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GARDENS OF ITALY

22 September – 11 October 2017

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ITINERARY
Renaissance and Baroque Italian gardens are extravagant exercises in philosophy, mythology, allegory, mathematics and glorious theatre. Put them alongside Italy’s gorgeous cities, art and gelato, add the unique camaraderie of a Ross tour, and you have an unforgettable experience.

 

DAY 1
Friday 22 September 2017
Home – Rome

Meet Sandra Ross at Sydney airport for your flight to Rome or meet at our hotel tomorrow.

DAY 2
Saturday 23 September 2017
Rome (D)

Our hotel in Rome for the next 4 nights is the charming Hotel Ponte Sisto, which is well located in the heart of the old city, across the river from Trastevere and around the corner from the Campo de Fiori. The remainder of the day is free to relax in the hotel. You can join Sandra for an orientation walk around the area of our hotel after our Welcome Dinner in a local restaurant.
Accommodation: Hotel Ponte Sisto, Rome

DAY 3
Sunday 24 September 2017
Tivoli (B)

The Villa D’ Este is the quintessential garden of the Italian High Renaissance and it’s our destination today. The use of water, all gravity-fed, is thrilling. The garden itself is well-maintained and the water hydraulics have been restored so we can experience them as the aristocracy of the 16th century did.
Head back to Rome this afternoon with a stop at Hadrians Villa, an exceptional complex of classical buildings that were built for the great Roman Emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century AD.
Free time to wander the piazzas of this lovely city.
Accommodation: Hotel Ponte Sisto, Rome

DAY 4
Monday 25 September 2017
Ninfa (B/L)

Giardina Ninfa is a romantic garden that rambles along streams, over remnants of ancient walls and towers and rejoicing in the damp, lush conditions. The rare and fragile artistic sensibility of this garden is carefully managed. This medieval town was deserted in the 13th century and has crumbled into a romantic ruin.
Continue to the hill town of Norma for a spectacular panorama and lunch.
Accommodation: Hotel Ponte Sisto, Rome

DAY 5
Tuesday 26 September 2017
Castel Gandolfo (B)

The Pope escapes the heat of Rome at his summer residence, Castel Gandolfo. And that’s where we’re headed today. Within these breezy Alban Hills Castel Gandolfo sits on the edge of a volcanic crater lake. This 12th century fortress built by Gandolfi gave the village its name. It was ceded to the church in 1596 in payment of debt. Gardens were added in 1626 and restored in 1929 according to Italian principles while respecting the layout and levels of the Roman palace. The scale and perfection of this ‘Imperial’ garden, is grand even today. Impeccable maintenance extends to the olive groves and vineyards beyond the garden and along with the pontifical farm, supply the Pope’s table. It’s a treat on three levels and we will explore it all.

Accommodation: Hotel Ponte Sisto, Rome

DAY 6
Wednesday 27 September 2017
Rome – Florence (B/D)

Today’s garden is a masterpiece, a landmark in the history of Italian gardens. Villa Lante at Bagnaio is the perfect example of a Renaissance garden. It is unchanged in structure and size, since the 16th Century. The garden is arranged on four levels along a main axis, emphasised by fountains with perfect symmetry. It is divided into two parts. Between the two flows water that settles in a water parterre. There’s a wealth of detail, yet an overall sense of tranquillity. The famous water chain has been much copied.
Afternoon travel to Florence, check in to our hotel which is close to the famous Duomo. Dinner is included tonight in our hotel.

Accommodation: Sofitel Hotel Cerretani, Florence

DAY 7
Thursday 28 September 2017
Lucca (B)

Lucca is a beautifully maintained walled city. Our walking tour will reveal it perfectly preserved; an architectural jewel of a city with walls still largely intact. We will have free time to wander through the town, up onto the walls or into the old Market square. Afternoon visit to Villa Torrigiana, one of a chain of historic gardens studding the hills around Lucca. Late afternoon return to Florence.

