Tuscany Handbell Experience

Typical Itinerary

Day

1

Benvenuti!
rehearsal

Everyone convenes at the charming Hotel Ilaria (located in the historic center of Lucca) for check in.  There will be a Welcome Reception at 3:00 pm.  We’ll set up our rehearsal space and have a short rehearsal, then enjoy our first group dinner at a local restaurant. After dinner, we’ll dig in for more music or just take an evening stroll and hang out.

Day

2

The Walled City
rehearsal

Sunday is a full day of rehearsal for the group, but there will still be opportunities to explore Lucca. Grab lunch on your own and meet the group for a historical walking tour of the city.  We’ll learn more about Lucca’s place in Tuscan history and more about Italy overall.  There will be time for sectionals in the afternoon.  Dinner at a local restaurant will continue your understanding of your beautiful host country.

Day

3

Becoming a Local
rehearsal

Sunday is a full day of rehearsal for the group, but there will still be opportunities to explore Lucca. Grab lunch on your own and meet the group for a historical walking tour of the city.  We’ll learn more about Lucca’s place in Tuscan history and more about Italy overall.  There will be time for sectionals in the afternoon.  Dinner at a local restaurant will continue your understanding of your beautiful host country.

Day

4

A Taste of Italy
concert: Lucca

Tuesday morning, we’ll head to the International Academy of Italian Cuisine where Chef Giancarlo will be waiting for us.  Together we’ll prepare the perfect Tuscan lunch AND then we get to eat it!  Learn why Italian food is so popular all over the world.  After lunch, we’ll reconvene for rehearsals and then, after dinner on your own, hold our dress rehearsal for our concerts.

Day

5

The Old and the New
concert: Viareggio

Eat a light breakfast today!  First, we’ll visit the Piaggio museum and factory to learn more about the Italians’ most famous form of transportation:  the Vespa.  For lunch, we dine at our favorite Ristorante David where the food is amazing and abbondante!  In the afternoon, we’ll visit Livorno, known for its port, canals and its post-war reconstruction, a juxtaposition of old and new.  Then we’re off to our concert venue, a beautiful church in seaside Viareggio.

Day

6

Wine Country
concert: Vinci

One of our most popular activities is a visit to a regional winemaker where we will enjoy a tour of the facility and a fantastic wine-pairing lunch. In the afternoon, we will make a stop in Greve, the center of the Chianti region.  After, it’s a drive through the most beautiful countryside in the world on our way to Vinci.  We’ll have time for a light dinner before our concert and we are usually invited for a small reception after. 

Day

7

Green Thumbs Up
concert: Gavinana

This year, we will visit the heart of the Italian nursery industry.  Pistoia is not only home to a beautiful downtown with famous terracotta tiling and an classic campanile and baptistery, but also has the weather to grow anything from bonsai to full-size topiary.  From Abelia to Ziziphus, we’ll see how the Italians make their gardens grow. Up the hill, we’ll play right after mass in Gavinana and then head to dinner nearby.

Day

8

The Magic Olive
concert: Lucca

During the day, we’ll visit a local frantoio (or mill) where they produce Tuscany’s liquid gold: olive oil.  Learn about its making and come to appreciate the subtle and not-so-subtle aspects of the endless varieties. We’ll culminate our week of concerts Saturday evening in Lucca, bringing together all of our musical efforts in a fantastic presentation at the cathedral of San Michele.

Day

9

Arrivederci!
relax

After breakfast on Sunday, we’ll pack up our stuff and head out.  We’ll get everyone off to airports and train stations as necessary and bid farewell to our lovely Tuscan locale.   Alla prossima!