Spoleto Festival

Celebrate the Green Heart of Italy's most anticipated festival

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Helen Twigg

Helen Twigg
HomeAway travel expert

Spoleto Festival dei Due Mondi, meaning Festival of the Two Worlds, is held annually in the stunning city of Spoleto. Framed by the Apennines, the Umbrian city becomes a platform for the July festival, which stretches over a two week period. The festival was founded in 1957 by prominent musician Gian Carlo Menotti. The composer and acclaimed conductor, regarded as the founder of one of the region's anticipated festivals, has inspired a series of spectacular festivals in recent years. The festival weaves the numerous artistic disciplines with the evolving strands of science and technology. Some of the globe’s most celebrated artists including tenor Luciani Pavarotti, poet Ezra Pound and director Roman Polanski, have worked closely with the festival, and visitors can choose from a diverse range of lectures, workshops and exhibitions, as well as some of Europe’s commended ballets, operas and theatre. The success of the Italian festival inspired a duplicate event held annually in Charleston, South Carolina. The first North American Spoleto festival was held in 1977, and continues to attract throngs of festival-goers.

The festival symbolises Italy’s rich investment in the arts and sciences. If you've planned a summer excursion to Umbria and want to experience one of the Green Heart of Italy's most critically acclaimed cultural festivals, Spoleto is essential to your summer itinerary. The 2013 festival, falling from 28th June to 14th July, will introduce promising new artists, as well as reflect the country’s vast and extraordinary cultural history. In one of our Umbrian rentals, recreate a home from home experience.



Spoleto Festival: everything you need to know


Spoleto Festival: History Spoleto Festival: History

Founded in 1957 by Menotti, the conception of Festival dei Due Mondi is based on the notion that difference, range, and depth in the arts should be celebrated. This concept has been reflected throughout the festival’s history, and festival-goers have enjoyed high profile speakers from across the board of arts and sciences. The amalgamation of European and American culture celebrated has inspired the festival organisers to create a platform for a diverse range of events and performances. The current president of the festival is Daniele Benedetti and Giorgio Ferrara is the festival’s Artistic Director.

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Spoleto Festival: Performances Spoleto Festival: Performances

Now in its 56thyear, Spoleto Festival remains one of Italy’s critically acclaimed festivals. The 2013 programme remains a platform for commended theatre, award-winning orchestras, and dance companies, as well as presenting promising new artists. Dynamic performances include a range of productions from young European directors and actors, from Malmo Theatre academy, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the Theatre National de Strasbourg. Orchestras including the Orchestra FoundationTeatro Carlo Felice lead by Alvise Casellati and recurring scheduled performances, such as ‘Performances at Noon’ Debussy pieces, are followed by stirring concerts at St. Nicholas Cloister. Observe dance from Mark Morris Dance Group and The Dance Project, as well as The Piano Upstairs performance choreographed by Alessandra Ferri, or spend an evening at the opera at Ivor Bolton’s 'The Secret Marriage or a recreation' of Jacques Offenbach’s ‘L'île de Tulipatan’ and ‘Croquefer, ou Le dernier des paladins’.

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Spoleto Festival: Events Spoleto Festival: Events

The Spoleto Festival have hosted a variety of events, including a range of conferences, lectures and workshops. The 2013 events schedule include a curated exhibition by the Foundation Carla Fendi, ‘We are the Festival’ event aimed at creating a dialogue with school pupils in Umbria, and ‘Under the Floor of the World: Voices from the belly of mine Morgnano’, a collaboration with the Mine Project. Art exhibitions include curated exhibitions by Achille Bonito Oliva and acclaimed galleries in Palazzo Collicola Visual Arts. If you’re visiting the Spoleto Festival for the first time, retrace the festival’s development in The Documentation Centre, which since its formation in 2011, has enabled visitors to rediscover the numerous performances and events since the festival’s foundation.

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Spoleto Festival: Location Spoleto Festival: Location

The festival’s performances and events are held in some of the city of Spoleto’s finest buildings. Theatre buildings include Teatro Nuovo Gian Carlo Menotti, St. Nicholas Theatre, Roman Theatre, and religious buildings include the Church of Manna D’Oro, the Church of St. Antonio and the Church of St. Euphemia. Having planned your itinerary to incorporate your chosen performances, explore the surrounding countryside which serves as a stunning backdrop to the summer festival. The region, coined the Green Heart of Italy is home to gentle hill ranges, dense forestry, and sloping vineyards. If you’re travelling with keen hikers, cyclists, or wine connoisseurs, the scenic paths and day trips offer you the opportunity to combine the festival’s events with delightful rural excursions.

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Spoleto Festival: The City Spoleto Festival: The City

The beautiful city of Spoleto, nestled in the Apennines mountain range, has a striking Roman and medieval past. Discover the city’s development from the Roman amphitheatre to the fourteenth century hilltop fortresses. Visit the city’s Ponte delle Torri, a magnificent fourteenth century aqueduct, and its numerous religious sites, including the basilica of San Salvatore. Choose a mountain walk, explore the city's intricate alleys and picturesque squares, and dine in an authentic Italian restaurant, sampling the region’s finest wines, such as Rosso di Montefalco.

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