Shakespeare’s 400th Anniversary: 5 Favourite Settings From His Finest Works
Saturday 23 April marks the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death. We’re celebrating with a tour through some of our favourite settings from The Bard’s greatest works. And guess what – we’ve found a bunch of deals to get you there, just in case you want to organise your very own Shakespearean getaway…
Italy: Much Ado About Nothing
Shakespeare set about a third of his plays in Italy, with Verona, Venice and Rome all featuring time and time again. But it’s Sicily in Much Ado About Nothing that will most likely inspire the greatest bout of wanderlust. Messina (above) is an excellent gateway to the island’s golden beaches and craggy interior, and its sparse population makes for a very quiet escape. Be sure to try Messina’s signature dish of swordfish cooked with olives, white wine and anchovies before you leave.
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The legendary birthplace of the goddess of love, Aphrodite, is one of Shakespeare’s more exotic locations for his tragedy, Othello. The island’s romantic ancient ruins, windswept coastline and compelling combination of cultures makes for more than a typical beach-resort break, while reliable temperatures and 340 days of sunshine annually make it a year-round favourite.
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A foggy heath, a thunderstorm and a gang of witches – Macbeth’s opening lines don’t necessarily scream “weekend break”. But for all the dark and dismal scenes in “The Scottish Play”, the landscape it traverses is pretty spectacular. Inverness - the hub of the highlands and a central location in the story - is an excellent spot from which to base yourself, particularly if you’re keen on spotting Scotland’s other legendary monster, Nessie.
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Czech Republic: A Winter’s Tale
There’s a whole country beyond Prague that’s just aching to be explored. We recommend heading out of the capital to pastoral Bohemia in the west of the Czech Republic (where much of the play takes place). Shakespeare took a few liberties with his depiction of the area, but the beauty of this region is unquestioned. Think sweeping meadows, meandering rivers, Renaissance castles and charming spa towns. There are even bigger cities like Budějovice and Plzeň, the European Capital of Culture 2015, where you’ll find plenty of museums and restaurants once you’ve had your fill of the countryside.
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London: Richard III
Forego Shakespeare’s London of castles and parliament for a visit to The Globe this summer. Although the original building burnt down during a particularly lively performance of Henry VIII in 1613, the current theatre has done a remarkable job of replicating the shape and atmosphere.
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Consider yourself something of a bookworm? Then we challenge you to take our literary quiz - you just have to match the books to the locations that inspired them. Click here to test your skills now!