Fly to Italy, meet your tour manager and transfer to Sirmione. Your four-star hotel is set on a promontory jutting into Garda’s blue waters. Take a stroll along the shoreline, taking in your beautiful surroundings, before enjoying your first dinner at the hotel.
After a relaxed breakfast, board the coach for the first of your included tours, taken in the company of your tour manager. Explore the verdant countryside of the Riviera del Brenta, a near 25-mile route alongside a 16th-century canal built to connect the Venetian lagoon with Padua. The route is lined with some extraordinarily beautiful and ornate villas, which were once weekend homes to Venetian nobility, who travelled along the waterway by burchiello boat. Enjoy discovering renowned Villa Pisani, the Queen of the Brenta villas, and a national museum that includes a stunning fresco on the ceiling of the grand ballroom.
The day is completed with a visit to lovingly restored, fun-loving Padua, a former Roman stronghold boasting the famous Scrovegni Chapel with its Giotti frescoes. Check out the museums, great churches and colourful markets, and wander through Prato della Valle, Italy’s largest town square. Return to the hotel for dinner.
Today sees you journey into the heart of the rolling Valpolicella wine-growing area north of Verona. Take in beautiful Fumane village and visit wine-estate Costa degli Ulivi. Learn about the production of high quality wines and olive oil using natural methods and, over a delicious three-course lunch of regional specialities, sample three of the celebrated Valpolicello wines – Classico, Ripasso and most famously Amarone. Return once again to Sirmione for the evening.
After a morning at leisure, perhaps spent exploring Sirmione or visiting the 13th-century Rocca Scaligera castle on the shore, the highlight of the holiday sees you make the short journey to Verona. Lose yourself in the maze of 13th-century streets that formed the backdrop to Shakespeare’s tale of star-crossed lovers. Take a seat in a cafe in Piazza Bra, in the shadow of the great arena, to watch the world go by, or enjoy an early dinner at your leisure in one of a vast choice of restaurants and trattorie.
This evening, take your place in the amphitheatre, soaking up the atmosphere as darkness begins to fall and the stage is set for the performance of your chosen opera. Here, on warm summer nights, some of the world’s best-loved works are played out by some of its brightest talents, in front of a rapt audience drawn from all four corners of the globe. For opera buffs, enthusiastic amateurs or simply lovers of truly special occasions, a night at the Verona Opera Festival is a memorable experience to treasure forever.
Enjoy the hotel and its surroundings and spend some time relaxing in Sirmione today. Explore the shore-side lidos, attractive waterfront promenade and selection of cafes and trattorie. You’ll also enjoy a short boat trip around the Sirmione peninsula for a cruise that will take in the sights of the castle, the crumbling ruins of the Roman villas of the Grotte di Catullo and the elegant, pastel-painted villa that was once home and refuge to opera star Maria Callas.
Transfer to the airport for the return flight to the UK.
Please note: On occasions when the opera performance takes place on a Thursday (Day Five), Days Four and Five as shown will be reversed.