Our tour begins with a morning flight to Rome, where we will meet Peter and Tom who will take us to lunch and then transfer us by executive coach directly to Naples. We then check into our hotel, the Palazzo Alabardieri, for a seven night stay. After time for relaxation, we will meet for pre-dinner drinks and enjoy a welcome dinner together in the hotel’s restaurant.
After Peter’s morning lecture, we will make our way to the Conservatory San Pietro a Majella for a private guided tour of the Conservatory and its Museum of Musical Instruments. Peter will perform music by Domenico Scarlatti on the organ in the famous ‘Scarlatti Room’. We then transfer by coach for lunch at our carefully chosen restaurant, the Transatlantico, which has magnificent views over the Bay of Naples to Vesuvius. On returning to the hotel we will have the remainder of the afternoon at leisure before rendezvousing for a private recital of Neapolitan music given by a Maria Ercolano soprano and Mauro Squillante mandolin. The evening will be free to dine out afterwards.
After Peter’s morning lecture, we will spend the day in the heart of the historic centre of Naples beginning with a visit to the Church of Pio Monte della Misericordia. The building famously contains Caravaggio’s ‘The Seven Acts of Mercy’, painted especially as the altarpiece in c1607. We then make our way up to the ‘il coreto’ (little choir) on the first floor of the church to get an aerial view of Caravaggio’s masterpiece and to have a chance to explore the church’s very fine museum. The morning continues with a visit to the church of San Lorenzo Maggiore, less to see the church, and more to descend into its vaults below to view the excavations of the ‘macellum’ or market building of the Roman city of Neapolis. In complete contrast – and before we go to lunch – we will call into the famous Fabrica Limoncello, for a sampling – or even a purchase – of its local brew. In the afternoon we return once more to the world of music and visit the Centro Musica Antica, located in the Church of Santa Caterina de Siena. The foundation collects, and promotes interest in, 18th century music – especially that which was written in Naples – and on arrival we will be greeted by a member of its staff who will give us an introduction to the foundation and its activities. Also, Peter will perform a selection of Neapolitan pieces on keyboard instruments in the collection. We then make our way to the Church of Pietà dei Turchini, which previously housed an orphanage where children studied – among other subjects – art, music and singing. Its alumni include the composers Domenico Scarlatti, Giovanni Paisiello, and Giovanni Battista Pergolesi. The foundation paralleled the four ‘ospedali’ in Venice.
Following our lecture, we will spend the morning at the Museo di Capodimonte Art Gallery, which houses not only the National Gallery collection and part of the Farnese collection of classical sculpture, but also the finest range of paintings by the Neapolitan School. After a private tour of the galleries, there will be time to explore the collection at leisure. Highlights include works by Raphael, Titian, Caravaggio, Giovanni Bellini, Giorgio Vasari and El Greco. Lunch will be at Café Gambrinus. In the afternoon we will enjoy a tour of the Teatro San Carlo, the oldest continuously active venue for public opera in the world. It opened its doors in 1737. In the 18th century, Naples was one of the foremost centres of opera in Europe, and its local composers – Feo, Porpora, Piccinni, Vinci, Durante, Jommelli, Cimarosa and Paisiello – all premiered major works there. We then make our way to the nearby Royal Palace where we will free flow through the staterooms at our leisure. In the evening – if availability permits – there will be an optional return to the theatre to hear an opera performance.
Following our usual lecture, the morning will be spent visiting Pompeii, the Roman city buried under metres of ash and pumice after the explosion of nearby Vesuvius in AD 79. Today, Pompeii has been thoroughly excavated allowing us to experience a city arrested by time. Lunch will be at the Kona restaurant with its magnificent views of Vesuvius. The remainder of the day will be free until we make our way to the Church of Gesù Nuova, a Baroque edifice completed in 1750 and situated a little outside the historic centre of Naples. Here Peter will give a recital on the magnificent organ built in 1650 and restored in 1986.
