Beer gardens and outdoor entertainment are synonymous with the summer season, and Rocco Forte’s Hotel Savoy in Florence and The Charles Hotel in Munich have launched two new experiences for us, perfect for those wanting to immerse themselves in the rich culture of each city.
The summer, Hotel Savoy invites you to explore opera and art in the city where the world’s first opera was written and some of the greatest Renaissance art created. It’s all about the Opera where you can experience opera-singing and art classes as a part of your stay at one of the city’s most iconic hotels. Led by knowledgeable local tutors from the Accademia Europea di Firenze, the classes will also include tours to cultural hotspots like the Pitti Palace as well as tickets to the opera.
The opera masterclass, which can be covered in a single day or two half-days, includes a guided walk to the courtyard of the Pitti Palace where the first ever opera was performed in 1600. This session also includes a music academic on the history of Italian opera and how to listen to and comprehend, and a singing lesson with a specialist in vocal technique. Guests can also attend an opera including Rossini’s Il Viaggio a Reims or Puccini’s Tosca or Donizetti’s Anna Bolena at the Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. In June, the opera being performed at the Teatro del Maggio Musicale is Verdi’s La Traviata; in July it will be Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi and in November and December it will be Puccini’s Turandot.
The art masterclass includes a lesson in drawing or painting in the style of one of three great Italian masters – Leonardo, Michelangelo or Caravaggio – and a guided visit to see their work in the Uffizi Gallery. The three-hour lesson takes place in the morning and the gallery visit takes place over two hours in the afternoon and is also guided by the art teacher.
Tutors from the Accademia Europea di Firenze includes specialist guide Matteo Cristini; artist Carlo Tarani; and well-known sculptor and scenographer Camilla Bacherini.
**Rates start at $1,260 for a two-night stay.
In Munich, The Charles Hotel is celebrating 200 years of the Bavarian beer garden with its exclusive “Beer Garden Experience”. Available until October 31, this package allows us to savor the variety of the city’s beer gardens in style. The experience includes a picnic basket for two, filled with local delicacies such as Leberkäse; white radishes cut in delicate spirals; Bavarian Sausage Salad and Obatzda, a traditional soft cheese and beer dip; as well as a bike hire for the duration of our stay and tickets to Munich’s new Beer & Oktoberfest Museum, housed in the city’s oldest residential building.
With over 100 beer gardens to choose from, from the lake-side ‘Seehaus’ in the vast ‘Englischer Garten’ and the Kloster Andechs located by the Benedictine Monastry to the ‘Hirschgarten’, a hidden gem loved by the inhabitants of Munich, there are plenty of places to join the festivities with the locals.
In addition to the Oktoberfest in September, numerous events highlighting the anniversary year will take place in and around Munich. Highlights include the Open Air Classical Concerts on the Odeonsplatz in July and the Cook’s Ball, an early morning ball at the Chinese Tower in the English Garden.
The ‘Beer Garden Experience’ includes:
• Two nights or more
• Daily buffet breakfast
• A picnic basket for two people
• A bike hire per person for the entire stay
• Entrance for Beer & Octoberfest Museum
* The ‘Beer Garden Experience’ at The Charles Hotel is available until October 31, 2012 and starts from $875 based on two nights