiting the Teatro Alla Scala?

Note where you’re sitting. Dress runs the gambit from casual to formal (fancy). It depends on where your seats are. At La Scala, dress code guidelines are practically encoded into your ticket price.

The platea (orchestra) and all three levels of the palchi (balcony boxes) call for elegance, like the recent NSO show at La Scala. For men: a dark suit, white shirt and tie. No pinstripes, please! For women: a dark dress paired with heels. Keep accessories understated; avoid items like fishnet stockings and large hats (a classy pill box hat is acceptable).

If your seats are in the cheaper gallerie (the two top rings, also known as the loggione) it’s less formal. For men: khakis or dark jeans, and dress shirts with navy blazers or a cashmere sweater. For women, a dress or skirt and heels is appropriate.

Here’s what we wore to La Scala Milan

If you have tickets to the premiere of an opera (la prima), regardless of the day of the week or season, dress up. If you’re seeing the ballet, symphony, or a recital at La Scala, the dress code is more relaxed. During the summer, the dress code is more relaxed as well.

Don’t underdress. Flip-flops, sneakers, and shorts are never acceptable. The least formal would be a short-sleeved polo. (more on what you can’t wear below)

When in doubt on what to wear to opera in Milan, a black, dark or neutral elegant outfit is always a safe bet.

One of the main faux pas that people commit at the opera is that they wear too bright of a colour. This is particularly true if it’s an especially formal event, such as an opera at the Teatro alla Scala, or one of the high-end operas in Italy.

This unspoken rule applies to all everyone regardless of gender. However you can of course wear what’s most authentic to you.

Italians are expressive people, so don’t be surprised if you dress poorly and hear remarks. Likewise, if you dress proper, you may receive compliments. Funny enough, a gentleman gave Deeshen a thumbs up while we were walking in Milan!

What You Cannot Wear to La Scala Milan

Here’s what NOT to wear at La Scala opera house or you’ll be refused entry (and your ticket won’t be refunded).

  • Bare Shoulders: Avoid sleeveless tops, tank tops, or clothing that exposes your shoulders.
  • Short & Short skirts: Steer clear of shorts and miniskirts that don’t meet the knee requirement.
  • Flip Flops and Sneakers: These shoes are not allowed and never acceptable.
  • Inappropriate Graphics: Clothing with offensive or obscene prints or graphics is a no-go.
  • Tank tops and overly casual T-shirts
  • Underdressing, even in more relaxed seating areas, is discouraged. (more on things not allowed inside below)

La Scala Dress Code for Women

Women attending La Scala should opt for a dark or neutral colored elegant dress paired with heels. Bright colors are acceptable Accessories should be understated, avoiding overly bold items like fishnet stockings and large hats.

La Scala Dress Code for Men

Men should wear a dark suit with a white shirt and tie for the orchestra and balcony boxes. For the gallerie, khakis or dark jeans with a dress shirt and a blazer or cashmere sweater are acceptable.

La Scala Dress Code for Kids

Children are expected to follow the same general dress code as adults, and should dress in a manner that respects the formality of the venue.

Their clothing should cover their shoulders and knees for a respectful visit. Boys can wear a suit or dress pants with a nice shirt, while girls can wear a dress, pants or a skirt with a blouse.

For families, we recommend to choose performances specifically for children such as “Great Performances for Children” or getting a family box.

Why Does La Scala have a Dress Code?

La Scala is one of the world’s most prestigious and historic opera houses and it just named a new director. It’s dress code is designed to maintain the elegance and decorum of this prestigious venue.

It reflects the cultural significance and tradition of the opera house, ensuring that all attendees contribute to the sophisticated atmosphere that La Scala is known for.

Things Not Allowed Inside La Scala Opera House

It is forbidden to take any of the following items inside la Scala opera house:

  • Food, drinks, liquids
  • Weapons or sharp objects
  • Pets
  • Luggage or large bags
  • knifes, ceramic mugs, and anything that can be used as a blunt weapon

Are Phones allowed in Milan’s La Scala ?

Yes, during a tour you can use your phone to take pictures, as well as before and after a performance.

However during opera performances, the use of mobile phones, cameras with or without flash and audio/video recording devices are not allowed in the auditorium!

No photos are allowed during a performance, and phones must be in silence mode.

What if You Don’t Meet the La Scala Dress Code?

If you do not meet La Scala’s dress code, you may be denied entry. The Milan theater reserves the right to refuse admission to anyone not dressed in accordance with their guidelines. In such cases, tickets are non-refundable .

