Prosecco vineyards and picturesque canals, inimitable Venice and charming Treviso, Padua’s piazzas, Palladian Vicenza, and the romance of Verona - all are food for the soul. Valpolicella wines, Grappa brandy, and gelato, by Lake Garda, cater for the tastebuds
Mestre - 3 nights
Vicenza Area - 2 nights
Lake Garda - 2 nights
Travelling by coach, train and vaporetti, this delicious and enticing tour of Veneto is a refreshing week of discovery, visiting famous vineyards, tasting wonderful wines, touring the characterful towns of the region, and sampling the lifestyle of the locals. It begins in the modern, mainland town of Mestre, a well-placed base for exploration, linked by bridges across the lagoon to Venice. We cross by rail to visit the marble city, squeezed onto a hundred islets, interwoven with canals, and known as ‘La Serenissima’, to see its most famous landmarks and its less-visited secrets. A very different day follows, as we stroll the medieval streets of gentle-tempo Treviso, tour the Prosecco countryside, and taste its famous wines. A day amid the piazzas and palazzi of Padua is punctuated with a brunch-break in a typical Italian Wine Shop; while a visit to Vicenza is a feast of Palladian architecture, the UNESCO World Heritage city filled with fabulously grand structures. Sample Schiavon’s grappa brandy and Valpolicella wines before a visit to Verona, to view the multi-coloured façades framing the huge Piazza Bra and its 2,000-year-old Arena; and conclude the tour on the scenic shores of Lake Garda, with a saunter through old-town Sirmione.
UNESCO Heritage Sites
Local Expert Guides
Day 1 Fly to Venice and transfer to the 4-star Hotel Best Western Tritone in Mestre for a three-night stay.
Day 2 Take the train to Venice where a walking tour includes the Rialto Bridge, rubbing shoulders with the locals at the Rialto Market, and into San Marco Square to visit the cathedral. Enjoy the wine, appetisers, and convivial atmosphere of a ‘bàcaro’ tavern, typically simply furnished and abuzz with animated conversation. Free time for dinner in the city before returning to Mestre by vaporetto and train. (B)
Day 3 Travel by coach to visit tranquil Treviso, circled by waterways, crossed by canals, and protected by historic city walls around the maze of narrow streets, charming squares, and arcaded walkways of its medieval old town. Next, we head for the hills, to the steep and sun-soaked slopes of celebrated Prosecco vineyards, UNESCO listed and worked by hand in age-old tradition, where we visit a renowned estate for wine tasting. (B)
Day 4 Leave Mestre this morning for Padua, where a guided walking tour takes you to the city’s Sant’Antonio Basilica, to famous palazzi and the well-placed Piazzas delle Erbi and dei Frutti, and to Italy’s largest city ‘square’, the oval-shaped Prato della Valle, surrounded by a canal, hemmed with statues, and overlooked by the cupolas of Santa Giustina church. After a typical Italian Wine Shop brunch, enjoy free time to explore the city centre. Continue to Vicenza for two nights at the 4-star Hotel Antico in Vicenza. (B, L)
Day 5 A glorious gallery of 16th century grandeur, the city of Vicenza is renowned for the myriad buildings designed by architect Andrea Palladio. A walking tour takes you to iconic monuments, including the astonishing Teatro Olimpico and, in the central Piazza Signori, the lavish Renaissance loggia of the Basilica Palladiana, planned as a palazzo, now an exhibition hall, and (despite its name) never a church. Continue to Schiavon area, famed for its Grappa grape-based brandy. Made from the pulpy residue of fruits pressed for juicing, the taste and fragrance varies according to the type of grape used for winemaking, as you will discover when we visit a distillery. (B)
Day 6 Travel to the Valpolicella region, renowned for its red wines, and stretching from Verona to Lake Garda. Carved into tiered hillsides, Valpolicella vineyards produce the fruit for Italy’s finest reds, tended with traditions handed down through generations. Taste the finished product at a local wine cellar. Continue to Verona, where a walking tour shows you Piazza Bra, lined with cafés and focused on the Arena amphitheatre; Juliet’s House, a triumph of romantic fantasy over historic fact; Piazza dei Signori’s grand historic monuments; Piazza delle Erbe, formerly the Roman Forum; and the elaborate tombs of the Scaligeri family, the 13th-14th century rulers of Verona. Continue to Gardone, on the shores of Lake Garda for two nights at the 4-star Hotel Savoy. (B)
Day 7 Travel by coach to ‘the pearl of the lake’, Sirmione, its picture-perfect peninsula boasting a castle and medieval old town of narrow, cobbled streets. Enjoy its landmarks and lake views on a walking tour, paused for an ice-cream interval. Our afternoon visit to an Agroturismo includes a short tour of the winery, and a cookery lesson for guests to prepare pasta dough and typical dishes for dinner, on which you will dine this evening, accompanied by a tasting of four wines produced on the farm. (B, D)
Day 8 Morning departure from Lake Garda to transfer to Milan Linate Airport for your return flight. (B)
Some visits are on foot with some uneven surfaces and inclines.
In Mestre close to the station for easy access to Venice - 10 minutes by train (2€) to Piazzale Roma, which is by the Grand Canal. Restaurant, WiFi (free) and rooms with private facilities, hairdryer, mini-bar, tea/coffee making facilities and satellite TV. An accommodation tax is payable locally, currently €3.10 per person per night.
A 4-star hotel, one of the most important and historical hotels of the city centre, located in the heart of the city with a terrace offering a breathtaking view of the city’s roofs. A lovely breakfast room, bar, WiFi (free) and 23 air-conditioned rooms with hairdryer, minibar and satellite TV. An accommodation tax is payable locally directly to the hotel.
A 4-star hotel in Gardone Riviera, located on the shores of Garda Lake. Panoramic restaurant, bar, WiFi (free) and air-conditioned rooms with hairdryer, minibar, safe and satellite TV. An accommodation tax is payable locally directly to the hotel.
per person in a twin/double room
British Airways from Heathrow
Supplements per person
Single supplement £355
British Airways Club Europe from £195
Arrival transfer from Venice airport £50
Departure transfer to Linate airport £140
Departure transfer to Malpensa airport £215
Air travel and taxes, all port charges, transfers, 7 nights' accommodation, breakfast daily, services of local guides and representatives. If our specially negotiated airfares are unavailable at the time of booking, a supplement may apply.
Travel insurance, optional excursions, tipping, any government taxes or compulsory charges introduced after publication.
An accommodation tax is payable locally, currently between €1.50 and €3 per person per night.
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