Italy is home to some of the world’s most beloved musicians and composers – Verdi, Puccini and Vivaldi to name a few. Opera was first performed in Florence in the late 16th century, and some of today’s most beloved music dates back hundreds of years. The spirit of opera is still alive and revered, as is evidenced by the thousands of people who travel to Italy every year for one of its fantastic music festivals.
If you’re interested in live performances of music in Italy during your visit, you’ll find a festival almost any time of the year, though most take place during the summer months. Here are a few of our recommendations, conveniently located near several Italy Perfect vacation properties.
Music in Italy: Summer
Summer Opera Season in Rome: The opera season in Rome lasts from January through November, but in June through August, the performances move outdoors to the Roman Terme di Caracalla – the ancient Roman Baths. This stunning location – able to seat up to 20,000 guests! – has been hosting summer opera performances since 1937.
Verona Opera Festival: Italy’s most famous opera festival has taken place in Verona each summer for nearly 100 years. As the most famous festival, it appropriately hosts some of the most famous operas: Aida, La Traviata, Il Trovatore, Carmen, and more. The setting couldn’t be more beautiful: an ancient Roman amphitheater located directly in the center of the city (it claims to be the largest open-air opera theater in the world). Schedules and tickets are easily found online.
Where to stay: Venice is an easy 1 hour 10 minute train ride from Verona. There are a number of Italy Perfect properties in Venice that are perfect for traveling parties of all sizes.
Puccini Festival: Another popular summer event is the Puccini Festival in Torre del Lago. Giacomo Puccini is the composer known for the beloved operas La Boheme, Tosca, Turandot and Madama Butterfly. Towards the end of his life, Puccini spent most of his time in Torre del Lago, and today visitors can pay their respects at the Villa Museo Puccini, his former home, and the chapel in the Villa Puccini, where he is buried. The festival performances take place at a 3,400-seat open-air theater in July and August, and tickets can easily be purchased online in advance.
Where to stay: Florence would be a great home base for exploring this region of Italy. Try something like the Santa Croce Mimi apartment (with a stunning view!), or, if you plan to do several day trips, or the lovely Giovanna apartment that is located within walking distance of the main train station in Florence.
Music in Italy: Fall
Festival Verdi: In September and October, Parma hosts a popular event celebrating music in Italy: the Festival Verdi. In 2018 this festival was designated Best Festival in the World at the International Opera Awards. More than 50% of the festival attendants are visiting from outside of Italy, from all over the world. Performances take place in the Teatro Regio di Parma, the design of which was inspired by Parisian architecture.
Where to stay: The beautiful Ambra villa sleeps up to 14 and has its own private pool. It’s perfectly located to explore all that Parma has to offer.
Music in Italy: Winter
Umbria Winter Jazz Festival: Visiting Italy in the quieter seasons? Never fear – there is still music in Italy during the cooler months! The most popular music event is the Umbria Winter Jazz Festival, which takes place in Orvieto starting in December. This is the sister of the Umbria Jazz Festival that takes place in July every year, and it’s a lovely way to ring in the new year. Events are held over five days, and some of the performances are even free to attend. Schedules and tickets can be found online in advance.
La Fenice in Venice: La Fenice opera house (translation: The Phoenix) opened in 1792 and has survived two fires. Its biggest and most popular performance takes place every year on New Year’s Eve. If you love or are at least interested in opera, but aren’t sure you want to attend a whole festival, then seeing one really great performance might be a great option for you! La Fenice offers music most of the year.
Florence: If you don’t happen to be in Italy during these specific festivals, there is music all year round. Take for instance the Santa Felicita church in Florence. Enjoy baroque music performed with original historic instruments. In fact, we named our Felicita apartment after the historic church. There are many opportunities for concerts in small settings such as the chance to listen to an Italian opera in Santa Monaca Church combined with a dining experience. Stay in the very apartment where the opera style of music was developed by a collaboration of humanists in the 1590s.
A few last words on music in Italy before you go: it’s customary to dress up for these performances and they are quite popular, so we recommend booking tickets in advance. Tickets and schedules can easily be found on each of the festival and venue websites. And to make sure you secure an Italy Perfect property near the festival[s] of your choice, check out our selection of villas and and apartments. Contact us at [email protected] or 1-888-308-6123 if we can help you book your trip!