Frequently Asked Questions
Air Travel to Italy
Is air travel included in the program cost?
No, you must purchase your airline tickets independently. We are happy to advise you on various options.
What airport/city should I fly into?
Most people generally fly into Naples, which is about 90 minutes from our facilities. You may also fly into Rome to suit your travel schedule -- in which case you must transfer to the downtown train station and take a train (a 3 or 4 hour trip) to Naples. In Naples you will need to get a public bus to Maiori or else get a taxi to the Naples airport to join the group waiting for the Festival shuttle.
What airline should I use?
See website for recommendations under “Travel Information.”
How do I get from the airport to the festival?
A festival bus will run mid-day for each program's arrival and departure dates and is scheduled to accommodate the greatest number of flights. We are also happy to arrange private pick-up from the airport for a small fee to help you avoid spending exhorbitant taxi fares.
What time of day do people arrive and depart the program?
You are invited to arrive any time after 12 p.m. on arrival day. We do recommend you try to arrive by 5 p.m. in time for our orientation and introductory meeting. On departure day people generally leave first thing in the morning because the international flights leave Naples on an early schedule. Hotel check-out time is 11:00 a.m.
Can I come a day or two early or stay on afterwards?
You are welcome to arrive a day or two early and stay on to enjoy the festival. However, we must know in advance to assure your reservations. Arrangements are made through the festival and your stay will be pro-rated based on festival “guest program” rates.
Do I need any electrical appliances, such as a hairdryer?
We do recommend you try to leave electrical appliances at home. The hotel rooms are all equipped with hair-dryers. The hotel has strict regulations about using irons in the rooms due to fire hazards. If you find it necessary to bring something, you will need a transformer for European current as well as an adaptor plug to fit into the wall outlet (adaptors can also be found locally in hardware stores).
What kind of internet service is there in the town?
The hotel is equipped with wireless service if you have a la top or i-pad.. There is also an internet café within walking distance and several other cafes where wireless is available (also an on-site computer).
What kind of laundry facilities are there?
Try to bring enough clothes with you to not waste much time on laundry. Many people do handwash in their sinks. The hotel has a laundry service but it is extremely expensive. There are also “lavanderias” in town where they will wash individual items but it can take several days. There are no Laundromats.
How do I exchange money?
The easiest way to have access to money is by using an ATM machine locally (called a Bancomat) with your credit card. You may also bring travelers checks which can be exchanged at the front desk in the hotel or in a local bank. Be sure to check about fees associated with your credit card for international transactions.
What to Bring
We cannot urge you more strongly to pack a basic over-night bag as part of your carry-on luggage with a change of clothes, sleepwear, basic toiletries, medications, and any other essentials you might need. In the past the Naples airport has sometimes experienced serious problems with baggage handling, resulting in many late arrivals of luggage for our group (for the unlucky few, some bags arrive 3 or 4 days late). You may save yourself a lot of discomfort and anxiety by taking this precaution! Also, make a photocopy of your passport and tuck it into your carry-on bag to have a record of it.
Music Stands: Instrumentalists should bring an easy fold-up music stand for practice time in your room, etc.
Be prepared to bring clothes for hot weather. Dress during the day is informal. Keep in mind, however, that Italians (both men and women) are generally more attentive to dress than Americans and shorts are worn infrequently. Women will feel more comfortable in sun dresses or summery skirts and tops. For evenings, be prepared to dress for concerts. Please note: NO SHORTS (or tank tops) are permitted in the hotel dining room at dinner-time (The hotel has advised us that this policy will be strictly enforced).
Men are expected to perform in coat & tie (dress shirt) while women should plan to appear in dressy (summery) attire – cocktail-style dresses or full-length dresses are appropriate. Please be sure to bring appropriate dress shoes. Opera participants will be contacted directly by Stage Director regarding their performance attire.
Beach & Pool Wear:
Swimmers who plan on using the pool will need a bathing cap (required for both men & women). You can usually find one in town but it's not guaranteed. A bathing suit “cover-up” is a good idea so you can walk down to the beach through the hotel. Be sure to pack hats & sunscreen for that dazzling Mediterranean sun!
