Cycling and Enjoying the Beauty & Romance of the Veneto Region Back

Departs from : Veneto

Duration : 7 days

Type : Semi-Private

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Price Per Person : EUR 2,100.00

Meals Included

Breakfasts : 6

Dinners : 4

Lunches : 3

Wine Tastings : 3

Map

Explore the Veneto's many hidden treasures and witness the impact this region has had on the many facet of the Italian way of life. We offer many unique travel experiences on this tour including bicycle routes along the Venetian trading canals, tours of a grapperia and prosecco winery, a visit of the hometown & studio's of one of Europe’s prominent sculptors, as well as examine Palladio’s influence on the world of architecture. The bicycling, with the exception of one day along the gentle rolling foothills of the Dolomites is mostly flat, easy terrain.  Yet any route can be altered to include more mileage or a more challenging hilly route for the enthusiast. 

 

This is an ideal tour for a mixed group of cyclist of any age or ability level as well as for families who wish to share the numerous cultural sights and enjoy the exquisite cuisine & wines at a pace & vantage point that only a bicycle allows

2014 Dates: May 11-17 18-24 May 25-31 June 1-7 8-14 Sept 7-13 14-20

 


Day 1 : Royalty along the Trading Canals

Where we visit : Veneto

Meeting Location : Venice

Description :

We meet in Venice’s famed San Marco’s Square and board a boat for the mouth of the Brenta Canal. This famous canal was tamed in the 17th century and it wasn’t long before the rich and elite were building their Villas along the waterway. As you disembark the bikes will be waiting for you. We soon cross the canal lock and cruise along the quiet Villa-laden canal and note countless palaces, mansions and famous estates including the famous Palladian Villa La Malcontenta. Here we get a taste of what it was like before modern day cars arrived on the scene. It wasn’t long ago the entire canal zone was filled with gondolas and ferry boats being pulled by horses along the shore. In the evenings the party would move from one Villa to another while the many fire flies would illuminate their way. Villa BarbaroOur last stop is the renowned 114 room Villa Pisani, the largest of the Villas constructed in a baroque style and considered to be on a par with great palaces like Versailles. Today it is still considered a National treasure. It is also here where Mussolini chose to first meet Hitler and sign their alliance before WWII. We spend time to tour the Villa and its grounds and may even opt to take a chance of getting through the Hedge Maze reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland. In what I feel is the most charming of the canal towns, picturesque Dolo is where we stay. Before dinner feel free to wander this market town, then after a delightful dinner your opinion is sought regarding our on-going survey of the best Gelateria in the Veneto. Lodging: 3-star Albergo along Brenta Canal. Dinner: family-run trattoria specializing in exquisite seafood.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 2 : Enchanting Asolo

Where we visit : Veneto

Description :

In the morning we transfer to the foothills of the Dolomites and enchanting Asolo. Although the town was an important Roman municipality in the 1st century its prominence wasn’t secured until 1489 when Venice invested the Queen of Cypress, Caterina Cornaro, where her splendid reign here lasted Sarauntil 1509. Writers, Italian and foreign poets and artists brought by the historical events or attracted by the beauty of this place, visited and loved this city that soon became known as la Città dai cento orizzonti" (the Town of a hundred horizons). The city has maintained a suggestive medieval look and the streets are typical: flanked by the gothic arcades of the old buildings and houses, with their facades decorated with frescos, their gracious mullioned windows and beautiful balconies all situated below the queen’s castle and surrounded within a colorful rural landscape that combine to create what I feel is the prettiest setting in the Veneto Our ride takes us through this rural countryside and a gentle climb along the crest of the gentle hills covered in rows of vineyards, orchards and tiny hamlets. After twenty kilometers on a beautiful car-free bike path that skirts along the flowing canals we stop to view what is considered one of Palladio’s finest works--the Villa Barbaro and soon arrive back in enchanting Asolo for sunset from one of the many idyllic squares. We invite you for a glass of the sparkling regional prosecco before dinner. Lodging: Beautiful 3-star townhouse in the medieval heart of Asolo. Dinner: at a fun Trattoria in town, featuring local specialties.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3 : Prosecco, Palladio & Canova

Where we visit : Asolo

Description :

