- Duration: 5 full days + 5 nights
- Type of tour: circular
- Tour starts and ends in Milan
Accommodations with Continental Breakfast:
- Day 1: 3* to 5 * Hotel in Padua city centre
- Days 2 & 3: 3* to 5 * Hotel in Venice city centre
- Day 4: 3* to 5 * Hotel in Sirmione
- Day 5: 3* to 5 * Hotel in Milan city centre
- Day 1: Transfer by private car / minivan from Milan city centre to Verona city centre + Transfer by private car / minivan to your accommodation in Padua city centre
- Day 2: Transfer by private car / minivan to Venice Pier + Transfer by private water cab to your accommodation in Venice city centre
- Day 4: Transfer by private water cab to Venice pier + Transfer by private car / minivan to your accommodation in Sirmione – Stopover in Strà
- Day 5: Transfer by private car / minivan to your accommodation in Milan city centre
Private Guided Visits / Tours / Activities:
- Day 2: 3-hour private walking tour of Venice city centre with an Authorised Tourist Guide, including Gondola ride
- Day 4: Visit of a Prosecco wine cellar with tasting
Admission Tickets to:
- Villa Pisani in Strà
Meals at selected home-style local restaurants (wine not included):
- 1 dinner in Padua
Full control and assistance 24 hours/day by our Back Office
All taxes (tips not mandatory)
Day 1 – VERONA
Welcome to Italy!
In a stretch of land designed in accord with the bends and twists of the River Adige, we find Verona, a visually-stunning city of excellence.
It is really a city of many faces whose history can also summarize Italy's own history – think of the works left by the Romans, the Medieval streets and the “palazzi” of the Renaissance.
The city’s commercial hub is Piazza delle Erbe, where the original Roman Forum was located. This piazza represents the synthesis of several different historic moments; such is affirmed by the 13th century buildings – among which Casa dei Mercanti (House of Merchants) stands out - the painted facades of the Mazzanti Houses, and the Madonna Verona Fountain, with its central statue from the Roman Epoch. Also dating back to Roman times is the monument that is most symbolic of Verona, its Arena (1st century B.C.). Originally constructed to host gladiator combats, it saw a long period of abandonment before it returned to the limelight with a new form of entertainment, in 1913: after having hosted the premiere of Aida in that year, it has been known around the world for the sounds of opera that emanate from its stage, in addition to hosting concerts and theatre performances.
Then, Romanesque Verona lies in its imposing Duomo, as well as in the Cathedral of St. Zeno, and in Castelvecchio, which looks out from the banks of the Adige; it symbolizes the Medieval power of the Scaliger Family, to whom the realization of the crenellated Scaliger Bridge is attributed.
The palazzi of Verona narrate its long history of wealth and power. In Piazza dei Signori - which sits under the dominating Lamberti Towers - the portico of the Loggia del Consiglio catches the eye; it is here where 16th century political life took place, while the Palazzo di Cansignorio and Palazzo del Comune (or “della Ragione”) were the seats of military, judicial and administrative power. Nearby lie the Scaliger Arches, in the same-named piazza, and some of the most suggestive views of the city, including glimpses of the monumental tombs of the Lords of Verona.
The entire city of Verona is truly spectacular, and the same goes for the churches. Some of the most important are the Gothic Church of St. Anastasia, the Church of San Fermo Maggiore (formed by two buildings stacked one on top of the other), and the Renaissance Church of San Giorgio in Braida.
Finally, the Verona of Shakespeare and the “star-crossed lovers” is legend all over the world and lives indefinitely through the places made famous in the play, Romeo and Juliet. Yet the original literary work was created by Luigi da Porto, a writer from Vicenza, in the 1500s; it eventually circulated around Europe, reaching England. It was the Bard who rendered it the immortal story that it is today, allowing Verona to rest as one of the most admired and visited places in the world.
And finally, remember: Verona is a very elegant city, famous for its classy shops!
Verona, the Arena
Day 2- PADUA
On your way to Venice, Padua is a stop you cannot miss!
Padua is one of the oldest and most dynamic Italian cities. Founded more than 3,000 years ago along a curve of the River Brenta, today it is modern and cosmopolitan, and rather well-known for its historic and glorious University and for innumerable art masterpieces diffused throughout the city. Padua is called “the City of Frescoes”, because of the extraordinary range of frescoed surfaces of its buildings. One of the main series of paintings from the 14th century is preserved in the Scrovegni Chapel, the work of the brilliant artist Giotto. A visit to the Chapel is a journey through poetry and pathos!