Both men and women who will be performing should be sure to have dress shoes (or elegant sandals for women.).
As you will be doing a fair amount of walking between the hotel and practice facilities, you should plan on bringing a pair of comfortable shoes or sandals. The Amalfi Coast is hilly terrain so be prepared to get some exercise, especially on excursion days.
For the beach, it is advisable to have some kind of closed beach sandal or water shoe to wear in the water as the rocky Amalfi Coast has pebble beaches, which can be very hard on bare feet.
All medications should be packed in your carry-on luggage so that you take no risk in losing them . Additionally, you should keep a list of any prescription medications you rely on (in case of loss) as well as phone numbers of your physician. Your health insurance policy information should also be readily available.
Appliances & Converters:
We recommend that you leave electric appliances at home! They are heavy to carry and invite problems for electricity conversion. Unlike the hostel, all the hotel bathrooms are equipped with hair dryers. Please note that irons are not permitted in the rooms due to fire regulations. If absolutely necessary, keep in mind that for small appliances like curling irons or electric razors, you will need a standard converter for European voltage (110: 220). You can purchase these in stores that carry travel accessories. You will also need a plug adapter to enable the U.S. plug to fit the European model (a plug with two round prongs). Many small, portable “travel” hair-dryers are made specifically with dual voltage to eliminate the need for a converter, although you will still need an adapter.
Sheets & Towels:
Remember that if you are staying in the hostel you will need to bring your own linens for your stay there, as is standard in hostels around the world.
Do you recommend signing up for the Meal Plan?
While you are free to eat on your own, we do strongly recommend you consider the festival Meal Plan. Due to our intensive rehearsal and concert schedule, it is much more convenient to eat with the group at specially arranged times when local restaurants are not always open (usually not until 8 p.m.); also it is an important time to socialize with faculty and other participants; many announcements are made, etc.
If I'm on the Meal Plan, what happens when we go to other towns for concerts?
For those on the Meal Plan, we arrange to eat together in a local trattoria or restaurant for a delicious 3-course meal when we are in a different town for a performance.
Do we need to dress up for meals in the hotel?
Although the dining room is not formal, it is not as casual as in the U.S. At dinner no shorts or tank tops are allowed. People generally dress up a bit, also because we often go directly to concerts after dinner.
What other options exist for eating in the town?
In Maiori there is an array of small restaurants, cafes, and pizzerias all within walking distance.
Does the Meal Plan offer options for Vegetarians?
The meals are served buffet style with a wide range of choice for several courses, and there are many options for vegetarians.
Does the hotel have private bathrooms?
Yes, the hotel rooms are lovely and recently refurbished and all include a good-sized private bath, equipped with hair-dryers and other amenities.
What do you mean by triple occupancy?
We do offer the option of triple rooms for those on a budget who want to share a room with a couple of friends. Many students take advantage of this option. Double and single rooms are also available for a supplemental cost.
San Francesco Guest House (Hostel)
What should I expect at the Guest House?
The hostel was successfully renovated in 2009 and is clean and comfortable. It is like a small dormitory with group rooms for males and females, furnished with 3 - 4 beds, although there are a number of doubles. Most rooms have a private bathroom with shower, although a few have a shared bathroom with shower. shared bathroom outside of the room. The hostel is about a 10-minute walk from the classroom & practice facilities. It has a nice garden with a cloister and a lovely view and is generally very quiet.
Is the Guest House air-conditioned?
No, the hostel is not air-conditioned. While it can get warm, we provide floor and/or window fans.
Why do you recommend travel insurance?
Each year we have at least one last-minute cancellation, usually due to unexpected health problems. At such a late date it is impossible for us (or the airlines) to provide a full refund. Travel insurance can offer you protection for unexpected situations, lost luggage, etc.
See listing of travel insurance agencies.
Does my health insurance cover me in Italy?
You should check your policy carefully but under most circumstances you should be covered. If not, you might want to consider a short-term policy even though the Italian system is very hospitable to foreigners.