CHRISTMAS IN VENICE
DECEMBER 18 - 27, 2011
* LUXURY * COMFORT * RELAXATION * ART * ROMANCE
* ADVENTURE *
Venice....The name immediately conjures up images
of people and buildings, shimmering through a light, golden mist, half
hidden, half submerged, real and yet fantasy! There is only one Venice
and its uniqueness has provided inspiration for countless painters, writers,
musicians, romantics, architects, photographers, and playwrights.
To walk in Venice and observe the way the sun and the moonlight reflects
on its canals and the way its buildings and sculptures catch the light
and shadow is to risk acquiring a lifelong obsession. For centuries
Venice has formed our concepts of romance, enchantment, beauty, art, pleasure,
and decadence. Our deluxe program is designed for people who hate
tours and the summer tourist "scene", but who love art, beauty, architecture,
history, photography, and the unusual. Our experts present information
as a conversation or talk between intelligent, inquisitive adults.
We have chosen a very special time of the year when Venice is devoid of
tourists and when the famous early winter light works its magic on the
city/water/landscape. Our itinerary is arranged so that you may choose
to either participate or pursue your own interests. Our hotel is within
easy access of museums, palaces, restaurants and the water boats.
Upon your arrival in Venice you'll feel right at home surrounded by warm,
friendly people who share your passion for Venice and adventure. You'll
greatly expand your knowledge of art, architecture, culture, and history
while enjoying your luxurious accommodations. Our guides have devoted many
years to discovering the hidden treasure of Venice so you can relax and
enjoy the cultural experience of a lifetime.
|Departure from USA to Venice, Italy.
|Upon our arrival in Venice we'll
board a vaporetto (boat) to view the many lavish, moonlight palaces along
the Grand Canal on our way your luxury hotel. After some relaxation you’ll
be ready for a special 'Welcome Banquet". After dinner stroll through
romantic San Marco Square, dazzling and beautiful in the lamplight, then
perhaps choose one of the cafes for an expresso or glass of wine.
|Our morning begins with a visit to
the greatest of all Venetian palaces, the Palazzo Ducale, seat of the Doge
(ruler) and political power since the 9th century. The exterior of
the palace is essentially Gothic, however the interior is largely late
Renaissance due to disastrous fires in 1574 and 1577. After ascending
the fine marble, Renaissance staircase surrounded by sculptures of Mars
and Neptune, you'll admire the refined rooms and the paintings of great
masters who decorated them. Astounding paintings by Veronese, Bellini,
Titian, Carpaccio and Tintoretto line the walls and ceilings. This
wealth of painting reaches its climax with the enormous "Paradise", one
of Tintoretto's greatest works, said to contain over 1000 figures!
You'll marvel at the view from the second floor loggia with its sweepings
vistas of the St. Marks Square, the lagoon, the Isle of San Giorgo and
on a clear day, the snow covered Italian Alps. Next you’ll cross from the
main palace over the “Bridge of Sighs?to the still very spooky dungeons.
Late afternoon is reserved for Christmas shopping, but first you’ll visit
an authentic mask studio where several of the mask artists will explain
the history and meaning of this delightful art form. Discover how it feels
to disguise yourself as Leonardo or Zeus! Tonight enjoy some of Venice's
famous nightlife with a visit to the casino to try your hand at roulette
or blackjack or join the revelry at one of the many distinguished jazz
or wine bars.
|This morning you'll visit the Venetian
equivalent of Michealangelo's Sistine Chapel, the rarely visited, Scuola
San Rocco Grande where Tintoretto spent 24 years painting the walls and
ceilings with splendid works depicting the life of Christ. “a flash, a
clap, indeed even a thunderbolt which has struck all the loftiest heights
of painting?nbsp; was how the art historian, Marco Boschini described
these works upon first seeing them in 1660! Here Tintoretto’s paintings
display daring invention and an extraordinary use of light/dark interplay.
Adjacent to the scuola is the Church of San Rocco containing eight more
Tintoretto masterpieces. Both the scuola and the church are resplendent
from their recent cleaning. A two minute walk brings us to the Frari (Santa
Maria Gloriosa) Cathedral and monastery complex. This enormous Gothic-Renaissance
church contains so many masterful paintings and sculptures that it is almost
a museum! You will find paintings by Bellini, (Madonna Enthroned and Child
with Saints) maybe Bellini’s finest painting, Donatello, Vivarini, Titian
(Our Lady of the Assumption ) and Tintoretto.
|First we’ll visit the overwhelming
Baroque, illusionist ceiling of the Cathedral of San Pantalon, then stroll
among the Venetians at one of the city’s most lively outdoor markets, the
Campo San Margaretta. Colorful fish mongers hawk their silvery wares, while
amongst this den of noise and activity, the greengrocers try to out scream
each other about the superiority of their lush vegetables. Next you’ll
see the obscure Cathedral and Scuola of San Carmine where Tiepolo created
some of his loveliest and greatest works. You’ll ascend the flamboyant
cherub packed stairwell to the upper story where the ceiling dance and
sing with playfully colored paintings. Next door, we’ll visit the Cathedral
of San Carmine, famous for its harmony of sculpture and painting. Next
check the Christmas offerings at some of Venice's most trendy designer
stores on our way to the Early Renaissance facade of San Zaccaria.
