MARTINA FRANCA FESTIVAL della VALLE D'ITRIA
The little visited Puglia region and the enchanting town of Martina Franca is the setting for one of Italy’s lesser known yet highly regarded summer music festivals, the Festival della Valle d’Itria. Established in 1975 and under the auspices of Maestro Fabio Luisi, Artistic Director Alberto Triola and Festival President Franco Punzi, it specializes in rarely performed and neglected works as well as more standard operas presented in their original forms. The 2017 season is now announced and our dates will capture the best of the brief festival, including the core of its repertory, with ve operas and one concert. 2016 was the first year that Act 1 Tours attended the festival and found the quality of the musical and vocal o erings to be extremely high and presented in delightful settings.
This beguilingly picturesque area with limestone buildings, rustic walls and unique “trulli” conical edifices that date from the 16th century is captivating. We will immerse in Puglia’s extraordinarily rich heritage.
The regional cuisine is based on robust flavors, fresh local produce and wonderful sh with wines designed to pair together perfectly – the true Mediterranean diet.
Our hotel choice in Martina Franca is the Relais Villa San Martino, set in its own expansive grounds to the south of town, just off the road to Taranto. Built upon the foundations of an ancient masseria (forti ed farmhouse) the accommodation offers comfort and seclusion, with Ristorante Duca di Martina providing a consistently new level of regional cuisine (www.relaisvillasanmartino.com). The large outdoor pool setting is lovely, spa services are first rate and outdoor patio dining is available from mid-morning through to late supper.
Please note that this program can be complemented by a pre-tour or extension in some other part of Italy and we can advise on arrangements if requested. Rome: Opera di Roma Caracalla; Naples: Ravello Festival or Opera Festival Arena di Verona.
Please note that this program can be complemented by a pre-tour or extension in some other part of Italy and we can advise on arrangements if requested. Rome: Opera di Roma Caracalla, Naples, Ravello Festival or Opera Festival Arena di Verona.
Tuesday, July 25
Independent departure from North America.
Wednesday, July 26
Travel to Bari airport (BRI), www.bari-airport.com/airlines either from an overnight flight, or, if already in Europe, a morning flight in from a European airport. Arrangements will be made to travel by vehicle from Bari to the Relais Villa San Martino, either by group or individually, allowing approximately ninety minutes for the transfer.
Settle in and meet in the early evening for a welcome reception with aperitivi and canapés, followed by dinner in the hotel’s excellent Duca di Martina. The evening includes a private show with local artists featuring music, song and the tarantella, a lively folk dance unique to this part of Italy.
Thursday, July 27
After breakfast (included daily) we meet Alessandro Perrone, our local Puglia guide with whom we explore Martina Franca’s city center, featuring quiet squares, baroque style palaces and churches, and including a visit to the sumptuous Ducal Palace, one of the Festival performance sites. We continue to Locorotondo, reputed to be one of the prettiest towns in Italy, with its labyrinth of alleys, white limestone houses and unique rooftops, known as cummerse.
We explore a little before lunch at Bina Ristorante, sampling some of the exceptional local food and wines before returning to the hotel for relaxation. After a light meal taken independently on the terrace or poolside or in the bar we return to Martina Franca for a performance of Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi in the beautiful courtyard of the Cloisters of San Domenico.
Friday, July 28
Today we broaden our sights and travel with Alessandro to the village of Alberobello, a UNESCO World Heritage site, where we learn the history and signi cance of the unique trulli structures. Personal time will be included to wander through the charming streets before moving on to Noci, an authentic hamlet where, time permitting, we visit the workshop of a shoemaker and taste the gourmet panino of Marino, famously among the very best panini in Italy.
We return to the hotel by mid-afternoon to relax before transferring to a nearby local Masseria where the festival performance of Le donne vendicate (The Women Avenged) by Niccoló Piccinni will be presented. Pre-performance dinner at the Masseria.
Saturday, July 29
After breakfast we gather to leave for a day in Bari with Alessandro. Bari’s Old Town includes the Murat district (new town built in 1813), Basilica San Nicola, Cattedrale di San Sabino, the Swabian Castle, the old port and more. We see Arco Alte and Arco Basso where women make orecchiette pasta. Lunch today is at Ristorante Biancofiore, with amazing fresh grilled seafood and wines to match.
We return to the Relais with time to relax and enjoy independent dinner at the hotel or in Martina Franca before attending Meyerbeer’s melodrama, Margherita D’Anjou at the Ducal Palace.
Sunday, July 30
The day is fully independent, with the option to relax around the pool, indulge in the spa or go in to Martina Franca for private sightseeing and lunch. Alternatively join Alessandro for an optional visit to Polignano al Mare to explore the tiny old town, beautiful squares and breathtaking views of the Adriatic.
Regroup in the early evening for Alessandro’s specially arranged private reception and short recital on the rooftop of St. Augustine’s Monastery followed by Verdi’s comic opera Un Giorno di Regno at the Ducal Palace.
Monday, July 31
Our nal excursion in the region is to Lecce, sometimes referred to as “the Florence of the South” due to the city’s abundance of architectural gems and culture and our time there will include the Roman Amphitheatre, Basilica di Santa Croce, the stunning Duomo square, the ancient city gates, Jewish Museum and some of the notable palaces and churches.
Time permitting, we will stop at an artisan workshop and see the world famous papier mâché in production. Lunch will be at one of Lecce’s best, Ristorante Blunotte. We return in the late afternoon and later return to the Ducal Palace for Vivaldi’s Orlando furioso.
Tuesday, August 1
Today is set aside for local individual pursuits: a morning in town, a leisurely lunch, a short excursion or a quiet reading day at the Relais. Tonight we gather for our celebratory farewell dinner and one of the highlights of the festival: a Bel Canto Concert in the Ducal Palace.
Wednesday, August 2
7:00am Group coach departure for Bari airport and rail station, timed for mid-morning ight departures that will connect with transatlantic ights from the major airports, although earlier or later departures by local taxi may be arranged independently.
- Seven nights Relais Villa San Martino (Junior Suites for doubles and Deluxe Doubles for singles)
- Breakfast each day
- Six Festival performances with best category seating
- Welcome dinner and show
- Private reception and recital
- Six lunches/dinners
- Full guided sightseeing as described, with all entrances
- Private air-conditioned coach throughout
- Group transfers from/to Bari (BRI) airport
- Local guide four days
- Act 1 Tours’ principal throughout
Airfares not included*
$5,250 per person with double occupancy
$5,550 per person with single occupancy
Junior Suites for doubles and Deluxe Doubles for singles
$1,750 per person deposit at time of registration. Tour balance due by May 25, 2017.
Trip insurance is strongly advised and can be arranged through Act 1 Tours. Certain policies waive pre-existing medical conditions if purchased within 15 days of making the initial deposit.
See registration form for deposit, payment, cancellation and insurance details.