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Summary

Veneto is one of Italy’s wealthiest regions, reflected in the extravagance of the grand villas and their stunning gardens. Many of the grand villas we visit were designed by Andrea Palladio, one of the most influential individuals in the history of Western architecture.

Join us as we discover no fewer than six glorious villas on tour. The first on our list is one of the most recognisable buildings of the Renaissance the Palladian Masterpiece, Villa Rotonda. The UNESCO World Heritage Site was designed for elegant entertainment, and is definitely one for art lovers — lavishly decorated with stucco and frescoes. We are honoured to be shown round by the owner himself, Count Valmarana.

A short walk along a leafy lane takes us to an outstanding architectural and artistic site, the Villa Valmarana. The surroundings were designed to suit different tastes, ranging from an Italian garden with a dovecote and well, to a pagoda in the woods. The villa is owned by a different branch of the Valmarana family and we are privileged to be shown round by one of them before enjoying dinner in a room decorated with frescoes by Tiepolo.

It’s easy to get lost in the beauty of Villa Barbarigo at Valsanzibio – not least because of the large maze within its gardens, but also thanks to its charming rabbit island. The exceptional Baroque gardens have been described as some of the most entertaining gardens in Italy. Amongst our visits to the remaining villas, we also enjoy some free time in the beautiful little town of Asolo “The City of a Hundred Horizons” is famous for its mountain settings. The Medieval walled town has long been favoured by the literary minded amongst us — including Ernest Hemingway and Robert Browning, who dedicated his poem ‘Epilogue to Asolando’ to the rural idyll. Our farewell dinner is a special affair, hosted by yet another member of the old Italian nobility, the Godi Malinverni family.

Finally there is the delightful private garden of Le Paradis des Papillons, a French-owned Italian garden in the English style!

Tour highlights:

  • Guided tour of Villa Rotonda with Count Valmarana
  • A tour of historic Vicenza, known as la città di Palladio
  • The gardens of Villa Barbarigo, the most complete historical garden in Europe
  • Giambattista Tiepolo’s grand frescoes at Villa Valmarana
  • Famous mazes at Villa Pisani
  • Palladio’s final masterpiece, the family chapel at Villa Barbaro
  • Two dinners hosted by Italian aristocrats
Tour dates & prices

Included in your cost:

  • Accommodation
  • Services of a professional tour manager
  • Comfortable coach travel throughout
  • Meals - as per the itinerary
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