Mar 26 - Apr 9, 2020
15 days
$11,595per person, twin share (land content only). $2,360 supplement for sole use of a hotel room.

Tour Leader

Royna McNamara
Mar 26 - Apr 9, 2020

Tour Leader

Royna McNamara$11,595per person, twin share (land content only). $2,360 supplement for sole use of a hotel room.
  • Tour Info
  • Itinerary
  • Tour Leader
  • Hotels
  • Inclusions


Opera is an iconic Italian art form, and where better to enjoy it than the place of its birth? This 15-day tour takes you to eight performances at historic venues – including Teatro La Fenice in Venice, Teatro alla Scala in Milan and the Teatro Regio in Turin. The performances are complemented by visits to the places where the composers lived and worked, allowing you to appreciate the history and the personalities behind the music. Staying in Venice, Milan, Parma and Turin, this musical journey is rounded out with visits to world-class museums and fine dining.


Eight performances are included, in some of Italy’s most celebrated music venues. The tour price includes the best available tickets to seven operas and one concert of chamber music. Details of the performances will be available from September 2019.

In Venice

  • Concert of chamber music at the Chiesa di San Vidal
  • Two operas at Teatro La Fenice

In Milan

  • Two operas at Teatro alla Scala

In Parma

  • An opera at Teatro Regio di Parma, home of the renowned annual Verdi Festival

In Modena

  • An opera at Teatro Comunale di Modena

In Turin

  • An opera at Teatro Regio

Itinerary Overview

Days 1–4: In Venice, attend operas at La Fenice, explore Venice’s historic architecture and marvel at Titian and the Bellini in the Accademia.

Days 5–8: Travel to Milan via Donizetti’s Bergamo, an elegant hillside town. Attend operas at La Scala, admire masterpieces by Piero della Francesca, Veronese and Caravaggio at the Brera, enjoy lunch at Lake Como’s stunning Villa d’Este.

Days 9–11: In Parma, investigate Verdi’s early years and visit his Villa Sant’Agata. Explore Renaissance Parma and medieval Modena, two of Emilia-Romagna’s refined centres.

Days 12–15: In Turin, attend an opera at Teatro Regio and marvel at the Egyptian Museum.

Detailed Itinerary

Start & Finish

The tour begins at our hotel in Venice and ends at Milan Malpensa airport. Emirates and Qatar Airways offer direct flights into Venice and onwards from Milan Malpensa airport. Contact us for quotes and bookings.

Detailed Itinerary

Included meals are shown with the letters B, L, D and C for canapés.

Thursday March 26: Arrive Venice

If you have booked your air travel through Academy Travel we will organise a water taxi transfer from Venice Airport to our hotel. Please note that hotel rooms may not be available until early afternoon. In the evening, meet Royna McNamara in the hotel for welcome drinks and canapes. Overnight Venice (C)

Friday March 27: Wagner in Venice – San Vidal

This morning we take a guided walking tour of the city ending at the Palazzo Ca’ Vendramin Calergi, today the Casino of Venice. Richard Wagner rented the entire piano nobile of the palace in 1882 and died there in February 1883. We visit the small Wagner Museum in the palace before having our welcome lunch at an excellent local restaurant. The later afternoon is at leisure before we attend a concert of chamber music at the Chiesa di San Vidal, sampling music written at the dawn of the golden age of Italian opera. Overnight Venice (B, L)

Performance details
Venue: Chiesa di San Vidal
Program: to be announced
Performers: to be announced

Saturday March 28: Venetian fine art and opera – Performance

After a talk on this afternoon’s performance, we walk to the Galleria dell’Accademia, the main museum of Venetian painting from the Middle Ages to the 18th century, displaying important works by Bellini, Carpaccio, Giorgione, Titian, Tintoretto and Tiepolo. This afternoon we attend a matinee performance at La Fenice. This theatre, which was rebuilt after a malicious fire in 1996, has been at the heart of Italian musical life since it originally opened in 1792, and has seen many notable premieres and legendary performances in its time. Overnight Venice (B)

