Aug 31 - Sep 8, 2017
9 days
$5,840per person, twin share (land content only). $1,610 supplement for sole use of a hotel room.

Tour Leader

Dr Nick Gordon
Aug 31 - Sep 8, 2017

Tour Leader

Dr Nick Gordon
  • Tour Info
  • Itinerary
  • Tour Leader
  • Hotels
  • Inclusions


During the Biennale, many of the fine Renaissance palaces of Venice, usually closed to the public, open as centres of modern and contemporary art. We explore the 2017 Biennale over 9 days from our quiet hotel in the heart of the city. The tour coincides with the Venice International Film Festival, which we visit to take in a selection of what’s on show, and also Venice’s annual gondola race along the Grand Canal.


  • The remarkable world of contemporary art by leading artists from around the globe
  • The less well-known sites of Venice and its surrounds: quiet islands, hidden gems and Roman ruins
  • The Venice International Film Festival
  • The Regata Storica – pageantry and the annual gondola race along the Grand Canal
  • The renowned architecture of Venice, including the Arsenale, only open to the public during the Biennale


  • Well-paced visits to the Biennale’s exhibitions, located in historic buildings
  • Modern and contemporary art at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection and Punta della Dogana
  • World Heritage-listed Roman ruins and mosaics at Aquileia, one of the greatest cities of the Roman Empire
  • The tranquil lagoon islands of San Lazzaro degli Armeni and Torcello, where we enjoy a meal at Locanda Cipriani
  • World class art and film in Venice, including Tracey Moffatt’s solo exhibition in the new Australia Pavilion

Itinerary Overview

Days 1–3: Settle in to our hotel in central Venice, explore the national pavilions in the Biennale’s Giardini, exhibitions in the city, and visit the Venice Film Festival.

Days 4–6: Witness the Regata Storica, and visit the Roman ruins at Aquileia. Explore the extensive exhibitions in Venice’s historic Arsenale.

Days 7–9: Continue with the Biennale and visit Venice’s modern and contemporary galleries. The tour ends with an evening meal on the peaceful island of Torcello.

A limited number of places remain on this tour and as such, internet bookings are not taken. Please contact our travel consultant listed above if you wish to make a booking.

Getting There

Emirates offers the best connections to Rome and Venice. Contact us for competitive quotes.

Detailed Itinerary

Included meals are shown with the symbols B, L and D.

Thursday 31 August: Arrive

A transfer from Venice Marco Polo Airport is available for those arriving with the Emirates flight to Hotel Al Codega in the heart of Venice. After a stroll around our neighbourhood, there will be a light dinner in a local restaurant. (D)

Friday 1 September: The Venice Biennale

This morning we visit the Giardini, the historic centre of the Biennale and the location of many of the national pavilions. We visit the Central Exhibition curated by Biennale Director Christine Macel, the Chief Curator of the Pompidou Centre in Paris, Tracey Moffatt’s show in the Australian Pavilion, and enjoy time to explore the other national pavilions. After a welcome lunch in a fine Venetian restaurant, we tour the smaller exhibitions and hidden gems of Venetian art in the Castello district, including masterpieces by Bellini and Carpaccio. (B, L)

Saturday 2 September: The Biennale and The Film Festival

This morning we take a a walking tour of Biennale exhibitions in the Cannaregio and San Marco districts, some of which are in private palaces with views over the Grand Canal. Our tour includes a visit to Ca’ Pesaro, whose collection was formed by acquiring works during the first decades of the Biennale. In the afternoon, we visit the Venice Film Festival, which takes place on the Lido, and take in some of what this year has to offer. (The line-up will be announced in July, 2017. Please note that the timing of our visits to the festival may change depending on the line-up.)  (B)

Sunday 3 September: Modern Art and the Regata Storica

After a leisurely start, we explore the galleries and Biennale exhibitions in the Dorsoduro district, including a visit to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, located in one of the heiress’s residences, the 18th-century Palazzo Venier. The collection includes outstanding works by Dali, Kandinsky, Pollock, Magritte, Mondrian and Picasso. In the early afternoon, we visit the Punta Della Dogana, a former customs house that was converted into a contemporary art space by Tadao Ando which houses works from the Pinault Foundation’s collection. The Regata Storica starts in the late afternoon, and there are many vantage points along the Grand Canal and the Basin of St Mark from which to enjoy the event, although the Punta della Dogana promontory is particularly good. (B)

Monday 4 September: The Arsenale

Today we visit the Arsenale, once the powerhouse of the Venetian naval and maritime industries, and a Biennale exhibition space since the 1980s. Five hectares of shipyard have been converted into spaces that host some of the Biennale’s main exhibitions and performances. The later afternoon is at leisure. (B)

Tuesday 5 September: Aquileia and Grado

This morning we visit Aquileia, one of the largest and richest cities in the Roman Empire before it was sacked by Attila the Hun. The city is famous for its extraordinary Roman mosaics in its cathedral, some of which date back to the 1st century CE, and for the rare Roman glassware and jewellery in its archaeological museum. After lunch in a local restaurant, we’ll travel to nearby Grado, a beautiful medieval town founded by refugees from Aquileia, with well-preserved medieval churches and a peaceful waterfront. (B, L)

Wednesday 6 September: San Lazzaro and the Film Festival

This morning we have a private visit of the island of San Lazzaro degli Armeni. The island was a leper colony before it was transformed into a monastery and refuge for Armenian monks. It is still a monastery today as well as a major centre of Armenian culture, holding some of the most precious texts from Armenia. In the afternoon, we visit the Venice Film Festival to experience more of what’s on offer. (B)

Thursday 7 September: Torcello

We take in more of the art on display this morning, including a visit to San Giorgio Maggiore, an iconic church designed by Palladio. Its prominent location and cavernous interior have made it ideal for displaying large sculptures and installations, which have been major, although sometimes controversial, successes at recent Biennales. We then travel to Torcello. The magnificent mosaics in the 6th-century basilica are testament to the wealth of an island that is just too far from the centre of modern Venice to attract the regular crowds. After dinner at Locanda Cipriani, we return to Venice by private launch. Late evening at leisure. (B, D)

Friday 8 September: Departure

Today we depart Venice. A group transfer by private launch to Venice’s Marco Polo airport is available for those who have booked flights through Academy Travel. (B)

Dr Nick Gordon

Has a University Medal and a PhD in History and lectures on European art. Nick is also a practising painter and brings this passion to the visual arts.

