The Music & Culture of Bologna

6 days from £3,299 – departing 1 November 2022

with Peter Medhurst

Nathalie Zaveroni – guide & tour manager

Bruno Stefanini – violin maker & services of resident musicians

Download brochure here: The Music & Culture of Bologna

For telephone bookings conctact Sandy Cornish on 01227 830624


There are at least three excellent reasons for visiting Bologna in Northern Italy. First, to marvel at its architecture, second, to sample its cuisine, and third, to engage in one of the richest musical cultures of the Western world. This tour embraces all these aspects, but with music very much to the fore.

Two phenomena have led to Bologna’s importance as a musical centre. As a trading and economic hub of Italy, the city received patronage from its wealthier citizens, who supported the musical institutions that flourished within its walls. Also, Bologna’s central geographical position, has allowed it to keep its finger on the musical pulse of Italy, placing it at the forefront of current musical thinking. This is reflected in the students who studied there: Gluck, Grétry, Jommelli, JC Bach and WA Mozart.

During our time in Bologna, we visit its musical institutions, its music museums and libraries, and hear some of the fine historic organs in the churches. The tour is complemented by a series of concerts played by resident musicians, who will draw on the treasures that lie in Bologna’s music museums.


Day 1

We take a morning flight from London Heathrow to Bologna Airport, where we are met by Peter and Nathalie Zaveroni, our expert local guide for the week. We travel a short distance by executive coach to the city centre to the centrally located Grand Hotel Majestic “già Baglioni”, where we stay for five nights. After lunch, we have an orientation walk through Bologna including a visit to the 14th century basilica of San Petronio. Later, we assemble in the lecture room at the hotel for an introductory talk by Peter on the history of Bologna and follow this with a private drinks reception and dinner in the hotel.

Day 2

to spend the morning at the Pinacoteca Nazionale, one of the finest art galleries in Europe. The collection is housed inside the former St Ignatius Jesuit Novitiate, built in the second half of the 17th century and has paintings by Giotto, El Greco, Titian, and Tintoretto. Our particular interest will centre on works by Costa, Titian and Raphael; and as we go around the gallery, Peter and Bruno Stefanini will discuss the musical elements of the paintings. After a coffee break there will be a free- flow opportunity to explore the collection at leisure. Lunch will be in a nearby restaurant. The afternoon is spent in Bruno’s stringed instrument workshop, where he discusses aspects of instrument construction and the importance of Bologna as an instrument making centre. Bruno is the last of the traditional Bolognian makers dedicated to the construction of violins, violas and cellos. The evening is at leisure.

Day 3

This morning’s lecture will concentrate on the life and work of Padre Martini (1706-84), a Bolognian Franciscan Friar, composer, and teacher of composition. Following this, we make our way to the Museo Internazionale Biblioteca della Musica, a museum and music library in the Palazzo Aldini Sanguinetti, located in the heart of historic city. We first visit the fine collection of composer portraits, amassed initially by Padre Martini and expanded by later collectors. Here we see – among other works – the only portrait in oil of Vivaldi, the magnificent portrait by Gainsborough of JC Bach, the anonymous – but authentic – portrait of Mozart aged 22 years, and outstanding likenesses of Gluck, Bernachi, Dr Burney, Tartini, Banchieri, A Scarlatti, Wagner and Verdi. We will also see Mozart’s original exam paper submitted to Padre Martini that qualified his entry to the prestigious Accademia Filharmonica. The tour is followed by a recital in the museum’s concert hall of works by the composers whose portraits we have just seen. After lunch in a local restaurant, we return to the museum for a private tour of highlights from the manuscript and printed music collection, and this in turn is followed by another concert inspired by the music in the library. An optional opera or concert performance is planned for this evening (subject to availability), or the evening will be a leisure.