Performance details
Venue: Teatro La Fenice
Program: to be announced
Performers: to be announced

Sunday March 29: Peggy Guggenheim Collection – Performance

After a talk on this afternoon’s performance, we take a vaporetto across the Grand Canal to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, located in one of the heiress’s residences, the 18th-century Palazzo Venier. The collection includes outstanding works by Dalí, Kandinsky, Pollock, Magritte, Mondrian and Picasso. This afternoon we attend a matinee performance at La Fenice. Overnight Venice (B)

Performance details
Venue: Teatro La Fenice
Program: to be announced
Performers: to be announced

Monday March 30: Donizetti’s Bergamo

Today we depart for Milan, visiting en route the beautiful city of Bergamo, birthplace of Gaetano Donizetti. It is a delightful place, which boasts an historic fortified Upper Town full of medieval and Renaissance buildings and squares. We visit the Donizetti Museum, as well as the church where he is buried. We arrive in Milan in the late afternoon and gather for dinner in a local restaurant. Overnight Milan (B, D)

Tuesday March 31: Teatro alla Scala – Performance

Milan has been a major cultural centre since the Renaissance, but it was in the 19th century that its opera house became the most famous in the world, with many important premieres taking place there. After our morning talk on this evening’s performance, we take a walking tour of Milan, visiting Teatro alla Scala and its fine museum, to admire the fascinating collection of paintings of famous singers, posters, costumes, and design sketches. Overnight Milan (B)

Performance details
Venue: Teatro alla Scala
Program: to be announced
Performers: to be announced

Wednesday April 1: Brera Gallery – Performance

After a talk on this evening’s opera, we visit the Brera gallery, a world-class collection of northern Italian art including works by Mantegna, Piero della Francesca, Giovanni and Gentile Bellini, Raphael, Titian and Tintoretto, Caravaggio and Rembrandt. The later afternoon is at leisure to relax before this evening’s performance. Overnight Milan (B)

Performance details
Venue: Teatro alla Scala
Program: to be announced
Performers: to be announced

Thursday April 2: Villa d’Este on Lake Como

Today we have a relaxing day visiting the beautiful shores of Lake Como. The lake was a retreat for composers and writers throughout the 19th century, and Rossini, Liszt and others wrote important works while staying in villas along the lake. We visit the town of Bellagio, then travel by launch to the Renaissance-era Villa d’Este, one of Europe’s grandest hotels for more than a century. Here we enjoy an elegant lunch al fresco on the lakefront, before returning to Milan in the late afternoon. Overnight Milan (B, L)

Friday April 3: To Parma – Performance

This morning we depart for the elegant city of Parma, in the heart the Emilia-Romagna region. After checking into our hotel, we take a guided tour of the town including the fine Romanesque cathedral and baptistery and the Renaissance-era Teatro Farnese. This evening, we attend a performance at the Teatro Regio di Parma, built in 1829, the neo-classical theatre of Parma is rich in gold and stucco work. Overnight Parma (B)

Performance details
Venue: Teatro Regio di Parma
Program: to be announced
Performers: to be announced

Saturday April 4: Le Terre di Verdi

In the late morning we set off on our exploration of the three major sites associated with Verdi, beginning with his birthplace at Le Roncole. In nearby Busseto, we visit the house of his patron and father-in-law Antonio Barezzi, and the tiny Teatro Verdi which was built in his honour – and against his express wish – in 1868. In the afternoon we continue on to his farmhouse at Sant’ Agata where we see some of the rooms which have been preserved as a museum. We return to Parma in the late afternoon. Overnight Parma (B)