This church contains an abundance of important works by Bellini, Tintoretto
and VaIvarini. A brief visit down into the eerie, ancient crypt will
quickly explain why it is rarely used today.
|This morning tour will will guide
you through the greatest collection of Venetian paintings in the world
at the Accademia Museum. You'll see Giorgione's mysterious "The Tempest"
which still casts its hypnotic spell on viewers and several other rare
works by this fascinating painter. Masterpieces by Titian, Veneziano, Mantegna,
Tintoretto, Bellini and Veronese's controversial painting, "Feast in the
House of Levi". You’ll marvel at the exacting details in Carpaccio’s complete
cycle of paintings illustrating the Story of St. Ursula. Next you’ll visit
the enchanting palace-museum of the American, Peggy Guggenheim, who spent
her entire life collecting the best art of the first half of the 20th century.
Afterwards we’ll browse the museum bookstore then linger over coffees in
the museum cafe. The narrow streets surrounding these two museums hosts
a large number of private art galleries, handmade paper shops and antique
curio sellers which should not be missed. Our gala evening culminates with
a Vivaldi concert performed in original costumes and on original instruments
in the very cathedral where Vivaldi was choirmaster! As you listen to the
glorious notes of Vivaldi’s music, you eyes can explore one of Tiepolo’s
most ostentatious paintings, The Glory of Paradise, located in the cathedral
|This morning we are joined by an
expert Jewish guide who will take us to the historic center of the Jewish
'Ghetto' (the term 'ghetto' was derived from the Venetian word, 'geto',
meaning foundry). Beginning in the 15th century the Jewish community established
their beautiful synagogues. When the Jews were expelled from Spain (1492)
and Portugal (1497) many came to Venice and established their own synagogues,
each with distinctive rites and rituals. You’ll enjoy the intelligence
and humor of our special Jewish guide who will escort you through the synagogues
and the museum. Then free time to prepare for your special evening. Tonight
we’ll feast upon a six course traditional Venetian Christmas dinner served
in the sumptuous setting of the Danieli Renaissance Palace. Our chefs will
prepare mouth watering Venetian dishes complimented by special, non-exported,
regional Venetian wines. Our Penthouse Dining Room overlooks the Grand
Canal aglow with Christmas lights. After dinner join the Venetian at the
1000 year old San Marco Basilica, resplendent in its Christmas decor, for
the glorious pageantry of High Midnight Mass.
|This morning we will sleep in. Then
later in the afternoon we'll cruise through the lagoon to the picturesque
island of Burano. This village of brightly colored houses bathed in the
sunlight has always attracted painters and photographers. What a great
opportunity to take some prize winning photographs! Burano is known
for its lacemaking that as an art form began in the 15th century. Lacemaking
is extremely exacting work requiring very high skill, is boringly repetitive,
and takes an enormous toll on the eyesight. Each woman specializes in a
particular stitch and so each piece is passed from woman to woman during
|In the morning you’ll stroll through
narrow streets to the amazing Church of S Maria d. Miracola, newly restored
to its former magnificence; then we move on to the Cathedral of San Giovanni
& Paolo. Here you’ll view the Chapel of the Rosario with its odd and
beautiful Egypto-Deco ceiling painted by Veronese. Next you’ll visit the
rarely seen Church of the Down and Out; its facade is fascinating with
grotesque masks, comical figures and anguished figures. Next we move down
the Grand Canal to the Ca?d’Oro (Palace of Gold) so named because the
fantastic Gothic Flamboyant style facade of the palace was gilded in 24
carat gold. The just completed restoration reveals many of the original
frescoes, art objects and furnishings that were used by the Bon family
in the 15th century. This evening you'll conclude your Venetian adventure
with a climatic, wildly extravagant and masked (optional) farewell dinner.
| Morning transfer to the airport
to board your flight back home. (in-flight meals)
PROGRAM PACKAGE INCLUDES
Portage of one pieces of luggage.
Luxury 5 Star hotel
Special Welcome Banquet and Farewell Dinner.
Traditional Christmas dinner at the Danieli Palace.
All 5 Star lavish breakfasts
Baroque Vivaldi Concert
Jewish Ghetto excursion + guest expert
All taxes and Service Fees
The services of expert guides.
ADMISSION FEES TO
* Accademia Museum * Frari Cathedral * San Marco
Basilica * San Carmini Cathedral * Guggenheim Museum * Palace Rezzonico
* Ca’D’Oro (Palace of Gold) * Ducal Palace * Scuola San Rocco Grande *
Baroque Vivaldi Concert * San Pantalon Cathedral * Church of the Down &
Out * Scuola of San Carmine * Church of S. Maria d. Miracoli * San Zaccaria
Cathedral & Crypt * Museum Correr * San Giovanni & Paolo Cathedral
* Mask Studio
NOT INCLUDED IN PROGRAM
* Tour and trip cancellation insurance * Airport
taxes and US customs and departure fees * Tips for guides and coach drivers
* items of peronal nature * meals not listed in itineray.
PRICE PER PERSON IN DOUBLE
is $3385 plus international air fare. The single supplement is $ 1580.
Note that single rooms in all Venetian hotels are small by American standards.
To maintain the highest quality and comfort,
this tour is limited to only 16 participants. Please send your $400 deposit
early to avoid disappointment, as this program - now in its seventh year
- has always filled very quickly.