Unpack your bags for 15 days and discover the city that ruled the Mediterranean for 1,000 years. From a family-run four-star hotel just a few minutes from St Mark’s Square, this tour explores the art, history and culture of Venice, and uncovers the depth of Venice’s influence with day trips to Ravenna, Padua and the Palladian villas of the Veneto. The tour also takes in quiet lagoon islands, including Byzantine Torcello and Armenian San Lazzaro, and dines at some of Venice’s best restaurants. The late autumn travel period means fewer crowds and cruise ships.
The history of Venice and its key role in the Mediterranean during the Crusades and the Renaissance
The unique art and architecture of Venice, visiting centuries-old sites and world-class museums
The all-important and all-encompassing relationship between Venice and the sea
Venice’s outstanding musical tradition in both opera and baroque music
The excellent food and wine of the Veneto region, from sparkling prosecco to excellent seafood
The Renaissance architecture of Andrea Palladio, from Venice to Vicenza
A legendary lunch at Locanda Cipriani on the island of Torcello
Glittering 5th and 6th-century mosaics in Ravenna, echoes of the Ostrogoths and of Byzantium
Revel in the baroque surrounds of opera at Venice’s rebuilt La Fenice
Admire the colours of Carpaccio, Bellini, Titian and Veronese in palaces and churches
Explore the most complete cycle of Giotto’s work, in Padua’s Scrovegni Chapel
Outstanding contemporary art at the Ca’ d’Oro and the Punta della Dogana
Harmonious Palladian villas of the Renaissance in and around Vicenza
Days 1–3: Orient yourself with a trip around the lagoon, to Burano and Torcello, and visits to key state history museums.
Day 4: Day trip to Ravenna.
Day 5: Explore medieval and early Renaissance Venice – the world of the merchants and Crusades.
Day 6: Day trip to Padua.
Days 7–10: Tour the Ghetto’s synagogues, admire fine art in the Accademia, Frari and Scuola di San Rocco. Baroque exuberance in fine house museums.
Day 11: Day trip to Vicenza and Palladio’s villas.
Days 12–15: Modern art at the Guggenheim, glass on Murano. The islands of San Lazzaro and San Giorgio Maggiore.
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.
Emirates has daily flights from most Australian cities to Venice, stopping at Dubai. Contact us for quotes and bookings.
Included meals are shown with the symbols B, L and D.
Wednesday 27 March: Arrive Venice, Orientation
The Emirates flight arrives into Venice in the mid-afternoon. A transfer to the hotel by water taxi is available for those arriving with this flight. After check-in there will be an orientation stroll of the district around our hotel followed by an early, light dinner in a local restaurant. (D)
Thursday 28 March: Venice and The Lagoon
Today we gain a sense of the geography of the Venetian lagoon and the city’s appearance in its earliest days. We travel by ferry to the peaceful lagoon islands of Burano and Torcello. On Torcello we view the 6th-century basilica with its mosaics and Byzantine decorations, as well as the small museum of the Venetian lagoon. We then enjoy a relaxed welcome lunch at the legendary Locanda Cipriani on Torcello before returning to our hotel, where there is an evening talk. (B, L)
Friday 29 March: San Marco and The Trading Empire
This morning we take a vaporetto to the Castello district, where Venice’s historic Arsenale is located, and we track the growth of the trading empire and shipping industry which developed to support it. We continue on to the district which has been the centre of Venice’s Adriatic and Greek communities for centuries. These communities helped maintain Venice’s stranglehold on the Eastern Mediterranean, and have left important monuments to their status in the city, including the only cycle of Carpaccio paintings still in situ. At the icon museum of San Giorgio dei Greci, we admire the significant collection of works created by Venetian, Cretan and Cypriot artists, and at the church of San Zaccaria, the extraordinary altarpiece by Giovanni Bellini. After a break for lunch, we visit the Scuola degli Schiavoni, the Slavic confraternal headquarters with a wonderful cycle of paintings by Carpaccio. This evening we have a private viewing of St Mark’s, so that we can enjoy the spectacular mosaics lit up without the bustle of the usual crowds. (B)
Saturday 30 March: Venice and the East