Don’t fret if your outfit doesn’t match the guidelines. Here are some solutions:

  • Leave it in the cloakroom: If you’re watching a performance, you can use the cloakroom free of charge to leave bulky items (more on that below).
  • Carry a Cover-Up: Pack a scarf or shawl to drape over your shoulders or legs if needed.
  • Shop Nearby: Explore the area around La Scala. Many shops sell clothing options that comply with the dress code.
  • Ask for help: Even if not in compliance, maintain a respectful attitude, as staff may offer solutions or exemptions.
  • Go Back to Your Hotel: As a last resort, walk back to your hotel and dress appropriately to return.

Planning Your Visit: La Scala Milan

First, if you’re visiting Milan, check out our free Milan 3 day itinerary and visit the Milan Duomo (don’t forget to save our dress code for Duomo Milan as well.) Afterwards, stop for 2 days in Cinque Terre and 24 hours in Florence!

Now onwards to the best tour tickets and performances at Teatro Alla Scala, Milan, below.

How to Buy Tickets for La Scala

Tickets for performances at La Scala can be purchased online through the official La Scala website, at the box office, or through authorized ticket vendors. It is recommended to buy tickets well in advance, especially for popular performances and premieres.

Best Ticket Options:

7 Expert Tips When Visiting La Scala Opera House in Milan

  1. No Photography: Remember that photography and recording are strictly prohibited inside the La Scala Opera house!
  2. Arrive Early: Give yourself plenty of time to find your seat and explore the theater. Late comers will be asked to wait respectively until the interval.
  3. Dress Appropriately: Adhere to the dress code to avoid any issues at the door.
  4. Check the Program: Familiarize yourself with the performance details beforehand.
  5. Use the Cloakroom: Take advantage of the free cloakroom service to store bulky items.
  6. Respect Silence: Maintain silence during the performance to enhance everyone’s experience.
  7. Explore the Museum: Arrive early to explore the La Scala museum and enrich your visit .

La Scala General Guidelines

Behavior and Etiquette

  • Silence: Respect for silence and performances are required in the theatre.
  • Mobile Phones and Recording Devices: The use of mobile phones, cameras (with or without flash), and audio or video recording devices is strictly prohibited.
  • Photography: It is forbidden to take photographs in the Theater or make any type of audio and video recording.
  • No Smoking: Pursuant to law 584/75, smoking is prohibited in the Theater premises.
  • Food and Drinks: All drinks must be made exclusively in the local bars of the Theater and in the Foyers. It is forbidden to bring glasses and food into the Theatre.

Teatro Alla Scala Dress Code and What to Wear to Opera: Additional FAQs

Can I wear jeans to La Scala?

Jeans are acceptable in the gallerie (loggione) but should be dark and paired with a dressier top like a blouse or a blazer.

Can I wear shorts to La Scala?

No, guests wearing tank tops or shorts are not permitted inside the Theater. In this case the tickets are not refundable.

What does La Scala mean in Milan?

La Scala, theatre in Milan is one of the principal opera houses of the world and the leading Italian house. Teatro alla Scala in Italian means “Theatre at the Stairway.”

Is Teatro alla Scala worth it?

This theatre was established in 1778 and since that time it has been one of the leading opera houses around the world. We were not lucky enough to visit the interior on this occasion, but it is definitely worth a look. They also offer guided tours.

It is here that composers like Bellini, Rossini, and Verdi created some of their most significant works. Visitors can explore the La Scala museum, which houses a vast collection of musical curiosities, busts, and paintings of the most important opera composers and singers, including Giuseppe Verdi and Arturo Toscanini.

Is There a Cloakroom Service at the La Scala?

Yes, the cloakroom service is free and has cloakroom attendants to help. It is mandatory to leave all bulky objects, umbrellas, hats, bags, cameras, audio and video recording devices as well as overcoats and coats in the cloakroom.

The stalls and galleries are equipped with a guarded cloakroom service and each stage has its own cloakroom. Boxes have their own private cloakrooms. Bulky objects such as umbrellas, bags, cameras and other items must be left with the cloakroom attendants.

Can I Bring My Camera to La Scala Milan?

No, cameras, whether for still photography or video recording, are not allowed inside La Scala. Cameras and other items must be left with the cloakroom attendants.

Are Food and Drinks Allowed Inside the Theater?

No, food and drinks are not allowed inside the theater. Drinks must be consumed in the designated bar areas .

By adhering to these dress code guidelines and behavioral expectations, you can ensure a memorable and respectful visit to one of the world’s most prestigious opera houses. Enjoy your cultural journey at Teatro Alla Scala!

We hope you found this La Scala dress code guide helpful! Check out our other Italy travel guides to start planning your trip to other Italian cities, like Cinque Terre, one of the most picturesque cities for the best Cinque Terre photo spots.

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