Insider's Guide to Pesaro Rossini Opera Festival

By Truman C. Wang
Sunday, April 3, 2016

Thanks in part to the indefatigable Rossini scholars like Philip Gossett and Alberto Zedda, the Rossini Opera Festival has steadily grown in the past three decades to become one of the premier music festivals in Europe, and helped to popularize such little-known opera seria of Rossini as La Donna del Lago, Zelmira, Maometto Secondo, Otello, Tancredi, and Guillaume Tell.  For three weeks of August each year, opera connoisseurs and Rossini aficionados flock to this seaside resort town for exciting new opera productions, concerts, symposiums and lectures on all things Rossinian.   Tickets are not hard to get provided you book early in the spring.   Lest one forget Rossini was also a celebrated gastropod, Pesaro boasts a bevy of restaurants, trattorias and cafes of all price ranges that will satisfy the diehard foodies.  Compared to other Italian cities, Pesaro has the advantage of not being overrun by mobs of foreign tourists, as it (and the Marche region in general) is known mainly to Italian vacationers and the aficionados of the music of Gioacchino Rossini.  Plan about 3 days to see all the local sights in between the scheduled performances.  If you have more time, you can take the train up the Adriatic Coast to Venice for a couple of days (avoid the mad weekend crowds if you can help it.)

Getting to Pesaro:

From UK or Europe, fly into Bologna airport and take the car or train into Pesaro (2 hours)
From the U.S., fly into Rome, then fly Ryanair into Rimini or Ancona, then get a car or train to Pesaro.  Alternatively, take a night train from Rome to Pesaro, with transfers.

Getting Around Pesaro:

The Festival venues:
Teatro Rossini (850-seat, built 1818)
Palasport (local school gymnasium, 1500-seat)
Teatro Sperimentale (built 2002)
Adriatic Arena (10,323-seat, built 1996)
Pedrotti Auditorium (in Conservatorio Musicale ‘G. Rossini’, built 1907)

Local sights:
Walk around the town.  Visit the (1) Rossini's Birth House, (2) Centro Arti Visive Pescheria, (3) San Giovanni multimedia library, (4) San Terenzio Cathedral, (5) Musei Civici on Piazza Toschi Mosca, (6) Villa Ruggeri, in Piazzale della Liberta, (7) San Bartolo park, and (8) the “Bandiera Blu” prize-winning Levante beach. 

Food and Lodging:
Being a posh seaside resort, the prices in Pesaro are higher than other parts of Le Marche. There are 65 hotels, eight of which are 4-star, located at the beach, downtown or in the hills. Recommended hotel: Hotel Cruiser Congress.  Other lodging options are agriturismo farm houses.  There are over 40 restaurants and pizzerias in town or at the beach, so you are guaranteed to eat well before and after a show.  Recommended restaurants: L’Angolo di Mario on the boardwalk, and Osteria La Guercia in the town.

Near Pesaro:

Fano and Rimini (1/2 day) – a short train ride from Pesaro, visit the Cathedral, the Augustus Arch and check out the famous Byzantine mosaics. 

Urbino (full day) – frequent buses departing from Pesaro train station.  The historic hilltop town of Urbino is the birthplace of painter Raphael and capital of a powerful dukedom in the 1400’s.  Visit the Palazzo Ducale of the Dukes of Montefeltro, widely regarded as the pinnacle of Renaissance architecture of the cinquecentro. The palace contains many art treasures including works by Piero della Francesca, Raphael, Uccello and Botticelli.  The adjacent churches of San Giovanni and San Giuseppe contain frescoes depicting the life of St John the Baptist and an exquisite life-size stucco crib.

Ancona and Ascoli Piceno (full day) – no great art there but rich in history and local colors, check out the old Roman temples and mosaics, sample the local wines and dishes such as olive all’ascolana, vino piceno, cold marinated anchovies, warm razor clams and the Ancona Brodetto (brodetto all’anconetana).

Visitor Info:

Rossini Opera Festival
Comune di Pesaro - Unità Organizzativa Turismo
Tel. 0721.387101-102-103-104; E-mail:
Iat (Reception and Tourist Information)
Tel. 0721.69341; E-mail:
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