Eyes and Ears: Winter Concerts in Perugia’s Sala dei Notari
Way back in November, the Italy Blogging Roundtable took on the theme of “Winter”. I got a little behind, so finally managed to share one of my favorite winter activities in February. But it’s still cold so it still counts. Take a look at posts by Georgette Jupe, Jessica Spiegel, Melanie Renzulli, Alexandra Korey, Gloria, Laura Thayer, and Michele Fabio. (If you missed the previous months, take a look here.) Welcome to our table on this cold winter day…come pull up a chair and join in on the conversation!
The thing I’m proud of: I love classical music. I do. I love a lazy morning with grey skies, a cuppa, and a little Satie for mood. I love a full orchestra, a crowded hall, and a rousing Austrian symphony. I love a quiet café, a comfy armchair, and some Bach on the guitar.
The thing I’m not so proud of: I have the attention span of a four-month-old Labrador puppy. I do. No matter how much I may be enjoying a concert, after about thirteen minutes I start shifting in my seat and the desire to crack my knuckles becomes overwhelming and I am distracted by the lady’s perfume three rows behind me and is it just me or is it hot in here? and…anyway.
I’ve found that the perfect solution is to combine a concert with a venue that offers a bit of eye candy. I am a great fan of the summer Sagra Musicale Umbra for just that reason, which is organized by the Amici della Musica association. This same cultural organization has a regular concert season with runs through the winter and offers a number of excellent classical music concerts—from choral pieces to symphonies to individual performers—in some of the most beautiful spots around Perugia.
Most often concerts are held in the gorgeous Sala dei Notari, a richly frescoed hall cross-sectioned by a series of soaring arches, which occupies the first floor of the imposing Gothic Palazzo dei Priori, Perugia’s historic seat of local government and professional guilds (two of which, the Collegio del Cambio and the Collegio della Mercanzia, are still open to the public). The Sala dei Notari, now often used for concerts and cultural events, is ornately decorated with Old Testament scenes from the early 13th century done by a student of Pietro Cavallini and a more recent series of coats of arms from the ruling podestà from the late 1200s through the 1400s.
During the performances, my eyes wander up the walls and ceiling, picking out details from the biblical tableaux and keeping me quiet and still and concentrated on the concert. It’s like a Disney DVD for a two-year-old, but a bit more high-brow. I notice other concert-goers doing the same, so I suspect I’m not the only one who either needs a bit of visual stimulation or is simply drawn to the intricate frescoes.
The concerts are either Sunday afternoon or Friday night, so easily combined with a stroll through the center of Perugia and a stop in the nearby Pasticceria Sandri for a thick hot chocolate and pastry (I find I have a better attention span with a full stomach.) or, for a full on culture tour de force, a visit to the excellent Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria, housed just next door.
For a full concert schedule, with dates, venues, and ticket prices, you can check the Amici della Musica website.
Read the posts, leave comments, share them with your friends – and tune in next month for another Italy Blogging Roundtable topic!
- Italy Explained – 4 Reasons to Visit Italy in Winter
- Arttrav – How to travel the Cinque Terre in Winter Too
- Ciao Amalfi – Visiting the Amalfi Coast in the Winter – 5 Things You Need to Know
- Italofile – Before Considering a Move to Italy, Consult This Quality of Life Index
- Bleeding Espresso – La Scirubetta Calabrese: Ancient Snow Cone
- Girl in Florence – What To Expect in Florence This Winter 2016