If there’s anything Stanley Tucci’s latest food and travel show, Searching for Italy teaches us, it’s that Italy continues to captivate audiences with its food, culture, and charm. It also happens to be one of KI Concerts’ most popular destinations for both festival and custom tours. If you’re planning to take your ensemble on a performance tour in 2023 and beyond, you’ll want to start making decisions now on your destination. We’ve put together a list of the top three reasons you should choose Italy.
So, sit back with your espresso and read on for a glimpse into why we love this country as a top performance tour destination.
Rome is one of our most popular cities for directors, and understandably so. Ensembles can fly into Rome, adventure through the city for a number of days, then extend to other places of wonder like Florence and Venice.
On a KI Concerts Rome tour, ensembles are often invited sing mass at St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. Known around the world as the best example of Renaissance architecture, this astounding opportunity combines the essence of emotion, drama and complexity. In the historic center of Rome you’ll find an array of powerful art and architecture like the Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Campo de Fiori and the Pantheon. Guided tours also include the Roman Forum, Capitoline Hill and the Colosseum.
In the summer of 2023, instrumental ensembles will travel with KI Concerts to participate in the Viva Italia Rome Band Festival, which will be led by world-renowned composer Frank Ticheli, and will feature a gala concert staged at the historic amphitheater in Ostia Antica.
Concurrently, choral ensembles will also travel to Rome for the Passion of Italy Rome Choir Festival with Director Dominick DiOrio. Unique to this tour, and a first for KI Concerts, Dr. DiOrio will honor the participating choristers by composing a new piece for the combined choir to premier at the gala festival concert.
ABUNDANT VENUE OPTIONS
The architecture and resounding acoustic thoughtfulness of Italy’s churches and amphitheaters are unmatched. Afterall, the style of venue your ensemble performs is such a fundamental element of your performance tour. Italy has so much to offer when it comes to emotive venues across its 20 regions. Think outside of the box and you might just be blown away by what you find.
Beyond the more iconic attractions are lesser-known venues that are transformational in both space and time. You just have to know where to look for them. Imagine performing here, in the Sant’Agnese in Agone, directly in the middle of Rome’s Piazza Navona. This venue is notable for its curves, domes and classical Renaissance distinctions, but sometimes is overlooked for the more familiar attractions in the city center.
Or how about traveling north to Padua, inland from the gondola-gliding city of Venice? A sacred and historically rich space is the Basilica of Saint Anthony of Padua. Over many centuries, additions have been made to this venue, making it extraordinarily unique and lacking one true architectural style. That’s where the intrigue lies for a memorable performance. This church abounds with color, art, acoustic brilliance, and treasures.
But what about COVID travel restrictions, you might ask? This past fall, the KI concerts team traveled with a client to Rome, Sorrento, and Pompeii on a site inspection for a 2022 Italian tour. With safety and flexibility in mind as the pillars of the KI promise, the team on this site inspection was particularly tuned into things like mask protocols, required COVID-testing and social distancing best practices. The site inspection group was pleasantly surprised with the ease of implementation of COVID-era precautions throughout each step of their trip.
“While circumstances are continually evolving with COVID-19 protocols around Europe, when our team visited Italy we found that masks, testing, and screening for proof of vaccination have become a part of daily life. The tour guides, historic sites, and venues are excited for travelers to return, so Italy is ready for us!”, said Jennifer Huntzinger, Director of Operations for KI Concerts.
What this site inspection also presented was the opportunity for creativity and innovation in a time when travel and group gatherings are in question. One solution to this is finding outdoor, open-air venues, so the team explored one of the oldest surviving Roman amphitheaters. As a result, the director has decided on the Amphitheater of Pompeii as the venue for a pop-up concert during their tour. This venue has also been the stage for talents like Pink Floyd and Frank Sinatra. Unique venues like the Pompeii Amphitheater are reasons we at KI Concerts keep coming back to Italy time and time again. However, we would be remiss to not share our love of Italian food and culture as part of this destination’s grand appeal.
The fact that Italy’s food is exceptional requires little convincing, but there is something to be said for knowing where to eat while on your Italian performance tour. Afterall, not all trattoria establishments are created equal. Close connections with local experts who live and eat in these cities are invaluable when looking for the best group dining experiences. Always on the lookout for authentic cuisine, KI is excited to give you an unforgettable taste of Italy. Here are a few of our favorites.
In Rome, we absolutely love Romolo E Remo. After a day at the Vatican and performing at St. Peter’s basilica, nothing is better that the convenience and comfort of delicious Italian favorites at this restaurant. Ensembles can enjoy an array of options like focaccia (flatbreads), pastas, pizzas, seafood, steak, sides and dessert. Romolo E Remo is a crowd-pleaser every time! Speaking of crowds, not all restaurants in Italy can accommodate hot meals for large groups. That’s not the case here, and it’s one of many reasons we keep coming back.
In coastal towns, like Sorrento, seafood and citrus-based sauces are abundant on restaurant menus. Authenticity is a key component of the cultural immersion experience on KI Concerts tours, and we trust our local travel experts give us the scoop on the best local fare. In Sorrento, Ristorante Tasso shines bright with dishes featuring fresh rockfish, clams, and shrimp. Not into seafood? No problem! This elegant yet simple restaurant offers plenty of vegetarian options, as well, like Eggplant Ravioli and Baked Potato Pie with truffles! Upon opening the menu, guests are greeted by a quote from Virginia Wolf, “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” Well Virginia, we agree!
At KI Concerts, we look for dining experiences encompassing four main pillars: proximity, capacity, authenticity, and comfort. When a restaurant checks all of these boxes and is vetted by a local expert, it becomes part of an ensemble’s tour itinerary. We are excited about discovering more Italian favorites on future site inspections and are always looking for the next favorite!
There you have it, the top three reasons we at KI Concerts continue to return to Italy with our clients. There are many more reasons Italy is a top tour destination, but we’d rather let this lovely destination speak for itself the next time you’re on a KI Concerts Italian tour!
If you’d like to learn more about Italy or other top performance tour destinations, let us know!
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