Its piazzas are the perfect departure point, particularly Piazza delle Erbe and Piazza dei Frutti, for centuries a daily produce market that is a cross section of citizen life and commerce, as well as the idea venue for seeing and socializing. Overlooking the two piazzas is one of Padua’s several symbolic monuments, Palazzo della Ragione, also referred to as the “Salone”. Close by is Piazza dei Signori, an elegant piazza with Renaissance touches, circumscribed by famous monuments including the Church of San Clemente, Palazzo del Capitanio, and the imposing Tower adorned with its famous Astrological Clock. Designed in the 1300s, the Clock marks the hours and minutes, in addition to month, day, moon phases and the astrological place. Also quite nearby is Piazza del Duomo, dominated by the majestic Cathedral and by the ancient St. John’s Baptistry.
Another of Padua’s symbols is Caffè Pedrocchi, built in the early 1800s. Commissioned by Antonio Pedrocchi and designed by the architect Giuseppe Jappelli, it is still today a beloved Paduan locale, and plays host to important cultural exhibits and events. The Caffe faces Palazzo Bo, main office of the prestigious Università di Padova. The University is the second oldest in Italy, and as a place of excellence in the sciences and culture, it boasts Galileo Galilei among its esteemed past professors. Not only, but the oldest intact anatomic theatre in the world – that can still be visited – resides here.
The Basilica of Saint Anthony, known as "The Saint", is the most important religious centre of the city, and the destination of thousands of pilgrims who invade the city every year, and especially on June 13, the feast of the saint. The vast building presents in its complex structure a characteristic fusion of styles: Romanesque elements in the bell-shaped facade, gothic in the plan of the ambulatory with the seven chapels, Byzantine in the eight domes covered in lead and Moorish in the two slender and slender bell towers.
In the vicinity is the oldest Botanical Garden in the world, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Founded during the epoch of the Venetian Republic, it was conceived as a place dedicated to the study and cultivation of medicinal plants.
At dinner, look out for “risotto ricco alla padovana” served with duck and chicken or “risotto with radicchio”, a vegetable grown locally, or “bigoli con ragu’ d’anatra” (little strings of pasta with a duck sauce), with a glass of white Pinot Bianco or, if you prefer, a red Merlot or Valpolicella, all produced in Veneto!
Padua, the Scrovegni Chapel
Day 3 - VENICE
Welcome to the “unique” Venice, the “city on the lagoon”! You will be astonished by its beauty and charm!
You may start your visit with Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square) and the interior of the Basilica, a 900 years old marvel of architecture! The church is unique in Italy for its golden Byzantine and Medieval mosaics, its intricate stone and marble traceries and exuberant Middle Eastern domes. Near St. Mark’s Basilica is Palazzo Ducale, the most impressive secular building in Venice and once the official residence of the supreme authority of Venice, the “Doge”. A masterpiece of Gothic architecture, the Doge’s Palace is an impressive structure composed of layers of building elements and ornamentation, from its 14th and 15th-century original foundations to the significant Renaissance and opulent Mannerist adjunctions.
Then you may visit Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari (Saint Mary’s of Friars), striking for its huge size and for the quality of its works of art, including masterpieces by Titian, Giovanni Bellini and Donatello, and several grandiose tombs. Also, explore the streets and savour everyday life in an intricate maze of ancient narrow alleyways, lively squares with magnificent buildings and meandering canals, and finally walk on the Rialto Bridge, the busy "heart" of Venice.
And last but not least, enjoy a Gondola ride on the city’s canals: a jump back in time, when Venetians moved only on the water.
Venice: Masks at Punta della Dogana
A must-see is the Mercato di Rialto, the Rialto fish Market in Venice! The market is buzzing with life. Scour the stalls of the Pescaria for glistening mountains of “moscardini” (baby octopus), “moeche” (soft-shell crabs), and inky “seppie” (squid) and take as many pictures as you want!
At lunch, taste delicious ”cicheti”, the Venetian version of finger food. There is tremendous variety, and options include anything from simple cheese or salami to almost any kind of seafood, fried and grilled vegetables, sweet and sour sardines, creamy codfish and much, much more!
