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  • Fly-drive touring holiday of Palladio’s Veneto

    Villa Pisani

    La Rotonda

    Hotel Villa Michelangelo

    Hotel Villa del Quar

    Fly-drive touring holiday of Palladio’s Veneto

    9 nights and 10 days
    Immerse yourself in the vibrant Venetian lifestyle as you travel across this remarkable region, staying in nearby Padua, then on to Vicenza, and finally in a small village just north of Verona. Navigate the waterways of Venice, and uncover the architectural treasures that the region has to offer, following the influence of Palladio across the Veneto.

    Click here to download a pdf with information about some of our suggested Italian touring holidays.

    Begin this touring holiday by collecting your hire car upon arrival in Venice’s Marco Polo airport. Drive along the waterfront, marvelling at the picturesque collections of islands that make up this romantic city, and finally break out into the countryside west of Venice. Your first stop is at the Hotel Majestic Toscanelli Padova, an elegant hotel with tastefully decorated bedrooms and a façade that is reminiscent of the Venetian style. It was here that Palladio trained as an apprentice to a sculptor and began to develop his Mannerist style. Though the streets of this town lack examples of Palladio's work, it is easy, through spending time here, to see the inspiration that must have surrounded him growing up. Use your three days in Padua to explore attractions such as the Scrovegni Chapel, famous for its Giotti frescoes and the Basilica of St Anthony, an architectural tour de force, blending the austerity of red brick with the lavishness of Romanesque, Byzantineand Gothic architecture. From here, move on to Vicenza, a town that seems to be dedicated to the great architect, with its countless buildings designed by Palladio or his followers. At the Hotel Villa Michelangelo, a subtly modern property with comfortable period features, you are perfectly placed to trace the path of Palladio’s work around Vicenza and into the countryside beyond. The Porto Breganze is the first of Palladio's works that actually sits inside the city. Unfinished, its exterior is somewhat startling; it is a tall, thin building, only wide enough for three of Palladio's signature columns. The Teatro Olimpico is perhaps Palladio's most famous work, and his most accomplished, just as it was his last. There are a few of the Palladian villas scattered around this area, and we highly reccomend tracking more of them down in order to see how his style changed over the years. Your final hotel, the Villa del Quar, lies nestled in the Valpolicella vineyards, and thus offers the opportunity to become acquainted with the Amaroneand Recioto wines.  Next, move on to Pedemonte, the site of just one of Palladio’s villas. Spend at least a day in the nearby romantic city of  Verona  setting for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Within Verona there is one example of Palladio’s work; namely the Palazzo della Torre, whose columns and tranquil courtyard can still be seen. In Pedemonte lies Palladio’s Villa Santa Sofia, left unfinished but added to after his death. Return your hire car at Verona Airport, and catch a return flight to Gatwick.
    Prices start at £1,530 per person.

    What’s included on this touring holiday:
    • 3 nights bed and breakfast in a Double room at the Hotel Majestic Toscanelli Padova, Padua
    • 3 nights bed and breakfast in a Classic double at the Hotel Villa Michelangelo, Vicenza
    • 3 nights bed and breakfast in a Classic double at the Hotel Villa del Quar, near Verona
    • British Airways flights from Gatwick to Venice and from Verona to Gatwick on your return
    • Group B car hire for the duration of your holiday

    Click the tabs above to view our suggested day-by-day touring itinerary and to find out more about the hotels featured.
    Click here to find out more about how our touring holidays work or click here to download a pdf with information about some of our suggested Italian touring holidays.