Today we travel to Ravenna, the Byzantine capital of Italy in the 5th-8th centuries. It is in Ravenna, after the fall of the Roman Empire, that the Byzantine visual style of gold-ground mosaics first developed. Here we view the UNESCO World Heritage-listed churches of Sant’Apollinare in Classe, San Vitale, and Sant’Apollinare Nuovo. We also examine evidence of the Gothic kingdom in Italy in the late 5th and early 6th century, including the Palace and Mausoleum of Theodoric and the Neonian baptistery. (B)
Sunday 31 March: State-sponsored Art
This morning we visit the tombs of Venice’s doges at Santi Giovanni e Paolo and Verrocchio’s magnificent equestrian statue of Bartolomeo Colleoni. We then take a guided tour of the Doge’s Palace, whose layout reflects the complex structure of the Venetian government itself. The palace is decorated with large canvases by Tintoretto, Veronese and others. In the afternoon, there is the option of visiting the Museo Correr with its collection of artefacts relating to the history of Venice and a number of significant works by Bellini, Antonello da Messina and Canova. This evening there is a talk in our hotel followed by dinner at a local restaurant. (B,D)
Monday 1 April: Padua
We spend the day exploring the nearby town of Padua, a prosperous town since the Middle Ages whose university was the intellectual base of Venetian society. Highlights of the day include the flourishing produce markets, our guided visit to the anatomy theatre at the university, the monumental medieval Palazzo della Ragione and of course Giotto’s extraordinary fresco cycle in the Scrovegni Chapel, undertaken in the early 1300s. (B)
Tuesday 2 April: Merchants of Venice
This morning we visit the Rialto Markets, once Europe’s premier trade and finance hub, and take a private tour of Venice’s ghetto district and its synagogues. The Jews of Venice played an important role in the city and the ghetto has a fascinating history. After enjoying lunch together at Osteria da Rioba, a typical Venetian trattoria, we visit the Ca’ d’Oro, a 15th-century merchant’s palace on the Grand Canal, which is now a museum. The later afternoon is at leisure, with an early evening talk in our hotel. (B, L)
Wednesday 3 April: Venetian Fine Art
This morning we visit the Galleria dell’Accademia, the main gallery of Venetian painting from the Middle Ages to the 18th century, displaying important works by Bellini, Carpaccio, Giorgione, Titian, Tintoretto, Tiepolo and others. After a break for lunch, we visit the church of the Frari, with its outstanding collection of painting and sculpture, including Titian’s Assumption of the Virgin, and Tintoretto’s virtuoso performance in the nearby Scuola di San Rocco. (B)
Thursday 4 April: Free Day
Today is free for you to relax or to explore some of Venice’s myriad of other sites independently. Your tour leader is happy to assist with advice. There is a talk in our hotel in the evening. (B)
Friday 5 April: Art and Life in the Baroque
We visit the Querini-Stampalia Museum, with a fine collection of Pietro Longhi and Gabriele Bella paintings that show us how Venetians lived from the Renaissance through to the Baroque. It also preserves a wonderful painting from the Bellini workshop. We break for a group lunch in the area before visiting the restored Ca’ Rezzonico, a lavish patrician’s palace from the 18th century. There is a talk this evening. (B, L)
Saturday 6 April: Palladio on the Terrafirma
In the 16th century, amid declining trade, the Venetian aristocracy sought to recreate the life of the ancients in the countryside. We travel by coach to the mainland to enjoy a full day visiting some of Palladio’s fine country villas, elegant variations in the classical style. We begin the day at the Villa Capra La Rotonda, Palladio’s celebrated centrally-planned pleasure villa, then continue to the Villa Valmarana. We pause for lunch in Vicenza, with its important civic buildings by Palladio and enjoy a visit to the Teatro Olimpico, before moving on to the Villa Barbaro at Maser. Our last visit will be to the Villa Emo illuminated for us in the early evening. (B)
Sunday 7 April: Modern Art in Venice
Venice in the 20th century became an international centre of modern art. Today we visit Ca’ Pesaro, containing the city’s collection of modern art, much of it collected at biennales from 1896 onwards. The collection includes works by Klimt, Chagall, Modigliani, the Italian Futurists and many others. After lunch, we continue on to the extraordinary Peggy Guggenheim Collection, located in one of the heiress’s residences, the 18th-century Palazzo Venier. The collection includes outstanding works by Dalí, Kandinsky, Pollock, Magritte, Mondrian and Picasso. (B)
Monday 8 April: Glass in Venice
