©Passion Play Oberammergau
©Passion Play Oberammergau

Oberammergau and the Veneto - in partnership with The Times

We are sorry to inform you that due to the COVID-19 outbreak, it has become necessary to reschedule this tour. Your safety and wellbeing are our utmost priorities, so we do hope you understand this enforced change of travel arrangements. A new date will be confirmed shortly. For more information, please read our full statement about the Coronavirus here. If you are booked onto this tour, you can get in touch with our friendly sales team on 01334 657155, who are ready to help.

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 seven 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. A short walk along a leafy lane takes us to an outstanding architectural and artistic site, the Villa Valmarana. There’s something for everyone here. The surroundings were designed to suit different tastes, ranging from an Italian garden with a dovecote and well, to a pagoda in the woods.

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. 

A unique feature of this tour is our encounters with members of the Italian aristocracy. Our visit to the Villa Rotonda includes a private tour with Count Valmarana; we have dinner with other members of the family at the Villa Valmarana in a room decorated with frescoes by Tiepolo, while we are welcomed by a member of the family at Villa Godi Malinverni and enjoy a gala dinner.

We then head north through Austria and into Germany for our performance of the Passion Play at Oberammergau. Held only once every ten years, this spectacular event with a huge cast formed exclusively by the townsfolk of Oberammergau is a treat to be savoured.

What's included?

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

Today's Price

Deposit: £200 Single supplement: £450

Tour highlights:

  • 'Once in a lifetime' performance of the Passion Play
  • Explore no less than seven glorious villas
  • Special visit to the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua
  • Enjoy some free time in the beautiful little town of Asolo, where the poet Robert Browning and the explorer Dame Freya Stark once lived

Tour details

Dates 13 July 2020 - 19 July 2020
Duration 7 days
Today's Price
Deposit: £200 Single supplement: £450 Balance due by 20 April 2020
Activity Level
Tour code BOBV200713

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13 July 2020: Itinerary

We depart from London on a direct flight to Venice (Marco Polo) airport. On arrival we are met by a local coach and guide and transfer to our hotel.

Meals include: Dinner

Today, following breakfast, we will be joined be a local guide for a walking tour of Vicenza’s historic city centre, a UNESCO World Heritage site. External views include the Corso Palladio, Palazzo Thiene, Palazzo Barbaran, Palazzo Chiericati, the Basilica Palladiana, the Duomo, and entrance is included to the wonderful Teatro Olimpico.

Following this we visit the Villa Rotonda, which was designed by Andrea Palladio around 1570 and became one of the most recognisable buildings of the Renaissance. Situated on the top of a hill just outside the town of Vicenza, the Villa Capra is called the Villa Rotonda, because of its completely symmetrical plan with a central circular hall. In 1994 UNESCO designated the building as part of the World Heritage Site. Our private visit is hosted by Count Valmarana.

We continue to the nearby Villa Valmarana, 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. The family still lives Valmarana Villa, which is widely considered the top expressive painting of the eighteenth century and the highest testimony of the genius of Tiepolo and we will be privileged to have dinner in a room decorated with Tiepolo frescoes.

Meals include: Breakfast, Dinner

Today, following breakfast, we depart for a visit to the grand gardens of Villa Pisani, in Stra, near Venice. When Alvise Pisani was elected Doge of Venice in 1735 he commissioned a grand villa to reflect his powerful status and originally the area behind the villa was filled with French parterres. These were replaced by a long pool of water which now dominates the garden, with the palace at one end and an ornate pavilion, converted into luxurious stables, at the other. Avenues provide further views along the length of the garden while a hexagonal belvedere overlooks the avenues in all directions. High walls enclose Pisani’s impressive array of greenhouses, where prize winning camellias were once grown.

On our way to our next visit we will make a brief photo stop outside the Villa Vescovi in the Euganean Hills. Dating from 1535, this was the summer retreat of the Bishops of Padua.

In the afternoon we visit the gardens of Villa Barbarigo at Valsanzibio. The gardens were created for Antonio Barbarigo during 1665-69 and with their carefree atmosphere and garden ‘rooms’ full of surprises have been described as one of the most entertaining gardens in Italy. One of the most striking features is a series of ascending pools decorated with statues and fountains, and in one case a graceful Watergate which has Diana, goddess of hunting sitting astride the pediment with her dogs close a hand. There is also a large and effective maze, a charming rabbit island and various giochi d’acqui (water tricks) which provide further unexpected amusement.

This evening, after an early dinner, we have a treat in store with a special ‘Giotto under the Stars’ visit to the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua, home to one of the most amazing works of art you are ever likely to see.

Meals include: Breakfast, Dinner

After breakfast today we depart for a visit to the gardens of the Villa Barbaro, in Maser. The Villa was built by Andrea Palladio for Daniele and Marcantonio Barbaro during 1560-68 as a farmhouse at the centre of an agricultural estate and has the unique attraction of being the only Palladian villa in Veneto to retain some of its original garden. The garden was laid out in front of the villa and Palladio’s great achievement was to unite the villa, garden and surrounding landscape and seemingly create a single architectural structure. As the gardens at the front were essentially a public space, Palladio also designed a secret garden behind the villa, a small enclosed courtyard dominated by a magnificent nymphaeum, decorated with statues of classical gods.

After some free time in the beautiful little town of Asolo, where the poet Robert Browning and the explorer Dame Freya Stark once lived, we return to the hotel to freshen up before we depart for dinner at the Villa Godi Malinverni. We are met on arrival by a member of this aristocratic family who will show the villa before we sit down to eat.

Meals include: Breakfast, Dinner

After breakfast we check out of the hotel and head north over the Brenner Pass in to Austria, arriving in Innsbruck in time for lunch (not included). In the afternoon we cross into Germany, travelling via Garmisch Partenkirchen and checking into our accommodation in Bavaria in the late afternoon. Dinner is served in a local restaurant this evening.

Meals include: Breakfast, Dinner

In the afternoon we attend the performance of the Passion Play, which includes dinner in the intermission. After the play ends we return to our hotel.

Meals include: Breakfast, Dinner

Following breakfast we check out of the hotel and transfer to Munich airport in time for our flight back to London, where on arrival the group will disperse.

Meals include: Breakfast

13 July 2020: Additional Info

13 July 2020: Accommodation

13 July 2020: Enquiries

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