Join All Classical Portland Program Director and On-Air Host Suzanne Nance on a twelve-day exploration of Italian culture this summer. An opera lover’s journey, this trip includes three opera performances at Arena di Verona: La Traviata, Aida and Carmen! More music, dance and drama awaits throughout the trip at the Festival dei Due Mondi; the Umbria Jazz Festival; and a very special private concert in the music room of Palazzo Ranghiasci, a beautiful palace in Gubbio open only to very special friends of the owner. Other highlights include a visit to Juliet’s Balcony in Verona; wine, vinegar and gelato tastings; and an intimate cruise on Garda Lake. Of course, there will be plenty of amazing food and wine along the way! Read on for the full details of this once-in-a-lifetime Italian journey with Suzanne Nance and All Classical Portland.
Welcome to Rome! Once called “Caput Mundi” (capital of the world), Rome has been inhabited for at least 10,000 years and became the center of the civilized world after the fall of ancient Greece. As you arrive in Rome, you will be picked up at the airport and driven to your hotel in the center of this amazing city. We will have a welcome reception and dinner tonight, giving you a chance to sample delicious Roman cuisine, and get to know your fellow travelers.
If you have never visited Rome before, this is a great opportunity to arrive a couple of days early to enjoy and discover this great capital. The best way to become acquainted with this diverse city is to tour it with a fun and informative guide, who will show you some of the city’s greatest attractions. Sleep in Rome
Today we will drive to Foligno in the Umbria region, a bustling town, perched on the banks of the Topino river, and surrounded by a charming landscape. After getting settled and relaxed, we may have a chance to check out the Piazza della Republica, the double-façade of the Duomo there, and the Palazzo Orfini, where the first edition of Dante’s Divine Comedy was printed. Next we are off to Spoleto to spend our evening at the Festival dei Due Mondi (festival of two worlds, which aim to bring together American and European cultures). The festival is packed with opera, dance, and drama performances for us to enjoy. Sleep in Foligno
Today we will drive through Umbria -- the green heart of Italy – and make our way to the exciting Umbria Jazz Festival, one of the most important Jazz festivals in the world. During the festival, indoor and outdoor shows ring through a whole host of venues and take over the atmosphere of the area. Experience the buzz of this 10-day fest while you sample as many flavors of gelato as you like. Sleep in Foligno
Today we will visit Assisi -- the hallowed birthplace of St. Francis and one of the most mystical locations in Italy. Preaching to the common man a gospel of purity, humility, simplicity, and the love of all creatures, St. Francis sent out a timeless message of acceptance and love to all of human kind. So much so that the city remains a worldwide symbol of peace and the saint an inspiration to the catholic world and newest pope. The art and architecture in the city are true masterpieces. You will visit the Basilica of Saint Francis and part of the historical center as a group. Then you will have time on your own to visit other special places including Eremo delle Carceri and San Donato – or hike a piece of the famous Franciscan trail. After Assisi, we will drive to Gubbio, our home base for the next couple of nights. Sleep in Gubbio
Today, you will get an introduction to Gubbio’s most important medieval sights, and visit the grand palace of a very ancient Italian family, the Ranghiasci’s. A member of the family will be your special guide in your discovery of the beautiful Palazzo Ranghiasci – tightly connected with history, art and, why not… gossip. You will then enjoy an exclusive lunch in the palace; not open to the public, the historic building will specially host you today thanks to our friendship with the owner. After lunch you will get some time on your own to explore the village and Gubbio’s traditions, local products, beautiful ceramics, and history -- or you might take the time to climb to a beautiful viewpoint on top of Mount Ingino (the mountain on which the city is built). In the evening, you’ll be invited back to the Palazzo Ranghiasci for very special musical entertainment in the music room of this beautiful palace. Sleep in Gubbio
Today we will travel from Gubbio to Pesaro on the Adriatic coast, where rolling hills and a beautiful shore-line meet, and where we will stay at a lovely hotel in the middle of it all. On the way we will stop to explore mysterious Urbino, the birthplace of Raphael, Bramante and Federico di Montefeltro. Here we will tour the Galleria Nazionale delle Marche to admire Renaissance masterpieces. Sleep in Pesaro
Today’s sights begin with the beautiful castle town of Gradara – the setting for the timeless love story of “Paolo and Francesca” – a story so profound Dante penned it into his Divine Comedy. We will then make our way to the impressive walled village of Corinaldo, where we might just get a tour by the town’s mayor, and then the scenic Adriactic coastal town of Fano for a lovely seafood dinner. Sleep in Pesaro
Today you will make your way north to Verona, stopping en route in Modena to sample the region’s world-famous balsamic vinegar. With an ageing period of approximately 25 years, traditional Modena vinegar is one of the most delicious dressings ever conceived. Modena vinegar (produced from wine must) once constituted an integral part of a young bride’s dowry. Fortunately for Italy and the world, the people of Modena still respect the roots of this long and patient production. In the evening we will get to enjoy the performance of Verdi’s La Traviata at the Arena di Verona, a huge Roman amphitheater built in the first century A.D. The Arena is renowned all over the world. It is in amazing condition, hosts world famous musicians, and creates truly incredible acoustics. Your experience is sure to be unforgettable. Sleep in Verona
This morning you will explore the beautiful city of Verona, setting of the love story of Romeo and Juliet. You will visit Juliet’s balcony and explore the city centre, taking time to meander through Erbe Square’s central market and Verona’s many characteristically small streets. The afternoon is yours to relax. In the evening we will return to the Arena di Verona to indulge in yet another wonderful opera – Bizet’s Carmen. Sleep in Verona
Today you will have a chance to explore the amazing Valpolicella wine region and sample some of its prized wines at one of the most prestigious producers in Northern Italy. After an amazing lunch you will get back to Verona for some relaxation before your last evening performance at the Arena – Verdi’s Aida. Sleep in Verona
This morning we will visit Sirmione, perhaps the most historic village on the shores of Garda Lake. The town, inhabited since Neolithic times, owes its fame to the important Roman and medieval remains found here and its spectacular thermal spas. We will have time to explore Sirmione, make a visit to the lively Monday market, and cruise the lake by private boat before hitting the road to reach Lake Como and the small village of Lenno, where we will sleep for our last two nights. Sleep in Lenno
This morning, fully immerse in the beauty that is Lake Como. A great local guide will show you the awesome Villa Carlotta, arguably the most beautiful of the many villas on the lake. You will visit both the villa itself – today it hosts a very nice museum that displays masterpieces by Canova and Hayez – and the beautiful park of the villa. You will then take a boat to Bellagio and Varenna. You will marvel at the views of the lake and the many gardens and incredible villas – and will enjoy a great traditional meal including the pizzoccheri, a tasty buckwheat pasta, and a famous lake fish served with polenta. Sleep in Lenno
Today we will say farewell to the lake region. We’ll have an early morning departure for Malpensa airport (Milano), and head home.
1 night in Rome
2 nights in Foligno
2 nights in Gubbio
2 nights in Pesaro
3 nights in Verona
2 nights on the shores of Lake Garda
Tot: 12 nights – 13 days
Price: 4,795 USD per person, double occupancy
Single room supplement: 765 USD