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The 2016 Umbria Jazz Festival: The Big Name Performers, What to Expect, and Where to Stay

For 10 days and nights, the sweet sound of jazz music can be heard throughout the medieval city of Perugia during the Umbria Jazz Festival.umbria jazz festival

In the charming Italian city of Perugia, Umbria’s capital, the hills literally come alive with the sound of music every July — jazz music, that is. Since 1973, jazz musicians from all over the world have gathered in Perugia for the Umbria Jazz Festival, a 10-day celebration of jazz and the many remarkable ways international musicians interpret it. This year, the festival will fill Perugia’s cobblestoned streets with music from July 8-July 17, 2016.

Perugia is a medieval hill town, brimming with historical treasures and rich traditions; it’s no surprise that this cultural epicenter has become the annual stage for one of the world’s most important jazz festivals. The majority of performances take place under the stars at the open-air Arena Santa Giuliana, while others happen within the gilded walls of Teatro Morlacchi, the largest theater in Perugia.

Who’s Playing at the 2016 Umbria Jazz Festival?

In past years, the Umbria Jazz Festival has attracted the likes of musical legends such as Miles Davis, B.B. King, Dizzy Gillespie, and even Elton John. The 2016 festival is no different — if you’re planning on traveling to Umbria this summer, prepare yourself for this impressive lineup:

umbria jazz festivalJuly 8: Massimo Ranieri “Malia” with Enrico Rava, Stefano Di Battista, Rita Marcotulli, Ettore Fioravanti, and Stefano Bagnoli (Buy tickets)

July 9: Diana Krall and Ola Onabule (Buy tickets)

July 10: Mika and Ezio Bosso (Buy tickets)

July 11: Buddy Guy and Ruthie Foster (Buy tickets)

July 12: John Scofield, Brad Mehldau, and Mark Guiliana (Buy tickets)

July 13: Enrico Rava New Quartet featuring Stefano Di Battista (Buy tickets)

July 14: Branford Marsalis Quartet with special guests Kurt Elling and Melody Gardot (Buy tickets)

July 15: George Clinton Parliament Funkadelic and Cory Henry & The Apostles (Buy tickets)

July 16: Steps Ahead Reunion and Marcus Miller “Afrodeezia” Tour (Buy tickets)

July 17: Chick Corea 75th Birthday Celebration, Homage to Heroes, and Stefano Bollani “Napoli Trip” (Buy tickets)

The program and number of participating artists may change as it gets closer to the festival. There are many, many more performances over the course of the ten days – smaller, free events all throughout town – but the artists listed above perform in the evening hours and are considered to be the main event of each day.

Where to Stay for the Umbria Jazz Festival if You Want a Little Privacy

umbria jazz festival

Perugia can get very busy during the Umbria Jazz Festival and hotel rooms book up quickly. If you are looking for a little more peace and quiet when you’re not in town for the jazz performances, there are plenty of private villas in the surrounding area that may be perfect for you and your music-loving travel companions.

Umbria is not large — if it were a U.S. state, it would be larger than Delaware and smaller than Connecticut — so you can stay in any Umbrian hill town and reach Perugia in a reasonable amount of time. There are, however, some villas that are a little closer than others:


4 br/4 ba/Pool

Distance to Perugia: 20 km (about 12 miles)

Located on a beautiful, private 280-acre estate, Villa HII CAT is immersed between fields, olive groves, and woods. Some of the most beautiful parts of Umbria are within a short drive of the villa, including the Umbria Jazz Festival.


9 br/8 ba/Pool

Distance to Perugia: 10 km (about 6 miles)

Villa HII IPC is extremely close to Perugia, 20km from Assisi, and 170 km from the airport in Rome. Horseback riding, golfing, restaurants, food shops, and even hot air balloon rides can be found nearby.

The best way to find the right villa to fit your needs is to call one of our Umbria Villa Specialists. Let them know you are planning to attend the 2016 Umbria Jazz Festival, and they will be able to narrow down a selection of villas that you’ll be “jazzed” about.

Leave a comment: Have you ever attended the Umbria Jazz Festival? Tell us about your favorite performance.  


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