Join Marie-Thérèse Hill for a magical few days exploring the region around Lake Garda.
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Suggested flights (not included in the cost of the tour) EasyJet, EZY 8337 departing London Gatwick at 13.05 arriving in Verona at 16.15. On arrival, transfer to the Hotel Continental on the Sirmione peninsular. This hotel overlooks the western shore of Lake Garda and is a short walk from the hustle and the bustle of the town centre. Enjoy a welcome dinner and drinks at the hotel.
Depart early this morning to Mantua. Discover this wonderful UNESCO site, that has been important for the value of its architecture and for its prominent role in the dissemination of Renaissance culture thanks to the foresight of the Gonzaga family. Visit the Palazzo Ducale. This vast 500-room palace was the home of the Gonzaga family. Works here include paintings by Pisanello, Rubens and magnificent
frescoes by Mantegna in the Camera degli Sposi, showing the court of Lodovico Gonzaga in all its splendour. Continue to Basilica di Sant’Andrea, an early Renaissance church which was built according to designs by the architect and theorist Leon Battista Alberti.
Lunch at a local osteria, before heading to Palazzo Te, a masterpiece of Mannerist architecture. This 16th-century palace has beautiful frescoed interiors by Giulio Roman. Return to Sirmione with the rest of the day at leisure. Dinner at the hotel.
Morning walk to the archaeological park of Sirmione, within a vast olive-grove hosting the remains of a large Roman villa, known for centuries as Grotte di Catullo. The building was built between the end of the 1st century BC and the beginning of the 1st century AD in an excellent panoramic position. Located at the top of Sirmione peninsula, it is the most important example of a high-class residence in the whole of northern Italy. Take a private boat to the Isola del Garda, a place of rare beauty, rich in history and breath-taking scenery. The Borghese Cavazza Family has owned and inhabited the island for five generations and since 2001 they have opened their gardens and part of their home for guided tours. Enjoy a small aperitif with local products, before heading back to Sirmione by private boat.
Lunch under own arrangements. Rest of the afternoon at leisure at the hotel. Dinner at the hotel.
Enjoy a walking tour of Verona, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000. Walk around the beautiful Roman and medieval town, with highlights including ‘Romeo and Juliet’s’ balcony, the Church of Sant’Anastasia for ethereal frescoes by Pisanello and the magnificent medieval tombs of the Della Scala Family.
Lunch at a local restaurant. Afternoon visit to the Giusti Garden. With the growth in popularity of the ‘Grand Tour’ this Renaissance garden became an obligatory stopping off point for travellers visiting Verona, including poets, artists, and crowned heads of Europe. The gardens are the private possession of the palace owners, but they are open to the public. Before returning to Sirmione, visit the Basilica of San Zeno, one of Italy’s most important Romanesque churches and filled with treasures, not least Mantegna’s greatest altarpiece and a host of works by other artists. The cloister is one of the most beautiful in Northern Italy. Return to the hotel. Dinner at the hotel.
Morning guided walking tour around the ancient Roman Villa of Sirmione, then continue to Bardolino for a private visit of Villa Guerrini Rizzardi Winery followed by a tasting of three local wines combined with a few bites of local products.
Lunch under own arrangements in Bardolino. In the afternoon, reach the heart of Valpolicella and explore the beautiful gardens of Villa Guerrini. Return to Sirmione in the late afternoon. Return to the hotel in the late afternoon. Dinner at the hotel.
Morning at leisure. Lunch under own arrangements, before transferring to the airport for your flight home. Suggested flight (not included in the itinerary) EasyJet EZY 8338 departing Verona at 16.50 arriving London Gatwick at 17.55.