Northern Italy - Parma & Florence: October 15 - 24, 2019
For the thirteenth consecutive year, our fall Northern Italy Tour will focus on the thrilling Parma Verdi Festival, which is committed to a complete survey of the Verdi canon. This year’s return to Parma will be highlighted by FOUR VERDI PERFORMANCES – a welcome Verdian plethora compared to the earlier experience of only two or three operas each year. In terms of chronology, we will begin with Verdi’s first veritable hit, Nabucco (1842 at La Scala), followed by his rarely staged melodrama, I Due Fosari (1844, Rome). Third will be his melodic tragedy, Luisa Miller (1849, Naples), a forerunner of his great ‘middle period’ triumphs; and fourth will be the mature masterpiece, Aida (1871 in Cairo).The four productions will take us into three historic Parma/Busseto opera houses, all with English surtitles.
Parma’s friendly cafés and restaurants all serve the world-famous ‘prosciutto di Parma’ and ‘Parmigiano Reggiano cheese’. In honor of Italy’s undisputed operatic giant, a visit is planned to Verdi’s gracious home of Villa Sant’Agata in his hometown of Busseto. We are fortunate to have confirmed reservations for five nights at everyone’s first choice in Parma, the Stendhal Hotel.
Immediately after Parma, we will continue for three nights to Florence – a long overdue return to Italy’s Renaissance cultural capital. A pair of performances at the city’s Teatro del Maggio Musicale will contrast the irresistible dramatic power of Georges Bizet’s Carmen with an early 19thcentury rarity by Gaspare Spontini – Fernando Cortez, a ‘grand opera’ depicting the Spanish conquest of Mexico. Adriatic capital of Venice for three nights to relax in Italy’s most dazzling architectural city. Our choice of the Kraft Hotel is in the quiet neighborhood of the opera house, a couple of blocks from the scenic Arno River. A leisurely walk along the Arno will take us past the Ponte Vecchio for a guided visit through the priceless rooms of the Uffizi Gallery, Italy’s most important Renaissance museum.
The weather in October should be ideal for leisurely walks in each city center. Our itinerary of eight nights will leave ample time for you to enjoy the ubiquitous art and irresistible food of Parma and Florence.
Accommodations in Parma for five nights with buffet breakfast included at the four-star Stendhal Hotel, named for the city’s illustrious classical author. Because of its location within easy walking distance of the Teatro Regio, the Teatro Farnese, the Piazza Duomo and the Palazzo della Pilotta (now home to several museums), the relatively small Stendhal is always our first choice when we visit Parma. The 62 rooms are classically furnished, and the restaurant La Pilotta offers an excellent breakfast. The historic center of Parma offers many small shops and attractive trattorias for relaxed browsing and dining. We are fortunate to have secured our reservations during the sought-after Festival period, as there are only a few hotels near the historic center. IMPORTANT:The Verdi Festival is notoriously sold out to subscribers and Parma’s local aficionados. While we are very fortunate to obtain tickets in the Festival’s venues, some of our tickets may be in side boxes and/or upper tiers.
In Florence, accommodations for three nights with a generous buffet breakfast included at the four-star Kraft Hotel on a quiet street within walking distance of the Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, the city’s new opera house opened in 2014. This charming small hotel is ideally suited to our Tour during busy periods. We are grateful for the pleasant residential neighborhood, the personal service, and the unique rooftop restaurant and swimming pool overlooking the entire city.The relaxed atmosphere offers a refreshing respite whenever the center of Florence is oppressively crowded and noisy.
Prices Per Person (Air Fare not Included)
Double Occupancy: $6,480
Single Occupancy: $7,460