verona & the valpolicella

villas, gardens, operas & wine

Italy
Monday 6 - Saturday 11 July 2020 (6 Days)

Price

£2,735
Places

Enjoy Verdi’s Nabucco, Aida, a Gala Evening with Placido Domingo & a new production of Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana at Verona’s amphitheatre

Private visits to & lunches in several handsome villas, gardens & vineyards in Valpolicella

Discover historic Verona on a gently paced morning walk

4* country hotel in quiet surroundings in Valpolicella wine country      

Tour Overview

Can there be anything more exciting on a warm July evening than to sit in the great Roman Amphitheatre of Verona as the orchestra prepares to launch into one of Verdi’s or Mascagni’s marvellous operas?  Equally stimulating are the summer delights of the country villas and gardens of the Valpolicella wine region. These sit tantalisingly close to the civic munificence of one of Northern Italy’s most delightful cities, Verona. 

Verona owes its origins to the Romans, an important stop on routes to the north and west. Much remains to be seen from this era such as the Amphitheatre (the venue for the Opera Festival) and the city’s urban plan. Today’s city is organised round two major medieval squares, the Piazza delle Erbe and the Piazza dei Signori, built on top of their Roman predecessors. These charming spaces, together with the surrounding streets and alleys, have palaces and monuments of outstanding beauty, testifying to the wealth of its native aristocracy. From Medieval times there are many churches to be seen, including the city’s cathedral and particularly San Zeno with its fine paintings, including Mantegna’s San Zeno Altarpiece.

Further delights await us in the hills to the north of Verona, in the Valpolicella. We shall visit some of the most important producers of Amarone and Valpolicella Classico at Villa Mosconi Bertani and Villa Serego Alighieri, where we shall enjoy tastings and private lunches. Horticultural enthusiasts will enjoy our visit to the seventeenth century Villa Arvedi garden, where we shall be the guests of Count Allegri-Arvedi for lunch within the splendid Baroque grotto of the villa’s garden. Finally, the formal garden at Villa Rizzardi will come as an unexpected treat, as we contemplate its remarkable box amphitheatre.

The included operas and concert this year will be the legendary Placido Domingo’s Gala Performance on the second night, Verdi’s Nabucco on the fourth and Verdi’s Aida on the fifth night.  All included seats will be reserved in the First Sector Stalls offering good sight of the stage and reasonable sound quality. Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana (twinned with Leoncavallo’s I Pagliacci) on the third night can be booked at an extra cost, which includes transfers to and from the Arena.

Based at the comfortable 4* Hotel Villa Quaranta in the Valpolicella wine region, it enjoys a semi-rural setting just a few miles to the north-west of Verona. This seventeenth century vineyard is now a hotel and spa owned by the Tommasi family, themselves renowned local wine producers. The hotel has a restaurant, a large swimming pool and adjoining spa with many treatments available. Thus, we shall be perfectly placed amidst the gentle surroundings of vine-draped hillsides, villas and gardens, to take advantage of easy access to Verona.

