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CICERONI Travel - An Introduction

What? You mean I have confused a column and a pillar all my life?

"What? You mean I have confused a column and a pillar all my life?"
asked the distraught Grand Tourist of his Cicerone amidst
the ruins of Rome…

CICERONI Travel began twenty-two years ago when I was asked to take a number of cultural organisations to Ireland. These visits were successful and led to invitations to organise further tours more widely in Europe. Beginning with Italy we then developed a programme that now takes tours to twenty countries on four continents with a total of forty-six different tours. That list continues to increase each year in response from our clients.

The long tradition of cultural travel began with the birth of ‘The Grand Tour’. Travellers from all over Europe flocked to Italy to view the monuments of antiquity and to discover the excitement of the Renaissance and other defining moments in the evolution of architecture, painting and the decorative arts. All of these places were experienced with the added enjoyment of music, while a background of archaeological endeavour and literary enthusiasm supplied the framework for exploration.

During the earlier phases of this period of leisured travel, visitors usually had the advantage of relying on the knowledge of a ‘Cicerone’ who was a cultivated, learned and, if lucky, companionable guide. The role of these ‘Ciceroni’ was to explain not just the general background to the places visited, but to bring to life the rich cultural and artistic heritage of each monument and site. Simply put, it was a graceful and leisured way of acquiring knowledge and visual stimulation without the stress of organising the detail oneself.

It is this tradition of cultural travel that CICERONI Travel tours are designed to meet, albeit adapted for modern times! Tours have a particular accent on private visits to houses and gardens, good food and wine and comfortable hotels in enviable country and city locations. CICERONI Travel escorts and guides participants to many destinations including the British Isles, Ireland, the Mediterranean basin area and above all, Italy.

The typical CICERONI Traveller is someone who has a lively and intelligent curiosity about what we will see, someone who seeks knowledge of the detailed history of the sites and collections concerned. Our itineraries are carefully planned so that anyone who has a general interest in the history, culture and arts of a specific area and who would enjoy an introduction delivered with knowledge, depth and humour, will find our visits a rewarding experience. For almost all visits we include access to houses, gardens and collections that are usually not available to other tours groups or are made available to us under special “connoisseur” viewing conditions.

The CICERONI Team comprises of Emma Hughes who supervises all our bookings; Chloe Pepper who is responsible for tour operations and marketing; Stephen Brook who is responsible for finance and administration; James Hill is our much respected resident Tour Manager in Italy, while I continue to develop and lead tours so that our regular clients are not without new places to visit.

We hope you will enjoy reading through our Tour Programme and that you will find a tour in which you might be interested.

In the meantime, happy travels!

Tom Duncan

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