THE ART OF VENETO
|8 days and 7 nights|
Italy (Abano Terme, Vicenza, Padua, Mantova, Verona, Venice)
Italy (Venice, Verona)
Day 1 Abano Terme
Arrival in afternoon in Abano Terme, one of the oldest and maybe the most famous SPA town in Italy. Check-in at your hotel, then you are free to discover the town wandering amongst gardens and parks or to enjoy its SPA facilities. Dinner and overnight stay in Abano Terme.
Day 2 Vicenza, Villa La Rotonda
Departure for Vicenza, the city of Palladio, cradle of elegance and art. The city is a fairly unknown small jewel, giving off a very romantic atmosphere with elegant sights as Piazza Duomo, Corso Palladio studded with splendid buildings, Piazza delle Erbe, Piazza Castello, Basilica Palladiana with one of the first examples of the Palladian window. Visit to the Olympic Theatre, Europe’s oldest surviving indoor theatre designed by Palladio in 1579, a true work of art. In the afternoon we visit the Palladian Masterpiece, The Villa Capra also called the Villa Rotonda because of its completely symmetrical plan with a central circular hall, one of the most recognisable buildings of the Renaissance. Return for dinner and overnight stay in Abano Terme.
Day 3 Villa Valmarana, Asolo, Villa Barbaro
Today we travel to Bolzano Vincentino to vist the Villa Valmarana, also called Villa dei Nani, an outstanding architectural and artistic site belonging to the Valmarana family and taking its name from the statues of dwarves (nani) which decorate its garden wall. This villa is widely considered the top expressive painting of the eighteenth century with its frescoes by Tiepolo. Our next visit is the enchanting and elegant Asolo perched on lush-green hills. Along with its delightful gardens, palatial villas, beautiful Renaissance buildings, the spectacular views of the surrounding countryside have inspired over the centuries poets and writers like Robert Browning and Freya Stark. We continue on to Maser for a visit to the Villa Barbaro, the most richly decorated of all Palladian villas, and famous for its delightful Veronese frescoes. Although one of the most visited of the Palladian villas is probably the least typical of the villas constructed by Palladio because the patron M. Barbaro and Veronese wrestled over the design and ideology of the building. Return for dinner and overnight stay in Abano Terme.
Day 4 Mantua
Today we head to Mantua, birthplace of the poet Virgil, and once the site of one of the greatest Renaissance courts in Europe. After a guided tour of this beautiful city, we visit the impressive Ducal Palace, the former stronghold of the powerful Gonzaga family, where we admire a wonderful art collection including the frescoes in the “Camera degli Sposi” by Mantegna. We continue on to another stunning representative building of Mantua architecture: the Palazzo Te, designed and decorated by Giulio Romano, heir of Raffaello, as a residential villa for Frederick II of Gonzaga. Return for dinner and overnight stay in Abano Terme.
Day 5 Padua & Botanical Garden
Today we discover Padua, city with a rich historical, architectural and artistic heritage. Our guide will take you to a tour including the University of Padua housed in the Palazzo Bo, one of the oldest Italian universities, Cappella degli Scrovegni with its priceless frescoes by Giotto, Chiesa degli Eremitani with frescoes by Mantegna, Scuola del Santo with frescos by Titian, Palazzo della Regione, rebuilt to Michaelangelo's design and with the largest suspended room of the world, the historic Café Pedrocchi, a symbol of the 19th Century Padua, and Saint Anthony Basilica with Mantegna’s works and Donatello’s magnificent reliefs. Nearby, you will see the charming Prato della Valle, one of the largest and most unusual squares in Europe with its elliptical shape and island in the middle. In the afternoon we visit the Padua Botanical Garden, established in 1545, the oldest botanical garden in the world, one of the finest examples of a 16th century botanical garden in Italy, with a fine collection of plants from around the world. Return for dinner and overnight stay in Abano Terme
Day 6 Verona
Today we depart for one of Italy’s most beautiful and historic cities – Verona. Our guide will take you on a walking tour of the main highlights of the city. We admire Piazza Bra, dominated by the magnificent Roman Arena, the third largest amphitheatre in the world, now hosting a vibrant summer season of opera. We’ll continue through to Piazza Erbe, the old Roman forum and be sure that we’ll visit the famous balcony which featured in the Shakespeare tragedy Romeo and Juliet. Another 14th century attraction consists of the bizarre "Arche" of the Della Scala family, namely the stone lace structures pointing up to the sky that still harbour suspicions and mysteries. We continue to buildings containing masterpieces of painting and sculpture such as the Romanesque church of San Zeno with the altarpiece by Mantegna and the Castelvecchio Museum with works of artists such as Mantegna, Bellini and Veronese. There’s plenty of time then to stroll around or why not sit for a while at a pavement café and just enjoy the view. We suggest you to visit the recently opened Arena Museo Opera, which is dedicated to the history of opera in Verona. Return in late afternoon for dinner and overnight stay in Abano Terme.
Day 7 Venice
There is nowhere else on earth an extraordinary city like Venice, built on a maze of more than 150 canals and 400 bridges studded with palaces and Renaissance architecture. Our guide will introduce you to some of its most famous sights. In St Mark’s Square you will find two of the most important buildings in Venice, the Basilica di San Marco with its Romanesque carvings and beautiful mosaics, where a timed visit is planned, and the Doge’s Palace, once home to the Venetian rulers, with its well-known Bridge of Sighs, the Clock Tower and the Campanile. We take a walk over the Rialto Bridge, one of Venice’s most famous sights, to watch the activity of the boats on the Grand Canal below. You are free to do as you please after the guided tour, you can explore the maze of canals and bridges without any specific destination, or you may also take a boat to Murano Island, famous for glass factories. We suggest you a visit to Peggy Guggenheim museum opened in a mansion, her old home on the Grand Canal, and the big city churches: the Church of San Zaccaria with Bellini's, Tintoretto’s and Tiepolo’s paintings, Santa Maria Formosa with its Bell Tower and the Church of Santa Maria della Salute. Return for dinner and overnight stay in Abano Terme.
Day 8 Abano Terme
Breakfast and departure for return journey. End of our services.
Accommodation, depending on your option, in good 4* hotels centrally located or 3* not centrally located hotels, double occupancy rooms, as described:
7 night accommodation in hotel in Abano Terme on a half-board basis, drinks not included
Local English speaking guides in Vicenza, Mantua, Padua, Verona, Venice. Other languages are available on request.
Entrances to the Villa La Rotonda, Villa Valmarana, Villa Barbaro, Botanic Garden in Padua, Ducal Palace and Palazzo Te in Mantua, Cappella degli Scoverni, Chiesa degli Eremitani and Saint Anthony Basilica in Padua, church of San Zeno and Castelvecchio Museum in Verona, Basilica San Marco in Venice
Bus GT for the entire tour with arrival and departure from Venice / Verona airport, including all expenses (check point and parking fees, board and lodging for driver)
Please note: Modest dress to enter all churches in Italy, no shorts. Shoulders and knees must be covered.