Day by day

Day 1: Monday 6 July
We fly from Gatwick to Venice, arriving in the late afternoon and transfer by coach to Ospedaletto di Pescantina, Verona, staying for five nights at the 4* Hotel Villa Quaranta. There will be a group dinner in a local restaurant – wine, water and coffee are included with all group lunches and dinners.
Day 2: Tuesday 7 July
We spend today exploring the wine, villas and gardens of the Valpolicella, beginning at the Pojega Garden at Villa Rizzardi, laid out in the late eighteenth century, a masterpiece of Italian garden design. It is a combination of gallery-like perspectives, formal hedging and a stunning ‘green amphitheatre’. We continue to the nearby vineyard Villa Mosconi Bertani, beautifully located in a gentle valley. Our private visit will include the eighteenth century house, gardens and vineyard, followed by a wine-tasting lunch in the villa. We return to our hotel to rest and then drive into Verona for dinner (not included) and a Gala Performance by the legendary tenor and conductor Placido Domingo, after which we return to the hotel.
Day 3: Wednesday 8 July
After breakfast, we drive the short distance into Verona. Rising to prominence under the Romans, Verona’s ancient past is reflected by the magnificence of its Amphitheatre, easily admired during each opera. Crossing the Roman Ponte Pietra, we begin with Verona’s Cathedral, a heady mix of Romanesque and Gothic architecture, complemented by a masterpiece by Titian. A visit to the Dominican church of Sant’Anastasia will lead us to the splendid Piazza delle Erbe and the Piazza dei Signori, the civic heart of Verona. After lunch (not included) we visit one of northern Italy’s most important Romanesque churches, the Basilica of San Zeno. Its highlight is the famed San Zeno Altarpiece by Andrea Mantegna. We return to our hotel for some free time and for those who have taken the option, later return to Verona for dinner (not included) and a new production of Pietro Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana twinned with Leoncavallo’s I Pagliacci, after which we return to the hotel.
Day 4: Thursday 9 July
We leave our hotel mid-morning and drive westwards to the eastern shores of Lake Garda, where our private boat will take us to the privately-owned Isola di Garda. A member of the Cavazza-Talbot family will host our visit around the fine terraced garden which hugs a striking neo-Gothic villa dominating one end of the magically-placed little island. We return via our boat for a group lunch at the pretty lakeside village of Torri del Benaco after which we return to our hotel to rest. In the evening we return to Verona for dinner (not included). Tonight’s performance will be Verdi’s NabuccoWe return to the hotel after the performance.
Day 5: Friday 10 July
After a leisurely breakfast we leave the hotel late morning and travel the short distance to Villa Arvedi. Fine baroque interiors, one of the oldest formal gardens in Italy and a private group light lunch in the spectacular Baroque Grotto of the villa’s garden – all these elements will combine to provide a memorable occasion. After time to rest at our hotel, we return to Verona for our group dinner and the final performance of our week, Verdi’s Aida. After the performance we return to our hotel. 
Day 6: Saturday 11 July
After a late night at the opera, we leave late morning to visit the Serego Alighieri Vineyard. Wine has been made here for generations, a fact well-known to the great poet Dante’s son, Pietro, who bought the estate in 1353. Our visit will explore some of the Veneto’s most prestigious wines, complimented by our final group lunch on site. We continue to Venice airport for our late-afternoon flight to London Gatwick.

Practicalities

  • Price: £2,735
  • Price without flights: £2,585
  • Deposit: £395
  • Single Supplement: £225 (Double Room for Sole Use)
  • Tour Manager: James Hill

Hotel Details

5 nights with breakfast at 4* Hotel Villa Quaranta

Room Upgrade

Single Supplement £285 in Deluxe Room (Double for Sole Use)

Couples / Two sharing are in Deluxe Rooms

Flights

British Airways

Outward:          BA2584 Depart London Gatwick (South Terminal) 1345, arrive Venice 1655

Return:             BA2585 Depart Venice 1725, arrive London Gatwick (South Terminal) 1840

Price includes

2 dinners & 4 lunches with water, wine and coffee, tickets for 3 performances in First Sector Stall seats, all local transfers, entry fees & gratuities, services of our local tour manager, James Hill

Not included

Travel to/from Gatwick, 3 dinners & 1 lunch, additional 4th opera

Weather

Current Conditions

Weather Conditions for Verona in July are:
Average Temperature between: 18oC - 29oC / 66oF - 85oF
Rainfall: 50mm / 2 inches

Miscellaneous

Operas
The included operas and concert this year will be the legendary Placido Domingo’s Gala Performance on the second night, Verdi’s Nabucco on the fourth and Verdi’s Aida on the fifth night. All included seats will be reserved in the First Sector Stalls offering good sight of the stage and reasonable sound quality. Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana (twinned with Leoncavallo’s I Pagliacci) on the third night can be booked at an extra cost, which includes transfers to and from the Arena.
Upgraded seats can be purchased as below:
7th July: Gala Placido Domingo (included), Gold seat upgrade £35, Platinum seat upgrade £95
8th July: Cavalleria Rusticana, twinned with I Pagliacci (NOT included), First Sector Stalls £178, Gold seat upgrade 210, Platinum seat upgrade £266
9th July: Nabucco (included), Gold seat upgrade £32, Platinum seat upgrade £88
10th July: Aida (included), Gold seat upgrade £32, Platinum seat upgrade £93

Currency

Euro

Fitness levels

We do expect a reasonable level of fitness. For full details see our frequently asked questions.

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