A great opera-tunity for a trip of a lifetime

by Ian Begley
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TRAVEL Department has launched an extensive opera programme for 2016 with exciting destinations on offer such as Italy, Prague, Budapest and Berlin.
As part of the 2016 opera programme, RTE Lyric FM’s Marty Whelan returns to Italy this year, giving fans an introduction to some of the best operas in the world in Lake Garda, Tuscany and Sorrento, as they enjoy an Italian vacanza at the same time.
Marty will join your group before the performance for a meet and greet, some exciting photo opportunities, and to share his knowledge of the particular opera. Throughout the rest of your holiday, you will enjoy excursions with local tour guides as well as plenty of free time to explore or relax at your leisure.
For 2016, Travel Department’s Opera Holidays include a holiday in Lake Garda, Venice and Verona, including Verdi’s La Traviata for seven nights, departing on July 21 from €1,169.
Over this seven-night guided holiday, you can explore the historic towns that hug the coast of Lake Garda and stroll through quaint streets and squares, all set in the tranquil surroundings of blue waters and towering mountains.
Enjoy full-day guided tours of Venice and Verona before watching the beautiful scenery of Lake Garda unfold by boat over a half-day excursion.
On the day of the opera, Marty Whelan will lead an introduction to the breath-taking La Traviata over lunch, before you experience one of the performances which established Giuseppe Verdi as a first-class composer at the world famous Arena di Verona.
Departing on July 26, for seven nights, join Marty for a meet and greet and introduction to the opera in the glorious surrounds of Tuscany and the Puccini Festival for this unique festival experience, which is held annually during July and August to celebrate the life and works of the famous Italian composer, Giacomo Puccini.
From €1,059, you will then take in a special open-air performance of Madame Butterfly in Torre del Lago on the banks of Lake Massaciuccoli.
On this seven-night holiday, you will also visit the beautiful city of Florence with its famous Piazza della Signoria and travel to Lucca, a walled city that was the birthplace of Puccini.
You will explore Siena, a city famous for its art, cuisine, museums and medieval landscape, as well as the small medieval town of San Gimignano.
A highlight for many is the trip to Pisa, which is home not only to the tower, but also to some magnificent cathedrals and baroque buildings.
From €1,049, you can explore the Sorrento Coast, Pompeii and Capri for the ultimate opera holiday. Departing on September 21 for seven nights, the Sorrento Peninsula is a known popular destination with Irish holidaymakers, positioned close to Naples in Campania, offering some of southern Italy’s most famous sights.
Overlooking the scenic Bay of Naples, it is the perfect location for this seven-night touring holiday, where you will enjoy guided tours of the charming town of Sorrento, the romantic island of Capri via hydrofoil, and the ancient ruins of Pompeii.
Enjoy a leisurely lunch at your hotel and an introduction to the night’s opera performance from Marty Whelan. Then, take a guided transfer to Naples for a spellbinding night at the opera in the beautiful Teatro di San Carlo, and enjoy a performance of Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro.
All prices are per person and include flights, transfers, taxes, accommodation, guided tours and opera ticket with some meals included.
Marty in the Morning which is broadcast from Monday to Friday will broadcast live from all three of these destinations and encourages Travel Department guests to participate.
For more information about this package and how to book visit www.traveldepartment.ie.

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