Ultimate layer cake
Florence and Venice. Can there be to two more culturally significant and beautiful cities in Europe?
We kick off this extra special choral singing holiday in Florence. The ultimate historical layer cake – the head-huncho of western creativity. According to UNESCO, Italy is home to 60% of the world’s most important works of art, and half of that stuff is in this town.
In so many ways, no other place on earth can hold a candle to Florence. The birthplace of the Renaissance and an endless source of creative genius: Dante, Michelangelo, Brunelleschi, Boccacio, Botticelli (all the B’s) – born, studied and worked in Florence. Of course there’s also Leonardo da Vinci, Donatello, Lippi, Bandinelli, Giotto….it’s like the ultimate who’s who – the most magnificent hand of Top Trumps.
In November, the authenticity of the city returns as the 16 million tourists who visit each year have, for the most part, scuttled off back home. Now is the time to enjoy a glass of wine in a Florentine enoteca, and as you watch the well-dressed locals go about their business, you can reminisce on a day of avoiding queues, breathing in treasures and singing sublime music.
After two days for rehearsal, we’ll be performing at a suitably inspiring Florentine venue before catching a first class Frecciarossa non-stop to Venice.
Venezia. The Bride of the Sea. Mary Shelley once wrote, “There is something so different in Venice from any other place in the world, that you leave at once all accustomed habits and everyday sights to enter an enchanted garden”.
Venice is indeed, as Mary Shelley quite rightly points out, an enchanted garden, albeit a garden with a Chelsea Flower Show crushing water feature. Few places come close to Venice on pretty much any level: beauty, architecture, history, music, art, food (the food!!) wine….
If you’re going to ‘do’ Venice, then there’s only one way. In style. Sure, you could come in the summer, squeeze yourself into some Vaporetti, stay in a 2 star pensione somewhere just off nowhere, dodge your way through a thousand selfie sticks and then go home relieved and none the wiser.
OR you could come to Venice in November when the weather is still stunning, the low Autumn sun magical and the tourists few. You can sing Venetian music from the renaissance and stay in splendid luxury whilst sipping Martinis. Hmmm, choices choices.
Our mornings will be full of music. Next to our hotel and on the banks of the Canal Grande, our rehearsal room is in itself a little gem. An inspiring and appropriate setting for Robert Dean to sprinkle his musical magic dust and bring out the very best in our singing. After a delicious lunch, there will be ample time to explore the treasures of Venice that are quite literally on your doorstep. In the evenings, we’ll meet for an aperitivo and then dinner.
Our 6-night classical singing holiday will culminate with another performance (or two) by you in a magical venue. A fitting finale to a most uplifting week of music and splendour.
Firenze Orologio Front
Firenze Orologio Breakfast
Firenze Orologio Hall
Firenze Orologio Lounge
Venezia Orologio Room #3
Venezia Orologio Breakfast
Venezia Orologio Room #4
Venezia Orologio Room #2
If you’ve got the time, we’ve got the place
L’Orologio di Firenze. Can there be a nicer place to stay? Yes, actually. L’Orologio di Venezia. There are just two of these fabulous hotels in the world, one is in Florence and the other is in Venice. Both are quite different from each other, but equally wonderful.
Owner and watch junkie Sandro Fratini opened the L’Orologio in Florence 10 years ago. It took him 6 years to transform a perfectly positioned Palazzo into the most perfectly positioned small, luxury hotel. As a Florentine who owns the world’s largest collection of designer timepieces, Sandro is uncompromising when it comes to detail and organisation. One can only imagine the state of his sock drawer! As with the hotel in Venice or indeed like one of his Patek Philippe timepieces, the service at the L’Orologio di Firenze is one of quiet and relaxed efficiency. Nothing is too much trouble, and there’s a feeling of being enveloped in an atmosphere of calm that’s second to none.
Also, like its sister hotel in Venice, the location of our pad in Florence is breathtaking. Situated right on the Piazza Santa Maria Novella, the views are jaw dropping. With its completely glazed upper floor breakfast lounge, you can sip on a delicious cappuccino whilst drinking in the front aspect of one of the finest gothic churches in Italy.
Finding a great hotel in Venice is like locating the last pistachio in a bowl full of empty nutshells. Lots of disappointment, but a great sense of achievement once you finally manage to lay your fingers on that last salty morsel.
The L’Orologio di Venezia is a super stylish hotel situated in what may very well be the perfect location in Venice. It’s rare to find a place that’s both right in the action yet private and somehow ‘tucked away’. On the banks of the Canal Grande, just a few steps away from the Rialto and minutes from San Marco, the L’Orologio is truly a hidden jewel.
The rooms and the service there are second to none and the breakfast…well, it’s wonderful! From Bucks Fizz to goji berries it seems to have everything you could imagine. First-rate coffee (a must at any time of day), freshly juiced carrots, croissants, cake, a snazzy machine that keeps scrambled eggs cooked perfectly, pancetta, salsicce, fresh fruit salad, a million honeys and yoghurts…it’s like the culinary Generation Game except without Bruce.