Perhaps no two places capture the Italian spirit as well as Venice and Verona. The former has served as a hallmark of culture and art, known as the spiritual home of the Opera itself, where artists like Vivaldi and Wagner debuted their most treasured works. From its famed courtesans to the dreamy gondolas floating along the canals, Venice is an icon of Italian sensibilities where you’ll explore famous landmarks by day and also experience lush private gardens, mysterious medieval crypts, and ornate cathedrals after dark, when other tourists are not allowed inside. Verona is that fair place where William Shakespeare set the scene for Romeo and Juliet to meet their destiny and their doom. An ancient city, well loved by its many inhabitants and invaders, has become a living memory book with its long and varied history present around every cobbled turn on each vine-covered lane. Explore the famous stories and uncover the hidden mysteries of Italy as you tour these two cities, and if you’re so inclined, finish off with Florence on the optional extension.

Degree of Difficulty - Three Paws

Moderately Active. May involve some moderate hikes in forests and nature reserves, getting in and out of vehicles and rocking boats, and walking in uneven pavement in archaeological sites, in some cases in extreme weather conditions, heat, high elevation and humidity.

When To Go

The Venice and Verona program features Opera; the Verona Music Festival takes place form the end of June through the end of August and some performances will also take place at the Fenice Theatre in Venice (even though the Venice music season runs longer). The program can be offered year round if music is not the main feature.

Days 1/2 USA/VENICE

Your journey begins as you board your overnight flight to Venice where you will be transferred to the hotel by private water taxi. Enjoy a guided tour of classic Venice this afternoon, including St. Mark’s Square, Doge’s Palace, Bridge of Sighs, and enjoy a gondola tour. Tonight, gather in the city center for a wine and food tasting in an osteria with the inn keeper. HOTEL GIORGIONE. (Meals Aloft; D)

Day 3 VENICE/GIUDECCA ISLAND/FENICE THEATRE PERFORMANCE

Spend the first half of the day visiting some of the major landmarks in Venice, including the Scala Contarini del Bovolo, and the famous Fenice Theatre, twice risen from the ashes like its namesake the Pheonix. This landmark theater was the preferred opera debut venue for such legendary composers as Wagner and Verdi. In the afternoon, head out to Giudecca Island, an enclave of horticulture where local monks cultivate a variety of produce, including olive trees, kiwi, and grapes. Back in Venice, visit the Palazzo Zenobio before returning to the hotel to refresh yourself before tonight’s once-in-a-lifetime excursion. Enter St. Mark’s Basilica after closing time to the public, without lines or crowds and into areas usually forbidden from the public, including the crypt where the bones of St. Mark himself are said to be kept. Tonight, enjoy a performance at the Fenice Theatre. HOTEL GIORGIONE. (B, L)

Day 4 VENICE

This morning will be devoted to the legendary composer Richard Wagner, who considered Venice a second home. See the palace where Wagner died in 1883; here, a museum has been established in his honor housing a collection of priceless artifacts, including letters, paintings, musical scores, and family heirlooms. Cross the Scalzi Bridge, where Wagner caught his first sight of Venice. Enjoy a private tour by the owner of Palazzo Zeno and its spectacular garden before lunch, which will feature an authentic Bacaro Tour: taste Venetian cicchetti and tapas with a glass of wine in hand! After lunch, tour the medieval Scuola Grande di San Marco, a place of artistic and historical significance. Return to your hotel to rest and refresh before drinks at the Sky Bar of Hotel Hilton Molino Stucky, which provides an incredible aerial view of Venice, and then dinner in a restaurant at Giudecca Island with beautiful views of the Venice Lagoon. HOTEL GIORGIONE. (B, L, D)

Day 5 VENICE

Today is devoted to Vivaldi, yet another iconic composer who lived and worked in Venice. You will visit the Pieta Institute and Church, once a convent orphanage where Vivaldi taught the orphans violin and served in various capacities at the school for almost 40 years. After lunch, head on to the Church of Derelitti, a 500-year-old former hospital and worshiping grounds with a staggering collection of artwork, including its ornate golden organ. HOTEL GIORGIONE. (B,L)

Day 6 VENICE/PADUA/VERONA/ARENA DI VERONA PERFORMANCE

After breakfast, travel to Padua for a half day guided walking tour of the city. Enjoy the magnificent frescoes hiding within an unassuming façade at the Scrovegni Chapel, painted by Giotto and his followers, a founding figure in the Renaissance movement. These tableaux, painted on the interior of the church, are the first instance in Western painting of blue skies. Also visit the second oldest university in Italy, Bo Palace, where greats such as Galileo, Dante, and Petrarch studied. Your walking tour will continue through several famed cafes and plazas as you make your way toward the Botanical Gardens of Padua, the world’s first botanical garden and a place of great beauty and scientific value still today. After lunch, proceed to Verona, the city where Romeo and Juliet fell in love. Tour the 14th century Castelvecchio Museum, with contributions from the many rulers of the city of Verona over the centuries. Tonight, enjoy a performance at the Arena di Verona. HOTEL ROSEO LEON D’ORO. (B, L)

Day 7 VERONA/VALPOLICELLA

Start your morning with a walk through the streets of Verona, a city that has stood for over a thousand years. See the legacy of the Romans, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and beyond in the bricks and columns of the city. In the afternoon, take a private coach to Valpolicella, a region of winelands that have produced high quality vino since the days of Ancient Rome. You will visit a winery and experience a tasting before exploring the Roman Ruins nearby. En route back to Verona, stop by the Oil Museum to enjoy a presentation on the culture and cultivation of olive oil. Tonight, enjoy a farewell dinner in a typical restaurant and reminisce about your adventure. HOTEL ROSEO LEON D’ORO. (B, L, D)

Day 8 VERONA/VENICE/USA

Bid farewell to Verona as you head back to Venice to catch your flight home. While you may leave behind the delights you encountered here in Italy, the experience will remain with you forever. (B, Meals Aloft)

POST EXTENSION TO FLORENCE

Travel first class by fast train to Florence, a city that played an integral role in modern history. Once home to the de Medici family, Dante Alighieri, and Giorgio Vasari, this city now stands as a monument to history, proudly displaying the works of Michelangelo, Botticelli, Giotto, and Ghiberti. You will spend time exploring the historical, cultural, and artistic cornerstones of Western civilization as you explore the streets of Florence.

Prices starting at $4,495. For further booking, date, and pricing info please contact info@classicescapes.

Does not include international or domestic flights. Prices are based on 10 or more travelers, and are subject to change.