Hidden Italy

Hidden Italy

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1,094 Views
6 Days
From

$1033

Hidden Italy

6 Days Starting in Venice, Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy and ending in Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy

Visiting: Venice, Castelfranco Veneto, Brenta, Padua, Vicenza, Mantua, Parco Sigurta, Bassano del Grappa, Villa Sandi

Tour operator:

Riviera Travel

Tour code:

PV

Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

1 - 25

Physical rating:

Please contact Riviera Travel if you have any concerns regarding the suitability of the holiday due to reduced mobility.

Age range:

18-99

Special diets catered:

Vegetarians, Please contact Riviera Travel with specific dietary requests.

Tour operated in:
English
From:
$1033 (USD) including Flights from the UK

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Tour Overview

Uncover the unseen gems of the breathtaking Veneto and beyond: astonishing architecture, cities steeped in history with deep cultural connections, and some of Italy's best wines. 





The mere mention of the Veneto conjures up images of Venice, the 'floating city of canals', but there is so much more to discover in this northeastern region. The lush plains of the Po are dramatically offset by the rugged peaks of the Dolomites rising majestically to form the northwestern border, while the mirror-like Adriatic to the south embraces the gently curving Venetian coast. To the west is picturesque Lake Garda, Italy's largest lake, surrounded by pretty villages on its flower-laden banks. Spread across the Veneto are miles of undulating countryside dotted with classically beautiful cities dating back to ancient times. Even before the arrival of the Romans, the Veneti prospered on this fertile land and many cities became cultural centres. Under Venetian rule, wealth from agriculture, commerce and the spoils of war funded their beautification, and numerous Renaissance palaces and public buildings emerged. Many were designed by Andrea Palladio, one of the greatest architects of all time and a great influence on British architecture in the 18th century.





Our fascinating tour takes us back in time to some of the most illustrious towns and cities. We unearth the spectacular past of each destination, rich in history and captivating attractions, many with ancient remains revealing pre-Roman origins. We stay close to the heart of the Veneto in charming Castelfranco, a medieval town defended by perfectly preserved walls and towers. Chosen for its location and wonderfully atmospheric ambience, it is the perfect introduction to the region and the ideal base for exploring the Veneto. From here we visit extraordinary Vicenza, one of the world's most beautiful cities and still one of Italy's wealthiest, celebrated for its splendid and varied architecture. The perfect marriage of old and new, this thriving cosmopolitan city is home to some of Palladio's best works. Whether you're an architecture aficionado or not, it's nigh impossible not to be impressed by the classic sophistication of the Palladian buildings, which were bold innovations miles ahead of their time.

Highlights

  • Stay in medieval Castelfranco with fantastic views of the walled old town

  • Experience extraordinary Vicenza, both ancient and modern, and the best place to view Palladio’s architectural masterpieces – complimentary museum pass included

  • Visit atmospheric Mantova, the inspiration for artists, poets and composers

  • See the enchanting riverside town of Bassano del Grappa in the foothills of the Prealps, and sample its famous liqueur

  • Tour Villa Sandi, the palatial headquarters of a renowned Prosecco producer, and its impressive underground cellars

  • Choose an included visit to Palazzo Ducale, or to Sigurtà Garden Park

  • Enjoy a relaxing cruise on the Brenta Canal and see the elegant Venetian villas of the elite

  • Visit ancient Padova with its astonishing array of architectural styles and the famed university where Galileo once taught

  • Five nights in centrally located four-star accommodation inclusive of all local taxes, plus breakfast

Itinerary

Expand All
Day 1
Location: Venice, Castelfranco Veneto
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals Included: No Meals

You fly to Venice or Treviso airport. On arrival, we transfer by coach to Castelfranco Veneto and your hotel, the four-star Albergo Roma, for the next five nights.



