Italy Trip

Travel with RSO Music Director Steven Larsen on a Musical Journey in Italy June 10-22, 2020.

An informational trip meeting will be held on Tuesday, November 19 from 5:30pm to 7:00pm at Abreo, 515 E State St, Rockford, IL 61104, with more details and the opportunity to register.

To attend, please RSVP by calling 815.965.0049 or email Audra Freeze at afreeze@rockfordsymhony.com.

This trip gives you the opportunity to spend time with Maestro Larsen before the start of his final season with the RSO. The trip 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
  • 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, copy of valid passport, and signed condition form.

    A Musical Journey to Italy with Maestro Larsen June 10-22, 2020 includes: round trip Rockford-O’Hare air-conditioned private 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 24 adults; should this total of 24 adults not be reached, a supplement may be added to the total final package price and third payment. Additional fee for single room lodging applies; available on a limited, first-come, first serve basis (Inquire for additional information and supplement). Third payment amount is subject to final airport taxes and fees, fuel charges, euro-dollar exchange rate, number of participants.  A Musical Journey is 100% non-refundable, with traveler’s insurance strongly recommended to be purchased after deposit is made for best and complete coverage from date of initial registration. (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 patrons 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.  lauracjohnson.arthistorian@gmail.com.

    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 Journey exclusively for RSO patrons. Laura can be contacted at lauracjohnson.arthistorian@gmail.com.

    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.