Thursday, September 2, 2010

USC flight schedule on Lufthansa German Airlines

Those of you who chose the air-land package will be flying the friendly skies on the long-hauls with one of the world's premier airlines, Lufthansa German Airlines, on the 2011 USC School of Music Performance Tour to Italy. For more information on your on-board experience, please visit the Lufthansa website. The Incantato Tours team wishes you a safe and relaxing flight.

USC School of Music Performers

Departure to Europe:
Thursday, March 3, 2011
LUFTHANSA flight LH429, leaving CHARLOTTE (CLT) at 5:25PM
Arrive in MUNICH (MUC) at 8:10AM on Friday, March 4, 2011
LUFTHANSA flight LH1842, leaving MUNICH (MUC) at 9:35AM
Arrive in ROME (FCO) at 11:05AM

Return to USA:
Monday, March 14, 2011
LUFTHANSA flight LH1851, leave ROME (FCO) at 6:35AM
Arrive in MUNICH (MUC) at 8:15AM
LUFTHANSA flight LH428, leave MUNICH (MUC) at 11:25AM
Arrive in CHARLOTTE (CLT) at 4:35PM

Shadow Tour Participants

Departure to Europe:
Friday, March 4, 2011
LUFTHANSA flight LH429, leave CHARLOTTE (CLT) at 5:25PM
Arrive in MUNICH (MUC) at 8:10AM on Saturday, March 5, 2011
LUFTHANSA flight LH1884, leave MUNICH (MUC) at 9:15AM
Arrive in FLORENCE (FLR) at 10:35AM

Return to USA:
Monday, March 14, 2011
LUFTHANSA flight LH1851, leave ROME (FCO) at 6:35AM
Arrive in MUNICH (MUC) at 8:15AM
LUFTHANSA flight LH428, leave MUNICH (MUC) at 11:25AM
Arrive in CHARLOTTE (CLT) at 4:35PM

Your performance tour travel route through Italy

Welcome to Italy!

Italy is located partly on the European Continent and partly on the Italian Peninsula in Southern Europe and on the two largest islands in the Mediterranean Sea, Sicily and Sardinia. Italy shares its northern, Alpine boundary with France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia. The independent states of San Marino and the Vatican City are enclaves within the Italian Peninsula, and Campione d'Italia is an Italian exclave in Switzerland. The territory of Italy covers 301,338 km² and is influenced by a temperate seasonal climate. With 60.2 million inhabitants, it is the sixth most populous country in Europe, and the twenty-third most populous in the world.
The land known as Italy today has been the cradle of European cultures and peoples, such as the Etruscans and the Romans. Italy's capital, Rome, was for centuries the political centre of Western civilisation, as the capital of the Roman Empire. After its decline, Italy would endure numerous invasions by foreign peoples, from Germanic tribes such as the Lombards and Ostrogoths, to the Normans and later, the Byzantines, among others. Centuries later, Italy would become the birthplace of the Renaissance, an immensely fruitful intellectual movement that would prove to be integral in shaping the subsequent course of European thought.
Through much of its post-Roman history, Italy was fragmented into numerous kingdoms and city-states (such as the Kingdom of Sardinia, the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and the Duchy of Milan), but was unified in 1861, a tumultuous period in history known as the "Risorgimento". In the late 19th century, through World War I, and to World War II, Italy possessed a colonial empire, which extended its rule to Libya, Eritrea, Italian Somaliland, Ethiopia, Albania, Rhodes, the Dodecanese and a concession in Tianjin, China.
Modern Italy is a democratic republic and the world's eighteenth most developed country, with the eighth or tenth highest quality of life index rating in the world. It is a founding member of what is now the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Italy is also a member of the G8 and G20. It is a member state of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Trade Organization, the Council of Europe, and the Western European Union as well. The country's European political, social and economic influence make it a major regional power, alongside the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Russia, and Italy has been classified in a study, measuring hard power, as being the eleventh greatest worldwide national power. The country has a high public education level, high labor force, is a globalised nation, and also has 2009's sixth best international reputation. Italy also has the world's nineteenth highest life expectancy, and the world's second best healthcare system. It is the world's fifth most visited country, with over 43.7 million international arrivals, and boasts a long tradition and several achievements in the arts, science and technology, including the world's highest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites to date.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Incantato Destination: Monte Porzio Catone, Italy

Monte Porzio Catone is a municipality of the Province of Rome in the Italian Region of Latium and lies approximately twenty kilometers southeast of Rome in the Alban Hills. In addition to the Church of Saint Gregory the Great, erected in 1666 by Carlo Rainaldi for the Borghese family, some of the town’s main attractions include the Astronomical Rome Observatory, the Museum of Wine, the City Museum, and the Iseo Alari Community School of Music.
The Astronomical Rome Observatory was built in 1939 and is located two kilometers from the city center. The structure rises from the remains of “Matilda’s Villa,” a first century Roman Villa. Originally built for the purpose of preserving the equipment of the National Observatory in Rome, the rationalist-style Astronomical Rome Observatory now promotes astronomic and scientific studies through educational initiatives and exchanges with schools and universities.
Opened in 2000, the Museum of Wine not only provides visitors with the wine tastings, but also takes guests through the process of creating wine. A tour of the museum teaches visitors, through the use of photos and demonstrations, the intricate steps of the wine production process. The museum even houses its own exclusive wine cellar.
The Monte Porzio City Museum is housed within a recently restored seventeenth century cathedral within the heart of the city. The museum illustrates the multi-thousand-year history of the city through such exhibitions as archeological findings, medieval papal pottery, and seventeenth century art.
The Iseo Ilari Community School of Music was founded by the Monte Porzio Catone City Administration in 1999. Through not only classes, but also performances and workshops, the school succeeds in encouraging social interaction and acceptance through the dissemination of music and cultural arts. The school, a recognized institution of the Italian Association of Schools of Music, currently offers studies in Classical Tradition and Music Performance.

