2021 - Historic Italy
La Dolce Vita
This super tour takes you a little off the beaten track to the lovely Veneto town of Bassano del Grappa, famous for its namesake spirit, Grappa. Imagine Palladian style arcaded streets and architecture, piazzas interspersed with alpine wooden balconies and an historic 4* hotel just outside the old city walls. Bellissimo! Enjoy a visit to the southern shores of Lake Garda en-route as well as included visits to inimitable Venice, medieval Padua and vibrant Vicenza for a rich variety of experiences as you discover 'La Dolce Vita' in the historic region of Veneto. And of course, a glass of Grappa is also on the agenda!
PLEASE NOTE: Price is per person and based on two people sharing a twin/double room. Single room supplements and upgrades are not included.
DAY 1 – From your chosen joining point, your feeder vehicle will take you to the designated interchange point where your holiday begins. After joining your holiday coach, you will travel to Dover for the short sea crossing to Calais. Continue into France and the overnight hotel stop near Dijon at the 4* Kyriad Prestige Dijon Nord Valmy. BB
DAY 2 – Head south today for the drive through the French Alps via the epic Mont Blanc Tunnel (nearly 12km long) which links Chamonix in France with Courmayeur in Italy. Continue to your overnight stop in Lomardy at the excellent 4* Hotel Touring near Coccaglio – complete with open air swimming pool, spa and elegant bedrooms. 3-course set dinner will be served this evening. DBB
DAY 3 - After a leisurely breakfast, a short drive will bring you to the southern shores of Lake Garda. Explore the beautiful little town of Desenzano with its calm, friendly atmosphere, ancient harbour and wonderful lakefront with a wide promenade. Enjoy some free time for a wander before heading on to pretty Sirmione at the end of an impossibly thin peninsula of cypress and olive groves. An optional boat trip may operate from Desenzano to Sirmione subject to availability – full details and prices from your tour manager. From here it is not too far to your destination of Bassano del Grappa for your 5-night stay. DBB
DAY 4 – DAY 7 – At leisure in Bassano del Grappa with three included excursions. Your centrally located hotel makes it easy for you to explore the compact historic centre at leisure. Bassano is a delight with its historic Piazza Liberta which dates back to 1308 and its famous Ponte Vecchio, the covered wooden bridge over the River Brenta. There is plenty to discover with a host of museums including the beautiful Palazzo Sturm with its collection of historic ceramics and exhibits celebrating printing (entrance not included – approx. €10 pp in 2020). On your free day, an afternoon tour is included at the Grapperia Nardini with a tasting of the famous grappa liqueur made from the discarded skins, pulp and seed of wine-making. A little 10cl souvenir bottle is included for each visitor. At the hotel there will be a demonstration of how to make a ‘real Aperol Spritz’ as well as a ‘Tiramisu Experience’ one evening
Venice, City of Canals
An early start today for the drive to Venice, the ancient and famous city of canals to view St. Mark’s Square, the Doge’s Palace, the Bridge of Sighs and much, much more. From the coach park there you will make your way into Venice by private boat. To add to a truly memorable day, your tour manager may also offer an optional guided tour of Venice and optional gondola ride. Full details and prices available locally. (NB: Due to the historic nature of the city, this excursion is not suitable for wheelchair and mobility vehicle users).
Visit Padua (Padova to the locals), famous as home to one of Europe’s oldest universities, the 13th-century Basilica di Sant'Antonio and the Scrovegni Chapel with Giotto’s remarkable 14th century Renaissance frescos (restricted entry – not included). The magnificent Prato della Valle is a huge elliptical square, the largest in Italy, with a green park at its heart surrounded by sculptures. Padua is also home to one of Italy’s most famous cafes, 18th century Caffè Pedrocchi, known for its stylish salons. There may be the opportunity for an optional guided city tour – full details from your tour manager.
Market Day in Vicenza
Less than an hour from the hotel is elegant Vicenza, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a bit of a hidden gem. It owes its fine architecture of porticoes and balustrades as well as its Basilica and the Teatro Olimpico, the amazing indoor ‘stone’ theatre (entrance not included) to the influential 16th century architect, Andrea Palladio. This Palladian masterpiece with its compact centre is an ideal place for a half day visit and on Thursdays, the excellent local market is in full swing on the Piazza dei Signori.
DAY 8 - It’s farewell to Bassano del Grappa today as you head northwards for the big drive to your final overnight at the 4* Hotel Mercure Strasbourg Palais des Congres. BB
DAY 9 – An early start today for the drive to Calais and the return crossing to England. Back to top
Bonotto Hotel Belvedere, Bassano del Grappa
This atmospheric 4* hotel dates back to 1404 and enjoys an excellent location just outside the old city walls and a short walk to the historic centre, the river and the famous Ponte Vecchio. There are 81 air-conditioned bedrooms all equipped with TV, hairdryer and safe and all decorated in an elegant, classic style. There is a restaurant and a bar plus various seating areas throughout the hotel. There is a lift.