Day 4

Following our morning lecture, we spend time exploring the city. Top of the list is the Church of San Colombano, an ancient monastic complex founded, traditionally, in 616. It now houses the Tagliavini collection of ancient musical instruments (clavichords, organs, harpsichords, spinets and wind instruments), as well as the outstanding library of the Bolognian musicologist Oscar Mischiati. The premises also contain the Oratory of San Colombano, renowned for its cycles of 17th century frescoes, which we will make a point of viewing. After lunch in a nearby restaurant, we enjoy a private visit to Conservatoire Giovanni Battista Martini, one of the oldest schools of music in Italy – it opened in 1804. Notable students have included Rossini, Donizetti and Respighi. The evening is at leisure.

Day 5

After breakfast we depart by coach for Ravenna, located in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy and once the capital of the Western Roman Empire (402-476). Here we view a selection of its UNESCO world heritage sites, including two 6th century basilicas, each dedicated to Saint Apollinaris, an original follower of St Peter. The first is located at Classe, the ancient military and commercial port of Ravenna, and the second – Sant’ Apollinare Nuovo – with its magnificent 6th century mosaics, is in the heart of Ravenna. Other highlights on the day include mosaics of St Vitale and Mausoleo di Galla Placidia. We have lunch in Ravenna, prior to returning to Bologna. This evening we have a farewell dinner at our carefully selected restaurant.

Day 6

Following our summing up lecture, the morning is at leisure, allowing a chance for shopping or extra sightseeing. After lunch, we make our way to Villa Aldromandi Mezzacorate for a private visit to its surviving Classical theatre. It is the only surviving example of a suburban private theatre in the area of Bologna and was built for Giovan Francesco Aldrovandi, an amateur actor, playwright and theatre lover. The theatre was inaugurated in 1763 with Voltaire’s tragedy, Alzira. Following our visit, we transfer in our coach to Bologna Airport for our early evening return flight return flight to London.

End of the tour.


Tour limited to 24 passengers
Lectures each day by Peter Medhurst
Nathalie Zaveroni – professional guide & tour manager
Bruno Stefanini – violin maker
Musical recitals included
Centrally located historic 5* hotel in Bologna
Two dinners included
Welcome drink
Included lunches every day while in Italy
All excursions, entrance fees, private guided tours & gratuities for hotel & restaurant staff included
Direct scheduled BA flights from
London to Bologna: Out: 08.35/11.50
Return: 19.20/20.55
Personal audio headsets on Days 2 to 5


Introductory tour of Bologna
Basilica of San Petronio
Pinacoteca Nazionale
Bruno Stefanini’s stringed instrument workshop
Museo Internazionale Biblioteca della Musica –
recitals & private guided tour
Church of San Colombano – the Tagliavini collection & library of Oscar Mischiati
Conservatoire Giovanni Battista Martini
Classical theatre at Villa Aldromandi Mezzacorate
Basilica of Sant’ Apollinare at Classe • Sant’ Apollinare Nuovo
Mosaics of St Vitale
Mausoleo di Galla Placidia

Extras to the tour

Insurance including Covid 19 cover £56
Double room for single occupation supplement £499 (limited availability)
Optional concert or opera
Local accommodation tax (approx. €5 per person per night) to be paid directly to the hotel
Flight details may be subject to change.
Price based on twin share.
Normal booking conditions apply.

The Hotel

We stay five nights in Classic Rooms at The Grand Hotel Majestic “già Baglioni” ( in Bologna. Housed in a historic building dating back to the 18th century, it is the only prestigious 5-star luxury hotel in Bologna. The hotel has some of the most luxurious rooms and suites in the city thanks to its wonderful fabrics, original 18th century paintings, finely polished marble and mosaics. Facilities at the hotel include a restaurant and a bar and all rooms are en suite and feature air conditioning, television, hairdryer and mini bar. Dinner is included in our hotel on the first evening, we dine at a local restaurant on our last night and the remaining three nights are on bed and breakfast basis.


Sandy Cornish at Tailored Travel

Telephone 01227 830624


Download Brochure here:

The Music & Culture of Bologna