Day 1 - Depart U.S. / Fly overnight to Verona
Depart the U.S. for Italy. The particulars of your
arrival overseas are detailed with your flight itinerary.
Day 2 - Arrive in Verona
You arrive at the airport in Verona, Italy, where a VBT
representative will meet you and help you transfer (approximately 30 minutes) to
your centrally located hotel in Verona. The rest of the day is free to discover
and dine on your own using your VBT City Information included in your Final
Travel Booklet as a guide.
Verona is a pedestrian-friendly city. Easy strolling allows
you to enjoy the city's large, quiet, pedestrian-only streets and plazas,
the gentle flow of the river Adige and the city's attractive and fashionable
population. The entire city has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site,
making it a favorite for history buffs and shoppers alike. Its most famous
monument, the Arena—so well preserved, it is used today for unforgettable
opera and theater performances—is the third-largest amphitheater in the
world. During your stay, you might visit
the purported houses of Juliet and her famed, fictional suitor, Romeo. Their
sad story made famous by William Shakespeare was set here. Explore the Palace
of Reason, the lively medieval squares of Piazza Brà and Piazza delle Erbe, or
the fine art gallery housed in the Castelvecchio fortress.
If you are visiting from mid-June to the end of August,
don't miss the opera performances in the Roman Arena, a very short walk from
our hotel. A little tip: local opera lovers say the best seats (particularly
for acoustics) are the very affordable “Unreserved Stone Steps in Sectors D or
E (Gradinata D or E).” You can buy these right before the performance at the ticket
office or—best—in advance online at www.arena.it/en-US/HOMEen.html
An open-air opera in the Arena is an unforgettable experience.
Please note: If you arrive early, your hotel room may not be
available until 2:00 pm. You may store your luggage with the reception desk.
Please note: VBT transfer times and departure points are
finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you fly
in earlier than the scheduled program dates, transportation from the airport
will be at your own expense.
Day 3 - Meet Trip Leaders / Warm-up ride / Welcome reception
VBT No-Air Package guests: Meet your fellow travelers and
Trip Leaders at 12:00 pm at our hotel in Verona (Hotel Giberti, via Giberti 7,
Verona; Tel: +39 045 800 6900). They will give a short overview of the day
ahead and provide tips for lunch on your own in the city.
If your arrival at the hotel is scheduled later than 12:00 pm, or if you are delayed, please contact the hotel, and they will pass
your message along to your VBT Trip Leaders. In the event of delays, please see the section “For Travel-Related Emergencies.” VBT highly recommends flying to
Italy at least one day before the tour begins. This allows you to rest and
recover from jet lag before you begin sightseeing and cycling.
VBT Air Package and Pre-Extension guests: Meet your fellow
travelers and Trip Leaders at 12:00 pm at our hotel in Verona. They will give a short overview of the day
ahead and provide tips for lunch on your own in the city. Check out is 11:00 am;
you may store your luggage at the reception desk. Luggage will be picked up when we
leave the hotel at 3:00 pm. You will be able to access it if you need it before then.
Our group gathers again at 2:00 pm. Please be ready in your
biking clothes for a safety clinic and warm-up ride. You can change clothes at
the hotel, if you wish. We will cycle country roads and riverside bike paths to the delightful lake village of Lazise and our luxurious hotel on
Lake Garda. This evening, we get acquainted over a welcome cocktail reception and dinner.
Day 4 - Peschiera / Borghetto / Monzambano
Our morning route leaves the shore and rises through scenic
vineyards and fields, offering picturesque views of Lake Garda. From Peschiera,
we follow a scenic bike path along the river Mincio en route to Monzambano, where we ride over the low hills of southern Garda. We make a stop in Lombardy to have lunch at a local winery, where
we can savor specially prepared local specialties and taste some of the wines
for which the area is so well known.
In the afternoon, we pedal to the village of Borghetto, acclaimed as one of the “100 quaintest villages of Italy” by the Italian guidebook “I Borghi più Belli d'Italia.” And after a short visit we follow an easy bike path back to Peschiera. From there you can opt to shuttle or continue all the way to our hotel.
Back at the hotel, you might indulge in the outdoor swimming
pool, the wellness center, explore the gardens, or take a stroll in town.
Dinner tonight is on your own. You'll find many options in
Lazise, where memorable restaurants line the lakefront.
Day 5 - The Berici Hills
This morning a shuttle takes us in the heart of the Berici
Hills, a group of high limestone hills southwest of Vicenza. Interspersed among
the hills are thick forests, rolling vineyards, and high cliffs dotted with
caves once inhabited by prehistoric man—including the San Bernardino caves,
where Neanderthals found refuge more than 200,000 years ago. The romantic Palladian
villas of the 16th century also adorn this beautiful landscape.
We set off on the Wine Route of the Berici Hills, following
a rolling course through picturesque villages dotted with elegant villas. Some
of these have been converted into working farms, while others are fine restored
mansions, preserved as unique examples of Italy's cultural heritage.
One of the beautiful villas that we encounter on our way is the setting of our picnic lunch and oil tasting. The villa was originally the home of the Italian scholar and explorer Antonio Pigafetta, the very first one to complete the circumnavigation of the world between 1519 and 1522 during the expedition with the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan. It is today still inhabited by a countess. Partly built with the local Vicenza stone, and decorated with fine frescoes, it is one of the finest examples in style and magnificence of local villas.
