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Accordion Pilgrimage

by Jeff Biggers, 2/15/2002

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What would you consider the least hip musical instrument? The viola? The tuba? The panflute? How about the accordion?

When I hear the accordion, I flash to Lawrence Welk polka music. Being that we're so "cutting edge" here on The Savvy Traveler, I'm here to tell you that the accordion is making a comeback. The best-crafted "squeeze boxes" in the world are made in a small Italian village called Castelfidardo. I find that fact intriguing, given how well known Italy is for outdoor opera and classical music. Italy is famous, of course, for its hallowed arenas and houses of opera, such as Teatro alla Scala in Milan, or Teatro La Fenice in Venice. A steady stream of music lovers heads annually to composer Giuseppe Verdi's birthplace at Le Roncole, or the open-air Arena in Verona.

You most likely aren't hankering to travel to the accordion capital of the world, but I bet you have some eccentric personal dream vacation. If you do, you can relate to our reporter Jeff Biggers and his quest to immerse himself in a sound that is very personal to him.

Teaming up with fellow southern Arizona traveler and Italian expat Glenn Alessi, Jeff follows his friend, a big Norteno music fan, to Castelfidardo so Glenn can buy an accordion.

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