North Italy & Tuscany - In the Footsteps of Verdi & Puccini

The very sound of opera raises images of Italy in the minds of most. Soaring arias paint a picture of fine art in stone castles, winding rose vines along the grated enclosures of noble piazzas, and of course the grand theaters of the Italian stage. Walk in the footsteps of two operatic giants, Giuseppe Verdi and Giacomo Puccini, who wrote notes that still echo through popular culture, familiar to ears of all nationalities, languages, and cultures, a century after they set their notes to parchment. Explore their homes, their theaters, and their inner lives as you travel throughout the region, immersing yourself in the world of the great maestros, as their music fills your heart and guides your steps.

Days 1/2

USA/MILAN

Your journey begins as you board your overnight flight to Milan, where you’ll be met by your guide and escorted to the city center. Drop off your bags and set out on foot to explore the city on a guided tour. Milan is the richest city in Italy, known worldwide for its fashion hub, its artistic treasures, and its colorful history. Visit several historical sites of this ancient city, which dates back to the 6th Century BC. Afterwards, you are free to return to the hotel and rest or continue exploring at your leisure. HOTEL MILANO SCALA. (Meals Aloft, D)

 

Day 3

MILAN

Enjoy a rare look backstage at Teatro alla Scala on a guided tour. This huge 20,000-square-meter facility is divided in three pavilions. Most of the handmade works for the production are crafted on site, including set design and costumes. Your guide will walk you through the process of taking a spark of inspiration into a full-fledged theatrical spectacle. After lunch, head to the Santa Maria delle Grazie to view Da Vinci’s “Last Supper,” once called “the saddest work of art in the world” by Aldous Huxley because of the centuries of appalling neglect for this remarkable work of art, now in permanent process of restoration. HOTEL MILANO SCALA. (B,L,D)

 

Day 4

MILAN

Start your morning in the home of Guiseppi Verdi, a place he referred to as his most beautiful work. For the last century, this place has served as a retirement community for true lovers of music, who spend their golden years freely embracing their passion. A visit to Casa Verdi is a unique experience, immersing guests in the memories of a residence that has a thousand stories to tell – not only those of Giuseppe Verdi and his wife, with their personal effects, home decorations, art collections, and even their tombs, but also those of the remarkable people who have lived here in the many years since. The rest of the day will be at your leisure. HOTEL MILANO SCALA. (B,D)

 

Day 5

MILAN/CREMONA/PARMA

Head to Cremona today, where the masters of lutherie (violin craftsmanship) perfected their art. This city lays claim to the great names of lutherie, including Antonio Stradivari, the Amati family, and the Guarneri family. Today, the tradition remains vibrant and passionately pursued, with 150 workshops around the city as well as the prestigious International Violin Making School and a Violin Museum. Arrive at the hotel and spend a few hours exploring on your own or taking lunch in a local café before meeting your guide. Enjoy a tour of the most important landmarks of the city, with a dedicated stop to Teatro Regio, one of the most famous opera houses in the world.  HOTEL NH PARMA. (B,L,D)

 

Day 6

SANT’AGATA DI VILLANOVA SULL’ARDA

Greet your guide this morning as you head out to Sant’Agata di Villanova sull’Arda, in search of “Verdi’s Places. Start with the home he shared with his second wife, Villa Verdi, which was purchased and enlarged by the Maestro in 1847-1848. It is surrounded by a large park with a romantic flavor and still features its original furnishings. After lunch, continue to Piazza Verdi, which is dominated by the Rocca (Fortress) and the Monument to Verdi in bronze. Visit Teatro Verdi, where operas such as “Rigoletto” and “Un Ballo in Maschera” were performed in the mid-19th Century and see Casa Barezzi, which still contains the Maestro’s piano. At Roncole Verdi, a modest cottage in a small village, you’ll see Verdi’s birthplace. End this day of music and history with a flavorful encore, stopping off in Parma for a tasting at the Parmigiano Reggiano Museum.  HOTEL NH PARMA. (B,L,D)

 

Day 7

LUCCA/BUSSETO

Arrive in Busseto this morning where your first stop is the Giuseppe Verdi Museum, just a stone’s throw from Palazzo dei Marchesi, most splendid villa in the Parma area, featuring a five-module ground plan with a chessboard layout that recalls the family crest of the lords of Busseto. The 27 operas by the “Swan of Busseto” are represented in an artistic path inside, with original scenery. The costumes of Verdi’s heroes, Verdi’s lounge, his music room, and a Requiem Mass room in his honor are found along the interior path. This museum offers a journey not to be missed in the private and artistic life of the Swan of Busseto and at the end, a little tasting of artisan chocolate dedicated to the Maestro Giuseppe Verdi. Enjoy lunch on your own and depart in the afternoon for Lucca to explore the birthplace of another great composer, Giacomo Puccini.  HOTEL CELIDE.  (B,D)

 

Day 8

LUCCA

After breakfast, set out with your guide to tour the city of Lucca, stopping by some of the city’s treasures, including the Cathedral of San Martino, the piazzas and, San Pietro Somaldi, which houses an organ whose first notes were played by Puccini himself. Enjoy lunch on your own before returning to your guide, who will show you the city walls and the birthplace of composer Giacomo Puccini. Enjoy a drink and a performance at the Puccini Restaurant, followed by an authentic local dinner accompanied by a live performance by a soprano. HOTEL CELIDE.  (B,D)

 

Day 9

LUCCA/TORRE DEL LAGO/CELLE PUCCINI/LUCCA

Your bus takes you to Torre del Lago to visit Puccini’s home and the surroundings that inspired his music. Transfer to a village that named itself after the master, Celle Puccini, the birthplace of the artist’s grandfather. Tour the ancestral home and the theater of Vetriano, gaining insight into the life and heritage of this remarkable composer.  HOTEL CELIDE.  (B,D)

 

Day 10

FLORENCE/NEW YORK

Drive to Florence and board your flight home. (B, Meals Aloft)

 

POST EXTENSION TO FLORENCE

 

Bid the rest of the group farewell in Florence, and prepare to explore this city that played an integral role in modern history. Once home to the de Medici family, Dante Alighieri, and Giorgio Vasari, this city now stands as a monument to history, proudly displaying the works of Michelangelo, Botticelli, Giotto, and Ghiberti. You will spend time exploring the historical, cultural, and artistic cornerstones of Western civilization as you traverse the streets of Florence.

Prices starting at $5,595. For further booking, date, and pricing info please contact info@classicescapes.

 

Does not include international or domestic flights. Prices are based on 10 or more travelers, and are subject to change.