Anne & Kirk Woodyard – Music and Markets Tours
Umbria Jazz Winter is now in its 30th year, filling the hilltop town of Orvieto with jazz all hours of the day and night. This marvelous town, halfway between Rome and Florence, is a joy any time of year, but especially delightful during this winter festival – jazz drifts through the doorways of bars and cafes, Funkoff leads the crowds through town like a jazzy Pied Piper, all the merchants happily welcome music lovers from all over – it’s all so much fun!
It’s been 21 years since the first time we came, and my most vivid memory of that first year, 2002, is the New Orleans Jazz band strutting through the streets. The current marching jazzmen have been leading the parade for decades twice a day throughout the five-day festival.
The town goes to sleep for the winter, from what we’ve been told, after Umbria Jazz Winter, but it’s lively as ever right now – the florist under the arcades doing a brisk business, shop windows and entries showing off their best New Year’s Eve attire – the most beautiful boutique in town is esconced in a gorgeous old palazzo. We always choose a variety of venues for the concerts – from a jewel-box of a theater, Teatro Mancinelli (anyone who’s joined us on a Music and Markets Tour knows how we like our box seats! And the spacious gilt, cream and velvet boxes of Teatro Mancinelli are some of the best!), to an intriguing museum, Emilio Greco, to an impressive historic palazzo, where we sit under ancient Etruscan arches as we listen to a jazz combo.
Enjoying delightful Orvieto, we wander from day to night, pausing in the spectacular Duomo, visible for miles around, to take in the the powerful frescoes of Signorelli, which impressed and influenced Michelangelo centuries ago. By the way, Signorelli included a line item for a good supply of Orvieto Classico, the famed white wine of the area, in his contract!
On our way to check out the sunset from our hilltop perch, we pass through quiet lanes, and there it is – a beauty! The pink hue spreads from west to east, where the cliff edge reminds us how high we are.Another strut through town with Funk Off, another delicious Umbrian meal, and we say Ciao to Orvieto – we’ll be back next year!
|The best way to describe us (Kirk and Anne Woodyard) is that we’re interested in the stories that make the places we visit come alive.
We’ve visited Europe more times than we can count, learned some entertaining stories there, and met some warm and helpful people who also enjoy the wonders of music and life in Europe. We look forward to sharing these stories and friends and experiences with our Music and Markets guests.
Since 2003 we’ve hosted Music and Markets tours in France, Italy, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, England and Spain, and in 2019 added Wonder Tours with a more intentional concentration on art and architecture, local culture, food and wine, and less time dedicated to concert-going.We also design and host custom private tours – previous locations include many French, Spanish, British and Italian regions.
Between our music-related travels, we enjoy our home in the south of France. While both of us have experience in organizing travel and music groups, Kirk’s background is in project management and competitive writing, and Anne is an accomplished pianist with over forty years of teaching and performance experience.
Slow Travel Tours is an affiliation of small-group tour operators who offer personalized trips in Italy, France and other European countries.