Ride through the enchanting hills of lush forest surrounding Asolo, past the farmsteads, and the tiny villages of the region. At a quiet hill town nestled at the base of Monte Grappa we arrive at the hometown of one Italy’s most prominent sculptors, Antonio Canova (1757-1822). Here an enormous marble temple is seen for miles around and may be the largest monument dedicated to an artist. We take time to visit Canova’s gypsoteca whereby an examination of the casts, sketches and terracotta models demonstrate the development of many of Canova's works from the drawing board to the masterpieces which made him famous throughout the world. Of special interest is the Statue of George Washington which Canova first sketched, then molded in clay, baked in China clay, cast in plaster and finally carved in marble before shipping it to the United States. Unfortunately the statue was destroyed in a fire making the plaster cast version in Possagno a unique tribute to the first President of the United States. Why you may ask, is the plaster cast of Washington not in the United States? The United States on their part are doing all they can to get their hands on the statue, but Canova was most farseeing. Worried that his successors would dissipate the heritage in plaster and sketches he left the entire collection to the people of Possagno, who, he specifies in his will, can sell the plaster casts only after a unanimous vote of the town's population. So aficionados in the USA are fighting a vain battle. - this precious collection is set to be an integral part of this seemingly unimportant town for a long time yet. From the marble stairs of his neoclassic temple we enjoy ride that glides past the vast views of postcard landscapes and into the Dal Bello winery where we learn how they produce the tiny bubbles of their quality “Prosecco” wines. Lodging: same as day 2 Dinner: Free night out in town

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4 : Ceramics & the Old World "Water of Life"

Where we visit : Vicenza

Description :

Gentle rolling country roads along the vineyards-lined Cismo River bring us to the fascinating town of Bassano del Grappa. As the name suggests, Grappa (eau de vie) is one of the specialties here. The centuries-old art of colorfully handcrafted ceramics is the other. We treat you to a tour of the ceramic museum, stroll through the picturesque alleyways and have lunch before continuing with our ride to a family-owned Grappa distillery established in the 15th century for a tour and tasting.Grappa Tour We later cycle through the vast farmland and to sleepy villages where two appearances of the Virgin Mary signaled the end of the plague and prompted the construction of a hilltop cathedral. This 17th century basilica now houses two great paintings and is the spot for views of nearby Vicenza. This impressive city turned out to be Palladio’s personal “showcase”; as all the main buildings were designed or reconstructed by him. Filled with colorful markets, cafes and gregarious people this city is a favorite that should not be missed. Lunch: In Bassano del Grappa (café, restaurant or snack bars as well as picnic are options to choose). Lodging: Friendly 3*** hotel in the car free, quiet medieval heart of Vicenza. Dinner: Great family-run Trattoria in the medieval walking district of Vicenza.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5 : Palladian Masterpiece, Vicenza

Where we visit : Vicenza

Description :

We begin the day’s activities with a private guided tour of Vicenza that highlights Villa RotondaPalladio’s architectural wonders including his renowned theater (Europe’s oldest indoor theater!). Our ride either takes us into the Berici hills or in the plains along quiet roads of rural landscape with bike path. Either way we first make our way past the villas of Vicenzan nobility; and visit Palladio’s especially interesting Villa La Rotonda. It was designed to be a pleasure pavilion and was later copied several times including in the U.S.A. for the Jefferson home in Monticello. Both bike routes are very quiet and scenic paths that highlight the Berici hills and the land of the Tocai Rosso wine. After a picnic-lunch we soon pass through the many picturesque medieval villages & remnants of the regions noble past. Then the 24 medieval towers of completely walled Montagnana come into view, a memorable sight that ends a beautiful day of riding. Lodging: Restored medieval 4-star within the walls of Montagnana—(Large, beautiful rooms.) Dinner: outdoor dining in Montagnana

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6 : Italy’s Largest Benedictine Monastary & Fango

Where we visit : Veneto

Description :

After breakfast we pedal through the tiny hamlets situated along tree-lined canals facing the “green cones”--the Euganei Hills and ascend a path of chestnut and hornbeam trees, vineyards, orchards vegetable gardens and olive groves. Beautiful villas with large gardens as well as medieval castles dot this region that was once treasured by the Roman Empire. The attraction in ancient times as it is today is the curative properties of the nearby hot springs where “fango” mud baths are still enjoyed and can be arranged for anyone who wishes to bathe in the warm, oozing mud. We enjoy a wonderful picnic lunch at the Abbazia di Praglia. This 12th century Benedictine Abbey is the largest in Italy and well know for homeopathic medicine and herbal cosmetics. We transfer back to Montagnana and as the setting sun puts a gentle light on the cobblestone & the red brick of the giant Duomo, we sit under an arcade in the piazza and enjoy a farewell drink before one last feast. Hotel: Same as previous night. Dinner: exquisite award winning specialty restaurant of the hotel we stay--excellent food.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7 : Italy’s Largest Benedictine Monastary & Fango

