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Welcome to our September Newsletter!

Friday 9th September 2016

Welcome to our September Newsletter! The CICERONI Travel 2017 Brochure is now completed and should be with you, considerably ahead of last year’s delivery! Clients who are resident beyond the UK should begin to receive them shortly. If you have not received your copy by mid to late September, do let us know and one will be sent to you. In the interval, you can have a sneak preview by downloading a digital version to your iPad or equivalent from the Home Page. (PS - if using an iPad open the PDF in iBooks for the best results!) Regular readers of these emails and visitors to our website will notice, when the 2017 brochure arrives, that we have made a number of changes to the range of destinations and dates promised for next year and I thought I should summarise these for you, just in case there is a particular visit you are keen to join? Our visit to Amsterdam originally planned for late April to early May next year will, I am afraid, have to wait until another year. The dates allocated proved to be very tricky as they coincided with a number of major events in and around Amsterdam and we were unable to secure a hotel of the quality required. Our visit Torre del Lago & Lucca: The Puccini Opera Festival next July will be featured in our usual Christmas mailing. We were unable to include it in the main brochure as the Festival has yet to announce the programme for next year’s Festival. As soon as we have these details we will alert everyone via one of our regular monthly e-newsletters. Habsburgs & Bourbons: The Royal Collections of Madrid will also feature in the next Christmas mailing, though we hope to be able to release details onto our website before then. Again, please do read these regular e-newsletters for an update on the visit due to depart in October 2017. As I type away, in the background Radio 3’s Prom performance tonight is Bach’s B Minor Mass – a superb account under William Christie, so far! Listening to these broadcasts has been one of the joys of recent weeks and I could not help noticing that many of the performers featured so far will appear in next January’s Baroque Music Festival in Valletta. You may not realise that we take a group to this remarkable festival each year and in the words of one of our clients who came with us last January “this was an excellent chance to combine good music look on the Tour Paages to see who will perform and what those performances will be. Our Autumn travel programme began yesterday with our first visit to Trentino-Alto Adige, a remarkably pretty part of Italy on the Alpine border with Austria, a visit led by James Hill. I am off to Northern Ireland this weekend with a group to stay on Lough Erne and thereafter we continue with Washington DC, St Petersburg and many other wonderful places. However, of the visits which I will not lead, the one which made me literally ‘green with envy’ is A Hidden Europe: Exploring Slovenia. This is one of our visits to those countries which made up the former Yugoslavia, developed in recent years by James Hill. I have never been there and when I read James’ detailed itinerary for the visit, I now realise that this is one place I MUST visit as soon as possible. So, let me share with you what James has discovered and who knows, you might be able to join him this October? If not, do put it on your list of places to see very soon. The draft final day by day programme which you should read is on the Tour Pages. Finally, all of us here at CICERONI hope that you will enjoy reading our new Brochure and that you will find something to whet your appetites for travel in the coming months. All best wishes until I write again in October. Tom

Welcome to our July Newsletter!

Tuesday 9th August 2016

Welcome to our July Newsletter! I am sorry that our July newsletter starts its journey to you in early August – your correspondent was delayed by a series of horticultural and musical adventures in Ireland and Sussex these last few weeks. Suitably enthused and just back in harness at our office, I am about to spend the next two weeks putting the finishing touches to our 2017 brochure, scheduled to arrive on your doorstep by mid September. In the meantime, we have put up on our website quite a few more visits for next year, and here are details of a few to whet your appetites. Our visits to the United States have grown in popularity and New York remains one of the most popular. To answer this demand, Magnificence Revealed: New York & the Lower Hudson Valley, 28 March – 5 April, will see James Hill lead another group to explore not only the great art collections – several visits to the Metropolitan, a private visit to the Museum of Modern Art, the Frick and the Pierpoint Morgan Library – but also a few days spent exploring the amazing houses of the Lower Hudson River Valley, a new addition to our itinerary. As with all our American adventures, the formal visits will be guided by Museum Curators and Specialist Guides as no one art historian could cover the wide variety of material which will be included. For those with musical interests, the Metropolitan Opera will present three operas during our stay: La Traviata, the season premiere of Eugene Onegin, and Aida, making this a wonderful opportunity to experience the city’s amazing cultural life. Romans & Conquistadors: Extremadura Explored, 6 – 13 May is a new addition to our growing portfolio of visits to the Iberian Peninsula. It is rich in a wide variety of monuments across the ages from the Romans at Merida to great medieval churches and above all, the amazing palaces built by local adventurers who made their fortunes in the conquest of the “New World”. Based in Mérida for two nights and in Cáceres for five nights, Extremadura is an area of many contrasts. Its landscape varies from the lush pastures and blossom covered hills of the north to the flat plains to the south. That said, nature has been more than kind and it produces some wonderful food and wine, reflected in the newly vibrant food scene of Cáceres, which participants will have ample free time to explore. This visit has attracted quite a number of bookings already, so if you are interested in joining David Sketchley and I, do get in touch! Many members of our mailing list will have heard Paula Nuttall lecture, either at the V&A or to both NADFAS and the Art Fund. She has led several visits for us in recent years and I am delighted that she has agreed to do so again next year: Flanders in the Early Renaissance: Bruges & Ghent, 1 – 5 June will be the ideal opportunity to explore these two exciting centres of the Flemish Renaissance, guided by one of our foremost experts on the subject. The Van Eyck family workshop, together with Rogier van der Weyden, created a style that influenced not only their contemporaries and successors but also reached beyond Flanders and down into Italy, one of the themes which will be explored. The next generation of Flemish artists was dominated by Hans Memling and given he lived in Bruges, where so many of his works remain, it will be the ideal base for this short, four-night visit, based in one of the city’s most stylish hotels. In the last few days we have had a cancellation for A Country House Revealed: Deene Park & the Brudenells, Tuesday, 13 September of this year and so there are two places available. The Brudenells have been seated at Deene, one of England’s most romantic houses, since 1514, their house increasing in grandeur as their fortunes prospered. It is a remarkable story told via an important collection, reflecting the family’s varied history. Coffee on arrival after which Charlotte Brudenell and Tom Duncan will lecture, followed by a seated formal lunch in the house, hosted by Robert & Charlotte Brudenell. The afternoon will be devoted to a “connoisseurs” tour with Mrs Brudenell, followed by tea. Finally, Henrietta Lawson Johnston worked in our office for several years and many of you will have benefitted from her kindness and patience – Stephen and I certainly did. In recent years she has developed her undoubted talents as an artist and I thought I would draw your attention to two forthcoming exhibitions in which she will show some of her oil paintings, together with works by her uncle, the well-known glass engraver, Philip Lawson Johnston. From Thursday to Saturday, September 15 – 17 they will exhibit at St Andrew’s Church, Linton Road, Oxford, OX2 6UG and from Thursday to Saturday, September 22 – 24, they will exhibit at The Orangery, Cotswold Wildlife Park, near Burford, OX18 4JP. If you would like further details and an invitation to either exhibition do look at her website (http://www.henriettalj.com) or contact Henrietta by email (hettslj@gmail.com). Until our next newsletter in a few weeks, all best wishes, Tom

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