Later in Nanto, we stop at the showroom of a major local limestone
extracting and processing factory to admire and learn more about this soft stone used once to create fine monuments, and today floors, bathtubs and
various artifacts. Architect Andrea Palladio so prized
this stone, he used it to build prestigious mansions, such as the Kodak Theatre
of Los Angeles.
Later we arrive at our elegant hotel, Villa Michelangelo,
set in a private manicured garden with sweeping views of the Berici Hills.
Perhaps you'll take a refreshing dip in the large swimming pool surrounded by
olive trees before indulging in the refined cuisine at the hotel restaurant
Day 6 - Vicenza and the Villas of Andrea Palladio, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Rolling hills and an easy bike path along the Bacchiglione River take us today to Vicenza
and its many treasures. Our local guide meets us at the beautiful Piazza dei Signori
to show us some of the most beautiful buildings by Andrea Palladio, a
16th-century architect who became famous as the first person to recognize
villas as an economical, healthy and beautiful place to live and work. This
concept was ahead of its time, and the villas he created have earned
recognition from UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
Our tour starts at the superb Basilica and continues to the
Olympic Theater, one of the last of Palladio's works and one of the only three
Renaissance theaters still remaining in Italy. Lunch is on your own in Vicenza, a
bike-friendly city that you will love for its small size and bustling heart.
Later, take time to relax in our hotel library and elegant common
rooms, before taking a short shuttle tonight to our dinner venue: a working
country farm where olive and wine, cereals, fruit and vegetables are grown on
13 hectares (32 acres) of land, extensively covered with chestnut and oak
trees. We'll enjoy a cooking class by chef Davide Pauletto before our dinner there.
Day 7 - Marostica / Bassano del Grappa
Today we leave Vicenza to cycle on easy, flat country roads
past farms and rural areas in the northern part of the Veneto region. Our
destination is Bassano del Grappa, a lively and historic city in the foothills
of Mount Grappa.
We pause briefly for lunch en route in Marostica, a medieval
walled town whose very unique square was designed as a chessboard.
Then continue cycling to Bassano, walking over the symbol of
the city: it's “Ponte Vecchio”—a covered wooden bridge designed by Palladio.
As we pass by the historic Grapperia Nardini distillery, located here since
1779, we know we are at today's finish line.
Settle into our centrally located hotel, and enjoy time to
stroll this beautiful little city. Later, visit the Poli Grappa Museum to taste
grappa and learn about this popular Italian distillate.
Dinner is on your own tonight; you'll find plenty of options
in the city.
Day 8 - Valsugana biking path
We start the day with a shuttle to approximately 1,300 feet (396
meters) up the verdant mountains of the Trentino region to Lake Caldonazzo.
From there a scenic route, mostly a paved biking path along the Brenta River,
takes us back to our hotel in Bassano. As we descend along the valley, admire
an ever-shifting landscape of apple trees, vineyards and narrow gorges and
canyons. Picturesque villages like Borgo Valsugana on our way invite us to take
a refreshing break.
Back in Bassano tonight, we have time for a last stroll
before our festive farewell dinner in a local restaurant on the river banks.
Day 9 - Transfer to Venice / VBT No-Air Package ends
VBT No-Air Package guests: your tour ends this morning after
breakfast. You can take a taxi on your own to the Bassano train station to
return to Verona. A taxi ride to the train station only takes a few minutes and
costs approximately 10 euro/$14 USD. If you prefer, you can travel with the rest of the group to the Venice docks. Our private motor coach will drop you off at the Venice docks on the mainland. You will be arriving at approximately 10:00 am. If you wish to continue into Venice proper, you will need to take one of the following modes of private or public transportation:
ALILAGUNA hydrofoil to St. Mark's Square takes 1 hour and the ticket costs 15 euro. The stop is next to the private water taxi stop.
Public Bus #5 from the bus terminal (a 10 minute walk from our coach drop off point). Ticket costs 6 euro and the ride takes 30 minutes. Or take a private ATVO bus that takes about 20 minutes and leaves from the bus terminal as well. All the buses stop at Piazzale Roma, very close to the Santa Lucia railway station.
VBT Air Package guests: After breakfast, we say goodbye to
our Trip Leaders and board our private motorcoach to Venice. We will
arrive by bus at the Venice airport docks, one of only two city gates
accessible to car traffic. There, a local guide will welcome us and help us
board a private water taxi that will take us to our centrally located hotel. Be
prepared to carry your luggage for a very short way. At the hotel, the guide will
be available to answer your questions and help you prepare to explore the city
on own. She will also offer an optional city walk, the cost of which will be
shared among those participating. You have the rest of the day to explore
Day 10 - Depart for U.S.
Early this morning*, transfer to Venice airport for your
flight back to the U.S. Be prepared for an early transfer by private motorboat
to the Venice airport docks. VBT recommends that you check the transfer time in
your “Transfer Reminder” the night before your flight. The transfer is
prearranged and prepaid by VBT**.
*Please note: For guests with early-morning departures,
breakfast at the hotel may not be available. Please check with the front desk to
verify the times that breakfast is served.
**Please note: VBT transfer times and departure points are
finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you
extend your stay beyond the scheduled program dates, return transportation to the
airport will be at your own expense.