Dr Nick Gordon holds a University Medal and a PhD in history from the University of Sydney. He has taught European history at universities in Sydney for 10 years and continues to lecture regularly on art and history for Sydney University’s Nicholson Museum and Centre for Continuing Education. Nick’s interests range from classical antiquity, to architecture, modern and contemporary art, and the history and culture of medieval, Renaissance and early modern Europe. His knowledge of and passion for these fields have developed from both his academic research and practice as an artist. He has led tours for Academy Travel since 2007.


Hear from Dr Nick Gordon

View Bio & Upcoming Tours

Hotel Al Codega

Throughout the tour, we stay at the 4-star Hotel Al Codega. Located in a quiet cul-de-sac in the heart of Venice, this small independent hotel provides you with peace, comfort and convenience throughout the tour.

Venice, Hotel Al Codega (8 nights)

Tour Inclusions

What is included in the tour price? 
Unless otherwise stated in the itinerary, our tours include the following:

  • Any flights mentioned in the itinerary that take place during a tour
  • Land travel by private air-conditioned coach. Where appropriate public transport is also used for short distance travel on some tours
  • All accommodation in hotels or apartments as stated in the itinerary
  • Breakfasts, lunches and dinners specifically stated as included in the itinerary
  • Drinks at welcome and farewell meals. Other meals may not have drinks included
  • Background talks on tour, site notes and online resources
  • Services of tour leader throughout tour
  • All entrance fees to sites mentioned in the itinerary
  • Local guides at some sites
  • Tips for drivers, local guides and restaurants for included meals

Airport Transfers

Tours begin either at the arrival airport or the first hotel, depending on the itinerary. If you have booked your international flights with Academy Travel and arrive before the tour commences, we will provide airport to hotel transfers to the closest main city on your arrival, and to the closest airport at the end of the tour. These may be either individual or group transfers.

What is not included in the tour price?
Open-age tours do not include the following:

  • Return international/domestic air travel unless those flights take place during the tour
  • Special taxes and airport levies that can only be paid in cash at the destination. We will advise you of these charges (if any) before you depart
  • Costs involved in obtaining visas for countries visited, where required
  • Travel insurance. We require all participants to have comprehensive travel insurance. A typical policy for one of our tours will cost from $160 upwards, depending on your age, pre-existing medical conditions, the countries you are visiting and the overall length of your trip
  • Lunches and dinners not specifically mentioned as included in the itinerary
  • Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls
  • Costs associated with any activity mentioned as “optional” in the itinerary, or any suggested free time activity

Booking conditions

You will be asked to sign an acknowledgement of these conditions when you book a place on a tour.


A deposit of $500 per person is required to confirm your booking on a tour. Final payment of the tour fee, insurance and any additional travel will be due 60 days before departure.

Cancellation Fees

If you decide to cancel your booking the following charges apply:

  • More than 60 days before departure: $500*
  • 60-45 days before tour start: 25% of total amount due
  • 44-15 days before tour start: 75% of total amount due
  • 14 days or less before departure: 100% of total amount due

*This amount may be credited to another Academy Travel tour within 12 months of the original tour you booked.

Unused Portions of the tour

We regret that refunds will not be given for any unused portions of the tour, such as meals, entry fees, accommodation, flights or transfers.

Travel Insurance

Academy Travel requires all participants to obtain comprehensive travel insurance. We offer a comprehensive policy with a reputable insurer if required.

Passport and Visa

A valid passport is required for all international travel. If you do not hold an Australian passport you may require a re-entry permit. Some countries require a visa to be issued before you depart Australia. We will advise you of all passport and visa requirements, but it is your responsibility to ensure that you meet passport and visa requirements before you depart.

Will the tour price change?

If the number of participants in a tour is significantly less than budgeted, or if there is a significant change in exchange rates Academy Travel reserves the right to amend the advertised price. If this occurs you will be given the option of cancelling your booking and obtaining a full refund. If an Academy Travel tour is forced to cancel you will get a full refund of all monies paid.

Will the itinerary change?

Occasionally circumstances beyond the control of Academy Travel make it necessary to change airline, hotel or to make slight amendments to daily itineraries. We will inform you of any changes as soon as they occur.

Final Payment

Full and final payment for the tour, airfare travel, insurance and any additional travel you book is due 60 days before departure. Payment may be made by bank deposit, cheque, cash or credit card. Please note there is a surcharge for payments made by credit card.

Academy Travel reserves the right to decline the booking or terminate the holiday of any traveller.

Fitness rating

Grade 2

A Grade 2 tour is appropriate for travellers in good health with good mobility, who can comfortably participate in up to 3 hours of physical activity per day on most days.
More Details

A limited number of places remain on this tour and as such, internet bookings are not taken. Please contact our travel consultant listed below if you wish to make a booking.

Download Booking Form

Speak to a consultant

For further information or to secure a place on this tour please contact:
Frederick Steyn 02 9235 0023 or 1800 639 699
(outside Sydney)

Detailed Itinerary

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