Welcome to Venice

Transfer from Marco Polo airport to an ancient castle that inspired the work of the great architect Palladio, who created the Venetian region’s most beautiful villas. Private tour of the castle and its picturesque cellars, followed by wine-tasting to sample the wines grown in the castle’s vineyards, and buffet lunch with a rich selection of local breads, cheeses, sliced meats, vegetables, and an unlimited supply of wine. Baroque music during the meal. After lunch, transfer to hotel, in Venice or in the mainland.

Venice by night, by motorboat

Night cruise on a large motorboat to admire the city by night. On board the boat: welcome cocktail and various appetizers, music (traditional Venetian music with gondoliers, or baroque music) and dancing if desired. Dinner on board or in a smart reataurant.

Venice by night, by gondola

Gondola tour through the silent canals of less-known Venice. The tour ends at a restaurant with its own landing place. Welcome or Farewell dinner with traditional Venetian cuisine.

In Casanova’s footsteps

An itinerary featuring the places linked to this famous seducer’s life: the Alcove in Palazzo Merati, where he was born; Campo S. Maurizio, the home of his friend Giorgio Baffo, who tutored him in the arts of seduction, with a stop at a shop that sells magnificent antique glassware, dating from the 16 th century onwards; the Rialto bridge, an obligatory midday stop for Casanova; the ‘I do Mori’ tavern, which has been selling ‘pick-me-ups’ and malvasia wine to Venetians ever since the 16th century, and where Giacomo Casanova used to wait for his mistresses – stop for a Venetian-style snack; the Ridotto, a few steps from St. Mark’s, where masked revellers met to gamble; stop to visit shops specialised in traditionally-made Venetian carnival masks, and weaving, dying and hand-decorating precious silk and velvet fabrics. Dinner at one of Italy’s most celebrated historical restaurants, open since the 16th century, where Casanova often dined, or Gala Dinner and masked ball in an aristocratic palace.

The music of Venice

Afternoon tour of the places where famous composers lived who had close ties with Venice: Antonio Vivaldi, nicknamed the ‘red priest’ due to the colour of his hair, Mozart, Wagner…

In the evening, concert performance of the ‘Four Seasons’ in Vivaldi’s church. Dinner will follow.

Venice with the Venetians

Tour on foot or by motor-boat off the tourists’ beaten track, mixing with the ‘locals’ in the little streets on the city’s outskirts, eating with craftsmen and gondoliers in ‘baccari’ or ‘cicchetterie’ – gastronomic outposts of Venetian cookery, furnished with a few wooden tables, straw-bottomed chairs and a huge bar-counter for serving wine. These are the ideal places to sample the traditional ‘n’ombra de vin’ (wine by the glass), and provide simple, tasty working-class fare. You can meet some extremely knowledgeable craftsmen and look around their shops: a puppet-.maker who specialises in making masks according to the strictest Carnival traditions, and fashion real masterpieces with papier-maché and leather, watercolour paints and beeswax; a ‘squeriarol’ (gondola-builder) in his ‘squero’ (boatyard); silk, damask and velvet weavers who still use 16 th-century  techniques. Visits will be paid to picturesque open-air markets, and to a Venetian secret garden; a hidden jewel, protected by its walls.

Venetian Splendour

A tour of Venice at its most dazzling: visit to private palaces with cocktails; a stop to see one of Venice’s secret gardens: hidden little jewels enclosed by walls and surrounded by water; exclusive shopping amongst sophisticated creations unrivalled anywhere else (elegant papier-maché and ‘cartonage’ work; paper, wood and plaster ‘marble-finished’ by a centuries-old Turkish technique; miniatures of the Lagoon’s finest boats; lace-work and trousseaux worthy of a princess; hand-dyed and hand-decorated silks and velvets for dresses or furnishings; hand-woven silks; hand-blown glassware). Stops at the church of St. Sebastian the Martyr to admire the ceiling by Veronese; at the Scuola dei Carmini to view Tintoretto’s works, and at the Correr Museum to see the model of the ‘Bucintoro’, a splendid galley that is the symbol of the Venetian Republic. Dinner at the famous Locanda Cipriani, in the magic atmosphere of Torcello island, or Gala Dinner in an aristocratic palace, with baroque music concert.

