Small towns of the Veneto: an escorted small group tour of Italy

Tours 7 months ago


Join us on a 10 day escorted small group tour roaming beautiful towns scattered throughout the Veneto; starting in Venice and continuing on to great places including Treviso, Padua, Vicenza, Verona, Bassano Del Grappa, and Sirmione.

Day 1 – Welcome to Venice
Guests will be arriving at different times and your hosts will be on hand to assist when you check into your hotel and to help orient you. You will then have free time until 5:00pm, when all our guests will join together for welcome drinks and a chance to talk about your time in the Veneto region. Later we will take a walk to familiarise you with the local area before taking a guided evening tour to explore some of Venice’s quieter areas. This will finish at a lovely Venetian restaurant for our first meal together, and the opportunity to get to know your fellow travellers.
Day 2 – A first excursion into the Veneto - Treviso
Treviso is an attractive town in the Veneto region, with a population of around 80,000. You’ll enjoy a pleasant morning walk to the railway station, where a regional train will have us in Treviso in around 40 minutes. Our group will be met at Treviso station by your expert local guide who will take you on a journey that explains Treviso’s colourful past and lead you through the town’s and rambling maze of streets lined with arcaded walkways. The town is circled by a town wall and by waterways and canals that carry water around the town, past houses, grassy banks, weeping willows, waterwheels and little parks. The town's defensive walls, moat and imposing gateways are still impressive sights. It’s a great first step into the Veneto. After some free time to explore the town independently, we’ll return to Venice later in the afternoon.
Day 3 – Learning how to do cicchetti
Today is yours to explore Venice independently until later in the afternoon. If you’ve not been to Venice before, there are some ‘must dos’, and you are a return-visitor you’ll know the joys of just getting lost in Venice’s myriad of little lanes and canals. Later you will join us for a special guided walk: learning how to enjoy the Venetian approach to the aperitivo: cicchetti (pronounced chi-KET-tee), which are local appetizers that line the counters of little bars all over town at the end of each workday. It’s a local tradition to celebrate this time of day with a cool drink and some appetising nibbles. Our local expert will take you to a series of lovely bars to enjoy a few quiet drinks whilst you sample a range of treats like deep-fried mozzarella cheese, calamari, artichoke hearts, crostini (small toasted bread with a topping), marinated seafood, olives, and prosciutto with melon. It’s a great way to experience the local culture, and usually I don’t have room left for dinner!
Day 4 – Padova or Padua? (It’s Padova but the locals don’t really mind)
Today you will leave Venice, taking the vaporetto – or local waterbus – to the station from where it’s a short 30-minute trip to Padova (called Padua in English). You’ll transfer to your hotel which is right by the amazing Prato piazza. After settling in you’ll enjoy a guided tour of Padova: a city that is both a living religious monument and centre of revolutionary scientific learning. Having one of Italy’s major universities means Padova has a young and vibrant feel which you’ll get to know as you explore its piazzas and alleyways. You’ll also get to visit the amazing Scrovegni Chapel to see the brilliant frescoes created by Giotti in about 1305 and considered to be a masterpiece of Western art. You’ll be provided with a Padua Card, which will give you free use of Padova’s easy to use tram system as well as entry to a range of museums and galleries to explore in your free time in the city over the next two days. Later you’ll join us for a lovely group meal in a local restaurant.
Day 5 – Vicenza: Palladian wonder
Vicenza – under 20 minutes from Padova by train – was a prosperous town under Venetian rule, and its pride was demonstrated in fine architecture, much of which still survives today. Many of its buildings are the work of influential sixteenth-century architect Andrea Palladio Palladio, and have resulted in the town being a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1994. You’ll be met at the station by our local guide, who will lead you on a tour of Vicenza to explore and understand the importance of Palladio: not only in his time but to architectural design across centuries. After some free time to independently explore Vicenza, we’ll return to Padova by regional train.
Day 6 – A day in the Veneto
Today you will be picked up at your hotel by small bus to venture out further into the Veneto, taking a local guide along to provide a full commentary of the places you will see. First stop will be the lovely little town of Citadella: notable for its remarkable medieval fortifications with the centre of town enclosed within a tall circular wall, studded with towers and ringed by a moat. Next stop will be Bassano del Grappa, best known for its covered bridge over the Brenta, the strong grappa liqueur produced in the area, and locally-produced ceramics. Your final destination today will be Marostica: a picturesque town, with a hill crowned with a large ruined castle with walls descending to enclose the hillside and the town centre below in a protective embrace. Marostica bills itself as the 'City of Chess': every two years a medieval-themed festival is held here, when a giant chess game is enacted with human chess-pieces.
Day 7 – Verona: Juliette and that….
After a few great days in Padova, today you transfer to Verona. You’ll take the fast train, which will get you there in around half an hour. After transferring to your hotel in the historical centre and settling in, you’ll take a guided tour of the city. It’s a city with so much history, as well great architecture and a thriving modern lifestyle. You’ll even get to visit Juliette’s balcony (but pay attention to the story behind that….). After the tour, there’ll be plenty of time to go exploring. It’s an easy city to find your way around and your hotel is very central.
Day 8 – Valpolicella wine adventure
Today you’ll take a small bus tour out into the rolling hills and vineyards just outside Verona. The Valpolicella scenic vineyards start in the fertile plain and climb up to the hills north of Verona, offering a magnificent view over the town. This is an area full of history, culture and some of the best Italian wine. As well as enjoying the countryside, you’ll get to visit several wineries and learn the subtle differences between some of the various wines for which the area is rightfully famous.
Day 9 – Beautiful Lake Garda
Today you’ll take a short trip by train to Peschiera on beautiful Lake Garda, from where you’ll enjoy a day visiting a number of the small towns that dot its southern shores. The largest lake in Italy draws a cosmopolitan crowd who flock annually to these pretty little villages, whose winding lines and piazzas are filled with shops, bars and restaurants that you will get to explore as we use the ferry to see towns such as Desenzano, Sirmione and Malcesine. When you return to Verona later in the day, you can rest up for a while before you head out to enjoy our final night group dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 10 – Farewell from Verona
This is our last morning in Verona. We will be available to assist in your transfers to the airport or the rail.
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Gary 11 months ago
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