Castelfranco Veneto’s historic centre is a maze of narrow streets and tiny squares, protected within remarkably preserved, red-bricked ramparts. The town was established when the rulers of Treviso had a castle built in 1199 to defend against the neighbouring Padovans. Over time, it grew into a key trading post between Venice and northern Europe. Every corner of Castelfranco Veneto proudly evokes the presence of its most famous resident, the artist Giorgione whose pièce de résistance, the Madonna and Child, can be found in the town’s magnificent cathedral. Also worth a visit is the beautiful 18th-century Academic Theatre with some of the best acoustics in Italy. Just beyond the walls and a stone’s throw away from your hotel is Piazza Giorgione, one of the largest squares in the region.

Day 2
Location: Brenta, Padua
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast

Over the centuries, the rivers flowing into the Venetian lagoon were ingeniously diverted to prevent siltation. As the canalised Brenta became a popular transport route, elegant Venetian villas, holiday homes of the elite, began to appear along its length. One of the most relaxing ways to view these legacies of a leisured existence is to take a canal cruise, and that is exactly what we will do this morning. Just as the wealthy would have travelled between Venice and their villas on the Burchiello, we board a contemporary version of this vessel, equipped with comfortable seats and a deck offering panoramic views. Our mini-cruise takes us past the 18th-century Villa Widmann where composer Stravinsky once stayed, as well as various villages, swing bridges and several locks. We disembark in Dolo, where our coach awaits. During our journey, we see the grandiose Villa Pisani, the Doge’s palace fronted by mighty sculptures.



Soon we arrive in Padova, a dynamic city which deserves to be recognised for more than its remarkable university, founded in 1222 and Italy’s second oldest. Explore the fine piazzas of the historic centre and be amazed by the diverse architectural styles: the Baptistry of the Duomo contains one of the country’s most complete medieval fresco cycles; the Renaissance Loggia della Gran Guardia once housed the Council of Nobles; and bustling Caffè Pedrocchi, ever-popular with students and intellectuals, was built to resemble a Classical temple. Particularly outstanding is the exotic Basilica di Sant’Antonio, one of the most popular pilgrimage sites in Italy. Beneath its distinctive Byzantine domes rests the tomb of Padova’s patron saint. Another unmissable jewel is the extraordinary Cappella degli Scrovegni. The chapel’s interiors are entirely covered with Giotto’s lyrical frescoes, which greatly influenced the development of European art. On the same site is a major museum complex which occupies a group of 14th-century monastic buildings attached to the church of the Eremitani, a reclusive Augustinian order.

Day 3
Location: Vicenza
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast

Today we head southwest to Vicenza, situated at the northern base of the cypress-clad Monte Berico astride the Bacchiglione river. This spectacularly sophisticated city is wonderfully cosmopolitan yet doubles as an open-air museum dedicated to the legacy of Palladio, a miller’s son who became the most prominent architect of the Italian High Renaissance and gave rise to the Classical style of Palladianism. The local gentry, eager to decorate their city with grand new buildings, gave him plenty of opportunities to realise his vision; as a result, many of central Vicenza’s streets are graced by a Palladian mansion.



We’ll see many of these on our guided tour this morning through the historic centre. At the heart of Vicenza is the Piazza dei Signori, dominated by the Basilica with its marvellous clock tower and distinctive, green roof surrounded by statues of Greek and Roman gods. Not a church but a remodelling of a Gothic courthouse, the basilica’s most notable feature is the loggia, one of the earliest examples of the Palladian window. Nearby is the renowned Teatro Olimpico, Europe’s oldest surviving indoor theatre, seemingly constructed from marble but upon closer inspection, you’ll discover masterfully painted wood and plaster. Its atmospheric auditorium is simply stunning, intended to resemble the outdoor theatres of ancient Greece and Rome. This astounding landmark, together with the Palladian Villas of the Veneto in the surrounding area, is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. There is time to explore these wonderful sights this afternoon should you wish. You will receive a complimentary museum card, granting free entry to the city’s various world-class attractions.

Day 4
Location: Mantua, Parco Sigurta
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast

Our journey today takes us west and back in time to the sleepy yet achingly beautiful Mantova, a medieval city often overlooked despite its proximity to Lake Garda. Perhaps the answer lies in the three surrounding lakes, forming a natural fortification and keeping Mantova a secret from the world, one which has remained virtually untouched for centuries. As the dramatic skyline of ancient towers, domes and cupolas comes into view, it’s easy to see why the city features in two well-loved tragedies: it is the setting for Verdi’s Rigoletto and Shakespeare had an impassioned Romeo exiled here.