    Fly-drive touring holiday of Palladio’s Veneto

    Day-by-day itinerary

    Arrive in Venice and drive west to Padua, where you will stay for three nights

    After arriving into Venice, the first stop on this luxury touring holiday is at the Hotel Majestic Toscanelli Padova in Padua. Though the streets of this town lack examples of Palladio’s work, it is easy, through spending time here, to see the source of his style, and the wealth of inspiration that must have surrounded him growing up. The most popular attraction in Padua is the Scrovegni Chapel, famous because of its frescoes, painted by Giotto. Its blue-painted ceiling gives the room an unusual aspect, which has intrigued visitors since it was originally painted, but it is the intricacy and skill of the frescoes that really captures imaginations. The Basilica of Saint Anthony, or Il Santo as it is known by the locals, is an architectural tour de force, blending the austerity of red brick with the lavishness of Romanesque, Byzantine, and Gothic architecture. Topped by a combination of domed and peaked roofs, the basilica, and the smaller but architecturally similar, Abbey of Santa Giustina, make a real impact on the skyline of Padua. More treasures await inside the basilica, particularly its altar. Crowned with ornate carvings and guarded by six small white statues, the altar is a centrepiece of beautifully crafted gold and stonework. Both the Scrovegni Chapel and the Basilica of Saint Anthony require advance booking of at least a few days to avoid disappointment. Outside the basilica, the Prato della Valle forms the very centre of the town. Its elliptical park has a fountain as its centre point, and is ringed by a wide oval of water, lined on either side by countless statues. This space is a very peaceful place to spend an afternoon people-watching under the arcades or in a café, reading under the shelter of the park’s trees, or popping in and out of nearby shops. The circular Orto Botanico erupts from out of the town in an explosion of greenery. These manicured gardens are perfectly organised, whilst retaining the beauty and wildness of nature. If the many art galleries and churches are not enough to stimulate you for the rest of your stay in Padua, drive southwest to Abano Terme to make the most of the abundant thermal spa facilities. Alternatively, take a boat trip from Padua to Venice along the Brenta, observing the many impressive villas that line the river banks. While in Venice, visit Palladio’s San Giorgio Maggoire, which bears his distinctive style in the traditional classical façade, or navigate the waterways separating Venice’s 117 islands on a gondola. Consider also touring one of the many museums or galleries, from the Guggenheim Museum of 20th century art, to the collection of Tintoretto’s work in the Scuola Grande di San Rocco. The Ca’Rezzanico gives its visitors the full experience of being within an 18th century palazzo, demonstrating the very height of Venetian splendour. You may also wish to head north to Treviso, the origin of Prosecco. Should you want to taste some of the local Prosecco, look out for Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco; or, for other local wines, look out for Amarone di Valpolicella and Recioto di Soave, red and white respectively. These wines are known for their bitter undertones, achieved through the drying of the grapes to facilitate the fermentation of the sugar. Returning to your hotel in the evenings after dinner, take a drink in the Bistro Bar before retiring to your room. 

    Continue northwest to Vicenza, where you will stay for three nights

    Vicenza sits amidst the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the ‘City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto.’ Many of its most interesting buildings are situated in the Old Town, which dates back to Roman times. Most of the architecture dates back to the 16th or 17th century, though a few pieces are in the medieval or Venetian Gothic style. Before you enter the gates of the Old Town, enter the Giardino Salvi that sits just outside. These rolling gardens are interspersed with rivers, on the banks of one of which sits the Loggia Valmarana, the first of Palladio’s designs that you will see in Vicenza. The temple-like building gains most of its intrigue and grace from the permanence of its reflection in the water, which seems to cast it further back to the Roman and Greek origins of its design. Moving inside the city walls, the Porto Breganze is the first of Palladio’s works that sits actually inside the city. Unfinished, its exterior is somewhat startling; it remains as a tall, thin building, only wide enough for three of Palladio’s signature columns. Further into Vicenza you will come across the Basilica Palladiana, the updated law courts that date back to medieval times. The façade, which appears to be entirely arches and columns, was designed by Palladio towards the end of his career, and so demonstrates his refined, developed style. The Teatro Olimpico is perhaps Palladio’s most famous work, and his most accomplished, just as it was his last. The theatre was heavily influenced by the shape of ancient Roman amphitheatres, with curved, stepped seating and mythological ornamentation. Eventually, this building was finished by Palladio’s son, and Vincenzo Scamozzi, who added the permanent stage set designed for Greek tragedy that seems to recede for miles behind the stage’s central archway. The Centro Internazionale di Studi di Architettura Andrea Palladio is housed in Palladio’s Palazzo Barbaran da Porto, and provides a school for those studying Palladio’s work, as well as a museum dedicated to him. Venturing outside the city walls on foot, to the south of the city, you will come across the Villa Valmarana ai Nani. Though not designed by Palladio, it is a feat of architecture in itself, and continues to attract visitors because of the hundreds of statues of dwarves that top its walls, and the Tiepolo frescoes that decorate the insides. A few hundred feet along the cobbled street you will find the Villa la Rotonda, Palladio’s most famous villa. Its imposing structure is visible above the collection of short trees around it, with four identical facades, each with their own wide staircases, columns, and statues. The cupola was inspired by that of the Pantheon in Rome. North of Vicenza you can find Palladio’s first villa, the Villa Godi Malinverni. Its rustic, very traditionally Italian style is unlike Palladio’s later Mannerist work, while the Villa Godi Piovene nearby is very typically geometric in design, with mirrored staircases leading up to its columned entrance. These are only a few of the Palladian villas that are scattered around this area, and we highly recommend tracking more of them down, to see, if nothing else, how his style changed over the years. While in Vicenza, it is worth also visiting the Santa Corona Church, as it is home to the important religious works and portraits of Giovanni Bellini and Paolo Veronese. The Hotel Villa Michelangelo is aptly named as a base for your exploration of the artistic history of Vicenza, and offers a charming canvas on which to paint your own experience of the ‘City of Gold.’

