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South Carolina

Spoleto Festival USA

Program No. 21257RJ
The Spoleto Festival is a performing arts festival set in Charleston, a city chosen for its similarities to Spoleto, Italy. Come see for yourself as you enjoy art, cuisine and culture.
Length
6 days
Rating (5)
Activity Level
Starts at
2,649
Special Offer
Click on Dates & Prices below to see special offer details.

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Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
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DATES & starting prices
PRICES
May 26 - May 31, 2023
Starting at
2,649
Special Offer

OFFER EXTENDED: Enroll by Feb. 28, 2023 to take $200 off the price shown!

Jun 1 - Jun 6, 2023
Starting at
2,649
Special Offer

OFFER EXTENDED: Enroll by Feb. 28, 2023 to take $200 off the price shown!

Jun 6 - Jun 11, 2023
Starting at
2,649
Special Offer

OFFER EXTENDED: Enroll by Feb. 28, 2023 to take $200 off the price shown!

DATES & starting prices
PRICES
May 26 - May 31, 2023
Starting at
3,399
Special Offer

OFFER EXTENDED: Enroll by Feb. 28, 2023 to take $200 off the price shown!

Jun 1 - Jun 6, 2023
Starting at
3,399
Special Offer

OFFER EXTENDED: Enroll by Feb. 28, 2023 to take $200 off the price shown!

Jun 6 - Jun 11, 2023
Starting at
3,399
Special Offer

OFFER EXTENDED: Enroll by Feb. 28, 2023 to take $200 off the price shown!

6 days
5 nights
10 meals
5B 2L 3D
2
Spoleto Talk, Performances TBA
Charleston, South Carolina
3
Carriage Ride, Performances
Charleston, South Carolina
4
Spoleto Festivities
Charleston, South Carolina
View Full Itinerary

At a Glance

Experience the magnificent Spoleto Festival and its complementary event, Piccolo Spoleto. These international multi-arts celebrations are America’s premier international performing-arts festivals, filling lovely Charleston’s historic theaters, churches and outdoor spaces with performances by world-renowned artists and emerging performers in opera, theater, dance, chamber, symphonic, choral, bluegrass and jazz. Hear from Spoleto staff as you attend six performances with reserved tickets and seating and as many other Spoleto events as you can fit in around them. Make use of a significant amount of free time to pursue your own interests with opportunities to dine out on your own.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Charleston is a walking city. Walking back and forth up to seven blocks to concert venues. Walking over two miles over the course of the day; some uneven terrain and stairs. Pedi-cabs, taxis or uber are available (at own expense) if assistance is needed traveling to performance venues.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Be thrilled by symphonies and operas, exhilarated by jazz and bluegrass, electrified by dance and delighted by theater.
  • Ride a horse-drawn carriage through more than 300 years of history, including antebellum mansions, churches and gardens.
  • Enjoy reserved seating for all performances as well as a significant amount of free time for exploring the festival.