Accommodation: Sofitel Hotel Cerretani, Florence

DAY 8
Friday 29 September 2017
Florence (B)

We are in for a treat with a full day in Florence, starting with morning tea at a private villa and garden in the heart of the city. Later you might choose to visit the famous leather markets or to spend some time in one of the world’s oldest museum, the Uffizi Gallery, to see works by Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Titian and Caravaggio.

Accommodation: Sofitel Hotel Cerretani, Florence

DAY 9
Saturday 30 September 2017
Florence (B)

This morning we’ll stroll across Ponte Vecchio to visit the Boboli Gardens behind Palazzo Pitti, the mid-15th century residence of the powerful Medici family. Ground floor apartments are filled with treasures which we’ll see and have a coffee break before we visit the garden. Boboli preserves its Renaissance and Baroque style with a remarkable collection of Roman, Renaissance and Baroque sculptures. The garden is built into the slope of the Arno Valley and commands views over the city. The afternoon is free.

Accommodation: Sofitel Hotel Cerretani, Florence

DAY 10
Sunday 1 October 2017
Florence – Venice (B/D)

One more treasure before we leave Florence – Villa Gamberaia sits on a promontory overlooking the city of Florence and the great Arno Valley. The ochre-rendered villa and garden nestles among groves of olives and grapes. The harmonious blend of hillside, house and garden was much admired by Edith Wharton who praised its simplicity of composition. This highly influential garden is idealized as the perfect Italian villa, compact enough to be copied.

Only one thing could drag us away from its loveliness – the lure of Venice! For a thousand years the city was one of the world’s great mercantile powers. Today the economic influence of Venice has faded, but the beauty lives on. We’ll transfer by boat to our hotel, which is located in the city’s heart on the Grand Canal.

Accommodation: Hotel Monaco Grand Canal, Venice

DAY 11
Monday 2 October 2017
Venice (B)

A walking tour this morning will introduce us to the rich architectural and artistic heritage of Venice. The afternoon is free; take a gondola ride or visit some of the restored palaces, now museums and galleries, filled with priceless art treasures.
Accommodation: Hotel Monaco Grand Canal, Venice

DAY 12
Tuesday 3 October 2017
Venice – Verona (B)

We’ll follow the Brenta Canal into Verona this morning. Stop for coffee alongside the famous Arena, peep in at Juliet’s Balcony and wander through the classic Giardino Giusti which occupies the hillside above the River Adige. The garden remains faithful to its 16th century outline. Check into our Hotel Accademia in the heart of the old city.
Accommodation: Hotel Accademia, Verona

DAY 13
Wednesday 4 October 2017
Sirmione (B)

We are heading to Lake Garda and the beautiful lakeside town of Sirmione that charmed the Romans, with mosaics and ruins evidence of their occupation. Cruise on Lake Garda to visit Isola del Garda. Free time in Sirmione before we travel back to Verona.

Accommodation: Hotel Accademia, Verona

DAY 14
Thursday 5 October 2017
Verona – Stresa (B/D)

Travel north this morning to the Lake District and the ‘grande dame’ of the pretty lakeside towns, Stresa, on the western shore of Lake Maggiore.
Visit Villa Taranto in nearby Pallanza then check in to Hotel Regina, on the lakefront, one of the Stresa’s ‘Belle Époque’ hotels. This is our base for the next four nights, from which we’ll explore the area’s beautiful and atmospheric lakes and villas.

Accommodation: Hotel Regina Palace, Stresa

DAY 15
Friday 6 October 2017
Lake Maggiore (B)

Wake this morning to a veil of mist over Lake Maggiore. Floating on the water is Isola Bella, a short boat ride Explore its flower-filled terraces then ferry across to Isola Madre where peacocks run.

