- Italy, France , UK - England
- Highlights include London’s Chelsea Flower Show, La Mortella private garden on the island of Ischia, the exquisitely-preserved medieval town of Siena, picturesque Villa Massei on the French Riviera & the famed Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild in Nice.
Day 1 Monday May 4, 2015 Departure
Our holiday begins with an evening Singapore Airlines flight to Rome.
Day 2 Tuesday May 5, 2015 Sorrento
On arrival in Rome, we are met by our private coach and travel to Sorrento, where we will stay for four nights. On the way, we will stop at the unique Giardino e Rovine di Ninfa. Fragrant flowers and trees adorn the ruins of a medieval town, reclaimed as a garden in 1921. Streams and waterfalls punctuate these romantic gardens, which contain an astonishing collection of plants. As we arrive near Sorrento, we have wonderful views of the sea, with citrus groves dotting the surrounding countryside. Those who would like to dine together can meet the tour manager to go to a nearby restaurant for dinner.
Day 3 Wednesday May 6, 2015 Sorrento
After breakfast, we visit Villa Rufolo, one of the oldest surviving palaces in Italy. It dates from the 13th century and overlooks the sea from a series of garden terraces. There are formal beds of colourful annuals, plus palms, cycads and yuccas. On the middle level an oleander walk frames a breath taking view of the coast. The charming town of Ravello clings to the steep slopes of the Dragon Hill, inspiring its description by Andre Gide as “nearer to sky than it is to the shore”. We have time for lunch among Ravello’s enticing alleys, stairways and roofed passages before continuing to Villa Cimbrone, set on a cliff-top promontory. Full of statues and small temples, the garden features a long, wisteria-clad pergola, rose garden and bedding out gardens. The ‘Walk of the Infinite’ ends in a belvedere, situated where the views and its height above the sea leaves you breathless. Tonight we enjoy a welcome dinner in Sorrento to get to know Millie Ross and other tour members.
Day 4 Thursday May 7, 2015 Sorrento
Today we travel to the island of Ischia to visit the famous garden, La Mortella. Here we explore a garden massed with rare trees, palms, shrubs, ferns and bulbs to excite the plantsman and botanist. There are many interesting features, including an Islamicstyle rill of water leading to a pool. This is part of an extension to the garden by famous designer Russell Page. Lady Walton, who died a few years ago, has a beautiful memorial set in the garden. Russell Page constructed a series of rock pools, their banks a home for bog plants, ferns and bamboo, which contrast with the parched Mediterranean hillside. There is even a tropical glasshouse with hummingbirds. This garden delights all the senses. On our return, the rest of the afternoon is free for individual exploration.
Day 5 Friday May 8, 2015 Sorrento
A highlight of the tour; today we will visit the ancient ruins of Pompeii, the Roman city destroyed by an eruption of the volcano Vesuvius in AD79. The impressive ruins help us to understand what life was like at the height of the Roman Empire, 2000 years ago. We will have a guided tour of this ancient city with a local expert. The Casa dei Vettii is the most lavishly decorated dwelling in the town. Faithfully restored, it is the finest example of a Pompeiian house and garden. On our return to Sorrento the afternoon will be free for individual exploration. The tour manager will meet those wishing to dine with the group.
Day 6 Saturday May 9, 2015 Rome
Today we travel to Rome, where we will spend the next three nights. On arrival we will be transferred to our hotel. The remainder of the afternoon will be free for individual exploration.
Day 7 Sunday May 10, 2015 Rome
This morning, we enjoy a sightseeing tour with a local guide of the eternal city of Rome. Highlights include the Coliseum, the Vatican and St Peter’s Basilica, before we walk through the old town to see the Spanish Steps, Piazza Navona and the Pantheon, one of the few perfectly preserved ancient Roman buildings. This afternoon will be free to explore Rome’s many galleries, museums and shops.
