Thursday 6 September, 2018
Today we board our flight to Milan, Italy.
Friday 7 September, 2018
Upon arrival in Milan we have a sightseeing tour of this beautiful city. We see the famous Duomo di Milano, the fifth largest Cathedral in the world, and the largest in Italy. It was built in the Gothic style and took almost six centuries to complete. Milan is an ancient city with origins in the 6th Century B.C. For approximately 200 years, it was the seat of the Roman Empire. We will visit the spectacular Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. This 19th Century arcade boasts two glass-vaulted arcades and a glass dome, in the style of the period. There will be time for lunch before visiting the fascinating medieval Sforza Castle built by Francesco Sforza, the Duke of Milan in the 15th Century. We will check into our hotel mid-afternoon. There will be a special welcome to the group and opening workshop with Tania and Andrew.
Saturday 8 September, 2018
We begin the day with a back stage tour of the Teatro alla Scala, Milan’s premier Opera house. We visit the Theatre Museum to explore its vast collections, the Livia Simoni library and look out over the auditorium. Our “behind-the-scenes” experience will take us on to the celebrated La Scala stage, into the famous royal box, into gold boxes and into the recently restored auditorium to uncover the hidden gems of La Scala, the prompter’s box, the impressive chandelier, the new fly tower, and other areas of interest. We continue with a visit to the fascinating Ansaldo Workshops, where specialist production artists design and create the staging, costumes, wigs and everything else that you’ll see on stage in our opera and ballet performances. This evening we plan to attend tonight’s performance at La Scala (subject to scheduling).
Sunday 9 September, 2018
Today is a free day – perhaps climb the roof of the Duomo or do some shopping in the fashion capital of Italy. This evening we will have a special dinner on board the ATMosfera tram restaurant. Departing from near Piazza Duomo, the ATM travels the streets of Milan on a special itinerary where the pleasure of the palate combines with the beauty of travelling in the heart of Milan.
Monday 10 September, 2018
This morning we will travel north to the Italian Lakes district and the town of Stresa on the shores of beautiful Lake Maggiore, which will be our base for the next three nights. Upon arrival we will check in to our hotel. The afternoon will be free to wander around the picturesque village or relax at the hotel.
Tuesday 11 September, 2018
Today we will take a boat to Isola Bella, the most spectacular of the Borromean Islands. On the island, we will see the Palace, built in the Lombard baroque-style, with its staterooms including Napoleon’s room, the Hall of Mirrors, music room and more. The gardens, filled with ornamental fountains and statues, are undoubtedly one of the most dramatic examples of 17th-century gardens in Italy. We then visit the equally impressive Isloa Madre, known for its peaceful gardens and its renaissance villa. We return to Stresa in the afternoon. Andrew and Tania will lead a Voices of Yoga workshop.
Wednesday 12 September, 2018
Today we travel to beautiful Lake Como. We will visit Villa Carlotta, known for its beautiful setting and spectacular gardens. It was built in 1745 and later given as a wedding present to Carlotta, Duchess of Saxe-Meiningen. We will take the ferry across the lake to the lovely town of Bellagio. Occupying a magnificent site on the promontory dividing Lake Lecco from Lake Como, Bellagio is known for its pretty streets, villas and gardens. There will be free time to visit the semi-classical Villa Melzi, known for its splendid gardens, on the shore of the lake. We return to Stresa for a free evening.
Thursday 13 September, 2018
We continue our journey to our next stop Verona. Along the way we will stop in Bergamo, one of the principle towns in Lombardy. It has a strong artistic heritage and the old upper town is quiet, picturesque and evocative of the past. It has many delightful old cake shops filled with the local speciality. We will arrive into Verona late afternoon.
Friday 14 September, 2018
This morning we have a sightseeing tour of Verona, renowned for its summer opera season, and for the setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet. We will see the Amphitheatre built by the Romans in the 1st century AD and the famous balcony where Romeo visited Juliet. This evening we will attend a performance at the Arena di Verona (subject to scheduling).
Saturday 15 September, 2018
Today we transfer from Verona to Florence. We will stop in Modena for a visit to Casa Museo Luciano Pavarotti. Pavarotti’s residence was completed in 2005. The villa (and riding school) was designed by Pavarotti himself, in his unique style. The house includes personal items, costumes, pictures and awards in a career of over forty years in opera houses around the world. We continue on to Florence. This evening we attend a special opera performance at St Mark’s English Church (subject to scheduling).
Sunday 16 September, 2018
Home of Michelangelo and the Medici family, Florence was the cradle of the Italian Renaissance. This morning we have a walking tour of Florence. During our walking tour we see the Duomo, one of the largest cathedrals in the Christian world. Together with Brunelleschi’s wonderful dome, we see the Campanile and the Baptistry. We also wander through the Piazza della Signoria, with the Loggia della Signoria, the Palazzo Vecchio and, nearby, the Ponte Vecchio over the Arno River. This afternoon we visit the famous Uffizi Gallery a treasure trove of renaissance art. This evening will include a dinner and special performance by Tania de Jong.
Monday 17 September, 2018
A day of leisure today to explore the shops, markets and sights of Florence including but not limited to a photo at Piazzale Michelangelo, visit the Medici Palace, paying your respects at the many famous graves and tombs or people-watching in the Piazza della Signoria.
Tuesday 18 September, 2018
We travel through the Tuscan countryside to the town of San Gimignano, known as the “City of Beautiful Towers”, a classic medieval walled hill-town, famous for its architecture and its 14 surviving towers creating a beautiful skyline visible from the surrounding countryside. We continue onto Siena best known for the famous Palio horse race held in the magnificent Piazza del Campo. Siena is also home to the oldest bank in the world, a spectacular town hall and majestic cathedral. A local guide will introduce us to the sights of the city, including the Piazza del Campo, with its splendid civic tower and the enormous, partially completed Duomo. We will arrive into Spoleto late afternoon.
Wednesday 19 September, 2018
This morning we have a guided tour, which will take us to Spoleto’s Roman amphitheatre, the arch dating from 23AD, the recently restored cathedral and the fortress that soars above the ancient aqueduct. The afternoon is free to relax and enjoy the town of Spoleto. There will be an opportunity for an early evening chant and yoga workshop with Tania and Andrew.
Thursday 20 September, 2018
This morning we will visit the Clitunno truffle workshop, just outside of Spoleto, and see how the area’s elusive black summer truffles are grown. We will then visit the small, unspoilt hill town of Bevagna. Here we will visit a papermaker, housed in the remains of the Roman amphitheatre, who still uses traditional methods to make paper. We then travel to the picturesque medieval hill town of Todi. We will be the guest of an Italian count and visit his villa, which was home to Jacopone da Todi, the medieval poet. The Count will guide us through his home and give us an insight into the life of an Italian aristocrat in the modern world. We will come together as a group for a final farewell and workshop with Tania and Andrew.
Friday 21 September, 2018
We will be transferred to Rome Airport, where we will board our flights to Australia.
Saturday 22 September, 2018
The group arrives in Australia and tour arrangements conclude.