    Drive west to Pedemonte, near Verona, where you will stay for three nights

    Your final hotel, the Villa del Quar, lies nestled in the Valpolicella vineyards, and thus offers another opportunity to become acquainted with the Amarone and Recioto wines. Nearby wineries and wine estates include the stunningly grand Villa Mosconi Bertani, which is also open for villa tours, and the Villa della Torre, a Renaissance villa. The Villa della Torre is in the Classico zone of the Allegrini estate, the leading wine producer in the Valpolicella area. To taste some of the local cheeses and cured meats, we would recommend walking the 15 minutes from your hotel to I Sapori del Portico. For olive oil tastings, drive out to Fumane and the Frantoio Guglielmi, which also regularly organises cultural events. The Oleificio Turri, however, boasts an impressive 27 varieties of olive tree, many specific to the region, and is open for tours and tastings of the oil, and sauces such as pesto. Spend at least a day in the romantic city of Verona, setting for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Touch the statue of Juliet in the courtyard of Casa di Giulietta to receive luck in love, or descend into the crypt of the Basilica of San Zeno Maggiore to see the setting for the young lovers’ wedding. Pass under the Arco della Costa, from which hangs a whale bone that will reputedly fall only when someone righteous walks underneath. Do not neglect the city’s many galleries and museums before viewing the city from up high on the belvedere of the Giardino Giusti. Within Verona there is just one example of Palladio’s work; namely the Palazzo della Torre. Not much of this building remains as it was left unfinished and suffered damage in the Second World War. Its columns and tranquil courtyard can still be seen. In Pedemonte, there is the Villa Santa Sofia, also left unfinished, though added to after Palladio’s death. The building has now been converted into a winery, producing the famous Valpolicella wine. Wine tours and tastings can be arranged in advance. The villa is surrounded by a beautiful park, adorned with trees as old as the villa itself. The nearby small town of Mantua was formerly one of the richest cities of the Middle Ages. The village of Borghetto has two picturesque waterfalls and some of its original fortifications still stand. Park Sigurtà sits just outside Borghetto, and is considered to be one of the most beautiful gardens in the world, covering 600,000 square metres on the Moraine Hills. The heart-shaped lake and 12th century castle of Castellaro Lagusello give the village its name, and its place on the list of the Most Beautiful Towns in Italy. If you have time, drive to Sirmione, on the banks of Lake Garda; firstly, to appreciate the stunning setting of the lake, but secondly to visit Scaliger Castle, a building of outstanding beauty that stands on the town’s peninsula, with ancient stone walls that are bathed in the waters of the lake. At the end of the day, return to the Villa del Quar. Bask in the serenity and privacy of its grounds before retiring to the welcoming interior of your intimate Venetian Villa.

    Drive into Verona for your return flight to the UK

    Drive the short drive south back into Verona, return your hire car and embark on your return flight to Gatwick.

    Driving times for this touring holiday:
    Venice Airport to Hotel Majestic Toscanelli Padova: 50 minutes
    Hotel Majestic Toscanelli Padova to Hotel Villa Michelangelo: 40 minutes
    Hotel Villa Michelangelo to Hotel Villa del Quar: 1 hour
    Hotel Villa del Quar to Verona Airport: 20 minutes

    Click the 'Hotel Information' tab to find out more about the hotels featured in this touring itinerary or click here to download a pdf with information about some of our suggested Italian touring holidays.

