When you travel a thousand miles to a foreign country, there’s a good chance you’ll feel disorientated. With a different language, cars driving on the opposite side of the road, a completely different structure to the day (we vote for siestas to be brought back to London, by the way) and even unknown customs for ordering and paying for food, it’s possible to feel a little intimidated when abroad.
For Southbank Sinfonia though, Anghiari really does feel like a home-from-home. Yes, there are 32 musicians this year experiencing the Tuscan hill-town and its festival for the first time, but the orchestra is also sewn into the DNA of the place so it instantly feels familiar. On the window of the Pro Loco (the tourist information office), the hub where we print our programmes, a great sticker on the window reads ‘Southbank Sinfonia: Sede di Anghiari’ (Anghiari Headquarters).
Then the menu for Bar Baldaccio’s features photos of the orchestra as well as the Baldaccio Quartet, made up of former Southbank Sinfonia members who took their name from one of our favourite eateries. The quote of recommendation for food from Sam Burstin, now a violist with the Philharmonia, is a review to be believed. Open the menu up and there’s even a South Bank pizza on offer – spicy salami and sun-dried tomatoes are the topping, in case you were wondering. Delicious.
Anghiari couldn’t be more different from London, yet we couldn’t feel more at home here. Thank you Anghiari!