Day 8 Monday May 11, 2015 Rome
This morning Millie will lead us around the high Renaissance garden of Villa d’Este, renowned for its spectacular use of water, and included in the UNESCO World Heritage list. The garden was created by architect Pirro Ligorio for Cardinal Ippolito d’Este, using water supplied through a tunnelled aqueduct from the River Aniene. Highlights include the miniature Rometta, built in 1568 to represent Rome and its seven hills, the Tiber River, the Walk of the Hundred Fountains and the Organ Fountain. We then visit Villa Adriana, from which Villa d’Este drew inspiration, as well as many statues and marble used for its construction. Hadrian’s Villa is one of the greatest monuments of antiquity, constructed as the emperor’s retreat from Rome in the 2nd century AD, and now also accorded UNESCO World Heritage listing. Enough of the buildings remain to fascinate both architects and gardeners, including a large pool and grotto. Today the site has wildflowers and tall cypresses growing th roughout the complex of over 30 buildings. We return to Rome for an evening at leisure.
Day 9 Tuesday May 12, 2015 Siena
Today we travel north to Siena, one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Italy. It is renowned for its magnificent Piazza del Campo. On our journey we visit the gorgeous formal gardens of Villa Lante. Geometrically organised on four levels along a main axis, emphasised by fountains, it has perfect symmetry. This is a marvellous Renaissance garden in which murmuring water, flashing fountains, shade and sunlight alternate under vast plane trees. Those who would like to dine together, can meet the tour manager to go to a nearby restaurant.
Day 10 Wednesday May 13, 2015 Siena
This morning we will visit Villa Cetinale, built in the 15th century by the Chigi family, bankers and money lenders for popes and English kings. Additions to the original house and garden were carried out by Carlo Fontana, who was a pupil of Bernini. In the gardens are wonderful statues and the Romitorio, a hermitage where monks lived until near the end of the 19th century. To the north of the villa is the Holy Wood, which has wide green rides and footpaths and statues of hermits, saints and chapels with frescoes representing the Seven Sorrows of the Virgin. Lord Lambton bought Vila Cetinale from the Chigi family in 1977 and since then the gardens have been immaculately restored and enriched. Lord Lampton died six years ago. In the afternoon, we enjoy a sightseeing tour of Siena with a local guide who will introduce us to the major sights of the city, including the Piazza del Campo with its splendid civic tower and the enormous, partially completed Duomo. The biennial Palio horse rac e festival is held here. Siena is also home to the oldest bank in the world and a spectacular town hall.
Day 11 Thursday May 14, 2015 Siena
Today we drive through the picturesque Tuscan countryside to Florence, where we soak up the atmosphere of this lovely city, capital of Tuscany. Home of Michelangelo and the Medici family, the city was the cradle of the Renaissance. On arrival we have a walking tour of Florence. During our walking tour we see the Piazza del Duomo, one of the largest cathedrals in the Christian world. Together with Brunelleschi’s wonderful dome, we see the Campanile and the Baptistry. We also wander through the Piazza della Signoria, which contains the Loggia della Signoria, the Palazza Vecchio and nearby, the Ponte Vecchio over the Arno River. We continue our travels to explore Villa Gamberaia, set in classic olive-grove country. Restored to its 16th-century splendour, the garden is small but idyllic. The main terrace is laid out with parterres de broderie and the water gardens are reminiscent of Persian reflecting pools. We return to Siena for an evening at leisure.
Day 12 Friday May 15, 2015 Nice
Today we travel from Siena to Nice, on the French Riviera. We visit the gorgeous gardens of Villa Massei featured in many Home and Garden magazines. The garden, bought by Paul Gervais and Gil Cohen in 1981 has been lovingly restored to its present splendor. Among the gardens’ many rooms, there is an ancient grotto, orange grove, Mediterranean garden, wildflower meadow, semi-formal orchard and rose garden. We check into our hotel in Nice late-afternoon.
