Come to Italy and explore one of the world’s most unique cities and one of Italy’s most spectacular regions – Venice & The Veneto. Venice was the center of the ruling Venetian Republic for centuries and its surrounding Veneto area was home to advanced learning, Renaissance art, writing and architectural design. After acquainting yourself with the breathtaking beauty of Venice, visit the cities and villas in the small region of Veneto that embody the region’s diverse history and charm. Many people just travel through the Veneto to get to Venice… take the time to experience the Veneto area with this tour focused on the smaller, lesser-known Italian cities of Verona, Padova and more.
Departure from the United States on your overnight flight to begin your tour of Venice & The Veneto.
Upon arrival in Venice, you and your English speaking tour escort will meet your private boat for a direct transfer from Venice Marco Polo Airport to your 4* hotel in Venice. Relax and make yourself comfortable for the remainder of the day. Enjoy your first Italian group dinner together at your hotel (including ½ liter water and ¼ liter wine per person).
Breakfast included at your hotel. Depart from your hotel with your English speaking local guide for a walking tour of Venice. Its unique location, design and rich history makes Venice one of the most interesting cities in the world. Take in the city’s canals, bridges, piazzas and palazzos as you start your tour in St. Mark’s Square – the iconic center of the city. St. Mark’s Basilica is Venice’s largest cathedral which originally began as the private chapel for the Doge and other Venetian aristocracy. Enter the basilica and marvel at the golden mosaics and Byzantine influenced architecture and historic furnishings. Attached to the Basilica is the landmark Doge’s Palace, the administrative seat of the Venetian Republic and opulent residence of the Venetian doges. Today, this magnificent museum is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture where one’s allowed to explore its large halls, rooms, courtyard, armory and prison. Continue your walking tour with an external view of the famous Bridge of Sighs. This enclosed stone passageway was designed to link the palace’s interrogation rooms to the city’s prison and is thusly named for the sound prisoners would make while getting their final view of Venice prior to their imprisonment. Before the end of your guided tour, view the famous Campanile – the bell tower in St. Mark’s Square, a memorable symbol of the city located just opposite the Basilica and the Doge’s Palace. Perhaps during your free time later, you’ll enjoy climbing the tower to see sweeping views of Venice, the lagoon and out to the Adriatic Sea. Next, you’ll attend a 1 hour workshop on the preparation and decoration of Venetian Carnival masks. Learn about the history and the age-old techniques used in making these traditional works of art. Enjoy the rest of the day to have lunch on your own and to explore the city at your leisure. Meet back at the hotel in time for your group dinner at a local Venetian restaurant (including ½ liter water and ¼ liter wine per person).
Breakfast included at your hotel. Meet with your English speaking local guide for a private boat tour of the Venetian Lagoon islands: Murano, Burano and Torcello. Depart by boat for your first stop in Murano, famous since the 13th century for its glassmaking. Visit a local glassmaking factory and watch the glass masters at work. Next stop on your boat tour is the island of Burano. This small picturesque island is famous for its lace making workmanship and for its richly painted houses. Enjoy a special fish lunch at a local restaurant in Burano. After lunch, your boat will take you the short distance to the island of Torcello, once very popular in the region’s salt trade. This quaint island has been a place of refuge for writers (Ernest Hemingway) and musicians over the years. Learn about Torcello’s unique history and enter its famous Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta. Originally founded in 639, this cathedral is famous for its stunning 11th century mosaics and for being one of the oldest standing religious structures still in existence in the region. Return by private boat to Piazza San Marco and return to your hotel. The remainder of the day and dinner tonight is at your leisure.
Breakfast included at hotel. Depart from your hotel with your English speaking local guide to assist in your departure from Venice. You’ll walk to Piazza San Marco where you will take a boat to the Tronchetto parking area where you’ll then board your private motorcoach. Your luggage will be transferred separately from your hotel to the Tronchetto parking area. Say “Arrivederci!” to Venice as you embark on your exploration of the Veneto region. Drive the short distance to the city of Padova – a medieval city-state and university center since the 13th century. Your English speaking guide will take you for a walking tour of Padova to see the Basilica of St. Anthony, designed in multiple architectural styles. See the famous statue in front of the Basilica by sculptor Donatello of former military leader Gattamelata “The Honey-Cat”. Continue your walk to see the 2nd oldest university in Italy – the University of Padua. See the famous Café Pedrocchi, the cultural center for famous writers, artists and students since it opened in 1831. See some of Padova’s famous squares and learn of their histories and varying architectural influences: Piazza alle Erbe (Herbs), Piazza dei Signori and Piazza Insurrezione (Uprising). A visit and entrance to Padova’s most famous site is not to be missed. The Scrovegni Chapel is a small unassuming building from the outside, but the interior walls and ceilings are entirely covered in frescoes completed by painter Giotto in 1305. The Biblical depictions and numerous scenes depicting Christ’s life are considered one large masterpiece of the Early Renaissance. Enjoy a group lunch at a local restaurant in Padova. After lunch, drive out of the city through the protected Euganean Hills Regional Park to the medieval village of Arquà Petrarcha. Belonging to the Most Beautiful Villages in Italy club, Arquà Petrarcha was the home to Italian Renaissance poet Petrarch before his death in 1374. Continue the short drive to the small city of Este – a medieval walled city at the foot of the Euganean Hills known for its ceramics industry. You’ll stop for a visit to the Cathedral of Santa Tecla. This Baroque style church is adorned with an altarpiece painted by 18th century Italian artist Tiepolo. End your journey upon arrival in the city of Verona – your home for the next 5 nights. Check into your 4* hotel and relax for the rest of the evening. Enjoy a group dinner at your hotel (including ½ liter water and ¼ liter wine per person).
