Benvenuto in Italia!
This exciting tour to Italy will whisk you into a world of immense beauty, culture, history, and most importantly, music.
The musical traditions of Italy range across a broad spectrum, including instrumental, vocal, theatrical, and a diverse array of folk traditions as stunningly different as the country’s many regions. Italian contributions to western classical music include standardizing scales, harmony, and notation. Italian theatrical productions led to the development of opera, and it was here that cornerstones of classical music cannon, such as the concerto and symphony were born. One can still hear the sounds of Claudio Monteverdi and Giuseppe Verdi sounding through the narrow streets.
Depart North America for Venice, Italy. Buon Viaggio!
Enjoy an introduction to what many consider the most beautiful city in the world on an orientation walk of Venice.
This unique city, made up of 118 islands, over 450 bridges, and more than 180 canals, is famous for its delicate blown glass, the Grand Canal, and beautiful St. Mark’s Basilica.
At the conclusion of your pleasant walk, check in to your hotel and take time to relax and refresh. Rehearsal can be arranged.
Tonight, a welcome dinner of Italian specialties is served as your tour manager previews the week ahead.
Your first full day in Italy begins with a guided tour of Venice. See some of the city’s magnificent highlights, including St. Mark’s Basilica, the Rialto Bridge, the Palazzo Ducale, and the Bridge of Sighs. Next, you may wish to explore the many glassblowers’ shops on the island and perhaps glide across the famous Grand Canal in a gondola.
This evening, sing for Mass at St. Mark’s Basilica, the glorious iconic church of Venice; or another noteworthy church, such as San Zaccaria Church, one of Venice’s most artistically dazzling structures with ornate decor and a crypt filled with reflective pools of water.
This morning, depart Venice for Florence, a treasure chest of art and architecture where artistic masters such as Michelangelo and Dante left a lasting imprint on the city.
Make a stop in Bologna, home to the world’s oldest university. Enjoy a guided tour and time for lunch before continuing your journey to Florence in the heart of Tuscany.
After settling into your hotel, take a walk through the historic center, where you will see the majesty of Santa Maria del Fiore (the Duomo), Ghiberti’s Glowing Doors, and Giotto’s Campanile.
For dinner, we encourage you to sample some of the local specialties, such as Florentine bistecca or ribollita.
Start the day with a guided tour of Florence, including entrance to the Accademia Museum, home to Michelangelo’s David.
The afternoon is free for additional exploration. Perhaps visit the Pitti Palace with ornate grounds and richly decorated galleries displaying treasures from Medici family collections. Or, discover the many masterpieces at the Uffizi Gallery, such as Botticelli’s Birth of Venus. Shopping for local crafts, leather, fashion, and perusing the sumptuous food markets is another delightful pastime.
Later, join a local ensemble for a friendship concert followed by time to mingle and exchange.
Today, depart Florence for Rome, Italy’s capital, for over 3,000 years of influential art, architecture, and culture.
Travel back in history on a guided tour of Ancient Rome and the Colosseum. Rome’s greatest amphitheater and forum are filled with legends of glory, conquest, and traditions dating back thousands of years.
Tonight, continue discovering Rome with the help of your tour manager. Throw a coin into Trevi Fountain and ensure your return to the Eternal City!
Spend today at the Vatican, the world’s smallest state and only European State to be ruled by an absolute monarch – the Pope. Enjoy a guided tour of the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel to see Michelangelo’s incredible frescoes.
Conclude your stay in Italy with a grand singing engagement! Sing for Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, where thousands of pilgrims and tourists pay homage to the world’s holiest Catholic shrine, or in another gorgeous Papal Basilica such as Santa Maria Maggiore, where legend says the Virgin appeared before the Pope with the instructions for building the church, with the shape of its floor to recreate a miraculous snowfall. Additional venues are possible in Rome including historic theaters, museums and settings in public gardens.
Tonight, a festive Italian farewell meal brings your tour of Italy to a delicious close.
Return home with wonderful memories of Italy!
Additional days, destinations, and activities can be added to customize this tour for your group.
Concert Tour Highlights
FRIENDSHIP CONCERTS IN ITALY
Friendship concerts are a featured experience on our tours and are at the heart of our mission to foster cultural connections through music. We benefit from a vast international network in the choral world built over our thirty years of helping choirs share their music both in the United States and abroad. Your choir will share a venue and a concert program with a host choir from the region. Your singers will have the opportunity to hear their host choir's repertoire (often showcasing local musical styles) and to share your own repertoire in turn. Fellowship time is planned around the friendship concert, giving both choirs the chance to mingle and enjoy the camaraderie of creating cross-cultural connections through a shared love of music.
ST. MARK'S BASILICA
The Patriarchal Cathedral Basilica of Saint Mark, more commonly known as Saint Mark's Basilica, is the most famous church in Venice and one of the best examples of Italo-Byzantine architecture. It is the third church to stand on this site. Built on a Greek cross plan and crowned with five huge domes, it is now used as the private chapel for State ceremonies. Originally the chapel of the Doge, it has only been a cathedral since 1807. The basilica's interior features multiple choir lofts; the inspiration for the development of a polychoral style among Venetian maestro di cappella composers. This style of music took advantage of the spacious architecture and led to the development of polychoral and antiphonal textures.
The Accademia was founded in 1563 as the first school in Europe to teach the techniques of drawing, painting, and sculpting. By 1784, the Gallery was formed with the sole purpose of providing students of the Academy with material to study and to copy. Since 1873, many of Michelangelo’s most important works have been housed in the Accademia, including perhaps his most famous piece, David. It also features Renaissance paintings and showcases musical instruments that played a significant role in everyday life and official celebrations of the Medici Court.
VATICAN CITY AND ST. PETER'S BASILICA
Vatican City is the world’s smallest state and the only European State to be ruled by an absolute monarch (the Pope). Established in 1929 to include 109 acres, about 500 people live here, and as well as accommodations for staff and ecclesiastics, the city has its own post office, banks, judicial system, radio stations, shops, and a daily newspaper. The Papal Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican, more commonly known as St. Peter's Basilica, is regarded as one of the holiest Catholic shrines in the world. There has been a church on this site since the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great. St. Peter's is known as a famous pilgrimage site and for its many liturgical functions throughout the year, where the Pope draws audiences ranging from 15,000 to over 80,000 people.