General Notes

Performances for each date of Spoleto vary. Carefully examine the daily schedule for the week you are considering before ordering tickets for your free time. Weekly performances vary and are not the same for each date. Program includes independent time to explore the city and several meals on your own. Group Leaders will provide directions for self-directed excursions. Suggestions for free-time activities provided in preparatory materials.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Harlan Greene
Harlan Greene is a native of Charleston, an award-winning novelist and author of many nonfiction books on Charleston. His works include “Charleston: City of Memory” and “Mr. Skylark: John Bennett and the Charleston Renaissance,” as well as others. Formerly the assistant director of the South Carolina Historical Society, Harlan is now senior manuscript and reference archivist for the College of Charleston. He also served on the Mayor’s Arts and History Commission.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Harlan Greene
Harlan Greene View biography
Harlan Greene is a native of Charleston, an award-winning novelist and author of many nonfiction books on Charleston. His works include “Charleston: City of Memory” and “Mr. Skylark: John Bennett and the Charleston Renaissance,” as well as others. Formerly the assistant director of the South Carolina Historical Society, Harlan is now senior manuscript and reference archivist for the College of Charleston. He also served on the Mayor’s Arts and History Commission.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
A Short History of Charleston
by Robert N. Rosen
A concise small history of Charleston that is easy to read and enjoyable.
Very Charleston: A Celebration of History, Culture, and Lowcountry Charm
by Diana Hollingsworth Gessler
Cobblestone streets leading to perfectly preserved historic homes. Intricate wrought-iron gates opening to lush, fragrant gardens. A skyline of steeples and a river harbor bustling with schooners and sailboats. Charleston is one of America's most charming cities.In vibrant watercolors and detailed sketches, artist Diana Gessler captures the beauty and riches that make Charleston so unique: White Point Gardens, the Spoleto Festival, Rainbow Row, Waterfront Park, Fort Moultrie, the beaches of Sullivan's Island, sumptuous Lowcountry cuisine, and handmade sweetgrass baskets. Full of fascinating details--on everything from the art of early entertaining, the city's inspired architectural and garden designs, and George Washington's Southern tour to famous Charlestonians and the flags of Sumter--Very Charleston celebrates the city, the Lowcountry, the people, and our history. Hand-lettered and full color throughout, Very Charleston includes maps, an index, and a handy appendix of sites. With her cheerful illustrations and love for discovering little-known facts, Diana Gessler has created both an entertaining guide and an irresistible keepsake for visitors and Charlestonians alike.
Charleston Map
by Navigator Maps
A clear, easy to use souvenir map of Charleston, featuring the city center and well-marked places of interest. (USS312, $5.95)
South of Broad
by Pat Conroy
Against the sumptuous backdrop of Charleston, South Carolina, South of Broad gathers a unique cast of sinners and saints. Leopold Bloom King, our narrator, is the son of an amiable, loving father who teaches science at the local high school. His mother, an ex-nun, is the high school principal and a well-known Joyce scholar. After Leo's older brother commits suicide at the age of thirteen, the family struggles with the shattering effects of his death, and Leo, lonely and isolated, searches for something to sustain him. Eventually, he finds his answer when he becomes part of a tightly knit group of high school seniors that includes friends Sheba and Trevor Poe, glamorous twins with an alcoholic mother and a prison-escapee father; hardscrabble mountain runaways Niles and Starla Whitehead; socialite Molly Huger and her boyfriend, Chadworth Rutledge X; and an ever-widening circle whose liaisons will ripple across two decades-from 1960s counterculture through the dawn of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s. The ties among them endure for years, surviving marriages happy and troubled, unrequited loves and unspoken longings, hard-won successes and devastating breakdowns, and Charleston's dark legacy of racism and class divisions. But the final test of friendship that brings them to San Francisco is something no one is prepared for. South of Broad is Pat Conroy at his finest; a long-awaited work from a great American writer whose passion for life and language knows no bounds.
Touring the Tombstones
by Ruth Miller
A series of guide books to Charleston's 18th century graveyards.
Invention of Wings
by Sue Monk Kidd
The Invention of Wings, a powerful and sweeping historical novel by Sue Monk Kidd, begins, fittingly, with an image of flight: Hetty “Handful”, who has grown up as a slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, recalls the night her mother told her that her ancestors in Africa could fly over trees and clouds. That day, Handful’s mother, Charlotte, gave her daughter the gift of hope— the possibility that someday she might regain her wings and fly to freedom. Throughout Kidd’s exquisitely written story, Handful struggles, sometimes with quiet dissidence, sometimes with open rebellion, to cultivate a belief in the invincibility of her spirit and in the sacred truth that one does not need actual wings in order to rise.
Charleston, Savannah & Coastal Islands Book: A Complete Guide, Fifth Edition (A Great Destinations Guide) [Paperback]
by Cecily McMillan
Veteran author and 25-year-resident Cecily McMillan explores the unique intrigue of the Carolina Lowcountry region, examining its history, culture, and people, and provides authoritative recommendations for accommodations, dining, sight-seeing, and recreational activities. Whether you're visiting for a long weekend or renting a cottage on the coast for a week, anyone visiting this magical region will be able to experience the pleasures and pastimes and all new amenities and comforts the region has to offer. Whether your taste gravitates toward admiring historic architecture, savoring local gourmet cuisine in the finest restaurants, casting a net for shrimp, or bird-watching or kayaking, travelers of all persuasions will find the most up-to-date advice for where to go and what to do. 100 black & white photos, 5 maps.
A Witness to History: Charleston's Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon
by Ruth Miller and Ann Taylor Andrus
The Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon in Charleston, South Carolina, is one of the great buildings of Colonial America. Serving as city hall, customs house, post office and prison; as the British Headquarters during the occupation of Charles Towne and then host to a great ball honoring George Washington, the Exchange has been an eyewitness to America’s history. This stoic building-—designated a National Historic Landmark in 1975—-has been described as the best example of the dignity and ornament of the traditional English “exchange-town hall” design of the eighteenth century built in the United States. From within its Great Hall to deep below in the Provost Dungeon, the Exchange has played a vital role in American history. Andrus’ and Miller’s fast-paced and readable survey of the history and significance of the Old Exchange Building will appeal to visitor and serious historian alike.
Staging Charleston: The Spoleto Festival U.S.A. . Paperback
by by Colleen K Reilly
The Spoleto Festival U.S.A. is a seventeen day international arts festival held annually in Charleston, South Carolina. While the Spoleto Festival U.S.A. perpetuates many of the cultural practices of the hegemonic community of Charleston, it also participates in negotiations of culture on the contemporary global stage. The Festival and the City rely on one another to constitute an identity that is consumable for a tourist and/or festival audience, and this relationship became even more urgent after Hurricane Hugo in 1989. Hurricane Hugo serves as a peripeteia of the self-fashioning and self-reflexive narrative shaped by the Charleston elite since the 18 th century, and the Spoleto Festival U.S.A. serves as the agent of its denouement. This function of the festival impulse in the contemporary urban setting of Charleston, South Carolina will be the focus of this dissertation, which will examine the relationship between the "placedness" of the historical city and the "placelessness" of the festival atmosphere. This study will identify the features of the festival impulse that engage history, memory, and community and negotiate the territory between "place" and "space". It will compare the historical imaginary of the city with its contemporary identity as an international tourist destination and identify the strategies employed by the festival to destabilize homogenous worldviews and remap the geography of memory in Charleston's past and present.
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6 days
5 nights
10 meals
5 B 2 L 3 D
DAY
1
Check-In, Orientation, Get Acquainted
Charleston, South Carolina
D
Francis Marion Hotel

