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Veneto & Palladian Villas

  • Theatre in Sabbioneta

Overview


For 800 years the Veneto has accumulated some of the greatest historical and cultural treasures in the world. Masterpieces by Italian artists, architects and sculptors are to be found everywhere as well as stunning countryside and elegant villas, vineyards and gardens.

The major cities of the region, Venice and Verona, are well know so we have sought out the hidden gems and lesser known treasures.

Depending on your preference, you can be based by a beautiful lake (Lake Garda), in a lively, historical city (Padua), a peaceful, riverside medieval town (Bassano del Grappa), or if you want the “wow factor” you can stay in a stunning hilltop castle with amazing views, elegant rooms, wonderful food and wine cellars to enjoy
(Castel Brando).

We Recommend


All tours are tailor made to suit the itinerary and budget of the society. However we highly recommend the following:

  • Travel in March/ April for the best hotel rates. If you are based at Lake Garda you will find a mild and constant climate – and the sights are not crowded!
  • 4 – 7 nights – how about a few nights at the stunning Castel Brando on half board and then a few nights in a town or city enjoying the local restaurants.
  • A varied itinerary of art, history, architecture and gardens, with a local wine and grappa tasting.

What to Do

Vicenza
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a thriving and cosmopolitan city, with a rich history and culture and many museums, art galleries, piazzas, villas, churches and elegant Renaissance palazzi. It is also known as “The City of Palladio” due to twenty-three buildings designed by Palladio, including his Teatro Olimpico, the oldest surviving enclosed theatre in the world. Some of Palladio’s famous buildings include “La Rotunda”, Basilica Palladiano, Palazzo Chiericati and Palazzo Barbaran da Porto. The city also has a wonderful Cathedral with many pictures and sculptures by Vicentine artists and the Church of Araceli containing works by Orazio Marinali, Cassetti and Tiepolo. With the Palladian Villas of the Veneto in the surrounding area, we would highly recommend visits to Villa Rotonda to inspect its external architecture which was inspired by the Pantheon in Rome.

Padua
From Giotto to Mantegna, Donatello to Galileo, Padua has been host to the greatest artists and scientists of the ages, making it a temple to knowledge. The city is probably most famous for the outstanding Scrovegni Chapel, which is universally accepted as Giotto’s masterpiece. The city’s other sights include: Piazza Eremitani; Musei Civici Eremitani (with works painted from 1300 to 1700 including Guariento’s “Armed Angels”, a Crucifix by Giotto, and art by Bellini); the Eremitani Church (frescoes by Guariento, Giusto de’ Menabuoi and Andrea Mantegna); and Palazzo Zuckermann. Being one of the oldest university cities, it is home to the renowned Anatomy Theatre (from the 16th century), Galileo Galilei’s chair. There are plenty of cosmopolitan cafes, squares and colourful markets.

Asolo
A small but stunning hilltop town with its 16th Century fountain, a Castle, Palazzo della Ragione with its 15th Century façade emblazoned with frescoes by Contarini and a medieval Cathedral, all with breath-taking views across the vineyards and countryside. One of the greatest masterpieces of Andrea Palladio is just down the road – The Villa di Maser (Villa Barbaro) and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Highlights include the six rooms with frescoes by Paolo Veronese and the Ninfaeum with stuccoes by Alessandro Vittoria.

Bassano del Grappa
A pretty medieval town on the Brenta River where Palladio left his mark with the Alpini Bridge. The Civic Museum has archaeological artefacts, paintings, and prints from the 1800’s. Sturm Palace, built in the 1700’s, has frescoes and a museum of ceramics, and churches date from the 12th – 18th century. With two lovely palaces, tree lined streets, lively town squares and grappa distilleries and tastings, it is a magical place to be based.

Brenta Canal and the Villa’s
One of the most charming ways to enjoy the area and the Villas is to explore by water. On a half day cruise you can disembark to visit Villa Foscari, also known as La Malcontenta, with its wonderful frescoes by Battista Franco and Giambattista Zelotti; Villa Widmann Villa Pisani of Stra.

Sabbioneta
An authentic hidden Renaissance gem! Here Duke Vespasiano Gonzaga chose to build his “ideal city,” based on the Renaissance style. The town is still fully enclosed within its old walls which have remained intact.The front gate is entirely covered with white marble and leads to Piazza Ducale and the Parish Church. A must see is The Palazzo del Giardino, with its richly decorated interior behind a sombre exterior, and the Teatro Olimpico, inspired by Palladio’s design in Vicenza.

Mantua
Noted for its medieval and Renaissance architectural treasures and cityscape, elegant palaces and its role in the history of opera. The highlights are the Palazzo Ducale and Camera degli Sposi, famous residence of the Gonzaga family built between the 14th – 17th centuries, and the magnificent paintings by Andrea Mantegna; and the Palazzo Te, summer residence of Frederick II of Gonzaga an architectural masterpiece built by Giulio Romano in the mature Renaissance style.

Cremona
This historic city is noted for its musical history and traditions. Visit the world famous Stradivarius Museum, the city’s Cathedral, Baptistry and ancient violins collection (Stradivari, Guarneri and Amati).

The Garden of Sigurta
Considered to be one of the most beautiful gardens in the world, originating from the 17th century garden of Villa Maffei. The park can be toured on foot or aboard the panoramic train along the “Itinerario degli Incanti” route.

Other places of interest to visit can include; Venice, Verona, Castelfrancho Veneto, Treviso and the medieval stone village of Borghetto.

 

To Book

Any of our tours can be tailored to suit your particular groups requirements.

For further details please contact one of the team on 01225 764205 or sales@successtours.com