Venetian glass has been highly prized since the Middle Ages. This morning, we explore this art in Venice by visiting Murano, whose fascinating history extends beyond glass-making. The afternoon is at leisure, before we meet this evening (subject to the season’s program) for an opera at La Fenice. (B)
Tuesday 9 April: The Islands of San Lazzaro and San Giorgio
This morning we travel to the island of San Lazzaro degli Armeni, where we visit the convent of the Armenian monks, a centre of learning and enlightenment for Venice for hundreds of years. Byron stayed on the island for a time, compiling an English-Armenian dictionary, and the monastery contains an eclectic collection including some very rare manuscripts. On our way back to Venice, we stop at the island of San Giorgio, home to a major Benedictine monastery since the early Middle Ages, and also Palladio’s most magnificent church. We enjoy the panoramic view from the belltower before meeting in the early evening for a farewell dinner. (B, D)
Wednesday 10 April: Departure
Today we depart Venice. A group transfer by private launch to Venice’s Marco Polo airport is available for those taking the Emirates flight back to Australia via Dubai.
Holds a Bachelor of Arts and Masters of Education. He is a director of Academy Travel and leads tours to Europe, Scandinavia, the US & Australia.
Robert Veel is a cultural historian with over 20 years’ experience leading tours to Italy, the USA, Scandinavia and Turkey. He has a strong personal interest in the visual arts, architecture and music, and is a founding director of Academy Travel.
Robert holds a BA, Dip. Ed and M.Ed, all from the University of Sydney. He worked as a lecturer at the University of Sydney before a long stint at the University’s Centre for Continuing Education, lecturing in Italian history and culture and working as Assistant Director. Robert continues to teach occasionally in Continuing Education courses.
Robert’s historical and artistic knowledge stretches from the Middle Ages through the early 20th century. In Italy he has led many tours focusing on the Medieval and Renaissance periods. In the United States he likes to focus on the founding of the Republic and the Gilded Age of the early 20th century. In Scandinavia he is particularly interested in national identity and its role in Scandinavian literature, design and architecture. Robert speaks fluent Italian.
Robert led his first tour to Italy in 1990 and has not looked back! He has led more than 50 tours and designed many of Academy Travel’s most popular tours, including Sicily, New York, Rome and Venice residential tours, and our Scandinavia tours. More recently Robert led the first offering of Academy Travel’s tours to Tasmania and New Zealand.
We asked Robert, what do you enjoy most about leading tours?
“I really enjoy travelling with like-minded, interested travellers who are up for a bit of an intellectual adventure. It’s often the unexpected things that create the ‘shared joy’ of group travel”, says Robert “a wonderful, but little-known painting, a great performance or a fabulous meal. These are the things we travel for.”
“Over the years travellers have commented on my seemingly boundless enthusiasm. It’s true that I am curious about most things – people, places, history and artistic expression. There’s a kind of alchemy when this enthusiasm rubs off on others – hopefully with a bit of useful information as well!”
Academy Travel has been using the charming Hotel Al Codega for many years now. It enjoys a perfect position in the centre of the city – minutes from major attractions yet on a quiet enclosed square (a ‘corte’ in Venetian parlance) with no through foot traffic and no noise from the canals or tourists.
The hotel is small, with just 21 rooms, meaning our group will occupy the majority of the rooms. Breakfasts are very good and there is a cosy bar to enjoy an evening drink. The hotel has free wifi. Staff at the hotel are friendly.
In the immediate environs of the hotel are countless cafes and simple restaurants, as well as some of Venice’s premier establishments. La Fenice opera theatre and the church of San Vidal, where there are good concerts of baroque music almost every evening, are within easy walking distance.
Venice’s best shops are at your doorstep, but there are also supermarkets, delicatessens, fruit shops and chemists for more practical needs.
As you are staying in the hotel for 14 nights, you will quickly get a feel for the authentic local restaurants, the best coffee and gelato and other treats that elude most tourists.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.