6 night tour for small groupsThis Italian garden tour explores the architectural gardens of the ancient region of Latium which have influenced the development of Western garden design. Today located in the region of Lazio, these gardens developed mainly in the late 16th Century and were first and foremost architectural with plants being only of a primary importance in Ninfa and Landriana, which are recent creations. This tour encompasses some of the greatest masterpieces of Italian garden design. This tour operates with a maximum of 14 people."A most engaging tour guide." - Mrs C, May 2016.This tour focuses on some of the most important gardens or villas and gardens in Italy, located in Lazio, to the north and the south of Rome. You are based for the first three nights to the north of Rome in the historic city of Orvieto from where you can reach Villa Lante, a perfect Renaissance garden, which is a landmark in the history of Italian gardens and nearby Sacro Bosco at Bomarzo, with its collection of overwhelming and eccentric stone sculptures amid the parkland. Near Viterbo is also the Villa Farnese, dating from the mid 16th Century and another masterpiece of Italian garden art providing a perfect balance of landscaping, architecture and sculpture.Then you drive south visiting the magnificent Villa d’Este and Villa Adriana at Tivoli near Rome. Villa Adriana offers a magical insight into the gardens of antiquity and its hay meadows, wild flowers, pools and fishpond remain as features whilst the Villa d’Este is the quintessential garden of the High Renaissance and resplendent in its structure and use of water. You will be based near Frascati to the south of Rome, from where you can reach three spectacular and vastly different gardens: those of Castel Gandolfo, rich in history, Landriana, bursting with luxuriant flowers, shrubs and trees in an English fashion yet containing controlled Italian styles amidst colour from April to October, and Ninfa, where crumbling mediaeval walls provide a sheltered microclimate for rare and tender plants and an amazing collection of plants from all over the world. Amid 20 acres, plenty of summer heat and water from the hills, this is a unique garden, frequently perceived as a perfect garden.Finishing the tour in Rome gives you a wonderful opportunity to extend your stay in Italy, with perhaps a few days in Rome itself for shopping, sightseeing or further garden visits.Click here to download a pdf with full details of this garden tour holiday.
DAY BY DAY ITINERARYDay one: Arrive in Rome and transfer to your first hotelWe include the 08.30 flight from London Heathrow that arrives in Rome Fiumicino at 12.00 hrs. You are met by a tour escort who welcomes you to the tour and then taken by small coach to your hotel in Orvieto. Time to unpack and rest before dinner. Dinner is not included but we will give you a list of recommended restaurants within walking distance of the hotelDay two: Visit Villa Lante and Sacro Bosco at BomarzoDepart from the hotel after breakfast to visit first of all Villa Lante’s garden, with abundant water features of cascades, fountains and grottoes, and superb stone carving. You enjoy a visit with a local guide of the gardens. Then you visit the bizarre collection of both eccentric and delightful stone ‘beasts’ and ‘monsters’, dating from the mid 16th Century. Enjoy this park in your own time before returning to the hotel. Own arrangements for dinner.Day three: Visit Villa FarneseThis is a half day excursion with your coach and driver to Villa Farnese, about 12 miles south of Viterbo. Hailed as a magnificent masterpiece, the garden here harmonises landscape, architecture and sculpture and bursts with a spectacular water feature, the Casino del Piacere, dating from about 1560. The remainder of the day will be at leisure back at your hotel, with time to visit Orvieto. Own arrangements for dinner. Day four: Travel to Frascati visiting Villa d’Este and Villa Adriana in TivoliYou leave your first hotel this morning and head south towards Rome for two incredible visits before reaching your hotel near Frascati, where you will be based for the next three nights. A packed lunch is provided. The first visit is to the Villa d’Este, now a UNESCO world heritage site and an impressive garden of man-made terraces, fountains, grottoes, nymphs, often considered a model for European gardens thereafter. Then you visit the nearby Villa Adriana, villa of the Emperor Hadrian and even in its ruined state is one of the most spectacular Roman gardens and an impressive monument to antiquity. The garden recreated a sacred landscape and a hydraulic system fed water to the main structures. Today it is still a magical site with wild flowers, meadows, tall cypresses, fishpond and pool remaining as features. You have time to settle in to your hotel near Frascati before dinner that is included at the hotel.Day five: Visit the Giardini della LandrianaThe highlight today is a guided visit of the Giardini della Landriana. Occupying 25 acres and created since 1956, this is a rarity in Italy due to the scale of the separate compartments and the combination of luxuriant English planting and formal Italian structure. The garden is a mass of colour from April to October. Whites, blues, olives, citrus, cottage-style mauves and yellows abound. Formal and informal ‘rooms’ open and close in speedy succession. The influence of Russell Page is evident. A break for lunch is taken at the end of the visit here before you continue to