For more information on Monte Porzio Catone, Italy, please visit:

Home away from home: Hotel Imperial Garden, Montecatini Terme

Hotel Imperial Garden is a classic and prestigious 4 star hotel in the very heart of Tuscany in the city center of Montecatini Terme. The historical building is reminiscent of the Liberty Period of 1910, complete with traditional furniture and colors of the era.
The hotel offers a restaurant, billiards room, garden, large sitting room, swimming pool, solarium, and rooftop garden. The 84 guest rooms come equipped with air conditioning, satellite television, a desk, safe box, and private bathrooms with showers and hairdryers.

Recent reviews of the Hotel Imperial Garden recommended the hotel for its convenient location within walking distance of the city center, the friendly staff, and clean and comfortable accommodations.

City Facts about Pisa

  • The present inclination of the Leaning Tower, Pisas most important sight, is measured to be about 10 percent. The reason behind the inclination still remains a mystery. However, it is believed that the inclination was due to the subsidence of the foundation soil, which was a mixture of varied deposits and clayish material.
  • Pisa was the birthplace of the important early physicist, Galileo Galilei.
  • Pisa's origins remained unknown for centuries. The presence of an Etruscan (civilization of ancient Italy) necropolis (large cemetery), discovered during excavations in the Arena Garibald (mulit-use stadium) in 1991, allowed to clarify its Etruscan origins.
  • The city has two sister-cities in the USA: Niles, Illinois, and Coral Gables, Florida.
  • Football is the main sport in Pisa; the local team, Pisa Calcio, currently plays in the Italian Serie B (second-highest division), and has had a top flight history throughout the 1980s and the 1990s, featuring several world class players such as Diego Simeone, Christian Vieri and Dunga.
  • Pisa is also known for its excellent university, which was established in 1343 and has become one of Italy's top schools.

Visit Casal Pilozzo

Casal Pilozzo, a property of the Pulcini family located in the village of Monte Porzio Catone, sits atop a marvelous hill just nine and a half miles south of Rome offering beautiful views of the Eternal City.
Considered one of the oldest farms of the Castelli Romani area, the Casale was built on the ruins of an ancient dwelling place thought by many scholars to be the residence of the sister and nephew of Emperor Traiano. Throughout the modern age, it has served as residence to many famous personalities, from the likes of Orson Welles to the families of Filonardi Brandi e Bottai and Tyrone Power.
The subsoil of the Casale features ancient tufa soil grottoes, extending for hundreds of meters, where the wines are stored to mature in natural conditions of stable temperature and humidity. Hidden in the depths of the cellars stands an ancient altar carved in the tufa soil. Some historians believe the cellars to be remnants of a cave-dwelling “protostorico” village.
The Casale stands in the center of the property, surrounded by a magnificent park and 13 hectares of volcanic land now cultivated for vineyards and olive groves. The pride of Casal Pilozzo remains the strictly biological cultivation and selection of wine grapes. Varieties include Malvasia del Lazio, Grechetto Antico, Chardonnay, Pinot Nero, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlote, and Syrah.
The Vineyards and vinification, olive trees, and oil production are all personally controlled by the Pulcini family. This makes the Casal Pilozzo one of the few truly “family-run” operations, demonstrating in practice the very real possibility for creating high-quality products in coexistence with an environmentally friendly philosophy.

Home away from home: Hotel Montebello, Montecatini Terme

The USC Alumni & Friends Tour will spend their Tuscan nights at Hotel Montebello. Located in the unique spa town of Montecatini Terme, the family-owned Hotel Montebello boasts traditional Tuscan décor, spacious guest rooms, and a relaxing indoor garden. Standard guest room amenities include satellite television, direct-dial telephone, internet connection, air conditioning, safety box, and a private en suite bathroom with hairdryer. Guest reviews rave about the hotel’s beauty, the comfortable rooms, and extremely friendly and helpful staff.

Home away from home: Oly Hotel, Rome

The University of South Carolina Concert Choir and Shadow Tours will stay at the Oly Hotel in Rome from March 10 through 14.
Located near the airport and a short drive from the historical city center of Rome, the recently renovated Oly Hotel offers a complete professional fitness center, indoor swimming pool, solarium, and restaurant serving traditional Italian fare. Standard guest rooms come equipped with digital air conditioning, internet access, satellite television, and an en suite bathroom with shower/tub combination. Recent guest reviews complimented the hotel on their delicious breakfast, clean rooms, and endless comforting hot water in the bathrooms.

Home away from home: Hotels La Pergola and Sabina, Magliano Sabina

The University of South Carolina Concert Choir Performance Tour will stay in hotels La Pergola and Sabina on March 8 and 9, 2011.
One of Incantato's trademarks is to take our groups slightly of the beaten path for a day or two during their performance tours for a full immersion into the country they are visting. When the University of South Carolina Concert Choir Performance Tour stops for two nights in Umbria en-route from Tuscany to Rome, the Shadow Tour will stay at the country hotel "La Pergola" and the Choir will stay in the nearby Hotel Sabina, both near the charming hilltop towns of Orvieto and Calvi dell'Umbria. Standard guest rooms in both hotels come equipped with air conditioning, satellite television, telephone, iron and ironing board, and en suite bathrooms with shower/tub combination. Recent reviews complimented both hotels on their helpful service and comfortable accommodations.