All around Italy´s wine regions, summer brings an exciting wave of music festivals, especially Jazz. Great news for music and wine lovers! Here are some of the upcoming events for this summer to help you start planning your wine and music orientated vacation in la Bella Italia-
Umbria Jazz Festival 2008– one of the largest jazz festivals in Europe, this takes place in beautiful Perugia. The world’s most famous jazz artists have performed here from Herbie Hancock to Miles Davis, Gilberto Gil to Milton Nascimiento. Artists performing this year include Brazilian Caetano Veloso, Mario Biondi and Duke Orchestra, Sonny Rollins, Alicia Keys, R.E.M., Cassandra WilsonRenato Sellani Trio, Chip Wilson, Pat Martino Quartet, Allan Harris Quintet “Tribute to NAT ‘KING’ COLE” , The Good Fellas Gangsters of Swing. Venus for the concerts in Perugia include- Bottega del Vino, Hotel Brufani, Arena Santa Giuliana, Teatro Morlacchi. There are also many free outdoor concerts in the medieval squares.
WHEN- July 11- 20, Perugia, Italy
WHERE TO STAY- The Brufani Palace is right in the historic center, a great base if you plan to check out a few concerts.
WINE TOURS IN UMBRIA– From Perugia you can visit the wine country of Montefalco and Orvieto to the south or the Montepulciano region in Tuscany, just to the west.
Festival dei Due Mondi – The “Festival of Two Worlds”takes place in medieval Spoleto in the heart of Umbria and hosts an array of events from Music, Theater, Film and Dance. Musical highlights this year include the Opera Ballet Padmâvatî with its Indian theme; the Spanish actress Victoria Abril singing with flamenco guitarists with her “Ô lala” show; and the London Symphony Orchestra performing Don Juan, Stravinsky´s Firebird-Suite and a symphony by Brahms, right in the Duomo.
WHEN- June 27- July 13, Spoleto, Italy
WHERE TO STAY- Hotel San Luca, near the Ancient Roman Amphitheater
Monforte Jazz Festival– in Piedmont´s gorgeous Langhe wine country, home to Barolo and Barbaresco, you´ll find the darling little hamlet of Monforte d´Alba. Extremely picturesque and surrounded by vineyards, it is home to a small but excellent jazz fest which you can easily combine with wine tasting. This year´s performers include Mavis Staples, Ludovico Einaudi, Mario Biondi and Duke Ensemble, Wayne Shorter Quartet, Stefano Bollani & Enrico Rava.
WHEN- June 27- August 2
WHERE TO STAY- The lovely intimate wine hotel Villa Beccaris is the best spot in town to enjoy this festival, and is a good base for your Piedmont wine tour
WINE TOURS IN PIEMONTE– This scenic wine region in Italy´s northwest is where you will find Barolo, Dolcetto, Barbera, Gavi and sparkling Moscato d´Asti. Apart from wine tasting, you can also enjoy gourmet activities like truffle hunting, cheese tasting and cooking classes.
Blues & Jazz Festivals in Sicily- This summer there are a few different exciting music festivals in the gorgeous isle of Sicily:
Etna Jazz- Combine an amazing vacation with Wine Tasting in Mount Etna, maybe some sailing off the Aeolian Islands and a visit to beautiful Taormina with some jazz concerts (taking place in Mascalucia, near Catania and 45 minutes from Taormina). This year´s artists include: Nine Below Zero (British Blues Cult Band), Battye Lavette, Hot 4 Blues, and Willie Deville & The Mink DeVille Band.
WHEN- July 11-13, Mascalucia, Sicily, Italy
Blues and Soul– The calendar is still not live, so keep checking into their website. Last year they hosted many great bands including Earth, Wind and Fire. Here is their promo video for the 2008 edition (in Italian).
Catania Jazz– This festival takes place near Etna in the eastern city of Catania from July 24-26 and features Ute Lemper and Stefano Bollani.
WINE TOURS IN SICILY– On the Eastern side of the island you have the fantastic wineries of Mount Etna in the north and in Baroque south east you have some excellent cellars near Noto, Syracuse and in the Cerasuolo di Vittoria appellation. In the west you have the historic cellars of Marsala like Donnafugata (who also hold music concerts throughout the year) and a host of other small wine regions and top cellars like Planeta and Tasca d´Almerita.
Opera in Verona- one of Northern Italy´s loveliest cities, Verona is home to a stunning Roman “Arena” which holds an all- summer long spectacular opera season including such classics as Aida, Tosca, Carmen, Nabucco and Rigoletto. The operas are outdoor, right in the Arena, and the atmosphere is just magical.
MORE INFO ON OPERA SEASON AT VERONA´S ARENA
WHEN- June 20- August 31, Verona, Italy
WINE TOURS IN VALPOLICELLA– Just north of Verona, you find the beautiful wine region of Valpolicella, home to Amarone and Recioto. Lake Garda is just a hop, skip and a jump and you can dine in gourmet restaurants right on the lake, what a treat!
Iseo Jazz – Taking place on Lake Iseo, right in the heart of Franciacorta Wine Country, this is a small and newish festival and is getting stronger every year. This year´s concerts include Gianluca Renzi Sestetto; Roberto Gatto special project featuring Kurt Rosenwinkel, Mark Turner, Dave Binney and Paolino Dalla Porta; Paolo Damiani – Enrico Intra “Young Talents” Ensemble; Franco D’Andrea jazz pianist; Stefano Bollani Trio; and Luigi Grasso Quintetto performing the music of Coleman Hawkins.
WHEN- July 13-21, Lake Iseo, Italy
WHERE TO STAY- the superb L´Albereta is “the” place to stay, a Relais & Chateaux set in a vineyard with a 2 Michelin starred restaurant (Gualtiero Marchesi) and a delicious spa.
WINE TOURS IN FRANCIACORTA– this tiny region in Lombardy is home to Italy´s best bubbly and there are dozens of fabulous cellars to visit, from slick and chic Ca´del Bosco to the family run cellar of Mosnel.
And if you know of any other interesting music festivals taking place in Italy this summer, be sure to tell us!