Join us as we explore the unique music and culture of this fascinating region while we travel to the vibrant Italian island of Sardinia and the gorgeous French island of Corsica. We will meet some of the best traditional musicians, explore hauntingly beautiful beaches and mountains, and enjoy incredible food and wine as we experience an insiders trip to these relatively unspoiled islands. Our tour begins in the ancient city of Rome and ends in romantic Venice.
As with all of our trips you are encouraged to come early or stay on after the tour — one of the reasons we do not include flights. This trip will have limited attendance due to the unique places we are visiting.
ITINERARY HIGHLIGHTS -- Southern Europe Music Tour 2006
- THURSDAY, September 14 - Optional departure for Rome
(or arrival if you have departed Wednesday)
- FRIDAY 9/15 - Leave USA / or Optional arrival in Rome
- SATURDAY, 9/16 - ROME
- Arrive into Rome. Check into our welcoming ivy covered hotel, the Rafael, located in a secluded cobbled street just steps from the Piazza Navonna The Rafael is one of my favorites in all of Rome not only because of the Picasso pottery in the lobby (!) but it is in one of the best locations in all of Rome, within close walking distance to the Pantheon yet located in an artistic Roman neighborhood. Everything is close walking distance of our hotel. You are free to stroll Rome, enjoying the sights.
Tonight is our sumptuous welcoming dinner on the terrace overlooking the entire city of Rome.
- SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 17 - ROME / CAGLIARI (SARDINIA).
- We take the short flight across the water to the rugged island of Sardinia which is another world away from Rome. Sardinians might speak Italian as well as Sardinian, but they definitely have their own unique, proud culture . We will stay in the island's capitol, Cagliari, in a hotel just steps from the medieval core of the city, where you can stand in the tall Pisan watchtowers and have great views overlooking the harbor below.
- MONDAY 9/18 - CAGLIARI (SARDINIA)
- We take a day trip to the home of Luigi Lai, Sardinia's premier and beloved traditional flute player. Luigi has played with all the greats both here and abroad and is one of Sardinia's greatest music treasures. He also produces a mean homemade wine. On the way back we'll stop for a quick dip in the crystal clear Mediterranean waters of Sardinia.
- TUESDAY 9/19 - SU GOLOGONE (SARDINIA)
- We drive to the mountains and the town of Biti to feast on a "Shepherd's lunch" with Tenores di Biti, who are the greatest exponents of Sardinia's traditional singing. Gather while they sing the amazing and utterly unique harmonies based on the sounds of the mountains.
Tonight we will stay at Su Gologone, a wonderful country hotel in the Supramonte countryside. Dinner is served in the hotel's well known restaurant in front of a hundred year old fireplace or out on the flowered terrace.
- WEDNESDAY 9/20 - SU GOLOGONE (SARDINIA)
- Free day and evening at Su Gologone Country Resort to relax, swim in the stream fed pool or hike on an ancient shepherd's path to the ruins of an ancient nuragic village.
- THURSDAY 9/21 - ALGHERO (SARDINIA)
- We visit the famous winery of Sella & Mosca, Sardinia's most well known winery at the peak of it's harvest time! Tonight we stay in the seaside Catalan town of Alghero.
- FRIDAY, 9/22 - BONAFACIO (CORSICA)
- Travel to Santa Teresa on the northernmost tip of Sardinia where we catch a one hour ferry across to the French island of Corsica. Spend the night in the stunning medieval town of Bonafacio, dramatically perched high on the cliffs overlooking the sea. Evening is free to wander the narrow streets, do a bit of shopping and find a wonderful restaurant for dinner -- remember, we are now in a French country where the food is superb. Yum!
- SATURDAY, 9/23 - SARTENE (CORSICA)
- Drive into the mountains and arrive shortly in Sartene which has been described as "the most Corsican of Corsican towns." Sartene is also the center of Corsica's traditional polyphonic singing. Here we will meet local friends and musicians. Tonight is a concert of some of the best traditional singing in the country.
