- Highlights include 3 nights in the picturesque Tuscan village of Bagno Vignoni, lunch at the world-renowned Osteria Francescana in Modena, a visit to the enchanting Villa del Balbianello overlooking Lake Como & the glorious food markets of Bologna, the food capital of Italy.
Day 1 Friday May 22, 2015 Departure
Today we board our over-night flight to Rome.
Day 2 Saturday May 23, 2015 Bagno Vignoni, Tuscany
This afternoon we arrive at Rome airport. Upon arrival we are met by our coach for the trip to the Tuscan village of Bagno Vignoni, where we will spend the next three nights. This small Orcia River Valley village has long been a favourite among travellers seeking solitude in a beautiful location. We will stay at a small family owned 15th-century hotel, built by Rossellino as a summerhouse for Pope Pius II, who enjoyed the advantage of the nearby hot mineral springs. Tour members will enjoy delicious Tuscan dinners each night during our stay at Bagno Vignoni.
Day 3 Sunday May 24, 2015 Bagno Vignoni, Tuscany
This morning we travel south to visit Parco dei Mostri. This garden is unique. Made up of astonishing gigantic sculptures, many of them hewn from the rock on the wooded hillside – you will be amazed. Are they autobiographical, literary, historical or philosophical? The scholars don’t know. This afternoon we visit the magnificent gardens of Villa Lante, near Viterbo. This is a perfect Renaissance garden in which murmuring water, flashing fountains, shade and sunlight alternate under vast plane trees. The garden, organised on four levels along a main axis, emphasized by fountains, has perfect symmetry.
Day 4 Monday May 25, 2015 Bagno Vignoni, Tuscany
This morning we 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. Lord Lambton bought Vila Cetinale from the Chigi family in 1977 and since then the gardens have been immaculately restored and enriched. This afternoon we will enjoy a sightseeing tour with a local guide of the wonderful medieval city of Siena, best known for the famous Palio horse race held in the magnificent Piazza del Campo. Siena is also home to the oldest bank in the world, a spectacular town hall and majestic cathedral. A local guide 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.
Day 5 Tuesday May 26, 2015 Florence
We drive through the gorgeous Tuscan countryside to Florence this morning. In the afternoon 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 Palazzo Vecchio and nearby, the Ponte Vecchio over the Arno River.
Day 6 Wednesday May 27, 2015 Florence
This morning is free for individual activity. This afternoon we travel to 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.
Day 7 Thursday May 28, 2015 Florence
We travel by coach north to Pistoia, an area with many wholesale plant nurseries, which specialise in large trees and topiaries. Many of the very advanced specimen trees that feature at the Chelsea Flower show are sourced from these nurseries. Our guided tour of the Vanucci Piante nursery, which exports plants to 48 countries around the world, is a fascinating insight into the business side of horticulture and some of the specimens will amaze you. We continue north west to the Camaiore area. This is an area of flower and green plant growing. We will see fields of flowers before returning to Florence for an evening at leisure.
Day 8 Friday May 29, 2015 Bologna
Today we travel to Bologna, the food capital of Italy. On arrival we will visit the Bologna earth market. More than thirty farmers from the surrounding area sell their seasonal products. The market is organized by the Slow Food Network to sell fruit, vegetables, bread, biscuits, milk, yogurt, eggs, salami and other produce. After time for lunch we will enjoy a sightseeing tour with a local guide of the gorgeous historic centre of Bologna. We will see three attractive city squares: Piazza Maggiore, on the south side we see the huge Basilica di San Petronio, begun in 1390. Piazza del Nettuno has a wonderful 16th century fountain in the centre and Piazza di Porta Ravegnana completes the trio. The squares form a harmonious ensemble. We see the town hall which is composed of buildings from the 13th century to the 15th century. We travel to our hotel and the tour manager will meet tour members who would like to dine together to sample local specialties’.
Day 9 Saturday May 30, 2015 Bologna
We will travel to Modena home of balsamic vinegar today. We first visit Mercator Albinelli opened in 1931. Built in the Art Deco style it is itself a work of art. We will see a vast array of produce. We will enjoy a tour of a small family run balsamic vinegar producer. We see how the vinegar is aged in a series of wooden barrels for a minimum of twelve years. The tour concludes with a tasting of the different varieties of balsamic vinegar including one that sells for Euro 110. We will have lunch at Osteria Francescana, voted third in “The world’s top 50 restaurants “ where famous Italian chef Massimo Bottura is able to balance traditional and modern Italian cuisine. We return to Bologna late afternoon.
Day 10 Sunday May 31, 2015 Bologna
Today we will have a tour of the historical shops of the medieval area of Bologna. We visit Paolo Atti & Figli to see their tortellini and their larger cousins, tortilla. Our exploration includes a visit to Ceccarelli to look at their delicious cheeses and prosciutto. We continue to Mercato del’ Erbe, an historic green market. Housed in a traditional covered market, the array of food and vegetables is astounding: the freshest herbs and every variety of tomato are there. Along the perimeter of the market are meat and cheese shops. We will enjoy an included lunch at Trattoria Del Rosso, which serves traditional dishes of Bologna. We will be able to try tortellini or tagliatelle and Bolognese sauce made from pork and veal. These dishes were invented in Bologna. This afternoon is free for individual exploration.
Day 11 Monday June 1, 2015 Como
In the morning, we travel to the Italian Lakes district, staying for the next four nights at Como on the edge of beautiful Lake Como.
