Italy Trip

Rockford Symphony Music Director Steven Larsen invites you
on a Musical Journey in Italy June 10-22, 2020.

All patrons and music lovers welcome to join this trip!

This custom travel experience includes:

  • Round trip airfare and transportation from Rockford to O’Hare
  • 11 nights of accommodations and 23 meals
  • Bi-lingual private tour guide traveling with the group
  • Experiences personalized by Maestro Larsen
  • Price: $6,170 per person double occupancy
  • If you are interested in additional information please email

    ItineraryRegistrationTour LeaderOverview

    Trip Itinerary

    Click here to download a complete PDF detailed itinerary, including activities for each day.

    Day 1: Wednesday, June 10, Depart Rockford/ Chicago (meals in flight)

    Day 2: Thursday, June 11, Venice (dinner)

    Day 3: Friday, June 12, Venice (breakfast, lunch, welcome gathering)

    Day 4: Saturday, June 13, Venice to Verona (breakfast, dinner)

    Day 5: Sunday, June 14, Verona to Cremona via Busseto – “Land of Verdi” (breakfast, lunch)

    Day 6: Monday, June 15, Cremona for the day (breakfast, dinner)

    Day 7: Tuesday, June 16, Parma to Florence (breakfast, tasting, dinner)

    Day 8:  Wednesday, June 17, Florence (breakfast, dinner)

    Day 9: Thursday, June 18, Florence to Arezzo, Cortona (breakfast, lunch, dinner)

    Day 10: Friday, June 19, Cortona to Orvieto (breakfast, dinner)

    Day 11: Saturday, June 20, Orvieto to Rome (breakfast, lunch)

    Day 12: Sunday, June 21, Rome (breakfast, dinner)

    Day 13: Monday, June 22, Rome to Chicago/Rockford (breakfast, meals in flight)

    Price: $6,170 per person double occupancy

    Non-refundable deposit by personal or bank check for $1,970.00 per person due with completed registration form by January 28, 2020, copy of valid passport, and signed condition form

    A Musical Journey to Italy with Maestro Larsen, June 10-22, 2020, at $6,170.00 per person, based on double occupancy. Inquire for limited availability single supplement accommodations. Non-refundable deposit / first payment by personal or bank check for $1,970.00 per person with completed registration form (copy of valid passport) and signed condition form due by January 28, 2020; second non-refundable payment of $2,430.00 due by February 22, 2020 and third non-refundable payment of balance of $1,770.00 plus extras* (see note below) due by March 31, 2020. Invoices with payment information sent out for second and third payments; a late fee of $25.00 will be added to payments not received by due dates. A portion of the trip may be tax deductible.

    A Musical Journey to Italy with Maestro Larsen June 10-22, 2020 includes: round trip Rockford-O’Hare air-conditioned motor coach, round trip economy-class airfare Chicago O’Hare airport to Marco Polo airport Venice, da Vinci FCO airport, Rome to Chicago O’Hare airport, 11 nights of accommodations, daily breakfasts, lunches and dinners as indicated (meals not specifically noted as included as group meals are on one’s own account) with regular water only, wine included where noted, tips to hotel staff, waiters at group meals, local guides, skippers and drivers, services of a native English-speaking (bi-lingual, Italian) private, professional group tour leader, private transportation from Marco Polo airport, Venice, to lodging, to Island of Murano, and to Piazzale Roma, Venice, by private vehicles and boats with professional licensed drivers/skippers, private air conditioned motor coach with professional licensed driver from Piazzale Roma, Venice to da Vinci FCO airport, Rome, private English-speaking, local, licensed tour guides for private tours, museums and site admissions, excursions, and activities and events as noted in the itinerary. A Musical Journey with Maestro Larsen June 10-22, 2020 does not include: passports (must be valid for six months after travel), laundry, beverages such as specialty waters, sodas or wines at group meals unless noted, travelers insurance, upgraded air seats [subject to availability], and any item not specifically denoted, including spontaneous and special events, nor personal activities. (Musical performances in Verona (Day 4: June 13) and Florence (Day 7: June 16) subject to confirmation and tickets/seat selections are optional and at an added expense; pre-selection and payment required; see registration form.) (Day 12: June 21 optional afternoon tour of the Ancient Roman Forum and Coliseum with reserved admission not included; pre-registration and payment required; see registration form). NOTE: No refunds will be given for portions of the Musical Journey, tours-activities or meals not used or attended. Additional expenses incurred because of deviations from the Musical Journey are the responsibility of the person choosing these alternatives. A Musical Journey is based on double occupancy for 16 adults. Maximum patrons on this private tour is 24 adults. Additional fee for single room lodging applies; available on a limited, first-come, first serve basis (Inquire for additional information and supplement). Note: Third payment amount is subject to final airport taxes and fees, fuel charges, euro-dollar exchange rate, Verona and Florence optional performance tickets, optional tour in Rome, upgraded air or extra leg room seats, and single room supplement. A Musical Journey is 100% non-refundable, with traveler’s insurance strongly recommended; quotes sent after January 28, 2020 deposit (date of initial due date registration) is made for best and complete coverage. (Travel Insurance will be quoted to all participants; purchased separately from the package.). Flights are out of Chicago O’Hare, alternative gateway cities may be possible, subject to airline rules and regulations and deviation fees. Limited upgrades, and/or extra legroom seats may be available and coordinated for an additional fee payable separately. A Musical  Journey with Maestro Larsen is under copyright and is meant solely for Rockford Symphony Orchestra’s use whom it was designed for, and no portion of this Journey or itinerary may be used without expressed written consent of Laura C. Johnson, Rockford-Chicago, IL.

