16 DAYS | 15 NIGHTS
No other city projects itself so radiantly to the world, yet nothing prepares you for the moment when you board a vaporetto and set off past the baroque palaces along the Grand Canal. We’ll take in the Guggenheim Museum, Caffe Florian in St Mark’s Square, the Rialto Market, a night at the opera and many more enchantments.
A mask-maker’s shop in Venice. Elegant and ornate, some of these masks trace their origins over centuries, telling the story of the forces of history that have shaped the city. Many of the crafts that have made the city famous still flourish today and you’ll have a chance to visit one of their workshops.
Lake Como from Villa del Balbianello, the most striking of all the villas on the lake, yet also the most teasingly reluctant to give up its secrets. Also a favourite for movie makers in search of a patrician backdrop. We’ll explore the villa and its romantic gardens, followed by lunch at a waterfront restaurant.
The Bernina Express takes us along the Engadin Valley, over the Swiss Alps and back into Italy at Tirano, with never a dull moment in its three-hour journey. It’s one of the most famous of all Swiss train rides, best seen from the open-air carriage tacked onto the rear of the train.
The Chapel of San Giovanni, set in green meadows at the foot of the Dolomites’ Odle group. This baroque chapel with its onion dome is one of the many reminders of the region’s Austrian heritage, also evident in the food, language and architecture. It’s one of the photogenic highlights of the Dolomites, make sure your camera is charged.
Italy has a style all its own. As much as the great architecture and the art it’s often the casual moments that leave their mark and we’ve got time to experience them – in the food, the street fashions, the evening ritual of the passeggiata and in the discovery of a virile culture that draws pleasure from the mundane.