Full info



NB Accommodation costs are not included in the course fee: you must book and pay for it separately.

Through our partner in Lugo, Matteo Penazzi, we have acquired special rates for bed and breakfast at three places in the town, as follows:

  • Ala d’oro – a lovely hotel in an 18th century mansion in the centre of the town – single €54, twin or double €84, triple €104.  56 Via Giacomo Matteotti. 
  • Demora Deco – a lovingly restored Art Deco building in the centre of the town – single €65, twin or double €70, triple €90.  91 Corso Giuseppe Garibaldi.
  • Hotel Tatì – a good quality and more modern hotel, towards the edge of Lugo, about a mile from the centre  – single €54 / €64 (superior room), twin or double €72, triple €95, quadruple €115.  22/5 Via Provinciale Cotignola. 

When you have signed up (i.e. paid the course fee) you will be sent a link to a form for you to fill in, in order to book any of the above hotels.  Please don’t contact them directly.  You are, of course, welcome to book your own accommodation should you prefer (there are, for example, a number of Air B&B properties).  


There is no specific minimum or maximum age. Anyone under 18 must be accompanied by a parent/guardian. We have players of a variety of standards, including professional. As a guide, a standard of grade 6+ ABRSM is recommended, although experience is every bit as important, and it may vary from instrument to instrument – please enquire if you are not sure.


The average October temperature in Lugo is between 11 and 19 degrees centigrade, with an average of about 6 hours of sun per day.


We will ask you for your mobile phone number, so that we can create a group messaging system. This is really useful for getting information out to everyone quickly. 


Concert dress code is all black. Men: no ties or jackets required; women: short or long dresses or trousers are all fine.  The programme is as follows:

Rossini: L’Italiana in Algeri
Mendelssohn Violin concerto (Roberto Noferini, soloist)
George Lloyd: Bells, Monks and Lutherans
Beethoven: Symphony No.7 in A

For the wind and brass: the orchestra size will be 3222 2200. Some doubling, swapping, sitting out etc may be needed but this will be kept to a minimum. 

Course Fee

Refer to the Cost page for details of the amount to pay. Please note that your place is not secured until you have paid the full course fee.

If you would like to come on both this course and the one in Sicily you will be given a £30 discount on the combined fees. 


If you are bringing an instrument with you: does it contain a rare material that could be restricted?  For example, a bow with some ivory.  If possible it’s best to avoid these materials entirely, but if you can’t then take with you some sort of proof of purchase and ownership, and have a look at this webpage:

https://musiciansunion.org.uk/working-performing/working-overseas/travelling-with-a-musical-instrument/musical-instruments-made-of-rare-materials (it’s detailed, and written for professionals, but is still relevant). 

It’s very unlikely that you would have a problem, but it’s not impossible …


The course dates are Sunday 27 October to Friday 1 November, with the first rehearsal being 17.30 on the Sunday, and the concert being on Friday 1 November in Lugo. It would ideal if you arrive on the Saturday and leave the following Saturday or Sunday. However, you are welcome to arrive earlier and to stay longer should you wish. It may be possible to arrive after 27 October – please enquire.


There will be four extra events organised during the week:

  • Sunday: a welcome meal at a local restaurant, probably with the town’s mayor or his representative.
  • Monday: a behind-the-scenes tour of Lugo
  • Wednesday: a trip, by train, to Ravenna
  • Friday: a trip, by train, to Bologna [optional]

The costs for the first three events are included in the course fee. The optional Friday trip to Bologna will cost extra. Everyone is invited, whether or not they are playing in the orchestra, but non-players will have to pay if they wish to come on the Ravenna trip (roughly €35, to be confirmed). 

You are, of course, welcome to go on trips of your own. Lugo is well connected by train, and you can easily get to other interesting cities such as Ferrara and Modena, and the coast beyond Ravenna is also accessible.

If you are taking local buses or trains you will need to know where to buy tickets. Ask one of us during the course.

If you are going anywhere by train remember that you must validate your ticket in a special (green) machine before you board. You may be fined if you forget!


There is a Facebook group for the course, which you are welcome to join if you have signed up to come, or have been in a previous year:



On the first evening there is a welcome meal in the local restaurant Ristorante Pizzeria Tati, 5 V.le Degli Orsini.  The cost is included in the course fee.  It will include a choice of two first courses, two second courses, with water and coffee.  You will need to pay for any other drinks.  Also, any relatives or friends who are with you are most welcome to attend too, but they will need to pay us separately in cash (approximately €20, to be confirmed).  

Aside from that (and breakfast, if included with your accommodation) you are responsible for finding your own meals.  Please ask for recommendations.  


We usually have some Italians playing with us, so rehearsals will probably be in both English and Italian. It may be possible to accommodate German and French speakers – please enquire.

If you speak any Italian the locals will be delighted! Certainly not everyone will speak English but enough have a smattering to make standard interactions possible. There are always a few of the orchestra who speak passable (or better) Italian, so rope in their help as needed and you shouldn’t have any problems.

Large instruments

Players of large instruments are eligible for help with the cost of transporting their instrument. As an alternative, we may be able to hire an instrument for you in Italy, therefore avoiding the challenges involved in transportation. There would be a hire charge (this is tbc). A limited number of such instruments will be available so please enquire early about this.