During our guided tour of the old town, the reasons for its UNESCO World Heritage status become strikingly evident. Although compact in size, Mantova has more than its share of artistic, cultural and architectural treasures. The city reached its zenith in the 14th century when it came under Gonzaga rule, one of the greatest Renaissance families of Italy. Their home was the sumptuous Palazzo Ducale, a highlight of the city and once Europe’s largest palace with around 500 rooms, extravagantly decorated with glorious works of art. Wander the cobbled streets and relax in the lovely squares, where locals and visitors alike meet for a coffee. This afternoon, you will have some free time before our included visit.



Choose to stay in Mantova and visit the Palazzo Ducale or take the coach and visit the Parco Sigurta Gardens. The Ducal Palace was the principal residence of the Gonzagas, lords, marquises and finally dukes of the city of Mantua. It took the name of Palazzo Reale during the Austrian domination starting from the reigning Maria Theresa of Austria. Originally used for agriculture, the park is now home to beautiful tulips, roses, lilies, irises and more. See the Italian interpretation of a romantic English garden with its neo-Gothic temple and rustic grotto. Throughout the park are 18 ornamental ponds and lakes, as well as a medicinal herb garden and even an award-winning maze.

Day 5
Location: Bassano del Grappa, Villa Sandi
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast

After breakfast, we visit the enchanting town of Bassano del Grappa, nestled serenely in the foothills of Monte Grappa from which the river Brenta flows free. Connecting the halves of the town is the wooden Ponte degli Alpini bridge, cleverly designed to withstand the meltwaters in spring. Have your camera at the ready to capture the picture-postcard panoramas: the crystal-clear waters reflect the Alpine mountains and pastel hues of the historic buildings. Wander the lively town at an unhurried pace and observe the locals doing their shopping or even attempting to catch some fish along the river!



Bassano is known for its superb glazed earthenware, but perhaps more so for the Italian after-dinner drink, grappa, which you’ll have the opportunity to taste on our guided visit to a local artisan distillery museum. Here, you’ll experience this fragrant, grape-based brandy with all five of your senses: listen to the story of how it’s made, observe the fascinating distillation process, feel the fresh pomace with your own hands, and even smell the different varieties. Of course, you’ll also taste a few varieties of this warming digestif.



You may wish to have lunch at one of the town’s many excellent restaurants or sample the local specialities before we continue to Valdobbiadene, one of the most prestigious Prosecco-producing areas in the heart of the Treviso region. Here, we visit the prestigious wine producer, Villa Sandi, set in a vast valley protected from nearby mountains by rolling, sun-kissed hills. This fortunate position and the naturally endowed soil provide the optimum conditions for cultivating some of the finest grapes. Snaking below the palatial 17th-century villa is a centuries-old network of tunnels, used covertly by the Italian army during World War I and today provides the perfect environment for aging wine. We tour these underground cellars, home to a million bottles of wine including some of the best Prosecco, which we sample afterwards. Our guide then takes us through the villa, its spacious rooms a luxurious combination of pastel colours, stuccoes and bas-reliefs, dominated by resplendent Murano glass chandeliers. It’s easy to imagine a time when important figures such as Napoleon Bonaparte once wined and dined here.

Day 6
Location: Venice

Today at the appropriate time, you will be taken to the airport for your return flight, after a most fascinating tour.

What's Included

  • The price of this holiday is per person, based on two people sharing a twin room. Single rooms and are subject to availability at the relevant supplement

  • Accommodation

    Five nights' accommodation

  • Airport Transfers at Destination

  • Entrance Fees

    Entrances to Parco Sigurtà or Palazzo Ducale, Grappa Museum, Vicenza Museum Pass

  • Meals

    Daily breakfast

  • Local Taxes

  • Fully Guided

    The services of a Riviera Travel tour manager

  • International Travel

    Return flights from/to the UK

What's Not Included

Check out our Q&As

  • Are flights included in this tour?

