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Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Arena Sferisterio – A Summery Suggestion

Article first published as Arena Sferisterio - A Summery Suggestion on Technorati

With spring in full bloom, longer days, warmth and sun, a subject comes up regularly in conversations. You can hear people sitting at a café terrace on a balmy evening asking their friends:
So, what are your plans for the summer? Yes, it is that time of the year again, the time to plan your holidays.
How about you? Have you already made your choice? Are you an active person who is going to spend two weeks climbing mountains, eager for the exhilaration to kick in once you get to the top? Or do you feel that you deserve a real break and will be enjoying the sun on a white sandy beach somewhere, breaking the day with the occasional swim in a crystal clear sea? Or then again you are into music and culture. If that is the case, then the Macerata Opera Festival could be the perfect event for you. Macerata is a lovely historical town in the Marche region. Situated between the Chienti and Potenza rivers, it has been built on two levels. The old part sits at the top of a hill and the recent buildings occupy the plain, with a lift connecting the two. There is plenty to see, but you should definitely not miss the Loggia dei Mercanti and the Church of Santa Maria delle Vergini, where you can admire a Tintoretto painting.
Every year, Macerata hosts an opera festival, which takes place in the Arena Sferisterio. This monumental neoclassical arena, which can sit up to 4'500 spectators, was originally in the 1820s a stadium where handball games would be played. When football took over as the nation's favourite sport, Arena Sferisterio was then turned into an opera venue. Its place as one of the favourite locations for this type of musical performances remains unchallenged still today.
The programme is being held this summer between July 20th and August 12th. It features four representations each of Verdi's La Traviata, Puccini's La Bohème and Bizet's Carmen. No need to present these pieces, as they have their place in the pantheon of the beloved and well-known operas. Even if you have enjoyed one or all of them before, perhaps it was not in an open-air setting? Then you should consider attending the festival, as you will without a doubt find it a magical experience.
The Marche has been given the name of new Tuscany, and it is not difficult to understand why. Its landscape is utterly beautiful, and there is no shortage of gorgeous properties to rent or hotels full of charm. Apart from Macerata, towns such as Treia and its collection of Renaissance and classical paintings displayed in the Town Hall, or Urbino and its magnificent Palazzo Ducale, are well worth a visit too.
Tempted yet?

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