Lucca Montechiari Wine Estate
Puccini Turandot Poster
Puccini Festival & Tuscan Wine
Lucca is our base for attending the Puccini opera performances at nearby Torre del Lago. As with all Arblaster & Clarke escorted, small party, Opera & Wine Tours, the days are spent enjoying wonderful wines, often at private invitiations to lunches at the best estates, and evening’s spent enjoying great opera.
Most years since 1930, a stage has been set up by the Massaciuccoli Lake to host performances of Puccini’s Operas and this year again some of his greatest works are being staged at the theatre which was completely rebuilt very recently.
A fabulous Opera and Wine combination, this tour includes one first category ticket to La Bohème, with the option to attend Turandot on the following evening.
Our wine visits will show the best now coming from the Lucchesi Hills, which have improved incredibly over the last few years.
There will be tastings and lunches at several wine estates including the trail blazing estate of Tenuta di Capezzana, in Carmignano DOCG, north-west of Florence. The family here have been instrumental in flying the flag for quality wines in this region
On the first evening we dine together at one of our favourite restaurants in the heart of Lucca. The typical Tuscan menu will be paired with a selection of wines from the region. Tuscan cooking is traditionally rustic but wonderfully appealing reflecting the local fresh ingredients and following the seasons. Pasta is not a traditional dish, though it will be used along with game, for example in the delicious game starter dish papardelle alla lepre or cinghiale (wide pasta strips with hare or wild boar); soup is a Tuscan staple, particularly rich bean soups laced with the excellent local olive oil (nearly all the wine estates also make their own extra virgin olive oil), crostini (little toasts) with liver and anchovy paste and fresh tomatoes are also popular as part of an antipasto.
Puccini’s birthplace, was an independent city-state until the nineteenth century. The complete 16th century walls enclose a labyrinth of medieval streets, Romanesque churches and stately palazzi along with designer shops, mouth-watering delis and great trattorias and wine bars.
Sites include the C12th and C14th San Michele in Foro church on the site of the Roman Forum, with its magnificent towering facade; the Cathedral with a striking green and white marble facade and the Piazza del Anfiteatro, a ramshackle oval of medieval buildings incorporating elements of the Roman Amphitheatre that stood here.
As for gastronomy, Lucca’s classic dishes reflect the city’s former wealth, such as “torta di erbe”, a vegetable pie studded with pine nuts and raisins and “Il buccellato” a raisin and aniseed cake. The olive oil, which is mild to almost sweet, is very highly regarded.
The Puccini Festival
Just 18 kms away from Lucca is Torre del Lago, where Puccini lived and wrote many of his Operas. Most years since 1930 a stage has been set up over the Massaciuccoli Lake to host a handful of performances of some of Puccini’s most loved works.
2011 will be the 57th Festival and we have included one first class ticket to La Bohème, with the option to attend Turandot on the other evening if you wish.
Our hotel, the best in the city, is a family run four star between the outer and inner city walls. You can either stroll the short level walk into the centre or get around, like the locals do, by bicycle as these are on loan free of charge from the hotel.
The Opera tickets
First tier tickets to La Bohème are included.
We offer an additional 1st class ticket and transfers with a local guide who will give a talk on Puccini en-route to Torre del Lago for Turandot. This also includes a visit to the Puccini Villa before the performance. Please request this at time of main booking and call for details.
Extend you holiday in Florence
If you would like to extend at the end of the tour for a few days in the glorious renaissance city of Florence, please call for details.
The stunning Renaissance city of Florence attractively situated on the River Arno. There is of course, art and history at every turn in Florence and even though you will probably have visited Florence before, it is always worth returning! Of course, the list of magnificent buildings to explore is endless and include the beautiful church of Santa Maria Novella, the Duomo where the separate bapistry has intricately carved bronze doors by Brunelleschi, the Uffizi Gallery, the Pitti Palace and its lovely gardens and so much more. On a more mundane level, of course there is designer shopping, colourful street markets and art vendors. And of course, there are numerous wonderful traditional trattoria, wine bars, gelateria and gourmet restaurants to explore!