Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Travel Tip: Frequently asked questions

What should everyone carry at all times, real passport or a photo copy?
Ideally, your passport should be on your person at all times. Please be “street-smart” and don’t wave it around for all to see. Photocopies of the passport should be packed in your suitcase, available in your e-mail and Incantato should have a copy as well.

Is the tap water safe to drink?
The tab water is potable in many areas, although we would recommend to buy bottled water.

Do you have recommendations or suggestions on the type of power adapter needed and what wattage?
Electricity in Europe comes out of the wall socket at 220 volts alternating at a 50 cycles per second. In the US, electricity comes out of the wall socket at 110 volts, alternating at 60 cycles per second. Not only the voltages and frequencies, but the sockets themselves are different. Adapters and converters may be found at Target, Walmart and radio shack etc.

What is the average meal cost? How much money should you bring?
As long as you are wise about your choices, meals can easily be 15 Euro or less. You don’t have to go to sit down restaurants to get decent food. But when you do want to sit down, you should check the menu outside to see if they have a "menu special" - you can get an entrée, dessert and a drink for a set price.

What the size limit and number of items is for carry-on?
You may have 1 carry-on bag - it must be able to fit either under the seat in front of you or in the overhead bin. We recommend a backpack.

What are the airline carry-on container regulations?
No containers holding more that 3ozs of liquid is allowed in the carry-on luggage. They also must be in a plastic zip-lock bag.

What has the best exchange rate, using a debit card to pull money out or exchanging US currency?
By far the best way is to use your debit card. Most banks only charge around $2 per withdraw and they also take care of the exchange rate for you. You do need a 4 digit pin and also let your bank know that you are travelling abroad. DO NOT BRING TRAVELLERS' CHEQUES!

What is the approximate exchange rate right now?
It’s about $1.35 to 1 EUR (February 2011).

What happens if someone gets injured while in tour? Medical care and cost wise? Do they need a medical consent form for treatment?
We strongly recommend purchasing travel insurance. You find a link to our recommended partner on this blog.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Providence College Choir & Symphonic Winds - Tour Performance Program

The Providence College Choir and Symphonic Winds will present the following musical program as they tour Italy and the Vatican State with Incantato Tours from May 16 through 26, 2011.

Choir Selections
Title – Composer
Cry Out and Shout - Knut Nystedt
Alma Redemptoris Mater - Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina
Sicut Cervus - Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina
Tu es Petrus - Robert Pearsall 
Dies Irae - Zdeñek Lukáš
Contre qui Rose - Morten Lauridsen
Te Lucis Ante Terminum - J. Aaron McDermid
Rytmus - Ivan Hrušovsky 
The Road Home - Stephen Paulus
Locus Iste - Anton Bruckner
Otche Nash - arr. Nikolai Kedrov
Steal Away - arr. Eli Villanueva
Who’ll be a witness for my Lord - arr. Jester Hairston

Band Selections
Title – Composer
Commando March - Samuel Barber
O Magnum Mysterium - Morten Lauridsen, transcribed by H. Robert Reynolds
Strange Humors - John Mackey
October - Eric Whitacre
Southern Harmony - Donald Grantham
III. Exhilaration
Sòlas Ané - Samuel R. Hazo
Slava! - Leonard Bernstein

Friday, October 8, 2010

Providence College Choir and Symphonic Winds perform at Basilica Sant'Agnese in Agone (Rome) on May 25, 6:30 PM

The singers and musicians of Providence College will present a concert at Rome's Basilica Sant'Agnese in Agone at 6:30 PM on Wednesday, May 25, 2011.
The Basilica Sant’Agnese in Agone in Rome was constructed in 1652 on the site of Saint Agnes’ martyrdom, now the location of the Piazza Navona. The designs for the Baroque church were commissioned by Pope Innocent X, whose funerary monument now lies within the church. The Pope’s family even had a large palace adjacent to the church. Baroque architect Francesco Borromini ultimately introduced a concave volume in the center of the sanctuary, creating prime acoustics for vocal music. Visitors enjoy the interior’s premier sculptural artwork, accented by the marble relief found in the main altar, as well as Bernini’s famous Fountain of the Four Rivers that lies in front of the church.