Sunday April 5: Modena – Performance

This morning is at leisure in Parma. In the early afternoon we travel by coach to Modena, a medieval city little visited by tourists, with a stunning Romanesque cathedral. Modena is the hometown of the late tenor Luciano Pavarotti and legendary carmaker Enzo Ferrari. The area is also known for its gastronomic traditions, particularly balsamic vinegar and cheese production. We remain in Modena for a pre-performance dinner and this evening’s opera at the Teatro Comunale di Modena. After the performance we return to Parma by coach. Overnight Parma (B, D)

Performance details
Venue: Teatro Comunale di Modena
Program: to be announced
Performers: to be announced

Monday April 6: Turin

Today we take a leisurely drive across the Po Valley to Turin, the capital of Piedmont. We visit the historic town of Castel’Arquato before dining at Da Faccini, a simple country restaurant serving excellent food and wine from the Emilia-Romagna region. We arrive in Turin in the late afternoon. Overnight Turin (B, L)

Tuesday April 7: Savoy and Royal collections

Turin has much to offer, including a world-class Egyptian museum and art gallery, and a fine modern opera house replacing the historic Teatro Regio which was destroyed in the Second World War. It was at the Regio that Puccini had his first big successes with the premieres of Manon Lescaut and La bohème in 1893 and 1896 respectively. This morning we have a guided walking tour of the city centre to gain an overall sense of Turin’s architecture and history. The afternoon is at leisure but you may choose to visit the excellent royal collection of the Galleria Sabauda, which includes works by Flemish painters Jan van Eyck, Hans Memling and van Dyck, alongside Renaissance masters Duccio, Botticelli, Lippi and Fra Angelico. Overnight Turin (B)

Wednesday April 8: Egyptian Museum – Performance

After a talk on this evening’s opera, we head to Turin’s acclaimed Egyptian Museum housing more than 30,000 artefacts. Afterwards we have our farewell lunch at a fine local restaurant, then the later afternoon is at leisure before tonight’s performance. Overnight Turin (B, L)

Performance details
Venue: Teatro Regio di Torino
Program: to be announced
Performers: to be announced

Thursday April 9: Departure

There is an early morning transfer to Milan’s Malpensa airport, where the tour ends. (B)

Royna McNamara

A musician, educator and conductor, with degrees from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and the University of Sydney.

Royna has organised numerous music tours to France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK. She has a strong personal interest in art and photography and has studied the link between travel and its impact on creativity. Royna holds a B Mus Ed from the Conservatorium of Music, where she was awarded the prize for Outstanding Final Year Student. She also holds a Masters of Education from the University of Sydney, where she was awarded a scholarship to study Music Performance Practices.

Royna also completed a conducting course with Jerry Nowak, where she expanded her repertoire by conducting school and semi-professional ensembles. She has conducted numerous concerti with some of Sydney’s leading musicians, including Clemens Leske, Joshua Tsai and Simon Tedeschi. Royna has also conducted choral and instrumental ensembles in prestigious venues such as Notre Dame in Paris, the basilica of St Mark’s in Venice, Canterbury Cathedral, Lambeth Palace and the Sydney Opera House.

For twenty years, Royna was Director of Music at Abbotsleigh and continues to use her expertise in Music Education for the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) and the NSW Association of Independent Schools, where she is currently the Convenor for Music Professional Learning. She has also worked as a session lecturer in Music at UNSW and the University of Sydney.

We asked Royna, what motivates you as a tour leader?

“Travel opens the mind, fosters creativity and develops cultural understanding. I find it extremely rewarding to ignite a curiosity and love of travel in others.”

“I am always open for new experiences. I believe the arts can communicate when words sometimes fail. I hope that my fellow travellers return home with fresh perspectives, greater knowledge, and a lifelong desire to keep travelling.”

View Bio & Upcoming Tours


Hotels have been selected principally for their central location and close walking distance to the performance venues. All hotels are excellent four-star properties that are renovated palazzi.

