Undiscovered Italy

13/05/2024 -
18/05/2023
Abruzzo, Italy
Small group - 20
£ 2150 - based on 2 sharing
£ 380 - single supplement

Illustrations by Rosanna Tasker

Breathe in

It was Christmas Eve. Témi and I had decided to shove off to a small village in the mountains of the Abruzzo. We’d been before. Numerous times. It was a bit of a fave and had therefore won this year’s ‘Christmas bolthole’ competition.

As always, Témi had decided to bring a few ‘essentials’ for the trip. If our neighbours had seen us loading the car, they’d have thought we were off. Permanently.

I was utilising every cubic centimetre of the trusty hatchback in an effort to get it all packed in. I had Betsy, our dog (a 55-kilo Newfoundland), pinned into a small Tetra Pak sized space in the boot.

Doubled up like a pretzel and pressed up against a suitcase full of ‘indispensables’, she looked perturbed and regretful. She’d passed up the chance to stay with Daniella at the doggie kennels, which, in hindsight, was a big mistake.

I imagined her pawing out the words’ help me’ onto the car’s back window in the vain hope of being rescued by a benevolent driver or passerby.

Témi’s stuff had steamrolled the minimalist in me, and dear Betsy was now wearing the inside of the car like an iron lung.

I furtively lifted Betsy’s ear to whisper a secret idea. She tracked me with suspicious rabbit eyes as I leaned in to deliver my proposition. ‘Maybe Daniela would take us both?’. I pulled back to judge her reaction. No answer. Just a longing look into the mid-distance followed by a lick. We’d bonded. It was me and her against the enemy. We’d form a strategic alliance against the barbaric incarceration thrust upon us by the stuff monster.

‘Alright, love?’ enquired Témi, who’d appeared from nowhere. Betsy and I looked startled. We’d been ambushed, and to make matters worse, we were receiving marching orders, which consisted of helpful repacking suggestions.

Betsy sighed and, in doing so, fired out two strands of nasal slime over Témi’s yoga bag. I smiled. I looked to the sky as if to thank God for his unending wit and, in doing so, hit my head on a box.

Our destination was an albergo diffuso called Sextantio in the picture postcard village of Santo Stefano di Sessanio. The accommodation, a collection of tiny, rural houses strewn throughout the village, had been renovated with a light touch and a designer eye. It’s simple yet elegant and authentic.

We’d pulled into a parking space just outside the village walls. The fresh air had that delicious scent of wood smoke and nature. The snow-topped mountains in the background set the scene against a brittle blue sky.

Betsy leapt from the boot and manically proceeded to eat mouthfuls of grass. This was part hunger and part a nervous reaction from having been pelted by numerous items which had shot through the car under acceleration during our drive.

‘Is Betsy OK?’ Témi asked as she pulled an IKEA bag from the car with all the finesse of a sommelier extracting a particularly obstinate cork. I checked the rear window for any messages. Nothing. ‘She’s fine’. I replied.

Music and the food of love.

What can you expect on this exquisite 5-night classical choral holiday in the Abruzzo? To start with, there will be a 3-hour workshop each morning with the fabulous Robert Dean.

As one of the UK’s most sought-after singing professors and conductors, Robert spends every waking hour mentoring and teaching many of today’s and tomorrow’s opera stars. He’s a real clever clogs. Not only is Robert extremely talented, but he’s also very sensitive to your needs, great company and a lot of fun.

Each workshop will focus on singing technique and development as Robert ekes out every drop of your vocal potential. You will perhaps discover a new repertoire as well as all the tips and tricks required for fine choral singing.

On the penultimate day of the holiday, you will perform your newly learnt and polished repertoire to the locals. A wonderful collaborative atmosphere is assured as you connect with a new culture through music and singing.

We will be eating in some of the best restaurants in the Abruzzo. Perhaps the best in Italy. The food is simple but delicious. The incredible pantry of goodies this region serves up is almost unparalleled.

With some of the tallest mountains in Italy combined with 133 Km of coastline, the Abruzzo region is truly the king of surf and turf. If all the regions in Italy had a culinary face-off, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Abruzzo came out tops for sheer quality and diversity.

This is more than a holiday. It’s your chance to collaborate with a new culture through music and singing. To be taught by one of the most in-demand singing experts in the UK. To eat the finest food Italy has in store and to stay in an exquisite, unique and genuinely authentic accommodation deep in rural Italy.

Sextantio Bedroom - Singing Holidays

Sextantio Bedroom Two

Santo Stefano Di Sessanio

Santo Stefano di Sessanio

Sextantio Bedroom - Singing Holidays

Sextantio Bedroom Four

Sextantio Restaurant - Singing Holidays

Sextantio Restaurant

Sextantio Bedroom - Singing Holidays

Sextantio Bedroom Three

Sextantio Bedroom - Singing Holidays

Sextantio Bedroom

Sextantio Restaurant - Singing Holidays

Sextantio Restaurant

Authentic, exquisite and atmospheric

We all felt a huge sense of calm as we entered our tiny Christmas home. It was warm. Familiar. Candles had been lit in anticipation, and a slender bottle of Genziana liquor had been left on the side as a nightcap. ‘Nice touch’, I thought.