Incantato performance venue: Mass at Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica, Rome - Tuesday, May 24, 2011, 6:00 PM

The Providence travelers will perform mass at Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica in Rome at 6:00 PM on Tuesday, May 24, 2011. The Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore, or Papal Basilica of Saint Mary Major, is an ancient Catholic Marian Basilica of Rome. The church is believed to have been constructed under the reign of Pope Sixtus III between the years of 432 and 440. It is considered one of the four major papal basilicas, and together with Saint Lawrence outside the Walls, was formerly referred to as part of the five “patriarchal basilicas” of Rome associated with the five ancient sees of Christendom. Also known as the Liberian Basilica, the church was formerly presided over by Pope Liberius who housed many congregations of early Christians in Rome. Santa Maria Maggiore stands as the only Roman basilica that retained the core of its original structure, left intact since its original construction even following the earthquake of 1348.The name Santa Maria Maggiore reflects two very important ideas of greatness, that of a major papal basilica and that of the largest Roman church dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Following the formal ending of the Avignon papacy when the papacy officially returned to Rome, Santa Maria Maggiore served as the temporary Palace of the Popes due to the deteriorated state of the Lateran Palace. The papal residence was later moved to the Palace of the Vatican, now Vatican City.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Welcome to Italy!

Italy is located partly on the European Continent and partly on the Italian Peninsula in Southern Europe and on the two largest islands in the Mediterranean Sea, Sicily and Sardinia. Italy shares its northern, Alpine boundary with France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia. The independent states of San Marino and the Vatican City are enclaves within the Italian Peninsula, and Campione d'Italia is an Italian exclave in Switzerland. The territory of Italy covers 301,338 km² and is influenced by a temperate seasonal climate. With 60.2 million inhabitants, it is the sixth most populous country in Europe, and the twenty-third most populous in the world.
The land known as Italy today has been the cradle of European cultures and peoples, such as the Etruscans and the Romans. Italy's capital, Rome, was for centuries the political centre of Western civilisation, as the capital of the Roman Empire. After its decline, Italy would endure numerous invasions by foreign peoples, from Germanic tribes such as the Lombards and Ostrogoths, to the Normans and later, the Byzantines, among others. Centuries later, Italy would become the birthplace of the Renaissance, an immensely fruitful intellectual movement that would prove to be integral in shaping the subsequent course of European thought.
Through much of its post-Roman history, Italy was fragmented into numerous kingdoms and city-states (such as the Kingdom of Sardinia, the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and the Duchy of Milan), but was unified in 1861, a tumultuous period in history known as the "Risorgimento". In the late 19th century, through World War I, and to World War II, Italy possessed a colonial empire, which extended its rule to Libya, Eritrea, Italian Somaliland, Ethiopia, Albania, Rhodes, the Dodecanese and a concession in Tianjin, China.
Modern Italy is a democratic republic and the world's eighteenth most developed country, with the eighth or tenth highest quality of life index rating in the world. It is a founding member of what is now the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Italy is also a member of the G8 and G20. It is a member state of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Trade Organization, the Council of Europe, and the Western European Union as well. The country's European political, social and economic influence make it a major regional power, alongside the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Russia, and Italy has been classified in a study, measuring hard power, as being the eleventh greatest worldwide national power. The country has a high public education level, high labor force, is a globalized nation, and also has 2009's sixth best international reputation. Italy also has the world's nineteenth highest life expectancy, and the world's second best health care system. It is the world's fifth most visited country, with over 43.7 million international arrivals, and boasts a long tradition and several achievements in the arts, science and technology, including the world's highest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites to date.

Your performance tour travel route through Italy

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Visit Monte Cassino

Monte Cassino is a rocky mountain approximately 80 miles southeast of Rome. Saint Benedict of Nursia established his first monastery here, the source and foundation of the Benedictine Order, in 529. The monastery stands as one of the few territorial abbeys remaining within the Catholic Church.
According the Gregory the Great’s biography of Saint Benedict, the monastery was constructed on an older pagan sight, a temple of Apollo that originally crowned the hill. The biography claims that Benedict’s first act was to smash the sculpture of Apollo and destroy the pagan altar. He then reused the temple, dedicating it to Saint Martin, and built a new chapel which he dedicated to Saint John the Baptist. Once established at Monte Cassino, Benedict never left. There he penned the Benedictine Rule which ultimately became the founding principle of western monasticism. Monte Cassino became the model for future Benedictine developments throughout the world.
Unfortunately the Abbey has fallen target to numerous military insurgencies throughout the years, including the infamous 1944 Battle of Monte Cassino. On February 15, 1944, the Abbey was almost completely destroyed by Allied air-raids after being mistakenly identified as a German stronghold. In fact, the Abbey was being used as a refuge for women and children attempting to shield themselves from the war. The Abbey was rebuilt after the war, financed by the Italian State, and was reconsecrated by Pope Paul VI in 1964.