Frascati where you have some free time to explore the town on your own. You are then taken back to the hotel for time to relax before dinner, which is included at the hotel this evening.Day six: Visit the Giardino di NinfaThe garden of Ninfa is an amazingly special place and perhaps the perfect garden. A guide here conducts the visit. You will witness the verdant location, fed by streams from the hillsides, the impact on the plants of temperatures that rarely fall below 10 degrees Centigrade, the dilapidated walls of the village buildings that provide a microclimate for rare plants to flourish, trees and walls flower-covered and there are scents of rose and jasmine. This is a fantastic collection of plants from all over the world that flourish in this idyllic site. A packed lunch is provided today with time to eat it after the visit of Ninfa. In the afternoon there is a visit with guide of the gardens of Villa Aldobrandini in Frascati. After a fascinating day, return to the hotel for the included dinner this evening.Day seven: Visit the Gardens of Castel Gandolfo and then return from Rome to LondonToday there is a final garden to visit; that of the gardens of the papal residence Castel Gandolfo. This is private visit with a guide. Please note: no shorts or sleeveless tops. There is some free time at the end of the visit before departing for Rome airport and the flight at 15.15 hrs for London Heathrow, arriving in at 16.35 hrs.Dates and pricesThis tour departs on the following dates from London for these prices per person.10 May 2017 £2,05017 May 2017 £2,1507 June 2017 £2,1506 September 2017 £2,150Prices are based on two people sharing a double or twin room.Single supplement for use of double: £300 per person.Deposit payment: £300 per personWe include:• Flights with British Airways London Heathrow to Rome in Eurotraveller• Transportation on the mainland in a small coach with one piece of luggage per person.• Services of English speaking tour escort throughout.• Services of a local guide for Villa Lante, Villa Farnese, Villa d’Este, Villa Adriana, Landriana, Ninfa Aldobrandini and Castel Gandolfo.• Entrance tickets to the gardens visited.• Three nights’ bed and breakfast in a standard double or twin room at the Palazzo Piccolomini in Orvieto. • Three nights’ dinner, bed and breakfast at the Villa Grazioli, Frascati in a classic double or twin room in the Paggeria wing of the hotel.• One packed lunch per person.Click the tabs above to find out more about hotel and travel arrangements or click here to download a pdf with full details of this garden tour holiday.
Palazzo PiccolominiOrvietoThis is a small, historic 4 star hotel with just 22 rooms in the centre of the hill-town of Orvieto, providing a charming and discreet location for your stay. The Palazzo is a renovated aristocratic town mansion dating from the end of the 16th Century and located within easy reach of the shopping area, the Cathedral and the lifts that operate from the parking areas below the town. There is a breakfast room and reading room. The hotel bedrooms are air-conditioned with digital TV. There is no restaurant at the hotel itself but many within easy walking distance.See more details on Palazzo PiccolominiPark Hotel Villa GrazioliFrascatiThe Park Hotel Villa Grazioli dates from the 16th Century. Once a Cardinal’s villa, it has been carefully restored as a 4 star hotel to combine its wealth of history and modern comforts for its guests. There are 62 rooms in the main Villa and two smaller villas, the Paggeria and the Limonaia. Rooms are elegant and restrained, and overlook the park, Frascati the Hill of Tuscolo or the direction of Rome. The Acquaviva Restaurant has an enchanting hanging garden with a view over Rome, and offers guests specialties of local and Mediterranean cuisine. There is an outdoor swimming pool. The classic rooms are located in the Paggeria wing of the hotel. Rooms can be upgraded on request at a supplement.See more details on Park Hotel Villa Grazioli We include return flights with British Airways from London Heathrow to Rome in Euro traveller, as well as transportation in a luxury smaller coach with one piece of luggage per person.If you want us to arrange flights on other dates and from UK regional airports or to extend your holiday with a stay elsewhere in Italy, just let us know. If you are not arriving from the UK, then we can give you a price that excludes flights and perhaps with extra transfers included. We will adjust the details and the price accordingly.Important informationThis holiday is based on 14 people participating. If there are fewer than 14 people participating, we may modify the tour (smaller coach, or combining driver and escort. Visits to gardens would remain unaffected). We reserve the right to consolidate departure dates if there are insufficient numbers for any of the departures. Our booking conditions apply to this holiday and a copy of the booking conditions can be seen on our website, a copy can be requested before you book and a copy will be sent to you with a confirmed booking. We reserve the right to alter the itinerary if we cannot be accommodated in any of the villas and gardens for any reason closer to the date of departure. We reserve the right to alter the hotel accommodation if necessary. Holiday insurance is not included but it is absolutely essential that you are fully insured. Click here to download a pdf with full details of this garden tour holiday.
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