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Music Director Jesse Parker, 15 members of VOICES XXI, and assorted family members and friends traveled to Italy in late June to present a pair of concerts and do some serious sightseeing. View photos from the trip.

Our first stop in Italy was Milan, where we met our excellent tour guide Ellie. She shepherded us to our first of many impressive cathedrals, Milan's gothic Duomo, one of the largest churches in Europe, noted for its intricate spires and beautiful stained glass windows. From there we visited a more humble-looking building, the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie to see Leonardo da Vinci's Renaissance masterpiece The Last Supper . Then it was off to Venice for three days to experience vaporetto rides on the Grand Canal , the excitement of Piazza San Marco, and the requisite gondola ride -- complete with singing gondolier! Our final stop was Florence , where we reveled in Renaissance art at the Uffizi Museum and looked with awe at Michelangelo's statue David at the Accademia. Florence also provided the opportunity (for the ladies in particular) to shop for Italian fineries and to visit the many jewelry shops on the Ponte Vecchio.

Two lovely old churches -- the Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunti in the town of Asolo ("the pearl of the Veneto") near Venice, and the Basilica Madonna dell'Umilta in the town of Pistoia near Florence -- provided venues for our concerts as well as warmly enthusiastic audiences. Both churches have long histories of supporting musical events and acoustics tailor-made for the a cappella singing of VOICES XXI.

After a gala farewell party, the travelers split up; some headed home while others moved on to do still more sightseeing in Italy.

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