Where we visit : Veneto

Description :

We enjoy a wonderful picnic lunch at the Abbazia di Praglia. This 12th century Benedictine Abbey is the largest in Italy and well know for homeopathic medicine and herbal cosmetics. We transfer back to Montagnana and as the setting sun puts a gentle light on the cobblestone & the red brick of the giant Duomo, we sit under an arcade in the piazza and enjoy a farewell drink before one last feast. Hotel: Same as previous night. Dinner: exquisite award winning specialty restaurant of the hotel we stay--excellent food.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Tour Highlights and What's Included

  1. All 3 & 4-star accommodation with breakfast
  2. Five full course dinners and 1 lunch
  3. Prosecco Winery & Grapperia tours & tastings
  4. Private City Tour of Vicenza & Visit of Canova's Gypsoteca & Palladian Villas
  5. BIKE RENTAL of quality upright 27-speed touring bikes equipped with handlebar bags (your clipless pedals can be mounted
  6. but remember to bring your shoes, bike gloves and shorts.) Quality road bikes are available upon request at an additional charge
  7. Route note, maps and marked routes
  8. All tour transfers including meet/depart, van support and luggage transfer
  9. Multi-lingual guide(s)
  10. All entrance fees mentioned in itinerary

What's Not Included

  1. Airfare
  2. Beverages
  3. Trip insurance (strongly recommended)
  4. Personal items
  5. Guide tips.

Veneto


 

The Veneto region in Italy is one of the most remarkable and romatic regions. It offers visitors a journey through the land of Palladio, Giorgione and Titian, through enchanting mountains and vine carpeted valleys, to some of Italy's most romantic cities.

A land of rolling hills, rivers, lakes and impressive architecture; Veneto is a stunning region in Italy’s north east. Extending from the UNESCO World Heritage listed Dolomites mountain range to the Adriatic Sea, it is rich in character and natural beauty.

To the west, Lago di Garda (Lake Garda) separates Veneto from the Lombardy region. At 370 square kilometres – measuring 54 kilometres long and from three to 18 kilometres wide – it is Italy’s largest lake. This majestical lake is fed by the Sarca River at the northern end and the Po River at the southern end. In Verona the lake is surrounded by beautiful little towns including Peschiera del Garda which features a gate into the town, and Torri del Benaco which is home to a picturesque castle rising up above the lake.
 
Verona is situated to the east of Lake Garda and famous throughout the world for being the home of Shakespeare’s tragic story of two star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet. Each year, thousands of tourists flock to the 14th century Casa di Giulietta (Juliet’s house) to see the balcony where, according to legend, Romeo and Juliet are believed to have exchanged their words of love.
 
Aside from its links to this ill-fated love story, Verona has countless other attractions including historic castles and villas, and many impressive gardens.
 
The Roman Amphitheatre can be found in one of Verona’s largest squares, Piazza Brà. Constructed in the first century AD, it is the third largest remaining amphitheatre in Italy. During the summer months it plays host to many shows and concerts including renowned opera performances. Numerous bars and cafés can also be found in Piazza Brà.
 
In the northernmost part of Verona lies Lessinia, an area characterised by its natural beauties. This wide highland is scattered with rare plant species, picturesque towns with stone-roofed houses, forests, grasslands, vineyards, olive groves and rare fossils. The Regional Nature Reserve of Lessinia was established in 1990 to help protect the area’s natural and historical charm, and to allow tourists to easily explore Lessinia by foot or bicycle. Also in Lessinia, overlooking Lake Garda, is Mount Baldo. It is widely regarded as the garden of Europe for its rich flora and fauna and can be explored via the modern panoramic cableway, complete with rotating cabins.
 
Valpolicella is Verona’s viticulture capital, producing the renowned DOC wines Amarone (a dry red made from dried grapes) and Recioto (a sweet red variety). There are several winery tours available in Valpolicella, with many of these also taking in much of the area’s history and scenery.
 
In addition, one of Italy’s most spectacular Renaissance gardens is found in Verona. Situated across from the Adige River, Giardino Giusti features perfectly manicured hedges, fountains, grottos, cypresses, a small maze and most of its original features. Count Agostino Giusti designed the garden in the 1570s and it became open to the public in 1591. According to legend, lovers able to find each other in the garden’s maze are destined to stay together for the rest of their lives.
 
