Countries Italy Pesaro Opera Festivals

Pesaro: Rossini, Dukes and the Art of Le Marche

'Give me the laundress' bill and I will set to music even that'. Gioachino Rossini
with
Charles Barber
Having graduated with a Bachelors of Law from the University of Edinburgh, Charles Barber embarked on what became a twenty-year career in the media and publishing business at Butterworths Tolley and The Economist. Charles has a History of Art qualification from Birkbeck, University of London, where he also received his MA in Renaissance Studies. Charles is studying continuity and innovation in Italian Renaissance Art at the Courtauld Institute of Art. His areas of interest include the visual, material and social culture of Northern Italian courts and the art and architecture of Rome from 1500-1700.
What's included...
  • Return flights on British Airways (economy) to Bologna
  • 4 nights in the stunning beachfront, Hotel Excelsior
  • 4 breakfasts, 2 lunches and four dinners (lunch and dinner with wine, water and coffee)
  • Category B tickets to three operas
  • All church, museum & gallery entry tickets
  • The services of your lecturer and tour manager
  • A tour-guide headset system to make hearing the lecturer easier
  • Transport by luxury coach, as the itinerary requires
  • All tips and taxes
Hotel
Hotel Excelsior
Getting about
Participants should be reasonably fit. There is a significant amount of
walking, standing and use of stairs.
At first glance, Pesaro is not the first Italian city that comes to mind for an art history and architecture cultural tour. However, behind the city's golden beaches is a city that demonstrates the best of Renaissance architecture; legacies of the families which ruled Pesaro for centuries. The first was the Sforza, a younger branch of the princely family which ruled Milan. Under Alessandro Sforza, Pesaro was embellished with great art and architecture. Later, Pesaro became the preferred location for the Dukes of Urbino when Francesco della Rovere and his duchess, Eleonora Gonzaga, built their Palazzo Imperiale and gardens. In Pesaro, we will see artworks by Bronzino, Genga, Dosso Dossi and Bellini.

In more recent times, Pesaro was the birthplace of Rossini, the son of musical parents; his first opera was performed in Venice when he was only 18. Two years later, following a spectacular debut of Tancredi, Rossini was catapulted to international stardom. He was a prolific composer writing over 35 operas. This tour coincides with the annual Rossini Festival giving us the opportunity to attend three performances.
Our morning flight arrives in Bologna affording us time to take our coach to Rimini. We visit the Duomo with its extraordinary entrance designed by Leon Battista Alberti. Inside, we discover frescoes by Piero della Francesco and a crucifix by Giotto. After lunch, we drive on to Pesaro where we check-in to the hotel before dining together. Our first Rossini experience is a performance of Ricciardo and Zoraide.
Our morning is spent familiarising ourselves with Pesaro's historic centre. We walk through the Piazza del Popolo where we see the Palazzo Ducale commissioned by Alessandro Sforza. The monolithic Rocca Costanza was built at the request of another Sforza and was later enlarged by Cesare Borgia. In the afternoon, we visit Rossini's house and enjoy a backstage tour of the Rossini teatro. This evening, we attend the performance of Adine.
This morning, we walk to the Villa Ruggeri which is a classic example of art nouveau architecture designed by Guiseppe Brega for the industrialist, Oreste Ruggeri. In the civic, we will see Bellini's Coronation of the Virgin, also known as the Pesaro altarpiece. The afternoon is spent at the Villa Imperiale, built in the 1530s for Duke Francesco Maria della Rovere and richly decorated by artists including Bronzino,  Dosso Dossi, Raffaellino del Colle and Francesco Menzocchi. This evening's opera is the Barber of Seville.
Today, we drive to Urbino which is one of the jewels of the Renaissance. Ruled by the Montefeltre famliy for centuries as the Dukes of Urbino, they built the impressive Palazzo Ducale and drew artists from Italy and beyond to embellish the city. However, Urbino also had its home-grown talent. None more so than the Prince of Painters, Raphael, who was born in the city, whose house you will visit and whose father was the court painter to the Montefeltre. We dine together on our last evening.
After breakfast, we explore the Santa Maria della Grazie where the venerated image of Vergine delle Grazie is how situated having been moved here from the Servite church which was demolished. The image is revered throughout Pesaro. At the Chiesa del Nome Dio, we see a church fully frescoed by a native artist,  Giacomo Pandolfini in the 16thy-century. The rest of the morning is at leisure prior to the coach departing for Bologna and the onward flight to London.
Flights - If you would like to fly BA Club class, please contact us and we will provide a price for the upgrade.

Travel advice - Please refer the Foreign Office's website to make sure you are comfortable with the travel advice they provide for the destination(s) you are visiting. www.fco.gov.uk 

Activity level - Our tours involve a lot of walking, climbing stairs and standing still for periods of time. The historic centres of cities are often uneven and cobbled requiring everyone to be confident walking across them.
with
Charles Barber
Having graduated with a Bachelors of Law from the University of Edinburgh, Charles Barber embarked on what became a twenty-year career in the media and publishing business at Butterworths Tolley and The Economist. Charles has a History of Art qualification from Birkbeck, University of London, where he also received his MA in Renaissance Studies. Charles is studying continuity and innovation in Italian Renaissance Art at the Courtauld Institute of Art. His areas of interest include the visual, material and social culture of Northern Italian courts and the art and architecture of Rome from 1500-1700.
with
Christina Helmsley
Christina Hemsley is a writer and film producer with a background in music, theatre and art. Brought up in London by an Italian mother, Christina studied the piano and singing at Trinity College of Music in Marylebone while still at school. Later, she won a choral scholarship to Trinity College, Cambridge, where she took her degree in English. After graduating, she sang professionally, including in the chorus at The Festival della Valle D'Itria at Martina Franca in Puglia.

Since post-graduate studies at the Motley School of Theatre Design in Drury Lane, she has designed costume, sets and sound for productions in London and Edinburgh. When not working on projects as a freelance television journalist, she continues to perform on the piano, mainly in private house concerts.

Her book of poetry, A Room in the Korean Museum, was published in 2017.
Hotel Excelsior
This stunning 5-star hotel sits on Pesaro's golden beach offering glorious sea-views only a short stroll from the historic centre.
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