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A Contemporary Grand Tour

This virtual Contemporary Grand Tour begins in London, where the first two days are spent visiting various great sculpture collections and experiencing the comfortable accommodation at Claridges Hotel, cocktails at Brown’s, and dinner at The Ritz Restaurant. This episode of the Grand Tour then continues on the iconic Venice Simplon-Orient-Express train with a stopover in Paris and a two-day trip to Venice. While in Venice, guests will visit St. Mark’s Basilica, the Doge’s Palace, and the Rialto Bridge. The trip continues with a visit to several Palladian Villas in Vicenza, including Villa Capra, Villa Foscari, Villa Emo, and Villa Barbaro. Guests will travel by Orient Express, private car, Le Frecciarossa Red Arrow Train, private helicopters, and charter yacht down the Amalfi Coast from Rome to Naples to view the sights of ancient Rome. You will be staying in the finest hotels and dining in the most fabulous restaurants that each city has to offer. This is the basic outline of the trip, which can of course be extended. 

 

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ITINERARY

Day 1-2: 

London -Arrive at Claridges Hotel, London for a luxurious start to the tour – While in London, you may want to visit the great collections at the Wallace Collection, The Victoria and Albert Museum, Sir John Soanes Museum, the British Museum and Tate Britain.

Claridges Hotel, London
Claridges Hotel, London
London is home to some of the most impressive 18th and 19th century grand tour sculpture collections in the world.
Here are some of the best classical sculpture collections to visit in London:
The Elgin Marbles, British Museum
The Elgin Marbles, British Museum

The British Museum: The British Museum has an extensive collection of sculptures
from ancient civilizations, including Greece, Rome, and Egypt.

The Victoria and Albert Museum: The Victoria and Albert Museum has an impressive
collection of Grand Tour sculptures.

The National Gallery: The National Gallery has an impressive collection of paintings,
including works by Peter Paul Rubens, Canaletto, and Claude Lorraine.

Tate Britain: Tate Britain has a large collection of British art, including many sculptures
from the 19th century to the present day.

The Wallace Collection: The Wallace Collection has a stunning collection of French
18th-century royal furniture and art, including sculptures by Jean-Antoine Houdon and Clodion.

Wear formal attire during the day, and elegant evening wear for drinks at Brown’s and dinner at The Ritz Restaurant.

Ladies: A floor-length gown in a rich flowing fabric such as silk or velvet, in a jewel tone such as emerald or sapphire.

Gentlemen: A well-tailored dark suit by Huntsman in a classic style, paired with a Emma Willis white dress shirt, Philippe Dufour watch, Rubinacci tie, and Gaziano Girling dress shoes.

Flambé at The Ritz Restaurant. Promethean flames before gilt river gods.
Flambé at The Ritz Restaurant. Promethean flames before gilt river gods.

Day 3:

Board the Orient Express -Board the iconic Venice Simplon-Orient-Express train in London, departing in the late morning -Enjoy a delicious lunch onboard as you travel through the beautiful English countryside and the Channel Tunnel -Experience the glamour and luxury of the golden age of travel in your private Grand Suite featuring a private bathroom, a double bed, and a separate living area, decorated in art deco style.

Photo by courtesy Belmond
Photo by courtesy Belmond
 On board the train, you will be treated to a first-class dining experience, with meals prepared by expert chefs using the freshest and most delicious ingredients. The train also has a bar car, where passengers can relax and enjoy a cocktail while taking in the stunning scenery.

The journey from London to Venice takes two days and one night, with an overnight stop in Paris. Along the way, passengers will pass through picturesque countryside, rolling hills, and majestic mountains, with views of historic towns and villages. -Dress for the occasion with smart attire for lunch and formal evening wear for dinner.

Ladies: When traveling on the Orient Express, it is recommended for a lady to wear elegant and comfortable clothing. For dinner on the Orient Express, a lady may want to dress up a bit more. A cocktail dress is ideal. It’s also a good idea to bring a shawl or jacket in case the dining car is chilly. For footwear, dressy flats or heels would be appropriate. Wear your Chanel diamond and pearl necklace with matching earings. 

Gentlemen: For dinner on the Orient Express, gentlemen are expected to dress formally. A tuxedo or dark suit by Huntsman Savile Row with a tie is appropriate. Wear your GMT Master Rolex to keep an eye on the time. 

 

Matterhorn from Zermatt
Matterhorn from Zermatt
Hotel Cipriani
Hotel Cipriani

Day 4:

Arrive in Venice -After a comfortable night’s sleep on the serene art deco train, wake up to stunning views of the Swiss Alps and Italian countryside -Enjoy breakfast in your cabin or in the restaurant car as you travel towards Venice. -Disembark in Venice mid-afternoon and transfer to your hotel – You will be staying at the Belmond Hotel Cipriani for a special Venetian experience –

Visit St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice, you will see one of the most famous and magnificent examples of Byzantine architecture in the world. The interior of the basilica is adorned with beautiful mosaics, marble columns, and intricate carvings. You can also see the famous bronze horses that once stood at the Hippodrome of Constantinople, now on display in the basilica’s museum.