In the afternoon you may visit a traditional glass atelier in Murano, where glass-making families have been carrying on the art of glass blowing for over 700 years. You’ll be amazed by the simplicity of the tools used and by the artist’s intense concentration in the heat and smoke of the burning furnace.
Finally, enjoy your dinner in a typical Venetian trattoria and taste local dishes such as “Sarde in saor” (marinated sardines), Risotto with seafood, or the typical “Baccala' mantecato”, to finish with a fantastic bussola, the ring-shaped and cinnamon-flavoured cake! (see our BLOG at https://www.vitoritalytours.com/blog/item/10-in-veneto,-eat-like-a-venetian.html)
Day 4 – STRÀ
Today you will reach the Brenta river, a direct waterway connecting the Venetian Lagoon with Padua. The two shores of the river are still enlivened by many attractive sites, like fancy villas, small towns and green areas.
As you approach the small town of Strà you’ll see a long wall with wrought iron gates and a neoclassic-style façade. Here you are in Villa Pisani. This was once the luxury dwelling of the Pisani, one of the most powerful Venetian families in the 18th century. The building of Villa Pisani consisted of 114 rooms, in honour of Alvise, the 114th Doge of Venice, and the most celebrated Venetian painters were commissioned to decorate the interiors. Also, the park is worth visiting for a pleasant walk through the Labyrinth, the elegant Coffee House, the original Stables and the 20th-century straight basin.
From Strà, let’s head for the “Northern Marca” (where the Piave borders with the Province of Belluno); this is wine country, defined by long stretches of vineyards and the highly-prized wineries of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene. The landscape of the eastern area is characterized by large woods, water courses, vineyards and, without a doubt, a mesmerizing history. Here we will stop at a wine cellar for a taste of one of the most popular Italian wines, the sparkling Prosecco, also called the “social wine” because Italians usually drink it before dinner, plain or with Aperol to make the popular “Spritz”.
On the way back to Milan you will stop on the shores of Garda Lake, in the beautiful small town of Sirmione, the “Pearl of the Lake”. Its magic atmospheres were already described in Catullus' poems in the 1st century B.C. Catullus was born here and probably lived in the beautiful villa on the extreme tip of Sirmione peninsula; it was the biggest Roman villa in Northern Italy and its impressive remains, today renamed “Grotte di Catullo” (Catullus’ Grottos), can be visited. You will pass by the Castle, built by the Scala family, closing the entrance to the Sirmione Peninsula, and you will stroll along its lanes. And finally, at dinner remember to taste the great white wine of the area, Lugana.
Strà, Villa Pisani
Day 5 - MILAN
Milan is first of all the Fashion Capital of Italy! The showrooms of all Italian manufacturers are located in the city and here buyers from worldwide distribution find the one and only “Italian Style”! But Milan is not only fashion, it is also and above all art, beauty and culture! Piazza del Duomo is the geographical and historical centre of the city. It is surrounded by palaces with arcades; in the middle, you can see the Duomo, one of Europe’s biggest Gothic cathedrals, whose construction started in the 14th and ended in the 20th century. And on the Gran Guglia, the cathedral’s highest spire, the Madonnina, a symbol of Milan, stands. To the left of the cathedral lies the 19th century Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, a covered passageway in a Latin cross shape linking the grand Piazza del Duomo with Piazza della Scala, featuring mosaics and a wrought iron and glass roof.
You may also visit “Castello Sforzesco”, the Sforza Castle, a summary in stone of the political, military and artistic history of Milan. Then stroll down the streets of the Quadrilatero D’oro, the heart of the fashion industry, admiring the shop windows of Prada, Armani, Versace, Ferragamo, Dolce & Gabbana and Valentino. And in late afternoon taste a gorgeous Cappuccino at Pasticceria Cova, as locals often do in via Montenapoleone, “Montenapo” for the Milanese!
At dinner, what about a tasty yellow “Risotto alla Milanese”? According to an ancient tradition, the Duomo is where Risotto alla Milanese was “born”, invented by a boy who worked for the stained glass artist Valerio di Fiandra, nicknamed “Zafferano” for its habit of adding spices to his colours. One day he put some saffron in the rice as well and the result was a great success!
Piazza del Duomo in Milan
The tour is over, but the memories of a fantastic journey will accompany you for a lifetime!
Arrivederci with another tour at the discovery of Italy with VITOR, Visit Italy on the Road.