Incantato Destination: Ercolano

On Wednesday, May 18, 2011 the Providence College Choir and Symphonic Winds will visit Ercolano. Ercolano is a town and commune in the province of Naples, Campania. It was most likely founded by the Oscans, an Italic tribe of the 8th century BC and lies at the western foot of Mount Vesuvius, on the Bay of Naples, just southeast of the city of Naples. The medieval town of Resina was built on the volcanic material left by the eruption of Vesuvius (AD 79) that destroyed the ancient city of Herculaneum, from which the present name is derived. The town manufactures leather goods, buttons, glass, and the wine known as Lacryma Christi (Tear of Christ).

Monday, October 4, 2010

City facts about Naples

Naples is the capital of the region of Campania and of the province of Naples. The city is known for its rich history, art, culture, architecture, music and gastronomy, playing an important role in the country's history and beyond throughout much of its existence, which began more than 2,800 years ago. Naples is located halfway between two volcanic areas, the volcano Mount Vesuvius and the Phlegraean Fields, sitting on the coast by the Gulf of Naples. Founded in the 8th century BC, as a Greek colony, before under the name of Parthenope, and later Neápolis (New City), Naples is one of the oldest cities in the world, and it held an important role in Magna Graecia; while when the city became part of the Roman Republic in the central province of the Empire, was a major cultural center (Virgil is one of the symbol of the political and cultural freedom of Naples). The city has seen a multitude of civilizations come and go, each leaving their mark: now the historic city centre is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Naples was preeminently the capital city of a kingdom which bore its name from 1282 until 1816 in the form of the Kingdom of Naples, then in union with Sicily it was the capital of the Two Sicilies until the Italian unification. Naples has profoundly influenced many areas of Europe and beyond. The city proper has a population of around 1 million people: Naples is the most densely populated major city in Italy. The city is also synonymous with pizza, which originated in the city. A strong part of Neapolitan culture which has had wide reaching effects is music, including the invention of the romantic guitar and the mandolin as well as strong contributions to opera and folk standards. There are popular characters and figures who have come to symbolise Naples; these include the patron saint of the city Januarius, Pulcinella, and the Sirens from the epic Greek poem the Odyssey.

Incantato Impressions: Culinary Italy

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Home away from home: Ramada Naples

Located within the beautifully renovated former Palazzo dell-Auto building, the Ramada Naples is strategically located between the business area and historical center of Naples. The hotel’s 152 guest rooms offer satellite television, air conditioning, and personal safe, wireless internet access, and ensuite bathroom with hairdryer. Recent guest reviews award the Ramada Naples high ratings for cleanliness, comfort, and quality service.

Naples: the birthplace of pizza!

Enjoy this fun video about the birthplace of pizza:

Friday, October 1, 2010

Incantato Impressions: Amalfi Coast

Welcome to Maiori!

The Providence College Performance Tour visits Maiori on May 20. Maiori is a town and community on the Amalfi coast in the province of Salerno (Campania, Italy). It has been a popular tourist resort since Roman times, with the longest unbroken stretch of beach on the Amalfi coastline. The origins of the town are unclear but the original name of the town was Reghinna Maior, in contrast to the neighbouring town, Minori, Reghinna Minor. All places along the coast were formed by alternating conquerors - such as the Etruscans or the Romans. Between 830 and 840, the places of the coast united to form a confederation of Amalfi States. In this Amalfi Sea Republic, the places between Lettere and Tramonti and between Cetara and Positano, along with the island of Capri, were united; and their inhabitants were all called Amalfitaner. At that time, each city retained its own name and administrative autonomy, but had a specific role in this federation. Later it became part of the Principality of Salerno, and then of the Kingdom of Naples, of which it followed the history until the 19th century.