Day 13 Saturday May 16, 2015 Nice
This morning, we enjoy a sightseeing tour with a local guide of the main sights of the French Riviera. We will explore the narrow picturesque streets of Nice and drive along the Corniche Road. We have spectacular views of the ocean and cliffs on our way to Monte Carlo, famous for its casino and royal family. In the afternoon, we’ll visit Le Jardin Exotique d’Eze, perched on a high outcrop with the most magnificent views overlooking the sea. This garden with its wonderful and varied collection of succulents offers a unique experience, and the little town of Eze is fascinating. Those who would like to dine together, can meet the tour manager to go to a nearby restaurant.
Day 14 Sunday May 17, 2015 Nice
This morning, Millie will lead the group on our visit to the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild. The garden was laid out at the beginning of the 20th century by Baroness Ephrussi de Rothschild, a member of the wealthy Rothschild family. The garden has been developed as a series of compartments representing different architectural and planting styles. The garden is the ultimate in manicured French exotic style. Seven gardens laid out around the pink, Venetian-style villa, represent a voyage around the world – French, Spanish, Florentine, Japanese and so on, and are furnished with the ‘spoils’ of her travels. The sea views are wonderful and the interiors of the villa are simply beautiful. We will have time for lunch in Menton, before visiting Clos du Peyronnet. This estate is the last garden of Menton that has remained the property of the same family since 1915. Laid out in the Arts and Crafts style, it takes advantage of the warm climate to nurture exotic plants such as South African bulbs and unusual fruit trees. The landscaping of Clos du Peyronnet is quite exceptional. It combines colours and movements through a play of water staircases, formed by successive ponds, the last step of which is the Mediterranean Sea.
Day 15 Monday May 18, 2015 Nice
We will visit La Serre de la Madone this morning. This famous garden was designed by Lawrence Johnston during the interwar years, after he had developed well known Hidcote in England. A visit to a perfumery will give us an insight into the use of the acres of flowers grown in the Riviera. The afternoon and evening will be free for individual exploration of Nice and the many charming restaurants.
Day 16 Tuesday May 19, 2015 London
We fly to London, where we will spend the next three nights. To begin our exploration of this fascinating and historic city, we meet our London Blue Badge guide for a comprehensive tour of the main sights. We will see Buckingham Palace, Whitehall, Trafalgar Square, The Strand, St Paul’s Cathedral and the Tower of London. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure to shop or sightsee amidst the bustle of the city. Our tour manager will meet those wishing to dine with the group in the lobby to go to a nearby restaurant for dinner, or you may like to take in a show in London’s theatre district.
Day 17 Wednesday May 20, 2015 London
This morning we visit Hampton Court Palace and Garden. The Palace is an interesting place to visit to study the activities of British monarchs from Henry VIII onwards. The garden is most famous for its Great Vine, planted in 1768, which still produces hundreds of Black Hamburg grapes each year. The Pond Gardens offer a magnificent display of bedding plants. The newly-restored Privy Garden of William III is a spectacular example of the Baroque, with parterres, cut work, clipped yews and spring and summer displays of 17th-century plants. In the afternoon, we visit Mr and Mrs Raworth’s garden in west London. This is a true collectors’ garden, with some rare and unusual plants. Among its many features are impressive hedges of privet, yew.
Day 18 Thursday May 21, 2015 London
The highlight of our time in London is our escorted visit with Millie Ross to the famous Chelsea Flower Show. It is the summer event in the English horticultural calendar and boasts about twenty amazing landscaped gardens built by prominent landscapers and more than five hundred displays featuring the best flowers, plants and trees and many new introductions. For gardeners, it is the experience of a lifetime and a highlight of our garden tour. We will have a farewell dinner this evening to say goodbye to our new friends.
Day 19 Friday May 22, 2015
Departure The morning is free for individual activities. In the afternoon, we visit the Royal Horticultural Garden, Wisley. The RHS was given Wisley Estate in trust by Sir Thomas Hanbury in 1903. Trials of flowers, vegetables and fruit were expanded at Wisley and they continue to be some of the principal features of the garden. Several Chelsea Flower Show prize-winning gardens are displayed in the grounds. Our visit will be an interesting look at the history of gardening in Britain. We continue to Heathrow airport for our return flight to Australia.