    Yes, return flights from/to the UK

  • Are all entrance fees included in the price?

    Yes

  • Are airport transfers included in this tour?

    Yes

  • Are the local guides on the tour English speaking?

    Yes

  • How long has the tour company been trading?

    For almost 40 years

  • I have reduced mobility; can I still travel?

    We want to ensure you make the correct choice before you book your holiday with us. If you have any concerns regarding the suitability of the holiday due to reduced mobility we would encourage you to contact us to discuss these concerns

  • Do I require travel insurance?

    It is a condition of booking that you carry suitable travel insurance.

  • What is my luggage allowance?

    You will receive details of your luggage allowance with your final travel documents, which are sent approximately 10 days prior to your date of departure.

Reviews of this Operator

David Clarke (Google Reviewer)  

This review is for the...

08-Aug-2023

This review is for the italian Lake Como trip Aug 1-8 Wow what a trip. Riviera from start to finish were excellent the booking and help line answering questions were very good and clear. The travel booklet you get is laid out that it is simple to read and follow with step by step info from booking in to flights to meeting the guides. Our guide Matt Purse was just the best guide and real credit to Riviera with his knowledge and straight forward approach to running the trips. Matt kept us informed and told us all the sort of info you want to know without going over the top....This chap should teach other reps ..thank you so much. The coaches they use are all clean and well equipped with usb chargers and have aircon. The places chosen to visit were well researched even down to where coaches park or drop you off. The Bernina Express was the highlight for our family and matts photo tip was welcomed. The only down point was the hotel,a little dated and evening meal in main restuarant was a bit of a let down. I think we were lucky with our room on level 7 and with balcony as the walls are very thin and noise travels. We would book again with riviera

Barbara Shillaker (Google Reviewer)  

I have been on three...

11-Jan-2024

I have been on three trips with Riviera Travel so far, with two more booked during 2024. Highly recommended. Excellent tour guides. Great program of visits. Great hotels used.

Valerie Pascoe  

We would go again in a heartbeat

22-Jan-2022

Oh my goodness, what a relief it was to actually get away! Full marks to all at Riviera for keeping us up to date before our trip and for the help so cheerfully and patiently given with the extra admin that Covid brought our way. We felt totally safe with the measures taken on board, thank you very much for this. Without exception, Staff were fantastic and our every need was attended to. The additional Covid testing ran smoothly, organised by our Riviera Reps. The guided tours were most interesting: the guides very knowledgeable and more importantly, interesting to listen to. We loved this trip and would do it again in a heartbeat. Thank you again Riviera, you were FAB!

Chris Wilson (Google Reviewer)  

Second escorted tour with this...

25-Jul-2022

Second escorted tour with this company. Did 5 days in Iceland tour. Everything went smoothly, excellent tour guide, Per. Extremely knowledgeable and interesting guy. Very friendly too. Highly recommend. Just let down by the room given at the hotel, but I guess the travel company doesn't have control over this.

Kathryn Jurin, GB  

Riviera South Africa tour - awesome

21-May-2021

Riviera have amazing holidays and tours to choose from. The one we chose was South Africa and wow! It turned out to be our best trip ever - incredible memories we will never forget. We’ve been all over the world which was because of all our experiences, this one was awesome. The organisation of the holiday, the guide and the travel was e cells that. The choice of hotels, meals, restaurants, trips was absolutely fantastic - very good quality and character - nothing bland or boring! The Riviera guide was permanently with us along with a South Africa guide and they were both extremely friendly, professional, informative and you could ask any questions you want! I would massively recommend this holiday/trip and when you’ve experienced it, you realise how reasonable the price is. We reflect on this trip a lot and thank you Riviera for giving us such a wonderful experience.

