Category Archives: Italy

Articles about travel in Italy

Lucca and the Puccini Festival

The Amphitheatre in Lucca

The Amphitheatre in Lucca

Curtain call after Turandot, Torre del Lago

Curtain call after Turandot, Torre del Lago

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

A few Lucca and Torre del Lago practicalities.

Torre del Lago in the evening

Torre del Lago in the evening

Lucca street

Lucca street

Lucca accommodation

You can’t go wrong with Guest Apartment Margherita http://www.guestapartmentmargheritabb.it/indexh.php

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

Villas of the Brenta

Villa Foscari, Malcontenta

Villa Foscari, Malcontenta

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

Palladio’s Vicenza

Palladio's Basilica in Piazza dei Signori, Vicenza

Palladio’s Basilica in Piazza dei Signori, Vicenza

The tower in Piazza dei Signori

The tower in Piazza dei Signori

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

Visiting the Palladio villas around Vicenza

La Rotonda

La Rotonda

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

Mantova- Palaces and Lakes

Arriving in Mantova by train from Verona, you cross a bridge between Lago Superiore and Lago di Mezzo

Arriving in Mantova by train from Verona, you cross a bridge between Lago Superiore and Lago di Mezzo

Mantova has a lot of good and reasonably priced restaurants. You can find many on the walk south from the Palazzo Ducale to Piazza Broletto

Mantova has a lot of good and reasonably priced restaurants. You can find many on the walk south from the Palazzo Ducale to Piazza Broletto

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