Italy Journal – Music in Rome

Rome violinist

{Reposted from my original 2008 trip journal and reflections in 2009}

It’s worth reiterating what I said on my review of our travel agent:

“My own personal pet peeve was that Hidden Treasures seemed to be completely oblivious to any specifically musical offerings along our way, and did not go out of their way to make that info available. I realized that they were not a world music travel agency, but I just expected more. Next time I would seriously consider using Songlines Music Travel operated by The Tailor-Made Groups Company, which only recently formed after our plans were made.”

Reading that a year after the trip, I don’t think it was harsh. Every other aspect of the travel agent’s performance was top notch, but I remain disappointed in the lack (or cheesiness) of the musical experiences we found.

In terms of what we’d do differently (and what I plan to do for future trips overseas), we would plan better for more music. I made the conscious decision that our trip was a vacation – not a tour, so I wasn’t interested in performing in any official capacity, though open mikes would have been welcome. I knew going into this that our travel agent did not specialize in musical interests or destinations. I knew we’d have to seek out venues and performers, but I underestimated just how much digging was necessary.

I heard rumors that Italy was a bit off the path for many artists, but it wasn’t the large touring acts that I wanted to see anyway. Jethro Tull was coming through (they are big in Italy), but of course I have seen them several times in the States.

I felt like we missed a lot of the local musical flavor, mostly because we stayed on a rather touristy schedule that did not allow for many late nights (when most clubs actually start up). Aside from the pleasant atmospherics of the occasional accordion player (which I expected), Rome was a disappointment. There was street music of course, but so much of that is for the tourists with rehashed versions of “Volare” and “That’s Amore”. Finding a venue where musicians gather to interact on the main streets or even off the beaten path was difficult, if not impossible. One day we went on a wild goose chase (many blocks) looking for a jazz club that I had read about, but it turned out to be closed. Our coliseum trip yielded a behind the scenes look at how they set up for a concert, but our itinerary did not take that venue into account as a possibility to see a show (I’m not even sure who was performing).

I need a capo! Where's the music store?



By jjdeprisco

Sonic explorer, sound artist, guitarist in Fricknadorable, software designer.