After our morning lecture, we pay a visit to Naples Cathedral, a building commissioned by King Charles I of Anjou in the 13th century, but not completed until the early 14th century under Robert of Anjou. In addition to the famous vial of the dried blood of Saint Januarius which usually liquifies when brought out ceremoniously twice a year, the building contains marvellous frescoes by Domenichino and Giovanni Lanfranco, altarpieces by Domenichino, Massimo Stanzione and Jusepe Ribera, and artwork by by Pietro Perugino, and Luca Giordano. Before lunch, we head off to the religious complex of Santa Chiara, which consists of a monastery, tombs and an archaeological museum, as well as a famous cloister decorated with Rococo style majolica tiles. In the afternoon, we have a private tour of National Archaeological Museum. The building, which dates back to 1585, has undergone remodelling and changes of function over the years – including at one point being the seat of the University of Naples. However, today, as a museum, it houses an extensive collection of Greek and Roman antiquities, the core of which comes from the Farnese Collection. The museum also contains the notorious Gabinetto Segreto. The evening will be at leisure.
Today we spend our time on the island of Ischia which is situated about 30 miles from Naples in the Northern part of the Gulf of Naples. On arrival, a local guide will escort us privately around the island and introduce us to some of its highlights. While a number of distinguished visitors have stayed on Ischia over the centuries, our connection today is with the composer Sir William Walton who built himself a hilltop house at Forio in 1956. The gardens, known as La Mortella, were designed by Lady Walton and we will have a guided tour of the these before enjoying a private lunch on the terrace of Walton’s house, which itself will be opened especially for us. Peter will play one of the two Steinway pianos located in a room adjacent to the place where Walton composed. We return to our hotel in Naples, and after some free time, congregate in the hotel’s restaurant for a farewell dinner.
After breakfast, we leave Naples and travel to Rome for our flight back to London. We will stop for a guided tour followed by a light lunch at the Abbey of Montecassino in Cassini – famous for the Battle of Montecassino in World War II. Afterwards, we continue on to Rome Fiumicino Airport for our scheduled British Airways flight back to Heathrow.
Tour limited to 24 passengers
Five lectures on the music of Naples by Peter Medhurst
Tom Abbott - professional tour manager & art historian
Four private musical recitals by Peter
Private recital by a soprano & mandolin player
Centrally located historic 4* hotel in Naples
Two dinners included
Included lunches every day while in Italy
All excursions, entrance fees, private guided tours & gratuities included
Direct scheduled flights from London Heathrow to Naples
Personal audio headsets on Days 2 to 7
Conservatory San Pietro a Majella - guided tour & organ recital by Peter
Pre-dinner private recital of Neapolitan music by a soprano & mandolin player
Church of Pio Monte della Misericordia
Church of San Lorenzo Maggiore & the ‘macellum’
Fabrica Limoncello including a tasting
Centro Musica Antica in the Church of Santa Caterina de Siena - recital by Peter on keyboard instruments in the collection
Church of Pietà dei Turchini
Museo di Capodimonte Art Gallery - guided tour
Teatro San Carlo - guided tour
Church of Gesù Nuova - recital on 17th century organ by Peter
Religious complex of Santa Chiara
National Archaeological Museum - guided tour
Island of Ischia - guided tour including La Mortella gardens, private lunch at Walton’s house & piano recital by Peter
We stay seven nights in Classic Rooms at the centrally located 4* Hotel Palazzo Alabardieri (http://www.palazzoalabardieri.it) in Naples. Located just a short distance from the Piazza del Plebiscito with its famous Basilica of San Francesco di Paola, Teatro San Carlo and the Royal Palace, facilities at the hotel include a restaurant and a bar. All rooms are en suite and feature air conditioning, television, hairdryer and mini bar. Dinner is included in our hotel on the first and last evenings (set 3 course without drinks), whilst the remaining four days are on bed and breakfast basis.
Single room supplement from £399 (limited availability)
Local accommodation tax to be paid directly to the hotel
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020 7064 4970
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