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April 8-20, 2024

Price per person




Single Supplement


Balance due by

January 8


An exclusive opportunity for Patrons of Sarasota Opera, hosted by Maestro Victor DeRenzi and General Director Richard Russell and managed by Aria Tours President David Merritt.

Rome, the Eternal City, is a living postcard reflecting Italy’s cultural, religious and historical identity. We spend four magical days and nights here and drink it to the lees, with La sonnambula at Teatro dell'Opera and a concert by the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia featuring violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja. Our 5-star hotel in Rome is the Bernini Bristol, a completely refurbished statement of élan in an ideal location on the Piazza Barberini. Our touring here will be a survey of the city’s essential historic sites, featuring a private tour of the Sistine Chapel and some of the finest works of art in Italy.

In Naples, we stay in the city’s best hotel, The Vesuvio, where the great Enrico Caruso died on August 2, 1921 at the age of 48. The hotel overlooks the Gulf of Naples, with Mount Vesuvius providing an unforgettable backdrop. Our touring here takes in the best art and antiquities in the city, including a visit to Pompeii. Speaking of unforgettable, our performance at the glorious Teatro di San Carlo will be Ponchielli's La Gioconda, with a cast for the ages: Jonas Kaufmann, Ludovic Tézier, Anna Netrebko and Anita Rachvelishvili.

In Palermo, we explore the vibrant history of the city, including private functions and a daytrip to Monreale, and we sample some of Sicily's renowned cuisine. We enjoy top-catgeory seats for a performance of Bizet's The Pearl Fishers at the regal Teatro Massimo, and our hotel is the recently-refurbished 5-star Grand Hotel et des Palmes.

Join Executive Director Richard Russell and Cavaliere dell'ordine della Stella d'Italia—Maestro Victor DeRenzi—for an unforgettable exploration of Southern Italy.

Click here to register.


Monday, April 8

Independant departures on overnight flights to Rome. Flights should be booked to arrive at Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport (FCO) on April 9.

Tuesday, April 9

Arrive in Rome where you are met and chauffered to the 5-star Hotel Bernini Bristol on the Piazza Barberini.

19.00 Once settled in your luxurious room, we meet for a welcome dinner at the hotel.

Wednesday, April 10

09.30 Gather in the lobby and depart for a private tour of the city highlights (Piazza Barberini, Trevi Fountain, Piazza della Repubblica, Caracalla Baths, Circo Massimo, the Arch of Constantine, Colosseum, Via dei Fori Imperiali, Piazza Venezia and Sant’Andrea della Valle  (the Tosca church).

12.30 Lunch is included.

14.30 We then enjoy a very special tour at the Palazzo Farnese, one of the most beautiful and important buildings in Rome. Once known as one of the “four wonders of Rome”, it is an architectural jewel housing an extraordinary collection of works of art. The Palace was commissioned in 1513 by Alexander Farnese (1468-1549), who was subsequently elected Pope under the name of Paul III. Completed in 1589, it was built under the direction of four great architects: Sangallo the Young, Michelangelo, Vignola and Giacomo Della Porta

Among the masterpieces of Palazzo Farnese that you will be able to admire during the guided tour, the famous Carracci Gallery stands out. Carried out between 1597 and 1608 by the Carracci brothers, Annibal and Augustin, the 20-meter long gallery of arches decorated with frescoes displays mythological subjects from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Through optical games and perspectives, the frescoes combine painting, sculpture and architecture in a triumph of light, shapes and colours that have been enchanting and fascinating those who walked through the Gallery in the last four-hundred years. The Gallery of the Farnese Palace, decorated mainly by Hannibal, is today still considered his masterpiece and represents the most perfect conclusion of a century and a half of pictorial innovations in Europe before the birth of the great artistic movements of the Seventeenth Century. Among the other masterpieces housed in the Farnese Palace, the Salon of Hercules with the tapestries woven in the seventeenth century, the sarcophagi decorated with mythological scenes and topped with sculptures of Roman warships, the Murano Gallery and the stunning Camerino (Fitting Room) also frescoed by Annibale Carracci. The Farnese Palace has housed the French Embassy since 1874 and the Ecole française de Rome, a research institute and library, since 1875.

16.00 Return to the hotel.

19.30 Transfer to Parco della Musica for a recital by pianist Alexandre Kantorov (20.30 start). 

Brahms - Rhapsody op. 79 n. 1 

Liszt - Transcendental Étude n.12 by    - Années de Pélerinage : 1e année: Suisse S.160 – 6. Vallée d’Obermann

Bartók - Rhapsody op. 1 

Rachmaninov - Sonata n. 1 op. 28

Thursday, April 11

06.15 Today we have a very early start, but completely worth it, as we have a private tour of the Vatican, including the Pio-Clementino Museum, Upper Galleries, the Raphael Rooms and the Sistine Chapel. If you think the Sistine Chapel is magical, wait until you experience it in the early hours, before the doors open to the public and it becomes a sardine can. Our tour ends with breakfast in the Vatican's Pinecone Courtyard. A truly undofgettable morning.

10.30 We then enjoy a guided tour of the tranquil Villa Medici, with stunning views of the city.

12.30 Back to the hotel for a well-earned nap!

17.00 Transfer to private dinner at Ai Piani before our second concert at Parco della Musica: the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, conducted by Maxime Pascal and featuring violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja.

