Day 1 – Welcome to Venice!
Arrival in Venice where we’ll await you in the garden of the lovely Hotel Flora in San Marco, and we’ll begin our explorations of La Serenissima, beginning in “our” neighborhood – with Piazza San Marco, and the broad walkway beyond, the Riva degli Schiavoni, leading to the Venetian Lagoon. We’ll peek into a little-known treasure of Venice, a church where Renaissance first met Gothic in the city.
We’ll return to Hotel Flora and settle in, then depart for dinner (included) at the renowned Trattoria alla Madonna – our introduction to the cuisine of this ancient seaside republic – enjoy some of the best seafood in the lagoon!
Day 2 – Islands of the Venetian Lagoon, Venice
Bring your transport pass (which you’ll receive from us) as we depart for a day of exploring the lagoon islands, beginning with calm green Torcello, a now nearly uninhabited island that was the earliest center of civilization in the Venetian lagoon. Then to the colorful islet of Burano – a photo-op at every turn – where we’ll stop for lunch (included) at Al Gatto Nero, and continue our island strolls before returning to Venice.
This evening we’ll ride the #1 vaporetto the length of the Grand Canal, gazing at the multitude of wonders along the way, then wander the mysterious lanes of Venice, bar-hopping for a cicchetti (snack) tour (included) as we go
Day 3 – Venice
A morning visit to a majestic palazzo on the Grand Canal will introduce us to Venice’s unique architectural style, then we’ll enjoy a leisurely glide in a gondola through quiet “backstreets” of the city
From the water, to the roof – we’ll ascend to the rooftop of the former Fondaco Tedeschi, now a luxury department store and look down on the Grand Canal and beyond– views forever!
Returning to the iconic center of Venice, Piazza San Marco, we’ll waltz our way to the fabulous Basilica San Marco and be enthralled with the glittering gold mosaics filling the unique Byzantine space.
Dinner (included) this evening is in an atmospheric Venetian restaurant in the Castello sestiere (one of Venice’s 6 neighborhoods)
Day 4 – Venice
We’re off to the tiny island of San Giorgio Maggiore, where we’ll take in expansive Grand Canal views from atop the bell tower of the Palladian Church of San Giorgio Maggiore, then stroll through the gallery filled Dorsoduro quarter after enjoying enjoy a delicious lunch-with-a-view (included) at La Piscina on the Giudeca Canal
In the evening we’ll fit in a pre-concert supper, then Interpreti Veneziani will entertain us with the music of Venice’s own Vivaldi at a performance in the vaulted nave of Chiesa San Vidal, resplendent with centuries-old art, including a vivid Carpaccio over the altar.
Day 5 – Verona
Today we bid a fond farewell to the islands and make our way inland. Our home for the next three nights is an elegant hotel in the romantic city of Verona. We’ll drop our luggage and enjoy a walking tour of this historic city, taking in frescoed piazzas, a fortified bridge across the Adige River, a renowned courtyard and balcony (Romeo, Romeo where art thou?!) and boutique lined streets and an ancient arena paved in gorgeous pink marble, quarried nearby. This is a terrific shopping city – fair warning!
Tonight’s dinner (included) is a short walk away from our hotel at the historic Trattoria al Bersagliere, a Slow Food restaurant, where we’ll sample marvelous local wines with our delicious meal.
Day 6 – Padova
Today we’ll drive to ancient Padova where we’ll view the ground-breaking and awe-inspiring frescoes of Giotto in the Scrovegni Chapel. We’ll stop for lunch (included) at a Padovan favorite at 1:00, then take time to wander the intriguing lanes and squares of this historic city. We’ll pause in Vicenza on the way back to Verona to view one of Palladio’s famous villas – La Rotonda.
Dinner on your own, and a free evening in Verona.
Day 7 – A taste of Italy’s glorious lake district – Lake Garda
We’ll drive through vineyards to the shores of Lake Garda, stopping to visit the stunning castle of Sirmione before going on to charming little Desenzano del Garda, where we’ll pause for lunch.
We’ll relish a final delicious dinner (included) in Verona together.
Day 8 – Farewell and Departure