    Palladio's Veneto

    Hotel Information

    These are the delightful hotels that are featured in this touring holiday of the Veneto region in Northern Italy. Alternative hotels are available in some destinations - please contact us for full details.

    Hotel Majestic Toscanelli Padova
    Padua, Veneto
    A four-star property run by the Morosi Family for over half a century, discover The Hotel Majestic Toscanelli tucked away on a cobbled street in a quiet corner at the heart of Padua. The setting is as characteristic of the city as the hotel’s architecture, which dates back to the 1500s and comprises red tile roofing, a lemon yellow exterior and green shuttered windows framed by Juliet balconies. Delicate pink blossoms decorate the façade quite romantically. Enter the building through an entrance awning into an intimate reception where elegant interiors feature marble floors, columns and a grand décor. An American Bar, Bar Bistrot offers light meals, and buffet breakfasts are served daily in the breakfast room. Rooms are comfortable and boast unassuming views over a little square at the front or over a quite courtyard at the rear of the building. Yet just a short distance away is the central attraction of the Piazza della Frutta and Piazza dell’Erbe, with their market stalls and the grand Palazzo della Ragione.
    Find out more here.

    Hotel Villa Michelangelo
    Vicenza, Veneto
    Basking in glorious sunlight from its hilltop perch, the four-star Hotel Villa Michelangelo occupies a pretty rural spot amongst the verdant Veneto countryside. This picturesque setting is a world away from the sprawl of ancient architecture in the nearby Vicenza, yet its location makes the buzz of the city easily accessible. Capped by terracotta roofing, its noble 18th century walls extend along the crest of a hill and take in picturesque views which dissolve from refined lawns and across the Veneto’s rolling landscape. You can enjoy a meal on the terrace here, or seek the outdoor pool for a refreshing dip surrounded by age-old olive trees. An indoor swimming pool is also available. The natural light provided by Hotel Villa Michelangelo’s exposed position makes for bright and airy interiors, helped along by a vibrant colour scheme. In the lounge and library, effervescent yellows and oranges are featured in soft furnishings, while antique furniture and original ceiling beams speak of the property’s age. Meanwhile, lofty ceilings are exploited in suites with floor-to-ceiling windows, while rooms offer a distinctly more traditional style. A highlight of your stay at Hotel Villa Michelangelo is the dining experience; at La Loggia restaurant each guest is treated to a high standard of excellence to match the setting. There are four elegant dining rooms to choose from for enjoying buffet breakfasts, snacks and lunches as well as evening meals including the sun-drenched conservatory-style Portico room and the more refined Melograno room with its grand piano. After-dinner beverages at the bar can help you recover from the day’s adventures, which can be spent exploring the region – perhaps Padua, Verona or Venice.
    Find out more here.

    Hotel Villa del Quar
    Pedemonte, Veneto
    The truly delightful Villa del Quar near Verona is excellently managed by the Montresor family, who have owned the property for many generations. The Villa del Quar is situated in its own seven-acre estate, in the fertile wine-growing plains of Valpolicella. Part of the land is used to cultivate vines and part for the enjoyment of guests. A delightful swimming pool is set in a meadow adjacent to the vineyards, an ideal spot to enjoy the enchanting countryside. The Villa del Quar hotel's gracious buildings, dating from the 16th Century, are arranged in a U-shape around a little garden. The charming Leopoldo and Evelina Montresor, who occupy one wing of the estate, have lovingly and carefully restored each room of the Villa del Quar with excellent taste, to create an atmosphere of warmth and elegance. As you enter the hotel, you are welcomed by an inviting lounge area which features wonderful wooden 18th Century choir stalls and is furnished with finely upholstered armchairs and sofas. This leads to the Restaurant Arquade restaurant with beamed ceilings, where gourmet meals are served, accompanied by the excellent wines of the region, some of which come from the Villa del Quar’s own winery, and can be tasted in the hotel's ancient cellar. There is also a lovely terrace where guests can dine 'al fresco', weather permitting. The 25 bedrooms and suites, some of which have beamed ceilings, are each individually furnished in rich shades of yellow and pink and contain items of antique furniture. There is also a wine cellar, tea room, and internet corner. In the grounds you will find a jogging course and a gazebo for shady relaxation. The hotel Villa del Quar is just three miles from the beautiful and vibrant city of Verona. Early booking advisable.
    Find out more here.

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