Activity note: Walking from hotel to Spoleto venues is can be as close as 2 blocks or as far as 6-8 blocks. The city offers free shuttle service at selected pickup points but is not always reliable on time. Bike taxis are also available for hire at a cost of $5 per 10 minutes. It takes 5-10 minutes for a bike to go the 6 blocks so this is a very reasonable fee for the convenience. We recommend a bike taxi if you are unable to walk the distance. We will provide telephone numbers for you.

Afternoon: HOTEL CHECK-IN: Available from 4:00 pm. PROGRAM REGISTRATION: After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar desk in the lobby to register with the program staff at our desk in the lobby beginning at 4:00 pm. You’ll receive your arrival packet containing the most up-to-date schedule and program information that we’ll review during our orientation session before dinner. If you arrive late, please pick up your packet at the hotel front desk. ORIENTATION: The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions.We will review COVID-19 protocols and will adhere to local COVID-19 guidelines and requirements throughout the program. Periods in the daily schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful, rewarding, and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: The remainder of the evening is yours to begin getting to know one another, walk around the neighborhood, or relax in the hotel as you prepare for tomorrow. You are embarking on a special Road Scholar program that includes expert lectures and attending selected events from the schedules of Spoleto Festival USA and Piccolo Spoleto as well as a significant amount of free time to pursue your own interests with opportunities to dine out on your own. The preparatory materials you receive following enrollment will provide more details about the ticketed events included in your program. We highly recommend checking the Spoleto USA website that explains how the festival is organized and how you can purchase tickets when the time comes for the events you would like to attend on your own. To avoid duplication, DO NOT ORDER TICKETS UNTIL YOU HAVE CHECKED ON roadscholar.org UNDER YOUR PROGRAM WEEK TO SEE WHAT TICKETS ARE INCLUDED IN YOUR PROGRAM. This will not be available until January. For information on Spoleto go to http://spoletousa.org/home/

