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Viva Venice

13th Feb 2013 by Travelsphere

Try a tour of northeast Italy that takes you from a floating city to amazing alpine peaks...

If you've never been to Venice, then you've never experienced one of the most extraordinary cities in the world. You've never been wonderfully lost in its narrow, labyrinthine streets only to discover a perfect café that you'll struggle to find again. You've never held your breath as your gondola emerges into the choppy waters of the Grand Canal and you see the famous Rialto Bridge for the first time. Built across a chain of 118 small islands, Venice is a masterpiece of medieval engineering. Its Renaissance splendour might have faded, but this fabled ‘city of canals' and 'Queen of the Adriatic', still lives up to its titles. See it with a guide before exploring on your own. Sit awhile in the Piazza San Marco with an espresso. Admire the historic Doge's Palace, then climb the Campanile for a rare view across the red-tiled rooftops. Gondola rides can be expensive, but they're worth it.

Ancient architecture

Venice is only the start of your journey… Heading west, past Padua, you reach the fair city of Verona, where Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet became tragic star-crossed lovers. It's only a short drive from here to Sirmione, a pretty peninsula that juts into the sparkling waters of the famous Lake Garda. In the opposite direction, northeast towards the city of Udine, lie the ancient ruins of Roman Aquileia and the beautiful mosaic inside its Basilica.

Alpine adventures

Travelling north, you'll discover the scenic (and far less tourist-crammed) streets and squares of Treviso. Beyond, in the shadow of the Dolomite mountains, you'll find Bassano del Grappa, a small town best known for its fiery Grappa liqueur. Bring a good camera. You'll spend a whole day here, touring the stunning alpine landscape; driving along lazily winding roads and through thick forests of spruce and silver fir, beneath the towering snow-capped peaks. No visit to this area of Italy would be complete without a stop-off in Asolo. It's a charming Italian town with mazy streets, picturesque piazzas and grand bourgeois houses with delicate architectural frills. Asolo is known as ‘the city of a hundred horizons' and it's easy to see how it got this name. Everywhere you look, from the 13th century castle to the spectacular mountain views of Mount Grappa and the Alps beyond, inspires and delights.

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Visit Italy on the Travelsphere Venice & The Dolomites 10 day escorted holiday, new for 2013.


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