The world is a playground of culture. Even when socio-political tensions boil and strenuous relationships between countries threaten to snap with violent results, you can always turn to culture and cuisine – two magical ingredients that bind the world in harmony. If you’ve got the zest for all things refined, get ready for a list of the best art, food and culture holidays for 2019.
Italy is eternal
The global cultural landscape may change, but one thing is for certain – Italy will be eternally relevant. The history of the Apennine Peninsula, which is in equal measure dramatic and tumultuous, has left its mark upon the land in the form of architectural marvels and gorgeous monuments. No matter where you decide to go to the country of Italy, you are setting yourself up for the holiday of your dreams. Ravenna and Urbino offer the rarely observed side of the local heritage in the form of virtuoso Byzantine mosaics. One should also not forget that Urbino is the birthplace of Raphael and the home of the 15th century Ducal Palace. Still, if you are to ask someone who is in the know about the hottest Italian spot for cultural happenings in 2019, they will probably direct you to Matera, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of a city and the European Capital of Culture for this year. The food, of course, is out of this world wherever you choose to ‘dig in’ in Italy.
A Weekend in Sydney
The gleaming harbor of Sydney is one of the hottest areas in the world right now. The historical district of the Rocks gives way to a cavalcade of breath-taking highlights that have been the hotspots of cutting-edge cultural events and art exhibitions. Of course, the legendary Sydney Opera House is the ‘grand central’ of numerous festivities and events that will keep you in the cultural zeitgeist. Also, the rest of the urban sprawl does not wane when it comes to artistic delights. Sail into the harbor and mingle with the multicultural community on the rooftops of Chippendale as your selection of a boutique hotel in Sydney offers you an artful arrangement of interior design that you can revel in. The multicultural makeup of the city also means that the cuisine is a truly eclectic ‘stew’ of traditional influences from every corner of the world – which means that this is a go-to destination for culinary adventurers.
Of course, since we have brought up Matera as this year’s European Capital of Culture, it would simply be utterly unfair not to bring up Plovdiv, Bulgaria. It is meant to share Matera’s moniker throughout this year and it boasts a beautiful ancient City of the Seven Hills that is about to serve as a backdrop for sublime exhibitions, concerts and theatre shows. This is an amazing corner of Europe for art and culture connoisseurs who also want to try a taste of traditional cuisine which is rarely talked about. It needs to be pointed out that this entire corner of the Balkans is rarely talked about as well, and if you are interested to investigate nooks and crannies of Europe, this is the place that is brimming with stellar surprises. If you get a chance to come by during the late spring and summer months, keep an eye out for the Brexit Blues festival on May 4 and Opera Open between June 14 and July 31.
The Allure of Samarkand
The thing about culture and art is that so many people have stereotypical ideas about what sort of backdrops come with the territory – the images of MoMA in NYC and streets of Paris, France springs up to mind. However, the historical and cultural heritage of the world goes far beyond the boundaries of Europe and the English-speaking world. Since the political landscape of Uzbekistan has changed in 2016, the country has become an impressive prospect for vacationers who want to experience its sublime cuisine, renowned hospitality and, of course, the divine architecture. The legacy of the Silk Road can be felt amidst the Tajikistan’s Fan Mountains, and it radiates from the ancient and venerable buildings of Samarkand. This is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and a marvel to behold. Since Turkish Airlines has green-lit an Istanbul-Samarkand flight plan, the city’s cornerstone heritage can finally be soaked in by people from every corner of the globe.
The Jazz Strings of Pigeon Island
Somewhere between Barbados and Martinique, among the azure waves of the Caribbean, lies an island that is renowned for one of the hottest jazz festivals in the world, which was founded in 1992. The legendary St Lucia Jazz Festival is based on Pigeon island and it appears that this year is just as good as any (if not better) to kick back on the wondrous palm beaches and enjoy the heart-warming string tugs as the festival unfolds. The star-studded guests were many – from Harry Belafonte to Elton John, Diana Ross and Rihanna, Seal and Chaka Khan and countless others. The festival will take place between May 12 and 14, so you still have time to make the necessary arrangements!
It is so easy to become consumed by the drudgery of bad news and depressing worldly events. Thankfully, the old saying ‘seek and ye shall find’ also offers the other side of the coin in the form of an endlessly beautiful, hedonistic landscape of art, cultural events and hedonistic indulgences that keep the world going.