Spring in Piedmont
Monday 23rd –Friday 27th April 2018
Monday 21st- Friday 25th May 2018
Piedmont is a country of the border lands; in Italy and yet with a strongly marked difference. Around Turin, the Alps, rising to the west in a huge embracing arc, are a constant presence. The ruling dynasty, who were originally Counts of Savoy on the French side of the mountains, became ultimately Kings of Italy.
Turin is a delight, but feels unlike other Italian cities; it is laid out in a grid pattern, a legacy from the Roman town founded in 28BC, but these elegant streets have wide colonnades, which make for very agreeable strolling and many end dramatically in a vista of snow-covered peaks. It is a city of great charm, filled with treasures; royal palaces are scattered in profusion in and just outside the city, baroque churches in equal number, a fine art gallery attached to the Royal Palace, a world class Egyptian Museum, which contains the largest collection of Egyptian antiquities outside Egypt, and, of course, the Turin Shroud, housed in the cathedral.
Outside the city there are remarkable gardens, some by Russell Page and others, including his own enchanting garden, by the great Italian designer Paolo Pejrone.
We will explore the city, some of the Royal palaces just outside and venture further into the countryside to see some wonderful gardens.
Ninfa and Gardens of the Roman Campagna
Monday 7th – Friday 11th May 2018
Rome has long exerted a magnetic fascination. From the medieval pilgrims in search of salvation, through the 18th century Grand Tourist in pursuit of pleasure and education in equal amounts, to the modern traveller in love with Italy, the lure of the city, set in the midst of the Roman Campagna, has been irresistible. Around the city, Romans since Classical times, wishing to escape the heat and bustle, have built villas and laid out enchanting gardens. The middle of the 16th Century was the heyday of the formal Italian garden, when cardinals created extravagant retreats replete with grottos and statuary, clipped evergreens, citrus trees in pots and, above all, copious flowing water. Gradually this gave way to the informal English style and the greatest of all Italian gardens. the astonishingly romantic Ninfa, was planted over 70 years at the beginning of the 20th century. Contemporary Italians are still gardening with skill and style and creating wonderful gardens to adorn the countryside around Rome.
This five-day tour is based in Frascati, a small town on the slopes of the Alban Hills, famous for its wine and the baroque villas built for their views towards Rome.