Tees Valley Youth Orchestra's Italy Tour Begins

After a temporary hiatus to music tours as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic, Tees Valley Youth Orchestra (TVYO) are set to travel to Florence to perform in the Florence International Festival of Youth Orchestras.

Tees Valley Youth Orchestra standing outside concert venue
Members of Tees Valley Youth Orchestra | Credit: TVYO

Members of TVYO have enjoyed memorable tours over the years; from visiting the Spanish city of Granada to performing at Carnegie Hall in New York City as part of the Orchestra's 50th anniversary - students have been afforded experiences that will stay with them for life. Plans for a 2021 tour to Italy were ultimately shelved due to the ongoing pandemic however in early 2022 the tour was given the greenlight as Europe started to welcome back visitors.

The tour, starting on Tuesday 12th July and concluding on Tuesday 19th July, will involve visiting beautiful venues in the culture-rich cities of Florence and Tuscany. The group will stay in the idyllic town of Montecatini where they will spend the majority of their free time.

After spending arrival day settling in, the following day will include an excursion to Pisa to visit the Piazza dei Miracoli, translated into English as the Square of Miracles. The walled 8.87-hectre area located in Tuscany is recognsied as an important centre of European medieval art and one of the finest architectural complexes in the world. In 1987, the whole square was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

After this, the group will perform a concert at Terme Tettuccio - a lavish spa and leisure venue that has awe-inspiring architecture.

Water fountain at Terme Tettuccio spa
Water Fountain at Terme Tettuccio | Credit: Dreamstime

In between tour commitments, Tees Valley Youth Orchestra will be granted free time to explore the local town and visit the local amenities.

The tour party will then depart for Florence where they will first visit the Boboli Gardens.

The Medici Family established the layout of the gardens, creating the Italian garden style that would become a model for many European courts. The vast green expanse with a regular layout is a real outdoor museum, populated by ancient and Renaissance statues.

As well as being a memorable musical tour, the other aim of the trip to Italy is to invite students to sites that are of cultural and historic significance.

Students will then travel to Borgo San Lorenzo at Villa Pecori Giraldi where they will perform a concert to local city residents as well as family and friends. The repertoire will include Shostakovich - Symphony No. 5, Borne - Fantasie on Themes from 'Carmen' and Williams - Imperial March from 'Star Wars'.

On the 5th day of the tour, students will visit Siena and San Gimignano and take in some sightseeing. In the early evening they will return to the hotel for dinner and an early night in anticipation for the 6th and final day.

On the final full day, TVYO will spend their time in Florence. The day will involve opportunities for shopping and also time to visit the world famous Uffizi Gallery. The Gallery entirely occupies the first and second floor of the large building constructed between 1560 and 1580. It is famous worldwide for its outstanding collections of ancient sculptures and paintings (from the Middle Ages to the Modern period).

Inside the Uffizi Gallery
Uffizi Gallery | Credit: Alamy

Other possible sightseeing activities include the Duomo, the Galleria and the Ponte Vecchio.

After dining at the Osteria dei Baroncelli Restaurant, Tees Valley Youth Orchestra will perform a late concert in the Loggia dei Lanzi - a building adjoining the Uffizi Gallery.

On Monday 18th July the group will depart from the hotel and take the long journey to the ferry crossing in Calais. TVYO will arrive back at Teesside High School the following evening.

Tees Valley Youth Orchestra will be publicising their activities during the tour and afterwards so be sure to follow their Facebook and Twitter pages to keep up to date with TVYO's 2022 Tour to Italy!

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