Ravel - Alborada del gracioso & Bolero 

Debussy - Ibéria

Friday, April 12

10.00 Gather in the lobby and depart for our final touring in Rome: the Pantheon, Piazza Montecitorio, San Luigi dei Francesi (Caravaggio’s St. Matthew paintings), Piazza Navona, Piazza di Spagna, Trinità dei Monti.

13.00 Lunch is at leisure.

17.30 Depart for a special dinner at La Matriciana before La Sonnambula (Lisette Oropesa) at Teatro Costanzi (20.00 curtain).

Saturday, April 13

08.30 Baggage pick up. Please have your bags waiting inside your door, with your last name clearly marked. Keep any belongings that you will need for the day. Your bags will be loaded and driven directly to our hotel in Naples.

09.20 Transfer to Termini Station; 10.20 departure for Naples; 1 h. 10 m.

11.30 Arrival in Naples and transfer to the superb Museo Archeologico for a guided tour.

14.00 Pizza for lunch at Gorizia (1916) in Vomero.

16.00 Check in at the Grand Hotel Vesuvio.

19.15 Transfer to Teatro di San Carlo for a performance of La Gioconda featuring a star-studded cast (Jonas Kaufmann, Ludovic Tézier, Anna Netrebko, Anita Rachvelishvili. 20.00 curtain).

Sunday, April 14

10.00 Gather in the lobby and depart for a private tour focussing on Caravaggio and the Baroque (Il Gesù Nuovo, Cappella Sansevero, Pio Monte della Misericordia, San Lorenzo Maggiore, Santa Chiara).

19.00 Following an afternoon at leisure, we meet and make the short walk to dinner at Il Ristorantino dell'Avvocato.

Monday, April 15

09.30 Baggage pick up. Please have your bags waiting inside your door, with your last name clearly marked. Keep any belongings that you will need for the day. Your bags will be loaded directly onto our ferry bound for Palermo.

10.00 Before our overnight ferry to Palermo, we spend the day touring Ercolano, much better preserved than Pompeii and, like it, destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvius on August 24, AD79. We also enjoy a wonderful lunch and sample the delicious local wines the benefit from the area's volcanic soil. We then return to Napoli for our overnight ferry (20.00) to Palermo. We will have exterior, seaview cabins.

Tuesday, April 16

07.30 We arrive in Palermo and enjoy a leisurely breakfast at the hotel, where our bags are stored until rooms are ready.

10.00 Meet our guide and partake in a walking tour of historic Palermo: the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, Palazzo dei Normanni, and the Capo Market, a large, open-air street market that captures the flavor of Palermo's Saracen Arab past.

19.00 Tonight we enjoy a special private dinner in a palace near the hotel.

Wednesday, April 17

10.00 Today we tour to Cefalù, a charming coastal town with a massive Norman

cathedral containing important mosaics and paintings.

13.30 A light lunch is included, after which we return to

Palermo where the rest of the afternoon is at leisure.

18.45 Meet in the lobby and take a short walk to the Oratorio di San Lorenzo for a private chamber music concert.

20.00 We enjoy an unforgettable dinner tonight in the lovely home of a local host.

Thursday, April 18

10.00 This morning we enjoy private visits of the Cappella Palatina, Palazzo Gangi (made famous in the film “Il Gattopardo”) and San Giovanni degli Eremiti Church.

13.00 Lunch is included

18.00 We make the short walk (7 minutes) to Teatro Massimo for a performance of Bizet's The Pearl Fishers. 18.30 curtain.

Friday, April 19

Enjoy the full day at leisure in Palermo.

17.00 We transfer to Monreale to visit the marvelous cloister and then the Cathedral, with a private organ concert (10 minutes).

20.00 After the tour, we enjoy a Gala Farewell Dinner at Villa Tasca.

Saturday, April 20

Transfers to the airport are included.



  • Top Category seats for 3 operas and 3 concerts

  • 11 nights in Deluxe accommodation (4 at the 5-star Bernini Bristol in Rome, 2 at the 5-star Grand Hotel Vesuvio in Naples, 1 overnight in a seaview cabin on the ferry to Palermo, 4 at the 5-star Grand Hotel et des palmes in Palermo)

  • Full breakfast plus 12 additional meals 

  • Private tours as listed

  • Airport-hotel transfers 

  • On-site Tour Direction

  • Comprehensive Tour Guidebook


Flights are not included in tour pricing. Flights should be booked to arrive in Rome (FCO) on April 9, 2024, with departure from Palermo (PMO) on April 20.


We provide airport/rail station—hotel transfers for arrivals and departures within 3 days of the start/end of our tour. We also provide transfers for group meals and performances that are beyond a 10 minute walk.


There is minimal walking with some stairs and cobblestones during the guided tours. As for all of our tours, we are happy to accommodate you regardless of your mobility level. Please make clear your mobility concerns at the time of registration. We provide transfers for group meals and performances that are beyond a 10 minute walk.


We strongly recommend that all tour members purchase cancellation insurance upon registration. We can assist you with this, though you are welcome to purchase a policy at your own discretion. For more information about our travel insurance, click here.

David Merritt

Your Tour Director

David Merritt

David Merritt is the owner and founder of Aria Tours and has been leading opera groups around the globe for nearly 25 years.

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