Trustpilot
Barry, GB  

Rhine Christmas markets cruise

09-Dec-2019

Just completed a 5 day trip on the Rhine. Our first river cruise and a tester for future cruises. The boat was well appointed and the cabin and public areas were spotlessly clean. The staff were attentive and contributed to the very relaxed atmosphere on the boat. The quality of the food surpassed that which we have experiened on sea cruises in recent years. I have written little because it was a faultless experience. We have booked a further cruise (in France) on the basis of our experience.

Trustpilot
Joan Yarker (Google Reviewer)  

My first cruise and I...

23-Sep-2023

My first cruise and I couldn’t have done better than my recent Seine River cruise. Carmen the tour organiser was excellent and always willing to go the extra mile to sort out any problems. The crew were amazing , friendly and helpful, the captain was great when explaining the controls on the bridge. Everything was very clean, food truly delicious and the pianist a delight and I was able to indulge my passion for dancing. My fellow guests were a delight and I made many new friends. Thank you Riviera

Christine Hardy (Google Reviewer)  

Although most people seem to...

10-Mar-2024

Although most people seem to book and pay for their holidays online, because we live close by we prefer to make a personal visit. In my opinion if they are offering this as an option they should be better equipped to accommodate visits in person. We have not been on our river cruise yet, so can't comment on that yet.

Rob Steele (Google Reviewer)  

My 3rd Riviera trip within...

16-Feb-2024

My 3rd Riviera trip within a year and I wasn't disappointed 😁 This time it was https://www.rivieratravel.co.uk/escorted-tours/southern-india-coastal-route-solo-travellers This trip, although not cheap, it really offers exceptional value for money as you see a lot of Tamil Nadu and Kerela, stay in fantastic hotels, excellent breakfasts every day as well as some lunches and dinners also included. George Bareham, our "Tour Manager" was brilliant, very professional, but also friendly and diligent. Satheeshan, our local guide was helpful and picked me up antibiotics when I got ill, he was a nice chap, if (for my taste) went on a bit and used 20 words when 1 would suffice. Mr Sweeny, our coach driver was fantastic,really professional and an exceptionally good driver. His assistant, Murgon wad a delight, always smiling and attentive. This is a full on trip, early morning starts and quite a packed itinerary, but still leaving time to laze around some brilliant hotel swimming pools. Only a couple of suggestions to improve the holiday. More shopping time in Cochin and change carriers from Etihad who, unfortunately aren't the excellent airline they used to be. But, will I use Riviera Travel again - Yes 😁

Barbara Parkes (Google Reviewer)  

Presently in Croatia staying at...

22-Sep-2023

Presently in Croatia staying at Arauana Hotel, supposedly a 4 star property, but wouldn't give it any star rating. Rooms are small and dirty. Wallpaper blistering. Meals served in a shed like lean-to. Food like warm, greasy and always self service. Second holiday with Riviera this year and neither at standard advertised. Have travelled with them previously and everything was fine, but standards have really dropped. Have booked a holiday with them next year and now dreading it. Certainly don't provide the standard advertised. We have never stayed in such a hovel and have visited youngsters in back packers accommodation which was far better than this supposedly 4 star accommodation. There are no indoor bars or lounges only a shed as a so called restaurant. Absolutely disgusting. Won't be boking with them again

Dates & Availability

Thursday - Tuesday

Jun 06, 2024 - Jun 11, 2024
$1369 (USD)

Including UK Flights

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Thursday - Tuesday

Sep 05, 2024 - Sep 10, 2024
$1282 (USD)

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Thursday - Tuesday

Sep 12, 2024 - Sep 17, 2024
$1282 (USD)

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Thursday - Tuesday

Sep 19, 2024 - Sep 24, 2024
$1033 (USD)

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Thursday - Tuesday

Oct 03, 2024 - Oct 08, 2024
$1133 (USD)

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Book with Confidence

  • Low Deposit

    Riviera Travel requires a minimum deposit of 200 GBP per person or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 75 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of riviera travel charges.

    Up to 75 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 74 days before tour starts: Forfeit 50% of booking price.

    At 60 days before tour starts: Forfeit 70% of booking price.

    At 30 days before tour starts: Forfeit 90% of booking price.

    At 14 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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