Venice, the Veneto and the undiscovered treasures of Friuli Venezia Giulia


a two-week journey through Northeast Italy combining visits to Venice and her illustrious sister cities with an exploration of the practically tourist-free region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, home to stunning archeological remains, an enchanting landscape, and remarkable food and wine.

For the first few days of your trip you enjoy accommodation in a country manor house in the rolling hills and vineyards of the Collio region in Friuli-Venezia Giulia. You lunch in family-run trattorie featuring local specialties such as polenta and visit such wonders as the spectacular 4th-century floor mosaic in the basilica at Aquileia. While in magical Venice, you stay in a small luxury hotel in a palace on a canal and take cocktail cruises down the Grand Canal in a private rented boat. En route to Verona, home of Shakespeare’s legendary lovers Romeo and Juliet, you stop in Vicenza and Padua to enjoy Italy by Design walking tours that allow you to visit the highlights and hidden treasures of the cities at your own leisure.

Now imagine taking a dip in the swimming pool of the exquisite villa just outside Verona that will be your base for the remainder or your trip, set amongst vineyards that arrive within feet of the edge of the pool. You spend the next couple days exploring Verona’s elegant historic center, where an art historian guides you through the Castelvecchio fortress which was masterfully converted into an art museum by renowned Italian architect Carlo Scarpa. You dine in the gourmet restaurant situated in the villa’s family chapel before attending the opera in Verona’s 1st-century A.D. arena. Another evening you enjoy a pre-dinner glass of Valpolicella in a winebar animated by the sing-song melody of the local dialect, and dine on local specialties in a 15th-century palace. Before returning to your country estate, you take a romantic stroll through the ancient streets, pausing to admire the painted palazzi in Piazza delle Erbe and to take in the views of the surrounding hills from the banks of the Adige river.