Travel: Malta to Tuscany

Following their participation in the Malta International Song Festival, David Bowie and the other contestants travelled to Tuscany to take part in the Festival Internazionale del Disco.

They flew to Rome before taking a six-hour coach ride to Montecatini Terme, where they stayed at the Hotel Reale.

Bowie was greeted upon his arrival by his girlfriend Angela Barnett, who was travelling to Cyprus to see her parents.

On July 30 we all flew to Rome on the first leg of the journey to Monsummano-Terme, in the province of Pistoia, where JB [John B Cassar] had arranged for the festival to be repeated. We then boarded a coach for what we thought would be a reasonable distance, but there were angry protests when it was discovered that the journey would take six hours of night travel. There was nothing for it but to make one’s self comfortable and hope for some sleep. It came to David first, his head against my shoulder, then visited me.

We reached Monsummano-Terme at first light and drew up to the Hotel Reale, where our accommodation had been reserved. David had previously told me that there was a chance of Angela meeting us there on her way to visit her parents in Cyprus and, sure enough, there she was. ‘It’s good to see you Ange,’ David greeted her when she made her appearance.

Monsummano-Terme is a small town famous for its sudatorium, the Grotta Giusti, and no visit to the town is complete without experiencing the grotto’s heat and sampling its allegedly health-giving waters. Sufferers from all manner of ailments undergo lengthy treatment at this thermal bathing establishment, but arrangements had been made for us to spend about an hour there. It was long enough.

Kenneth Pitt
The Pitt Report

The Tuscany festival took place at the Hotel Reale on 1 and 2 August 1969. Bowie and his manager Kenneth Pitt returned to London the next day.

Last updated: 17 May 2023
Live: Malta International Song Festival
Live: Festival Internazionale del Disco, Italy
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