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Summer festivals in Italy & Sicily

4th June 2014 Print

Italy is a country famed for its passion, where celebrations are jubilant and festivals are pleasingly frequent and fantastically varied. From the traditional to the outlandish, there is a celebration or festivity to suit every interest.

Sunvil’s Discovery’s Italy & Sicily programme, now in its 35th year, offers an outstanding array of flexible fly-drive, rail and tailor-made itineraries to the most enchanting regions of this captivating country. Accommodation options range from opulent five-star hotels and spa resorts to traditional agriturismi (farm properties) and small family-run hotels, all hand-picked for their unbeatable character and location.

Enjoy one of the following festivals this summer, from foodie feasts to film fiestas, all with that extra pinch of Italian vitality, on a tailor-made holiday arranged by the experts at Sunvil Discovery.

For classical music lovers

Verona Opera Festival (20 June – 7 September), now in its 92nd year, is a must-do for Opera aficionados. Performances from world-class musicians take place in the atmospheric Roman amphitheatre, which provides a majestic backdrop to the exquisite performances. 2014’s programme includes masterpieces from Puccini and Bizet, and legendary tenor Plácido Domingo will take to the stage for one night only (17 July), performing pieces from the operas of Verdi.

Stay at the five-star Hotel Due Torri, a 14th century former palace adorned throughout with regal touches, antiques and luxurious fabrics. A three-night stay costs from £732 pp (two sharing) including flights (Gatwick), B&B and private transfers.

For culture vultures

Jump feet first into an explosion of culture at Festival dei Due Mondi (Festival of Two Worlds, 27 June – 13 July) in the captivating Umbrian city of Spoleto. There is a vast array of music, dance, theatre, film, science and art events, and visitors with Italian language skills can enjoy lively discussions and debates.

Enjoy a prime location staying at the Hotel San Luca, a tasteful and luxurious owner-managed hotel within Spoleto’s medieval city walls. A seven-night stay costs from £782 pp (two sharing) including B&B, flights (Heathrow or Gatwick) and car hire.

For film buffs

Venice Film Festival (27 August – 6 September) is the world’s oldest international film festival, and one of the most prestigious. As summer draws to a close, Venice’s Lido is treated to an injection of glamour and a dash of celebrity, as the top names in film descend upon the red carpet in the hope of walking away with a coveted award.

Stay at the Hotel Casa Nicola Priuli, situated in a quiet residential area overlooking the Osmarin canal and the canal of the Greeks, yet still close to the action. A three-night stay costs from £524 pp (two sharing) including flights (Heathrow or Gatwick) and B&B.

For wine boffins

Each year expert oenophiles and eager grape-nuts flock to the ancient Inycon a Menfi wine festival (20 – 22 June), to sample the wares of this excellent wine-producing region in Western Sicily. Visitors can try the finest local produce at tastings, educate their palates at workshops or venture behind the scenes on vineyard tours. There are also concerts and shows, plus a host of local gastronomic delights on offer.

La Foresteria is an exceptional guesthouse located on a prestigious wine estate in Trapani, where guests can savour cookery lessons, enjoy the beautiful surrounding countryside or taste a tipple or two whilst appreciating the panoramic views stretching all the way to the sea. A seven-night stay costs from £866 pp (two sharing) including flights (Gatwick), B&B and car hire.

For food fanatics

As the summer draws to a close, the town of Certaldo Alto in Tuscany dedicates itself to feasting. For the last two weekends of September, the Boccaccesca Festival (21 – 22 and 27 – 28 September) sees myriad stalls spring up in the streets to hawk the region’s best produce to greedy passers-by, and professional chefs hold masterclasses to share their skills, with tastings that will whet the appetites of attendees.

Stay nearby in Florence, a 45-minute train journey away, at the Hotel Porta Rossa, one of the oldest hotels in the city, recently renovated to create a tasteful and elegant property with original 19th century frescoes and stained glass windows. A three-night stay costs from £500 pp (two sharing) including B&B and flights (Gatwick).

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