Venice and the Veneto
April 3 to 12, 2019
As the Roman Empire crumbled and lawless barbarians swept into Italy, a group of refugees sought safety on the swampy islands of a brackish lagoon. The republic they formed in 697 A.D. lasted for more than a thousand years. Physically, financially, and politically separate from mainland Italy, Venice was truly a nation unto itself. The art, architecture, food, even the accents one still hears in the calle are unique to this clutch of islands.
Yet despite their psychic distance from Italy, Venetians have always needed estates on the mainland. Here is where the architect Palladio comes in. Born in 1508, Andrea Palladio, whose villas dot the Veneto, has had as profound an influence on architecture as anyone in the history of Western civilization.
Taking a cue from our recent trips to Perugia, in Venice we plan once again to offer several "Cocktail Incontri." There are informal conversations in our hotel bar with people from the community who have interesting perspectives to share with us.
The Itinerary, in brief:
Wednesday, April 3: The tour begins when we meet in the afternoon at our villa hotel in Mira, a short distance from the Venice airport. In the afternoon we have a private visit to the Villa Malcontenta, an iconic work by Andrea Palladio. Group dinner to follow.
Thursday, April 4: Excursion from Mira to Padua. We begin our tour with one of the landmarks of Italian art: the Scrovegni Chapel with frescoes by Giotto. Afterwards, we can enjoy a leisurely exploration of this medieval city before returning to Mira for the night. Group lunch.
Friday, April 5: A day of gardens and villas: Two sets of them: the Villa Emo in Monselice and the Villa Barbarigo in Vansanzibio, with a country lunch to follow. In the afternoon, we return to Mira via the Villa Pisano in Stra, with Tiepolo frescoes on the ceiling of the ballroom. Group lunch.
Saturday, April 6: Morning visit to Palladio's iconic Villa Rotonda in Vicenzo along with the Villa ai Nani across the way, with frescoes by Tiepolo, father and son. Lunch in Vicenza and afternoon tour of Palladio's works in town including the Palazzo Pubblico and the Teatro Olympic. Continue on to Asolo where we stay in the lovely Villa Cipriani.
Sunday, April 7: Morning visit to two Palladian villas: the Villa Barbaro with frescoes by Veronese and, perhaps my favorite of all, the Villa Emo. After lunch we encounter the 20th c. bookend to Palladio: Carlo Scarpa, another genius of design. His Brion Tomb, a landmarks near Asolo, is perhaps his most important work. Group lunch.
Monday, April 8: Arrive in Venice! Lunch at a favorite restaurant followed by a tour that takes us from the Rialto Bridge to Piazza San Marco. Group lunch.
Tuesday, April 9: Morning tour of the Dorsoduro, on the other side of the Grand Canal: the treasure trove church of the Frari, which in an of itself is a lesson in Venetian history, and the Scuola San Rocco with wall-to-wall painting by Tintoretto. The Dorsoduro has for centuries been known for its artisan workshops. In the afternoon we'll offer an optional tour of favorite studios and shops. Group lunch.
Wednesday, April 10: Morning tour of two quintessentially Venetian sites: first, a studio where historic Venetian costumes are made for operas and films. This is a fascinating glimpse at what goes on beneath all the ruffles! Then on to a factory where silk fabrics are hand-woven on centuries old wooden looms. Lunch at a favorite restaurant. Afternoon free to wander or for more touring.
Thursday, April 11: Excursion to Murano, the island of glassblowers. We look forward to a private visit to the Venini, a glassworks that does not usually allow visitors. In 2013/14, the Metropolitan Museum in NYC had an exhibition devoted entirely to Venini glass. So needless to say it is always thrilling to see what they are fabricating. Lunch in Murano. Afternoon free for wandering or more touring.
April 12: The tour ends with breakfast. We will help people arrange airport transportation.
In Venice, we are 4 nights at the 4-star Palazzo Sant'Angelo on the Grand Canal and a stone's throw from the Sant'Angelo vaporetto station.
The cost of the tour includes accommodation in either a classic double or a double room used as a single. Rates for room upgrades are available upon request.
$5900 in Double Occupancy
$6750 in Single Occupancy
Included: 9 nights in hotels. breakfast each morning, one or more additional meals each day with wine and coffee, private bus transportation throughout the Veneto, transportation in Venice by water taxi and public vaporettos, all entrance fees, guide fees, and tips.
Costs for hotel upgrades available upon request.
Not included: air and airport transportation, unscheduled meals, room service, items of a personal nature.
Group size: a maximum of 12 people