Discovering a Vanished World

A tour by motorboat or in a ‘bragozzo’, a traditional Venetian lagoon vessel, to discover the magic of Venice, a city built  on water, made up of canals, swamps and islands, in the secret and wonderous universe amongst tiny uninhabited islands and vegetable-gardens in the heart of the lagoon, fishing-stations, and isolated villas surrounded by silent waters. Lunch at a fishing-station or freshly-caught grilled fish or picnic lunch on an uninhabited island. The scenery can also be admired from above, from a hot-air balloon (tethered Flight). Dinner on Burano island, at a characteristic restaurant with fishermens’ choir.

Between the Sacred and the Profane

Visit to the picturesque fish-market at Chioggia, reached from Venice by motorboat.Breakfast will be served on board with various  types of bread, regional cheese and cakes, coffee etc…fish lunch on Pellestrina island. In the afternoon, visit to the island of S.Lazzaro degli Armeni, an oriental interlude in the midst of the lagoon. The island is an important Armenian cultural centre, run by the monks whose community was first established here in 1717. Visit to the monastery and library with its precious manuscripts, before returning to Venice. Music on board the ship.

The larger island

Full-day motorboat tour to visit the lagoon’s best-known islands: Murano, with visits to a glass-factory still using the same tools and techniques as a thousand years ago, to the Cathedral, and to the Glasswork Art Museum to admire the masterpieces of the past; San Francesco del Deserto, one of the loveliest islands in the lagoon: tiny, quiet and cypress-covered, with the Franciscan hermitage dating back to 1220; a walk around Burano with its brightly-coloured houses, famous for its laces, with a visit to the Lace Museum with its authentic Venetian lace and precious collection of over 6800 original models from three centuries ago; Torcello with its stupendous monuments immersed in a magical quiet. Lunch on Burano or Torcello. Refreshments will be served on the boat.

Treviso and Sile River Trip

An unusual tourist itinerary to discover Treviso, a picturesque town only a few km from Venice, with ancient palaces, richly decorated houses and an array of picturesque canals, along with its river: the Sile. Guided tour of the town, followed by trip up the Sile river on a typical river-boat. Buffet lunch on board or picnic lunch on the river-bank. An alpine choir will perform during the day.

The Brenta Riviera

A pleasant and relaxing cruise along the Brenta river to admire and visit some of the finest of the over seventy villas built along the riversides, linked to the names of Palladio, Veronese, Tiepolo etc… to celebrate the splendours  of the Venetian aristocracy. Lunch on the boat or in a Venetian villa.

Night on the Brenta river

Night cruise on the Brenta river, starting at St. Mark’s and ending at one of the magnificent villas, masterpieces of 17th – 18 th century architecture. Tour of the villa, concert of string instruments playing music by Vivaldi or Mozart, followed by Gala Dinner or Baroque Dinner with costumed staff and period menu and décor. After-dinner sound-and-light show in the park.

The Magic Night

Costume ball in a magnificent private palace overlooking the Grand Canal: costumes for all participants, palace decked with flowers and fruits arrangements, staff in period costume, Gala Dinner with baroque music; dancing continues till dawn.

Under the Prosecco sign

One-day tour along the Prosecco road, the first wine route established in Italy, amongst gently-sloping hills covered with the vineyards that produce this exquisite sparkling wine. Wine-tasting and lunch at a wine-growing establishment, with a rich buffet selection of typical dishes and an unlimited supply of wine, folkdancing show and a choir, followed by a meeting with the Prosecco Confraternity. In the  afternoon, walk around the delightful, romantic town of Asolo, perched on a picturesque  terrace site, with aperitif, or chance to watch a game with ‘live chessmen’ on the great  chessboard in the central square of the medieval town of Marostica.