Day 20 Saturday May 23, 2015 In flight
Day 21 Sunday May 24, 2015
The group arrives in Australia and tour arrangements conclude.
PRE-TOUR TO SINGAPORE’S GORGEOUS GARDENS
Day 1 Sunday May 3, 2015 Singapore
We depart Australia on our flight to Singapore today. Upon arrival we have a sightseeing tour of the city to see the modern developments that have ensured that this city maintains its position as one of the “lions” of the east. We will drive along Orchard Road, the heart of Singapore’s shopping and entertainment district, through the colonial area and the Civic District to view the Supreme Court, the old Cricket Club, the Anglican Church of St Andrews and the Botanic Gardens and the Orchid Garden. We will walk through Chinatown and see the traditional temple carvers, herbalists and calligraphers enabling you to get a feel for life as it was in the early 20th century. We are then transferred to our hotel. This evening the group will dine together at one of the many fabulous restaurants in the city.
Day 2 Monday May 4, 2015 Singapore
This morning we will visit the Singapore Botanical Garden, which was founded in 1859 as a seventy four hectare garden. Lawrence Niven was hired as superintendent and landscape designer. Part of the Botanical Gardens has an original tropical rainforest of six hectares. Look out for the native Tembusu tree reputed to be one hundred and fifty years old. Its white flowers should be blooming during our visit. We will visit the stunning National Orchid garden with a collection of more than one thousand species and two thousand hybrid orchids. The afternoon will be free to explore Singapore.Those who would like to dine together can meet the Tour Manager to go to a nearby restaurant. Millie will arrive from her gardening commitments late this evening.
Day 3 Tuesday May 5, 2015 Singapore
This morning we have free time to explore Singapore. Millie will lead us on an exploration of the Gardens by the Bay, situated on one hundred and one hectares of reclaimed land. These wonderful gardens include two cooled conservatories, the Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest which showcases plants from around the world at different latitudes and altitudes. We will see an amazing super tree grove consisting of enormous structures built like palm trees, ranging in height from twenty five meters to fifty metres. Vertical gardens are planted on the structures providing shading. There are walkways between several of the trees. The garden aims at minimal environment impact. Rainwater is collected and circulated. Late this evening we will travel to the airport where we will join the Singapore Airlines flight for Rome and other tour members on the main tour to travel to Rome.
- Travelrite 2015 Garden Tour of Italy, France & England with Millie Ross Tour Brochure Download
No testimonials exist at this time.
Cost is $10,395 per person, twin share
Single fare is $12,390
- Return economy-class air travel from Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. Economy flights from Nice to London.
- Passengers will be able to extend their stay in Europe at minimal extra airfare cost.
- Travel in first-class chartered coach.
- Accommodation in first-class and moderate first-class hotels, taxes and service charges.
- Buffet breakfast during the tour. One dinner in Sorrento and a farewell dinner in London.
- Sightseeing tours as listed in the itinerary.
- Entrances to gardens and attractions as detailed in itinerary.
- Tour leadership by Millie Ross.
- Tour management by Travelrite International Pty. Ltd. with an experienced tour manager meeting the group on arrival in Singapore and on arrival in Rome and travelling with the group.
- A Travelrite travel bag.
- Accommodation in a first class hotel for 3 nights, taxes and service charge
- Travel in first class chartered coach
- Sightseeing tours and entrances to garden as listed
- Buffet breakfasts and a welcome dinner
- Tour leadership of Millie Ross on May 4, 2015
- Tour management by Travelrite International
NOT INCLUDED IN THE PRICE:
- Passport and visa fees.
- Travel insurance.
- Meals unless specified in the itinerary.
- Sightseeing and general expenses unless specified in the itinerary.
- Additional travel arrangements not in the detailed itinerary. These will be quoted for separately.
Please consider joining this tour with the Italian Food and Garden Tour with Julie Ray and Phil Dudman – May 23 to June 7, 2015. We have good prices for Business class upgrades. Please contact Travelrite on 1800 630 343.