Thursday, October 20 Departures
Departure from North America to Bologna.
Friday, October 21 Bologna
Upon arrival in Bologna, you are met and transferred to the elegant Grand Hotel Majestic, in the heart of the city. Gather early evening to enjoy a Welcome Dinner at Rodrigo, our favourite in the city.
Saturday, October 22 Bologna
In the morning we meet for a guided tour of Bologna. We will see the 1000-year-old church complex of Santo Stefano, the many sights on Piazza Maggiore and Piazza Galvani, the wonderful Municipal Library and the anatomical theatre of the University of Bologna, founded in 1088. Lunch is included. Tonight we attend a performance (TBA) at Teatro Comunale.
Sunday, October 23 Parma
After breakfast and check out, we transfer by private coach to Parma, stopping at the small cemetery in Montale Rangone to pay our respects to Luciano Pavarotti. We continue to Parma, where we check in at the Hotel Stendhal, in the heart of the historic city and adjacent to the Pilotta Palace. This evening we gather and make the short walk to Teatro Regio for a performance at the annual Verdi Festival. Tonight we will hear Michele Mariotti conduct Un ballo in maschera.
Monday, October 24 Parma
Late morning we meet for a guided tour, including the wonderful Romanesque Cathedral, Benedetto Antelami's Baptistry (one of the greatest Romanesque buildings in all of Italy), Toscanini's birthplace and the spectacular Teatro Farnese. Lunch is included at the Corale Verdi, one of our favourite trattorias in Parma (which also doubles as the headquarters for the Verdi Choral Society). This evening we attend a performance of the rarely-staged La battaglia di Legnano at Teatro Magnani in nearby Fidenza.
Tuesday, October 25 Parma
Enjoy the entire day at leisure in Parma. This evening we attend our final performance at the Verdi Festival, the comic Falstaff at Teatro Regio.
Wednesday, October 26 Parma
Today we tour Busseto and the homeland of Giuseppe Verdi. We will see Verdi’s home in Sant’Agata and the charming 400-seat theatre that shares his name. Afterward, we dine at Carlo Bergonzi’s I Due Foscari, directly across from the Teatro, before returning to Parma for an evening at leisure.
Thursday, October 27 Milan
After breakfast, check out and depart by coach for Milan, stopping first at the fortress of Fontanellato, an overlooked jewel not far from Parma. The most important of the castle’s many interesting rooms is the “Diana and Atteone Room” frescoed by Parmigianino between 1523 and 1524 for Galeazzo Sanvitale and his wife, Paola Gonzaga. After this fascinating visit, it is on to Milan where we check in at the Grand Hotel et de Milan, Verdi’s former city residence. Dinner is included at the hotel.
Friday, October 28 Milan
Late morning we embark on a coach tour of Milan, visiting the early medieval church of Sant'Ambrogio with its very rich treasury, the Church of S. Satiro, a jewel of the early Renaissance, the vast and imposing Castello Sforzesco, and the Casa di Riposo, the final resting place of Giuseppe Verdi. We then visit the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie to view da Vinci's The Last Supper. After our tour, we enjoy an unforgettable lunch at Boccondivino, one of our favourite restaurants in Milan. Enjoy another evening at leisure. If a concert comes available, we will attend (details TBA).
Saturday, October 29 Milan
Late morning we visit the La Scala Museum for a guided tour, followed by the spectacular marble Gothic Duomo, after which we enjoy a Farewell Lunch at Alessandro Mooney's L'Ulmet, a hidden gem, and one of the finest we've encountered in Italy. This evening we attend a performance of Rossini’s La donna del Lago at Teatro alla Scala. The stunning cast includes Juan Diego Flórez, Joyce DiDonato and Daniela Barcellona.
Sunday, October 30 Departures
Transfers to the airport are included.