Tours & Study Days With
James Hill

James Hill is our long-standing Italian, US and Caribbean tours director. British born, he has been resident in Italy for over 25 years where he studied politics. An authority on travel and culture in Italy, he now lives near Lake Como and has a background in travel writing and television production where he worked on around sixty cultural programmes and documentaries on Italy.

Image above: Turin, La Venaria

Villas & Gardens on Como & Lugano

Lakeside Idyll

Thursday 12 - Wednesday 18 September 2019 (7 Days)
Combine Alpine peaks with cool lake water, garlanded with stunning noble lakeside villas and exquisite gardens and what comes to mind – the Italian lakes? Our new tour of Lakes Como and Lugano includes not only some of the best known villas and gardens but most are completely new to our itineraries and three of these are quite exceptional private visits.



Tuesday 24 - Saturday 28 September 2019 (5 Days)
The landscapes and gardens along the Seine valley, meandering through Paris and on into Normandy, inspired the Impressionists. This exciting tour will allow us to see not only their sources of inspiration but how their art continues to work its magic today in these exciting gardens.

Aquileia, Ravenna & Torcello

Eternal Splendours

Tuesday 1 - Saturday 5 October 2019 (5 Days)
Italy underwent enormous changes as the Roman Empire collapsed: the capital moved from Milan to Ravenna, the ruler (and his religion) changed from a Roman to an Ostrogoth, the Byzantines invaded. The visual arts mirrored these rapid changes, leading in time to the emergence of the accepted visual shorthand of medieval religious art, brought vividly to life via the splendours of Ravenna, Torcello, Aquileia, Grado and Pomposa.

Antiquity & the Bay of Naples

Vases & Volcanoes

Tuesday 8 - Monday 14 October 2019 (7 Days)
Naples in the late eighteenth century was a hive of activity as the recently discovered ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum were excavated. Intelligent, sophisticated and highly acquisitive collectors such as Sir William Hamilton were to the fore and it is his world which we shall discover as we re-trace his steps enjoying, just as he did, privileged access.

music & art in cremona & parma

stradivarius to verdi

Wednesday 16 - Monday 21 October 2019 (6 Days)
As Parma is to Verdi and opera, so is Cremona to Stradivarius and violin making. Here is the ideal opportunity to discover these remarkable figures from musical history as we explore two of the most engaging of small cities in northern Italy. Parma’s history may be dominated by its Farnese Dukes but its annual Verdi Festival is the magnet which is irresistible, while in Cremona its fine heritage of instrument making carries on down to today.

Connoisseurs’ venice

Patricians & Painters

Monday 11 - Saturday 16 November 2019 (6 Days)
Be you a novice or seasoned visit to Venice, we offer a privileged introduction to this magical city: palaces that are not open to the public; St Mark’s and its mosaics, seen privately at night; magical Torcello, “a positive ecstasy of melancholia” as Jan Morris described it; art galleries for the connoisseur – all seen at a time when the city is at its most quiet and serene.

connoisseurs' versailles

behind the arras

Sunday 17 - Friday 22 November 2019 (6 Days)
Discover Versailles, the most famous palace in the world, as we explore not only its fabulous State Apartments, but also the more intimate and private spaces used by the French royal family which are not open to the public. Led by Rosalind Savill, an expert on French culture and the decorative arts, this will be a memorable ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity.

Leonardo & the Court of Milan

The Universal Artist

Tuesday 3 - Saturday 7 December 2019 (5 Days)
Leonardo da Vinci has always been regarded as the towering artist of what we call the Renaissance. To his contemporaries he was THE innovator, the most original, inventive and curious of artists. Yet few realised the huge range of his questing intelligence. Discover this ‘universal man’ during our tour to Milan, coinciding with the city’s 500th anniversary celebrations.

The Valetta Baroque Festival

Sound the Trumpet

Friday 10 - Wednesday 15 January 2020 (6 Days)
Discover Malta’s extraordinary history ranging over a remarkable six thousand year period and stay at The Phoenicia Hotel, perfectly placed at the entrance to the walled city of Valetta. Visits to Gozo and other important settlements will also be included in the course of a gently paced tour, with concerts included in various historic locations.

Havana & Western Cuba

A Key to the New World

Thursday 5 - Monday 16 March 2020 (11 Days)
Cuba - is there another country in the Caribbean which has proved to be so endlessly fascinating in recent times? Explore the colonial and contemporary history of this remarkable country as it seeks to enter the modern world, albeit to a different rhythm to everyone else, the shadow of revolution still in the background.

Discover raphael's rome

painters & popes

Tuesday 24 - Saturday 28 March 2020 (5 Days)
This tour to Rome is timed to coincide with the 500th anniversary of Raphael’s death and we shall trace his life and work in the city over the twelve years of his Roman career - to include the exhibition which will take place in Rome early in 2020, when major works from all over the world will return to Rome, many of them for the first time since originally created.

Private Gardens of Eastern Sicily

earth, fire, air & water

Friday 17 - Wednesday 22 April 2020 (6 Days)
Fiery Etna has enriched its fertile slopes to create a unique botanical mix of exotic plants, amazing flowers and varied crops along the Ionian Sea-facing coast of Eastern Sicily. Based in lovely Taormina, we shall visit privately the most notable town and country gardens of the region, complemented with many owner-hosted lunches - Sicilian bliss!

Exploring Albania

Contrasting Cultures

Monday 11 - Monday 18 May 2020 (8 Days)
Undiscovered for decades, Albania is perfectly located between Greece and Italy. At the edge of the Balkan Peninsula, its complex history is furrowed into its landscape and weighs heavily on its shoulders. Given the resilience of its people and its engaging cultural heritage there is much to discover – evocative Greek and Roman sites, fine Byzantine churches and handsome Ottoman period houses, all set within dramatic scenery.

Genoa & the Italian Riviera

Princes, Painters & Sea Merchants

Monday 25 - Saturday 30 May 2020 (6 Days)
Genoa, its wealth built on sea-trade, has a remarkable selection of magnificent private palaces, richly decorated churches, all sited in public spaces of elegant dignity. Rubens and Van Dyck both lived here, hinting at the trading links between Genoa and Antwerp. There are also a surprising number of stunning gardens, such as the Abbazia La Cervara near Portofino and the wonderful Hanbury Garden at La Mortola

discovering slovenia

a hidden europe

Tuesday 2 - Monday 8 June 2020 (7 Days)
Slovenia has truly come of age! It is a small nation of unspoilt beauty, superb food and wine with one of the most handsome capitals in central Europe - Ljubljana. Over the course of a week we shall explore many of the country’s most atmospheric places from the ‘mini-Venice’ at coastal Piran to handsome Lake Bled, and from medieval Ptuj to the elegant buildings of Ljubljana.

verona & the valpolicella

operas, villas, gardens & wine

Monday 6 - Saturday 11 July 2020 (6 Days)
A warm July evening in Verona’s Roman great amphitheatre, enveloped by opera is always memorable. Equally, our visit will embrace the summer delights of the country villas and gardens of the Valpolicella wine region and nearby Lake Garda, all tantalisingly close to the civic magnificence of one of northern Italy’s most delightful cities, Verona.
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Tours & Study Days