DAY
2
Spoleto Talk, Performances TBA
Charleston, South Carolina
B,L,D
Francis Marion Hotel

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: PRESENTATION: Exclusively for our group, a member of the Spoleto Board of Directors (or other festival insider depending on availability) will provide an overview of the festival and discuss its history. Please note: One of the advantages of taking this Road Scholar program is having guaranteed seats for performances and events that may otherwise be sold out. Scheduled performances are not available until January.

Lunch: Lunch will be at a popular restaurant in the Historic District.

Afternoon: At this time, we do not know the performances for Spoleto. As soon as they become available, we will put them up for you to see on roadscholar.org. Focusing primarily on artists of the Southeast region, Piccolo Spoleto is the perfect complement to the international scope of Spoleto Festival USA, its parent festival, and its 700 events in 17 days transforms Charleston into an exhilarating celebration of performing, literary and visual arts. In addition to Spoleto offerings during your stay, another option is Piccolo Spoleto. Program offerings include visual arts exhibits, classical music, jazz, dance, theatre, poetry readings, children’s activities, choral music, ethnic cultural presentations, crafts and film. Tickets for Piccolo may be viewed online by just typing in Piccolo Charleston.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: We will make performances available as soon as they are open.

DAY
3
Carriage Ride, Performances
Charleston, South Carolina
B,D
Francis Marion Hotel

Activity note: Walk to carriage ride is approximately 20 minutes or 1/2 mile.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: You are here because of the Spoleto Festival, but your experience would not be complete without a scenic introduction to the charming city of Charleston itself. Aboard horse-drawn carriages, we will enjoy a pleasant, relaxing, and informative ride through neighborhoods filled with colorful history and picturesque architecture.

Lunch: On your own.

Afternoon: Performances will be available on-line at spoletousa.org, approximately January. This afternoon is free to explore other Spoleto venues or Piccolo events.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: Performances will go on-line for viewing in January.

DAY
4
Spoleto Festivities
Charleston, South Carolina
B,L
Francis Marion Hotel

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: PRESENTATION: "Conversations With" -- Meet someone from the Charleston Historic Preservation Society to learn more about Spoleto coming to Charleston and about the new and old Charleston.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: This is your block of time to choose what interest you the most in performances or sight seeing.

Dinner: Dinner is on your own to allow you time to fit this meal in around Spoleto activities.

Evening: Performances available in January.

DAY
5
Gullah, Charleston Museum, Joseph Manigault Home
Charleston, South Carolina
B
Francis Marion Hotel

Activity note: Hotel to Charleston Museum is .4 mile. Hotel to Joseph Manigault Home is .3 mile.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Start the morning off by hearing from a local expert about the Gullah culture of Charleston. Afterward, you will have the opportunity to visit the Charleston Museum and the Joseph Manigault Home. The Charleston Museum is one of the oldest museums in the United States.The museum's exhibits include natural history and local history displays. It is also home to the only known fossil of the extinct Pelagornis sandersi, which is possibly the largest flying bird ever discovered. The Joseph Manigault House is a historic house museum, built in 1803. It is significant as a well-executed and preserved example of Adam style architecture and was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1973.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from your program cost to allow you to fit meals in around your Spoleto activities..

Afternoon: FREE AFTERNOON: By now, you have a strong sense of the festival's uniqueness and have learned how to negotiate both the geography and schedules. Select the afternoon performances you will enjoy most. Flex at its best!

Dinner: Dinner has been left for you to pick your own time and place so that you can fit it around your Spoleto tickets.

Evening: Performances will be made available in January.

DAY
6
Program Concludes, Check Out and Departures
Charleston, South Carolina
B

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: This concludes our program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!






Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.