Having been to an opera in the Verona Arena the previous year, I was keen to go this year to the Puccini Festival, which takes place every year in Torre del Lago, where the composer lived for much of his life. I based myself in Lucca, where Puccini was born. There are many Puccini related sights in Lucca, including his birthplace, and an exhibition of costumes from his operas at the Giglio Theatre. The town also has several impressive churches including the cathedral, San Frediano and the St Michael church, with its beautiful façade. Continue reading
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Puccini Festival tickets
These can be booked online via www.puccinifestival.it . You don’t get an e ticket- you must print the payment receipt and exchange it for a ticket in Torre del Lago.
Transport to and from the opera
I looked into several possibilities for where to base myself to get to the opera and back afterwards. Continue reading
Venice is, of course, one of the world’s great cities and I’ve visited it several times. It can be attractive at all times of the year. Continue reading
San Francesco del Deserto is open from 09.00-11.00 and 15.00-17.00 Tuesday-Saturday, 15.00-17.00 on Sundays and is closed on Mondays. Continue reading
Between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, many of Venice’s wealthy families acquired land on the banks of the river Brenta, which flows from Trentino and joins the sea near to the Venetian lagoon. There are around a hundred villas, a few of which are open to the public.
Two of the most impressive are Palladio’s Villa Foscari at Malcontenta, and the large eighteenth century Villa Pisani at Stra. Continue reading
There are various ways of approaching the villas, and you can base yourself in Padova, Venice, Malcontenta or other places on the Venice-Padova route. Continue reading
Vicenza appeals from the moment you step off the train. When you walk out of the station, your first experience is to cross a pleasant green park which separates the station from the historic centre. I arrived in the early evening, and checked into Hotel Campo Marzio (www.campomarzio.com ), just across the park about 5- 10 minutes walk from the station, and about 3 minutes walk from the start of Corso Palladio, the main road which runs through the historic centre. Continue reading
It’s good to plan on being in Vicenza on a Saturday or a Wednesday between mid March and the end of November, because then you can visit the interior of both the main Palladio villas on the outskirts of Vicenza- Valmarana and La Rotonda, With careful planning, the villas can be combined with the Basilica of Monte Berico. Continue reading
Like Romeo, I left Verona, for Mantova. In a way I was continuing the operatic theme too, as Mantova is the setting for Verdi’s opera Rigoletto. Continue reading
The Palazzo Ducale, is open Tues-Sun 08.15-19.15 (last admission 18.20). Continue reading