Lugo is a town of about 100,000 inhabitants, so there are all the usual amenities (shops, cashpoints, post office, pharmacies, etc).


If you have mobility problems please let us know. We would want to ensure, for example, that your accommodation is easily accessible to you.

Problems etc

For anything to do with trips please contact Norma.
For anything to do with the musical side of the week contact Peter.
You will be given their phone numbers in due course.

If you have an emergency, call 113 for the police, 115 for the fire brigade and 118 for a medical emergency.  If you need help that is not quite that urgent then please contact Peter or Norma and we will try to sort things out for you. 


See the schedule above for details of the rehearsals.  The venues for the rehearsals and the concert are currently to be confirmed.  One rehearsal will be sectionals (strings/wind), but exactly which is yet to be confirmed.  

Please note that you need to bring your own music stand.

Your music will be provided, although you are welcome to bring your own printed copies if you have markings which are useful for you. Details of the music to be played will be sent to you by the end of June, and the parts will be available to download/view from this website. 

There will be a space where you can play chamber music and/or practise. It may be possible to arrange some chamber music coaching – please enquire.

Schedule (tbc)

Sun: 17.30-19.30 rehearsal (rehearsal venue is tbc) / Welcome dinner (in Ristorante Pizzeria Tati)
Mon: 09.30-12.00 rehearsal / guided tour of Lugo 
Tue: 09.30-12.00 rehearsal / 17.30-19.30 rehearsal
Wed: Excursion to Ravenna
Thu: 09.30-12.00 rehearsal (with soloist at 10.30) / 16.30-18.30 rehearsal
Fri: visit to Bologna (optional) / 18.00 rehearsal, 20.30 concert in Lugo 

Strings/reeds etc

We recommend that you bring your own spare strings/reeds etc, however there is a music shop ‘Back Corner Music Shop’, 68 Via Piratello, about a mile from the centre of Lugo. It’s more of a rock music shop, but it does at least have strings and clarinet reeds (other things can be ordered).  Its phone number is +39 0545 010088, Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/backcornermusicshop/


NB You must book and pay for your own travel.

1. By air

  • Most airlines offer flights a long way ahead. 
  • Please ensure you know what your airline’s restrictions are on carrying musical instruments. Many airlines now charge extra, for example, to carry something the size of a violin.
  • Booking early is always the best money-saving option.
  • You will be informed if there are other participants on the same flight as you.

Whilst it is quite possible to fly to Venice or Florence and go on to Lugo by train, Bologna airport is much closer. Currently British Airways, EasyJet and Ryanair have direct flights from London, leaving from Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted respectively. There are no other direct flights from the UK.

Here there is a list of other airlines which serve Bologna from other countries: Bologna Airport.

It is best to travel by train from Bologna airport to Lugo.  The fastest way from the airport to the central station is via the Marconi Express monorail, which takes 7 minutes, then the trains from the central station to Lugo take about 40 minutes and are usually once per hour. 

Flight examples (as of Dec 2023):

Saturday 26 October

London Stansted – Bologna: 09.30 – 12.35 (Ryanair)
London Gatwick – Bologna: 08.05 – 11.20 (Easyjet)
London Heathrow – Bologna: 15.45 – 18.55 (British Airways)

Sunday 27 October

London Stansted – Bologna: 08.00 – 11.05 OR 12.25 – 15.30 (Ryanair)

Saturday 2 November

Bologna – London Stansted: 09.40 – 11.00 OR 15.15 – 16.35 (Ryanair)
Bologna – London Heathrow: 08.00 – 09.30 OR 12.50 – 14.15 OR 17.50 – 19.15 (British Airways)

Sunday 3 November

Bologna – London Stansted: 06.05 – 07.25 OR 10.40 – 12.00(Ryanair)
Bologna – London Gatwick: 20.50 – 22.05 (easyJet)
Bologna – London Heathrow: 07.20 – 08.55 OR 12.40 – 14.15 OR 19.20 – 20.55 (British Airways)

2. By train

I’ve travelled from London to Italy by train a number of times – it’s wonderful and well worth it if you’re not in a hurry! You get to go through the Alps, which is a wonderful stretch of train track!  

All the information you will need can be found here.  To give an example of the current simplest route from the UK you firstly take the Eurostar to Paris, then a TGV to Basel or Geneva, then to Milan and finally to Bologna/Lugo.  That is route 4 on the linked page.  Example times:

Saturday 26 October

St Pancras – Paris Gare du Nord: 07.01 – 10.20
Paris Gare de Lyon – Basel: 12.22 – 15.26
Basel – Milan: 17.28 – 21.40

Stay overnight in Milan then:

Sunday 27 October

Milan – Bologna: 09.20 – 12.10
Bologna – Lugo: 13.05 – 13.46

NB There was a landslide in the Alps in August 2023 which means that there are no direct trains from Paris to Milan at present (as of Dec 2023).  The line should be again in operation by summer 2024, and if so, you can miss out the second stage of the journey mentioned above and go straight from Paris to Milan.  That is route 1 or 2 on the linked page.