- SUNDAY 9/24 - SARTENE (CORSICA)
- Free day ... visit nearby megalithic sites or have lunch or dinner in the gardens of one of the best restaurants in all of Corsica, Auberge Santa Barbara.
- MONDAY 9/25 - CALVI (CORSICA)
- Drive north past Ajachio, birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte, to Piana, a place of incredible natural beauty. Here lie the most magnificent rock formations called Les Calenques. I would best describe this area as Utah meets Big Sur as it is some of the most breathtaking scenery ever! After lunch, a hike and lots of picture taking, we continue onto the capital of the Balagne region, Calvi, with it's thriving cafe culture.
- TUESDAY 9/26 - CALVI (CORSICA)
- Free day in Calvi. We will visit Pigna, a tiny (pop. 200) artisan village in the hills overlooking the coastline. We'll dine at the unique restaurant Casa Musicale that is known for traditional Corsican music nights.
- WEDNESDAY 9/27 - BASTIA (CORSICA)
- We drive to Bastia in the northernmost part of Corsica and board the ferry that will take us to mainland Italy where we spend the night en route to Venice.
- THURSDAY, 9/28 - VENICE (ITALY)
- Arrive in Venice! There is a reason we leave this for last -- Venice is absolutely one of the most unique and romantic cities in Europe. It is true -- there are no cars. Our four star hotel was hand picked for its suberb location (and friendly atmosphere) right in the heart of Venice, just off San Marco Square. Everything is just a short walk or gondola ride away! Optional opportunity to go to the ballet at Theatre La Fenice in Venice tonight. Tickets (€60 each) are limited and hard to get so let us know early if you want to go.
- FRIDAY 9/29 - VENICE (ITALY)
- You can book an optional trip to Murano Island to visit the glass factory to see the famous Murano Venetian glass. I have done this myself and now have a wonderful collection of glassware that they shipped to my home. I recently found knockoffs at Pier One, but nothing like having the originals -- or at least knowing where the inspiration came from!
This afternoon we've been invited to the home of a well known Venetian artist at her canalside home in a neighborhood the tourists often miss. We'll enjoy drinks and Venetian music in the garden and visit her art studio. Afterwards we stroll along the canals for our farewell dinner at one of my favorite restaurants in this part of Venice -- frequented by locals, artists and those in the know.
- SATURDAY, 9/30 - VENICE (ITALY)
- Tour officially ends after breakfast.
It is also possible to extend your stay here in Venice. If this is your first time to Venice and you have the time we encourage you spend an extra night or two.
If you fly home from Venice you can arrange for a water taxi to take you straight to the airport. If you are travelling elsewhere after the tour there is an excellent train system in Italy and you can leave from the Venice train station to just about anywhere on the continent.
* All breakfasts
* All hotels in Italy, Sardinia & Corsica
* All transportation, internal flights, boats & ferries
* Welcoming dinner in Rome
* Lunch in Sardinia with Luigi Lai
* Shepherd's lunch with Tenores di Biti
* Dinner at Su Gologone
* Concert in Sartene
* Winery tour
* Lunch in Piana, Corsica
* Dinner in Pigna with traditional Corsican Music
* Afternoon drinks and artists' reception in Venice
* Farewell dinner in Venice
* ...And lots more!
Your trip money also goes to support traditional musicians that we meet in Sardinia and Corsica.
This tour is Land Package only so you are responsible for your flights to and from Italy and transfers to and from the airport. The tour meets at our hotel in Rome on September 16 and ends in Venice. If you come in early or leave later (both of which are encouraged) we can arrange for extra nights at our hotel.
Drinks are at your own expense except where noted.
Tickets to Ballet in Venice are €60 -- a limited number of tickets are available so let us know early if interested.
For more information email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone us at 310 454 4080.
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