The Rovigo, Padua and Vicenza provinces are adjacent to Verona and can all be accessed via train or car.
Travelling to Veneto’s far south, we arrive at Rovigo in the Po Valley. The province is crossed by both the Po and Adige rivers, and features a network of canals and ancient towers. Amongst its key landmarks is a pair of leaning towers – Torre Donà, which is one of the tallest medieval towers in Italy, and Torre Mozza. Other attractions include Palazzo dell’Accademia dei Concordi which houses a library and art gallery, Palazzo Roverella, Palazzo Roncale and the Cathedral of Rovigo.
 
Above Rovigo is the Padua province, best known for its ancient 800 year old university and its natural thermal springs which are among the largest and most famous in Europe.
 
Renowned for their healing properties, Padua’s thermal baths and mud treatments have been enjoyed for many centuries. The towns Abano Terme and Montegrotto Terme are home to some of the most important thermal spas in Padua – and Italy.
 
Rich volcanic mud in Abano Terme and Montegrotto Terme is derived from pure mineral-rich volcanic ash, and is said to be beneficial to the skin. It is applied using a combination of heat and water therapies and believed to assist with conditions that include joint pain, muscle strain, arthritis, fractures, rheumatism, osteoporosis, gout and respiratory illness.
 
Hot springs in these towns can reach temperatures of up to 80°C. Many hotels feature indoor and outdoor thermal swimming pools with temperatures that hover between 30°C to 35°C.
 
Padua is also home to Prato della Valle. At 90,000 square metres, it is the largest square in Italy.
 
In Vicenza, there is an abundance of rivers, mountains and valleys combined with countless Venetian villas dating from the 16th to 18th centuries. The Altopiano di Asiago plateau in Vicenza’s north features seven communes and is characterised by enchanting forests, alpine meadows and rivers. During summer the colours of nature are mesmerising, while in winter, the area is covered by white snow.
 
Below Altopiano di Asiago, on the Brenta River, is the medieval town Bassano del Grappa – named after nearby mountain Monte Grappa. Its main landmark is the Alpini Bridge which is a symbol of the town. Designed by Andrea Palladio in 1569, the wooden bridge has been rebuilt several times based on its original design, including after it was almost destroyed during World War II. Two 16th century arches are at the entrance and the bridge offers great views of the town. A museum at the end of the bridge, Museo degli Alpini honours Italy’s alpine troops, with archeological artifacts, paintings and photos. Bassano del Grappa is also well known for its grappa production, a clear Italian alcoholic spirit, and its history in producing colourful ceramics.
 
Treviso is located to Vicenza’s east, and despite having a few similar characteristics to Venice, it has its own unique charm – with canals, rolling green hills, vineyards and olive groves aplenty. World War I and World War II left their mark on the province, however many of the buildings and affected areas have been rebuilt and restored.
City walls almost four kilometres long were built for defense during the 16th century around Treviso’s historical centre – and today, these walls still remain very much intact. Two white stone monumental gates can be found on the walls. The town is also surrounded by waterways, resulting in Treviso being affectionately known as the città d’acque (city of water).
 
And finally, to the north of the Veneto region is the province of Belluno, which is surrounded by the Dolomites. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2009, the Dolomites is a mountain range in the northern Italian Alps with 18 peaks that soar to over 3000 metres. Here, there are beautiful mountain landscapes, large valleys, rocky peaks and sheer cliffs. Lakes, rivers and enticing waterfalls are also key features.
 
Contrasting this beautiful natural wonder is some impressive architecture including the Porta Rugo gates in Belluno’s ancient walls, the Cathedral of Belluno and the Andraz Castle that rises above a hill.
 
Veneto is a region rich in history – with each of its provinces showcasing their own unique character and flavour. Here, an abundance of natural wonders come together to offer an explosion of beauty. Lakes, rivers, canals, thermal baths and mountains are some of Veneto’s most important and loved features. Historical buildings and monuments can be found far and wide. It’s no secret that Venice is full of splendour, but travel just a little further and you may just discover a whole new world of surprises.

Until recently, when one thought of Veneto, one thought immediately, if not almost exclusively, of Venice, partly due to the fact that, for over eleven hundred years, Veneto was an integral part of the Serenissima's territory. Today, Veneto has established its own distinct identity and offers hospitality to numerous visitors eager to explore the many treasures of the region; from the majestic Dolomiti Mountains over which Cortina d'Ampezzo reigns supreme, to the elegant Palladian villas of Vicenza. Then there is Verona, the city of Romeo and Juliet, and home to the imposing Arena, where both important classical concerts and modern music events are performed. Veneto also boasts other splendid cities such as Treviso, Padova, Chioggia, as well as the magnificent Po delta.

 
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Price Per Person : EUR 2,100.00

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