Accommodation: Hotel Regina Palace, Stresa

DAY 16
Saturday 7 October 2017
Lake Como

Hop aboard our private boat for a cruise of Lake Como, Italy’s most popular and deepest lake. Beautiful villas and gardens line the shores. We’ll stop for lunch in Bellagio, which is considered one of the prettiest towns in Italy – against some stiff competition! Narrow cobbled streets, a promenade planted with oleanders and lime trees, fin-de-siècle hotels painted in shades of butterscotch, peach and cream, and a spectacular location sealed the deal for Bellagio.
After lunch we’ll visit the gardens at Villa Melzi, which sits on a promontory on Lake Como. The owner was a friend of Napoleon and the garden has a statue of the goddess Pacht collected on Napoleon’s Egyptian campaign. Back on board for the short trip across the lake to Villa Balbianello in its superb position on the tip of a small wooded peninsula.

Accommodation: Hotel Regina Palace, Stresa

DAY 17
Sunday 8 October 2017
Lombardy

Another treat today – Villa Cicogna in Lombardy, near the Swiss border. This is a living museum, with beautifully restored interiors, terraced gardens, arcaded courtyards and a spectacular water staircase. The house was originally a hunting lodge, built in 1400 by the Mozzoni family, and was later modified as a renaissance villa. We’ll take a short drive to Porto Ceresio on Lake Lugano, where we’ll have lunch and explore.

Accommodation: Hotel Regina Palace, Stresa

DAY 18
Monday 9 October 2017
Stresa – Milan – Home

Free morning in Stresa then afternoon departure to Malpensa airport in Milan.

DAY 19
Tuesday 10 October 2017
Inflight

 

DAY 20
Wednesday 11 October 2017
Arrive Home
HOW TO BOOK

To secure your booking and make your deposit, please complete our online booking form. You will be contacted by a Ross Tours Travel Manager to confirm your details and preferred method of payment.

CANCELLATIONS

Cancellations received 180-120 days prior to departure will incur loss of deposit.
Cancellations received between 119-60 days prior to departure will incur a 50% cancellation fee.
Cancellations received between 59-30 days prior to departure will incur a 75% cancellation fee plus any non-recoverable costs incurred.
Cancellations received within 30 days prior to departure will incur 100% cancellation fee.

Cancellations must be sent in writing.
Cancellation fee is based upon the total amounts paid including tours, airfares and all other travel arrangements.
All prices in Australian Dollars. Prices based on minimum 15 passengers. Price is based on departure from Sydney / Brisbane / Melbourne. Price from NZ and other Australian ports available on application. Ask us about other sightseeing and travel arrangements including pre and post tour accommodation, transfers, stopovers and other tours. Ask about our exciting Flower Carpet Tour (August 4-22) that links into this one.
Please refer to the Ross Garden Tours standard terms and conditions

TOUR INCLUSIONS
TOUR ESCORTED BY
SANDRA ROSS
  • Return group economy airfare with Emirates Sydney / Dubai / Rome / Milan / Dubai /Sydney
  • Air-conditioned motorcoach throughout tour
  • Deluxe accommodation in 4 star hotels
  • Breakfast daily, 1 lunch and 4 dinners
  • Entrance fees to all gardens and sightseeing including Castel Gandolfo, Ninfa, Villa d’Este, Villa Lante, Villa Torrigiana, Palazzo Pfanner, Palazzo Corsini, Pitti Palace, Boboli Gardens, Villa Gamberai, Giusti Gardens, Villa Melzi, Villa Balbianello, Villa Cicogna, Isola Madre, Isola Bella, Villa Taranto.
  • Fully escorted by Sandra Ross
TOUR PRICE

Twin Share per person land only $11,795
Twin Share per person including air $13,995
Single Supplement $2,795

DISCOUNTS

Book and pay in full by 19/5/2017 to receive the Early Bird Discount of $300.00 per person off the final instalment.
Previous Traveller Discount $100.00
Garden Clinic Member Discount $50.00
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