|6 days and 5 nights|
Italy (Venice, Vicenza, Bassano del Grappa, Padua, Stra)
Day 1 Vicenza
Arrival in afternoon. Check-in at your hotel, then you are free to soak up the charming atmosphere of the town wandering amongst the gardens and beautiful buildigs or enjoy a cool aperitif as the sun sinks slowly over the urban landscape. Dinner and overnight stay in Vicenza.
Day 2 Vicenza, Villa Rotonda
In the morning we discover together Vicenza, the city of Palladio, cradle of elegance and art with a high number of monumental complexes compared to its extension. The city is a fairly unknown small jewel, giving off a very romantic atmosphere with elegant sights. Our guide will help you to discover the city including Palladio’s works: the Palazzo Thiene and the colonnaded Palazzo Chiericati, Basilica Palladiana with one of the first examples of the Palladian window, 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, called the Villa Rotonda because of its completely symmetrical plan with a central circular hall, one of the most recognisable buildings of the Renaissance. Dinner and overnight stay in Vicenza.
Day 3 Bassano del Grappa, Villa Barbaro, Villa Emo
In the morning we travel to the picturesque town of Bassano del Grappa, featuring a magnificent Palladian bridge crossing the mighty Brenta River. Enjoy a walk around its narrow streets, spacious squares and at spectacular viewpoints, enjoy superb views over the surrounding hills and mountains. Here you'll have also the chance to sample some of the local firewater - "Grappa". Departure 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. It is the only Palladian villa in Veneto to retain some of its original garden. The last stop is the Villa Emo, designed by Palladio in 1559, one of the most accomplished of the Palladian Villas, showing the benefit of 20 years of Palladio's experience in domestic architecture. It's the only surviving villa that truly reflects a 100% the ideals of Andrea Palladio, without changes and compromises before being built. It has been praised for the simple mathematical relationships expressed in its proportions, both of the elevation and the dimensions of the rooms. Return for dinner and overnight stay in Vicenza.
Day 4 Padua, Villa Valmarana , Villa Cornaro
Today we discover Padua, city with a rich historical, architectural and artistic heritage. Our guide will take you to a sightseeing tour including the University of Padua housed in the Bo Palace, one of the oldest Italian universities where Galileo Galilei was a teacher and researcher in the 17th century, historic Café Pedrocchi, Cappella degli Scrovegni with its priceless frescoes by Giotto, Eremitani Church with frescoes by Mantegna, Palazzo della Regione which boasts the largest suspended room of the world and the Saint Anthony Basilica with Donatello’s magnificent reliefs. Nearby, you will see the charming Prato della Valle, one of the largest and unusual squares in Europe with its elliptical shape and island in the middle. We continue on to Bolzano Vincentino to vist the Villa Valmarana, known as Villa dei Nani, an outstanding architectural and artistic site belonging to the Valmarana family taking its name from the statues of dwarves (nani) which decorate its garden wall. The Villa’s surroundings are designed to suite different tastes and functional needs, ranging from an Italian garden with dovecote and the well, the walk through the hornbeam and the pagoda in the woods. Valmarana Villa is widely considered the top expressive painting of the eighteenth century with its frescoes by Tiepolo. The last stop will be the monumental Villa Cornaro (only sabato 15h30-18h between 03.05-30.09), which introduces a functional novelty: the fusion and no longer juxtaposition, in a unique structure of the two functions of utility and recreation. Return for dinner and overnight stay in Vicenza.
Day 5 Villa Pisani, cruise on Brenta River, La Malcontenta
Full day dedicated to Palladio’s villas. Our first stop is in Stra where we will visit Villa Pisani, called also the "Little Versailles", built for the family of Doge Alvise Pisani in 1720. Here we will admire the frescoes, those in the ballroom by Tiepolo, and the park, with its pools, orangeries, stables and ice-house. This villa was once visited by Napoleon and was the setting of the historic meeting between Hitler and Mussolini in 1934. We board then on a Burchiello, characteristic Veneto boat, and depart for a cruise on the Brenta River. Along the route, we will admire some of the most important villas of Palladio. We continue on to the Villa Foscari, known as "La Malcontenta", the uncontentable, with wall paintings of Giovani Battista Zelotti, disciple of Paolo Veronese. The villa owes its name to a legend telling how a lady of the house Foscari was confined within its walls in solitude to serve her sentence for her vicious conduct. Return to the Vicenza hotel for dinner and overnight stay.
Day 6 Vicenza
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:
5 night accommodation in hotel in Vicenza on a half-board basis, drinks not included
Local English speaking guides in Vicenza, Padua. Other languages are available on request.
Entrances to the the Olympic Theatre in Vicenza, Villa Rotonda, Villa Barbaro, Villa Emo, Villa Valmarana , Villa Cornaro, Villa Pisani, La Malcontenta, Saint Anthony Basilica in Padua
Cruise on Brenta River on a Burchiello
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)