Breakfast included at hotel. Meet with your English speaking local guide for a half day tour of the city of Verona – named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The focal point of the city of Verona is the spectacular Arena located at the Piazza Bra. This Roman amphitheater was built in the first century and still serves as the city’s open-air opera house and also holds other musical concerts. Enter the Arena and see where gladiators fought during Roman times and where games and tournaments were regularly held during medieval times. The other part of history most closely associated with Verona is Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. See the restored 14th century house and Juliet’s famous stone balcony that is thought to have once belonged to the Capulet family – on whom Shakespeare based his story. Walk to the Piazza dei Signori – famous for its magnificent palazzos that line the square and its imposing statue of Dante. An introductory tour of Verona wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Piazza delle Erbe. Once a forum during Roman times, it’s now a vibrant square with a daily market. After getting acquainted with this charming city, take the afternoon to explore at your own pace. Free time for the remainder of the day. Lunch and dinner are also at your leisure.
Breakfast included at hotel. Depart from your hotel for an excursion to the city of Vicenza – a UNESCO World Heritage site and known as the “City of Palladio”. Your English speaking local guide will share the history of famous architect Andrea Palladio and his influence on Vicenza and the Veneto region with his countless villas, palaces and churches. One of his most well-known designs is the Basilica Palladiana in the center of the city. Also, see the Vicenza Cathedral, built in the 15th century, but not completed until Palladio added his unique cupola in the 16th century. This is a reconstruction since the original Cathedral was heavily bombed during WW II. A special visit to the historic Olympic Theater will delight you. Designed by Palladio and completed after his death, it’s only one of a handful of original Renaissance theaters still in existence. Take special note of the amazing trompe l’oeil or trick of the eye stage set that gives the illusion of a long street scene. Please enjoy a few hours of free time on your own in Vicenza and have lunch on your own. Meet again for your motorcoach ride back to Verona for an evening of leisure and dinner on your own.
Breakfast included at hotel. Travel through the countryside of the Veneto region to reach the town of Piazzola sul Brenta. It’s here that you’ll visit the Villa Contarini, built for the Contarini family who were one of the founding families of Venice. The original villa was designed by architect Palladio in the Baroque style, while its grand rooms and halls are all varied in design and décor. Enjoy the stunning 40 hectare park that the villa is set in with its paths and canals that highlight nature. Continue your tour to the small city of Bassano del Grappa. Enjoy a group lunch in a local restaurant (including ½ liter water and ¼ liter wine per person). Your English speaking local guide will bring you on a small tour of this town. Bassano del Grappa has a rich history with the Republic of Venice, Napoleon Bonaparte, American novelists and involvement in both World Wars I & II. The city has a famous covered wooden bridge designed by Palladio and revered by the local Alpini, the mountain corps of the Italian Army. It’s time to taste some local Grappa! Your guide will accompany you as you learn about this grape-based brandy made from the leftover skins, stems and seeds after grapes are pressed for use in wine production. Return to Verona after your grappa tasting and enjoy the rest of the day at your leisure and dinner is on your own this evening.
Breakfast included at hotel. Travel north out of Verona to Fumane – in the Valpolicella region, famous for its prolific wine production. Today you’re going to a 16th century villa for a spectacular wine tasting and a light lunch. The Villa della Torre Allegrini is imposing and austere and from a distance looks like a small fort overlooking the hills. This Renaissance style villa was built in 1558, but was bought around 10 years ago by the winemaking Allegrini family. A guided tour in English will showcase this special villa… see how many of the unique fireplaces you can spot throughout the villa! Partake in a wine tasting of 3 varieties of local wines made by the Allegrini family. A light lunch in the villa will be included to accompany your wine tasting. After lunch, return to Verona so you can relax or perhaps catch up on some shopping during your last full day before returning home. This evening, enjoy your Farewell Dinner at a local restaurant in Verona (including ½ liter water and ¼ liter wine per person).
Breakfast included at your hotel. Transfer with assistance by your private motorcoach from your hotel in Verona to Venice Marco Polo Airport. Say “Ciao Venice! Ciao Veneto!” as you return home with meaningful memories of your journey to discover the magnificence of Venice and Veneto region of Italy.