    CONDITIONS: Steven Larsen, Laura Johnson, Rockford Symphony Orchestra, and Just Go Travel, Inc. and all our agencies in USA and overseas and in Europe are not responsible or liable for any delays, delayed departures or arrivals, missed carrier connections, accidents, loss, damage or injury to person or property. They reserve the right to withdraw a tour or make any changes in the published itinerary whenever, in their sole judgment, conditions warrant or IF they deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of the group. They accept no responsibility for substitution of the hotel, place of lodging or restaurant, additional expenses due to weather conditions or consequences beyond their control. They cannot be held responsible for any act or omission by any government, airline or individual in the United States and Europe. The right is reserved to decline to accept or retain members of the tour. In such instances, an equitable amount will be refunded. They are not responsible for participants on a tour who fail to meet at scheduled times or places, and, in the event a participant misses a group's departure, s/he her/him-self is responsible for catching up with the group at the next stop or meeting place at her/his own expense. Additional expenses incurred because of deviations from the tour are the responsibility of the person choosing those alternatives. (While not guaranteed, every effort will be made to provide special diet/allergenic-free foods during group meals). If participants choose to terminate their tour at any time, there will be no refunds. Refund is not given for any portion(s) of the tour which are not used or participated in. Traveler’s insurance will be offered for purchase separate from the package.

    Tour led by Laura C. Johnson

    Laura received her MA in Art History from Northern Illinois University with an emphasis in Early Christian & Byzantine Art (Ravenna, Italy) and an MLS/me (museum education) degree from the University of Oklahoma at Norman, with an extension at the University of Tulsa. Her first museum position was as a docent and assistant to the bookshop manager at The Time Museum in Rockford. She then became the Director of Education for almost eleven years at Rockford Art Museum until she moved to Florence, Italy where Laura became a resident, and after a thirteen-year application process, was granted full Italian citizenship. You may know Laura as “Go Travel Girl” for her articles with the Rockford Register Star, “Postcards from Laura”, Life & Style, Sundays. The first article (1999) was “An American Living in Florence”.

    As an art educator and study leader, The School of the Art Institute employed Laura for three summers in Chicago as assistant to the Director, Teachers Institute in Contemporary Art, Early College Program Basic Art Support in the Curriculum. This position was sponsored by a National Endowment for the Arts grant. She was subsequently selected as a Study Leader for the travel programs of The Art Institute of Chicago Museum Members Travel. She also piloted exclusive high school student study programs and organized international workshops for art teachers and for travelers and patrons of the arts to France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Sicily, Sweden and Russia. For nine years, Laura was the Coordinator of the Elderhostel/Road Scholar Programs in Italy, Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut. She led the Passage to India, a first-time trip for Elderhostel to Africa and India for 42-days, including a 28-day cruise aboard the MV Discovery. Laura also cruised from Venice to Athens with opera diva Marilyn Horne and Florence Henderson on a music/performance lecture-tour. She hosted an exclusive sold-out three-week journey to Central America with Archbishop Desmond Tutu for Semester at Sea with University of Virginia and Road Scholar Programs at Sea.

    A Musical Journey to Italy with Maestro Larsen June 10-22, 2020, will be the second trip Laura designed for RSO, and she will be the tour director of this trip. Laura can be contacted at

    Highlights include two nights in “Musical Venice” - (17th century quote) ‘"In every home, someone is playing a musical instrument or singing. There is music everywhere.’"  A special feature of our time in Venice is the grand La Fenice Theatre, one of the most beautiful opera houses in the world. An exclusive visit to Berengo Studio, an internationally acclaimed private glass-making furnace, and contemporary art museum where Rockford’s Nicholas Conservatory statues were created. A day/night in Shakespeare's Verona, and an optional performance at the 1st-century Roman Arena for Cavalleria Rusticana ~ Pagliacci.

    Lunch at Giuseppe Verdi’s “favorite” Café featuring wonderful local delicacies, and a visit to his home Villa S. Agata. Two nights in quintessential Cremona --- in 2012, UNESCO named “the traditional violin craftsmanship of Cremona” as an intangible cultural heritage.” Home of the luthier we learn about the art of making stringed instruments with a private demonstration.  

    Spend a day in Parma, birthplace of Arturo Toscanini, and see the famous Teatro Farnese with Piazza Verdi, and the Duomo renowned for its frescoes by Correggio. In 2020 Parma has been named the “Italy's Capital of Culture”.

    Two nights are spent in “bella Firenze” --- beautiful Florence, where the first opera was written and performed in the late 1500s, with optional tickets for the Teatro dell’Opera di Firenze for an orchestra and chorus performance. We visit the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo to see Michelangelo’s last Pietà and to the Church of S. Croce, where Gioachino Rossini is buried.

    Visit a quaint community in Chianti for a cooking lesson and lunch, with a drive through the hills and valleys of Tuscany to the hilltop town of Arezzo, home of the “Musical Monk”, considered as one of the most influential figures in the history of modern music, and on to Cortona for one night with a traditional Tuscan dinner of  “mama's cooking”. We visit the Etruscan Museum in Cortona, and then a highlight of this exclusive RSO journey --- Orvieto where we attend the Orvieto Music Festival. Two nights are spent in Rome with a private guided tour of the Vatican, with the Sistine Chapel, and an exclusive Pines of Rome panoramic tour of The  Eternal City.