VERDI, STRADIVARI AND LA DOLCE VITA
Milan - Turin - Cremona - Verona - Lazise - Sirmione - Casalmaggiore - Bologna - Sacile - Venice
June 20 - July 1, 2020 (12 days)
Enjoy incomparable opera and ‘dolce vita’ with hosts Kai Gleusteen and Catherine Ordronneau. Highlights include Giordano’s Fedora at La Scala in Milan, Verdi’s Aida directed by Franco Zeffirelli at the Arena di Verona, Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux at La Fenice, Piedmonte wine and unique concerts.
We board our overnight flight to Milan.
Upon arrival in Milan, we check into our hotel. We’ll gather for a Welcome Drink and Introduction to our Classical Italy Concert Series by our host Kai Gleusteen, and enjoy dinner. (D)
This morning we have a Walking Tour of the main sights of the city, including the splendid Gothic Duomo. We will tour the famous Opera La Scala and see Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper, one of the most significant works in the history of art.
This evening we will enjoy an Opera performance at La Scala. (B,D)
Umberto Giordano’s Fedora conducted by Daniel Oren with soprano Sonya Yoncheva at the Teatro alla Scala.
Sonya Yoncheva in Fedora © Teatro alla Scala
Today we will visit nearby Turin and Tour the highlights, including the Royal Palace and the Duomo San Giovanni, housing the Shroud of Turin. Next, we will visit a Piedmontese winery to sample the region’s famous Barolo wine and local delicacies. Returning finally to Milan we will visit Casa Verdi. The residence is steeped in the life stories not only of Giuseppe Verdi and his wife, with their personal effects, furnishings, art collections, and even their tombs, but also those of all the notable guests who have been in residence here over a century. Later, enjoy our evening concert. (B, D)
Kai Gleusteen (violin) and Catherine Ordronneau (piano)
Kai Gleusteen & Catherine Ordronneau
We travel to Cremona, a beautiful city renowned for its long and illustrious musical traditions.
We’ll visit the Stradivari Museum to see some of the grand creations, then we have a concert in the city before ending the day in Verona. (B, D)
Kai Gleusteen (violin) and Catherine Ordronneau (piano) at the Stradivari Museum
We drive to nearby Lake Garda for a stroll through the walled village of Lazise. We have time to enjoy a cappuccino or gelato before taking the boat to nearby Sirmione, which sits on the end of a peninsula reaching into the lake. Once the beloved refuge of legendary lyric soprano Maria Callas, the pretty town boasts a spectacular setting, Scaliger castle, chic boutiques, and even natural hot springs. Through town, the road past her villa, now private apartments, ends at the Grotte di Catullo, the ruins of a Roman villa which command wonderful views of the lake and mountains. Enjoy time for lunch and exploration in this charming place which embodies la Dolce Vita. We return to Verona with a little time to rest before dinner and the Opera. (B, D)
Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida directed by Franco Zeffirelli at the Arena di Verona.
Arena di Verona-Christian Abend
We begin with a Tour of the lovely city forever linked with Romeo and Juliet. We will explore the sights, including the Roman Arena di Verona where Maria Callas had her European debut, and have some time for lunch. This afternoon we drive to Casalmaggiore and enjoy a special dinner before our concert. We return late to fair Verona. (B, D)
Abel Quartett in Casalmaggiore
We depart for ancient Bologna, home to the oldest university in the world (1088) and one of the most populous cities in the Middle Ages.
A UNESCO “City of Music,” we will visit the International Museum of Music here. A short walk past some of the towers of its well-preserved historic centre, and we’ll have some time for lunch before reconvening at the San Colombano Museum for a concert surrounded by historical musical instruments. Later in the afternoon, we proceed to Venice, check-in and have dinner. (B, D)
Early music programme by the female vocal group Cappella Artemisia at San Colombano in Bologna
We’ll have an introductory City Tour of the center including a visit to the splendid Doge’s Palace and the Basilica San Marco, which both displays spoils of the Crusades from an era when Venice was one of the great Maritime Republics. We finish with a Gondola ride through the canals of the historic centre. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure to explore, visit museums and get lost along the beautiful canal paths. This evening we see an opera at Teatro la Fenice, nestled in the labyrinth of streets not far from San Marco. (B)
Gaetano Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux conducted by Riccardo Frizza at La Fenice
Roberto Devereux © Carlo Felice, Teatro La Fenice
We drive a little northeast to Sacile, in the foothills of the Alps, to tour the unique Fazioli piano factory, where our tour hosts will give a special concert. Sacile is known as the “Garden of the Serenissima” for the many palaces that were constructed along the river Livenza for the nobility of the Most Serene Republic of Venice.
We’ll enjoy a little time for lunch and to see the town before returning late afternoon to Venice. This evening is at leisure to sample the local cuisine and nightlife or attend other cultural events at your own discretion. (B, L)
Kai Gleusteen (violin) and Catherine Ordronneau (piano) at the Fazioli Piano Factory in Sacile
We have a wonderful boat excursion to the islands of Burano, famed for the brightly coloured houses that line its scenic canals and Murano, known the world over for its fabulous glassblowing tradition. In the afternoon enjoy leisure time in the city. Maybe follow Ernest Hemingway’s steps to a drink at Harry’s Bar; or cross the Accademia Bridge, past the historic gondola boatyards of Squero San Trovaso to a enjoy a drink along the Fondamenta Zattere; or explore the Peggy Guggenheim Museum. Have an exit strategy and enjoy wandering, as there are palaces and piazzas to be discovered. This evening we enjoy our Farewell Dinner. (B, D)
Bridge of Sighs, Venice
We transfer to the airport for our flight home. (B)