Day 12 Tuesday June 2, 2015 Como
Continuing our tour of the Italian Lakes, our coach takes us to Lake Maggiore. We travel by boat to Isola Bella, the most spectacular of the Borromean Islands. The magnificent villa is surrounded by one of the most dramatic 17th-century gardens in Italy, with 10 terraces rising like a ship’s prow in the reflecting waters of the lake. Masses of roses and perfumed plants set among superb statues and fountains make this a garden to remember. We also visit the nearby island Isola Madre. This very different garden has lush sub-tropical planting of ornamental trees and shrubs including a fine swamp cypress and palms.
Day 13 Wednesday June 3, 2015 Como
This morning will be free to relax, shop in Como or take a ferry ride on Lake Como to view the spectacular scenery and fabulous lakeside villas. In the afternoon Julie and Phil will guide us on a visit to the gardens of Villa Melzi. The semi-classical villa stands on the shores of the lake, among gardens studded with an eclectic mix of sculptures, from Egyptian to Roman. We will have time to explore the town of Bellagio, nominated as one of the most beautiful villages in the world.
Day 14 Thursday June 4, 2015 Como
A trip along the west shore of Lake Como brings us to the picturesque village of Tremezzo and Villa Carlotta. This elegant 18th-century villa has its own landing place on Lake Como with beautiful views over the lake. It was given as a wedding present to Carlotta, Duchess of Saxe-Meningen, who, with her husband, created the landscaped gardens and began the botanical collection. Around the house, an 18th-century formal layout has lemon arbours on the terraces, tall camellia hedges and flowerbeds. We continue on to one of the jewels of the lake, Villa del Balbianello, located on its own small island. Steep steps covered with flowers lead from the landing to the gorgeous gardens and villa, chosen as the romantic setting for the movie “A Month on the Lake”. Ancient pollarded plane trees are a feature of this enchanting garden. Tonight we will enjoy a farewell dinner to celebrate our tour.
Day 15 Friday June 5, 2015 Departure This morning is free for individual exploration. This afternoon we are transferred to the airport for our flight to Australia.
Day 16 Saturday June 6, 2015 In flight
Day 17 Sunday June 7, 2015 Arrival Australia
Tour members arrive back in Australia. The tour concludes.
ADD A PRE-TOUR TO LONDON FOR THE CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW WITH HELEN YOUNG
Day 1 Tuesday May 19, 2015 Departure
We depart Australia on our flight to London Heathrow.
Day 2 Wednesday May 20, 2015 London
On arrival we travel in our first class coach to central London. After time to freshen up we meet our London Blue Badge guide for a tour of the main sights of exciting London such as Buckingham Palace, Whitehall, Trafalgar Square, The Strand, St Paul’s Cathedral and the Tower of London. The afternoon and evening will be free for you to enjoy London’s many attractions as you choose.
Day 3 Thursday May 21, 2015 London
The highlight of our time in London will be our visit to the famous Chelsea Flower Show. Chelsea is the main event in the English horticultural calendar and boasts amazing displays of the world’s best flowers and plants, dozens of show gardens created by leading designers, and everything to do with the garden. Helen will ensure that you get the most from this wonderful show. We return to our hotel early afternoon, with an optional drop-off at Harrods for those who would like to visit this iconic store. Tonight we’ll enjoy a welcome dinner to get to know members’ of the tour and Helen Young.
Day 4 Friday May 22, 2015 London
Today we visit Capel Manor Gardens, with 30 acres and more than 60 gardens and landscapes to explore, surrounding a Georgian manor house. It contains some previous gold-medal winning show gardens from Chelsea, including The Australian Garden from 2011, as well as a 17th-century walled garden, Italianate maze, vegetable plots and plant collections of scented pelargoniums and salvias. Capel Manor College is an esteemed horticultural college. We continue our day with a visit to 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. We continue to our welllocated hotel by private coach. The remainder of the afternoon will be free.
Day 5 Saturday May 23, 2015 Bagno Vignonie
We fly to Rome this morning to meet the group arriving for the Italian Food and Garden tour with Julie Ray and Phil Dudman early afternoon.
- Travelrite Italian Food Garden Tour 2015 Brochure Download
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Total Package per person:
$8,895AUD twin share
Price for pre-tour to London for the Chelsea Flower Show:
$1795AUD per person twin-share
Included in the price are:
• Return economy-class air travel from Perth, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane to and return from Europe.
• Travel in first-class chartered coach.
• Accommodation in first-class and moderate first-class, centrally located hotels with private facilities throughout the tour. Hotel taxes and service charges.
• Buffet or continental breakfast in Europe, three dinners in Bagno Vignoni, two lunches and a farewell dinner in Como.
• Entrances to gardens, museums and attractions as detailed in the itinerary.
• Tour leadership by Julie Ray and Phil Dudman.
• Tour management by Travelrite International Pty. Ltd. with an experienced tour manager meeting the group in Rome.
Pre-tour to London for the Chelsea Flower Show - Included in the price are:
• Travel in first-class chartered coach.
• Accommodation in first-class hotel with private facilities Hotel taxes and service charges.
• Buffet breakfasts, and a dinner in London. Indicated by a D.
• Entrances to gardens, museums and attractions as detailed in the itinerary.
• Tour leadership by Helen Young.
• Tour management by Travelrite International Pty. Ltd. with an experienced tour manager meeting the group in London.
Not included in the price are:
• Passport and visa fees.
• Travel insurance.
• Meals unless specified in itinerary.
• Sightseeing and general expenses unless specified in the itinerary. Additional travel arrangements not in the detailed itinerary. These will be quoted for separately.
You can stay longer in Europe for minimal extra cost. We have good prices for Business Class upgrades. Please contact Travelrite on 1800 630 343 for more information.