Tour Inclusions

What is included in the tour price? 
Unless otherwise stated in the itinerary, our tours include the following:

  • Any flights mentioned in the itinerary that take place during a tour
  • Land travel by private air-conditioned coach. Where appropriate public transport is also used for short distance travel on some tours
  • All accommodation in hotels or apartments as stated in the itinerary
  • Breakfasts, lunches and dinners specifically stated as included in the itinerary
  • Drinks at welcome and farewell meals. Other meals may not have drinks included
  • Background talks on tour, site notes and online resources
  • Services of tour leader throughout tour
  • All entrance fees to sites mentioned in the itinerary
  • Local guides at some sites
  • Tips for drivers, local guides and restaurants for included meals

Airport Transfers

Tours begin either at the arrival airport or the first hotel, depending on the itinerary. If you have booked your international flights with Academy Travel and arrive before the tour commences, we will provide airport to hotel transfers to the closest main city on your arrival, and to the closest airport at the end of the tour. These may be either individual or group transfers.

What is not included in the tour price?
Open-age tours do not include the following:

  • Return international/domestic air travel unless those flights take place during the tour
  • Special taxes and airport levies that can only be paid in cash at the destination. We will advise you of these charges (if any) before you depart
  • Costs involved in obtaining visas for countries visited, where required
  • Travel insurance. We require all participants to have comprehensive travel insurance. A typical policy for one of our tours will cost from $160 upwards, depending on your age, pre-existing medical conditions, the countries you are visiting and the overall length of your trip
  • Lunches and dinners not specifically mentioned as included in the itinerary
  • Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls
  • Costs associated with any activity mentioned as “optional” in the itinerary, or any suggested free time activity

Booking conditions

You will be asked to sign an acknowledgement of these conditions when you book a place on a tour.


A deposit of $500 per person is required to confirm your booking on a tour. Final payment of the tour fee, insurance and any additional travel will be due 60 days before departure.

Cancellation Fees

If you decide to cancel your booking the following charges apply:

  • More than 60 days before departure: $500*
  • 60-45 days before tour start: 25% of total amount due
  • 44-15 days before tour start: 75% of total amount due
  • 14 days or less before departure: 100% of total amount due

*This amount may be credited to another Academy Travel tour within 12 months of the original tour you booked.

Unused Portions of the tour

We regret that refunds will not be given for any unused portions of the tour, such as meals, entry fees, accommodation, flights or transfers.

Travel Insurance

Academy Travel requires all participants to obtain comprehensive travel insurance. We offer a comprehensive policy with a reputable insurer if required.

Passport and Visa

A valid passport is required for all international travel. If you do not hold an Australian passport you may require a re-entry permit. Some countries require a visa to be issued before you depart Australia. We will advise you of all passport and visa requirements, but it is your responsibility to ensure that you meet passport and visa requirements before you depart.

Will the tour price change?

If the number of participants in a tour is significantly less than budgeted, or if there is a significant change in exchange rates Academy Travel reserves the right to amend the advertised price. If this occurs you will be given the option of cancelling your booking and obtaining a full refund. If an Academy Travel tour is forced to cancel you will get a full refund of all monies paid.

Will the itinerary change?

Occasionally circumstances beyond the control of Academy Travel make it necessary to change airline, hotel or to make slight amendments to daily itineraries. We will inform you of any changes as soon as they occur.

Final Payment

Full and final payment for the tour, airfare travel, insurance and any additional travel you book is due 60 days before departure. Payment may be made by bank deposit, cheque, cash or credit card. Please note there is a surcharge for payments made by credit card.

Academy Travel reserves the right to decline the booking or terminate the holiday of any traveller.

Tour Details

Fitness Requirement

Grade Two

A Grade 2 tour is appropriate for travellers in good health with good mobility, who can comfortably participate in up to 3 hours of physical activity per day on most days.
More Details


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Speak to a consultant

For further information or to secure a place on this tour please contact:
Jamal Fairbrother 02 9235 0023 or 1800 639 699
(outside Sydney)

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