An open fire roared away in the corner of the bedroom. On centuries-old terracotta stood a stylish shell bath, which lured us in like a siren with a pearl smile. Betsy, still stretching out the last remnants of the car, morphed into a giant, deep pile rug. The whole scene could have been lifted from the centre spread of AD magazine.

We took in the stars that night as we wandered back from dinner. The Sextantio restaurant was another designer interior, ladled with spoonfuls of authenticity. As we entered our abode to turn in for the night, Témi made a beeline for the wonderfully comfortable bed as I hung back to take advantage of that slim bottle of Genziana. Betsy sank into the floor with a deep, unbuttoned breath.

I supped on my nightcap and watched as the lovely ladies in my life snuggled into their new abode. The church bell sounded midnight. It was Christmas, and it was perfect.

A little bird told me

Feefo independent reviews

A golden feast for the soul.

Exceptional holiday, beyond the call of duty, attention to detail, Magical memories and a treasure trove of experiences. Utterly brilliant, laughter, song, a feast for the…

Marrakech 2023

Perfect!

Singing holidays made me feel very welcome and included as a newbie. Hotels, restaurants and activities were obviously all thoroughly researched and well organised. I was…

Classical Croatia 2023

Feefo Gold Trust Award - Singing Holiday Reviews
Feefo Gold Trust Award - Singing Holiday Reviews
Feefo Gold Trust Award - Singing Holiday Reviews

We are thrilled to have received an average rating of 5/5 through independent reviews on Feefo & Google, and been awarded three Feefo Gold Trusted Service Awards. We sincerely thank all those who took the time to share their positive experiences and recommended us to others. Your trust, satisfaction and friendship are invaluable, and we remain committed to providing the best possible experience.

Summary

Price

£ 2150 GBP

Based on two sharing a twin or double room.

£ 380 GBP

Single supplement.

Date

13/05/2024
18/05/2023

Everything but flights

The price quoted includes everything except flights and drinks outside mealtimes. From pick-up to drop-off, we’ll be on hand to take care of every expense and every need.

Included

  • Transfer from the designated pick-up and drop-off point (normally the destination airport).
  • Any group transfer during your holiday.
  • Any group trips or events within the timeframe of your holiday, unless otherwise specified.
  • All meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day of your trip).
  • All tuition.
  • Accommodation.
  • Concert promotion.

Experts

All of our experts are obviously outstanding, inspirational artists, however they’re also lovely human beings. Their priority will always be 100% on you and your development. They are an integral part of the week, so be prepared to make new friendships.

Friendship

You can expect to be among like-minded people who love to sing. You can expect a supportive, non-judgemental group and many laughs.

Nurtured and taken care of

Témi and Alex organize and run every Singing Holidays event. Unlike most holiday companies, we’re with you from first contact right through to our sad farewells at the end of your stay. There are no reps, no faceless office staff, no strangers picking you up from an airport. Just us.

Food and accommodation

Témi and Alex spend weeks recceing each holiday, so you can get the very best from your stay. Nothing is by chance — we check every restaurant, we eat every menu, we jump on every bed, we take a toothbrush and magnifying glass to every bathroom, skirting board and wardrobe. When you arrive, you can relax in the knowledge that we’ve well and truly done our homework.

Direct contact

From first encounter to said farewells at the end of your holiday, you’ll be in direct contact with either Alex or Témi. Singing Holidays has been running events in Italy and beyond since 2010, and one of our core values is to also keep things small and contained, so we can give you the best experience.

Insurance & data protection

Singing Holidays Ltd has full liability insurance cover with First Underwriting Ltd. We adhere to GDPR to protect your privacy and any data you submit via our website or sister website singingnest.com is secured with 128-bit SSL encryption.

Covid-19

Booking a holiday during a pandemic isn’t for the faint-hearted. However, if you book a Singing Holidays event, and then you are unable to travel due to mandatory country restrictions, then you will be eligible for a full refund (including any ‘non-refundable’ deposit payment).

Sextantio
Via Principe Umberto
Abruzzo
Italy
Feefo Gold Trust Award - Singing Holiday Reviews
Feefo Gold Award Singing Holidays 2023
Feefo Gold Trust Award - Singing Holiday Reviews
World Land Trust - Sustainable Travel with Singing Holidays.

Sustainable holidays with award-winning service. We are contributing to global reforestation and repairing damaged ecosystems. Every time you book a singing holiday, we’re busy planting trees and buying up land – helping to mitigate climate change.

A Loopy Soup Company
© 2024 Singing Holidays™ Est. 2009
Singing Holidays Ltd. No. 11691653

Feefo Gold Trust Award - Singing Holiday Reviews
Feefo Gold Trust Award - Singing Holiday Reviews
Feefo Gold Trust Award - Singing Holiday Reviews
World Land Trust - Sustainable Travel with Singing Holidays.

Sustainable holidays with award-winning service. We are contributing to global reforestation and repairing damaged ecosystems. Every time you book a singing holiday, we’re busy planting trees and buying up land – helping to mitigate climate change.

A Loopy Soup Company
© 2024 Singing Holidays™ Est. 2009
Singing Holidays Ltd. No. 11691653