View of St Mark's Square, Venice. Canaletto
View of St Mark’s Square, Venice. Canaletto

Next, visit the Doge’s Palace, where you will see an impressive Gothic-style palace that was once the seat of power in the Venetian Republic. You can explore the various rooms and halls of the palace, including the grandiose Sala del Maggior Consiglio, where the Great Council of Venice used to meet. You can also visit the various Scuola and numerous churches with paintings by Tintoretto and Titian.

Two "sandolisti" (sandal is a typical boat in Venice) pull out with clients on board from a row of gondolas on the Grand Canal near Rialto Bridge.
Two “sandolisti” (sandal is a typical boat in Venice) pull out with clients on board from a row of gondolas on the Grand Canal near Rialto Bridge.

As you make your way to the Rialto Bridge, you will cross the Grand Canal, the main waterway of Venice. The Rialto Bridge, painted on numerous occasions by Canaletto, is one of the most famous landmarks in Venice and is known for its unique design and beautiful views of the canal. You can also visit the Rialto Market, where you can see vendors selling fresh produce, seafood, and other local goods.

Finally, the Grand Canal itself is a sight to behold. You can take a boat ride along the canal and see the beautiful Venetian palaces, churches, and other buildings that line its shores. You can also see the famous gondolas, which are a symbol of Venice, as they glide along the canal.

-Wear smart casual attire during the day, and smart attire for dinner with Kent, Haste and Lachter sports jacket, Budd Shirt makers, with a pair of Charvet cufflinks. Arrive by boat from the hotel at the Ristorante Da Ivo, a well-known Venetian restaurant. It is a popular spot known for its traditional Venetian cuisine and welcoming atmosphere. The restaurant is located in the San Polo district of Venice and is known for its seafood dishes, including the famous Spaghetti alla Busara.

Day 5-6:

Villa Capra "La Rotonda" in Vicenza. One of Palladio's most influential designs
Villa Capra “La Rotonda” in Vicenza. One of Palladio’s most influential designs

Palladian Villas -Travel by private car from Venice to Vicenza, visiting

Villa Capra (La Rotonda) – located in Vicenza, Italy, this villa is one of Palladio’s most famous works. Its symmetrical design and central dome have inspired many later architects.

Villa Foscari (La Malcontenta) – located in Venice, Italy, this villa is situated on the banks of the Brenta river. It is known for its unique design, which incorporates elements of both classical and Gothic architecture.

Villa Emo – located in Fanzolo di Vedelago, Italy, this villa is known for its beautiful frescoes and intricate decoration. It is one of Palladio’s best-preserved villas.

Villa Barbaro – located in Maser, Italy, this villa is known for its frescoes by the Italian painter Paolo Veronese. It is also notable for its unique blend of classical and rustic styles.

Villa Badoer – located in Fratta Polesine, Italy, this villa is one of Palladio’s most experimental designs. It features an asymmetrical facade and a unique central courtyard.

-Stay at the Hotel Villa Michelangelo for a relaxing stay -Hotel Villa Michelangelo is a luxurious 5-star hotel located in the hills of Vicenza. The hotel features elegant rooms and suites, a gourmet restaurant, a spa, and stunning views of the surrounding landscape. – Wear smart casual Bel y Cia attire during the day, and formal attire for dinner.

Day 7-8:

Milan -Travel by Le Frecciarossa from Vicenza to Milan, The Frecciarossa (Red Arrow) is a high-speed train operated by Trenitalia that runs between Venice and Milan in Italy. It is one of the fastest and most convenient ways to travel between these two cities. -Stay at the Four Seasons Hotel Milano for a historical stay. The hotel is situated in a 15th-century convent that has been restored and renovated to offer modern amenities while retaining its historic charm.

Le Frecciarossa
Le Frecciarossa
Four Seasons Hotel Milano
Four Seasons Hotel Milano
Milan Cathedral, Piazza del Duomo
Milan Cathedral, Piazza del Duomo

– Places to visit

Milan Cathedral, also known as the Duomo di Milano, is a stunning Gothic cathedral located in the heart of Milan. Some of the must-see features of the cathedral include:

      1. The rooftop terrace: From here, you can get breathtaking views of the city skyline, including the Alps in the distance.
      2. The interior: The interior of the cathedral is equally impressive, with intricate stained glass windows, beautiful marble floors, and detailed carvings.
      3. The Duomo Museum: This museum is located within the cathedral complex and contains many interesting artifacts related to the cathedral’s history and construction.
    Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is one of the world’s oldest shopping malls and is located right next to the Milan Cathedral. Some of the things to see here include:

        1. The stunning glass roof: The Galleria’s glass roof is a masterpiece of 19th-century engineering and is a must-see.

        2. Luxury shops: The Galleria is home to many high-end luxury shops, including Prada, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton.

        3. The Prada Foundation: Located at the southern end of the Galleria, this museum features contemporary art and architecture.

      1.  

      1.  
      Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
      Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
      Palazzo Reale
      Palazzo Reale, The Sala delle Cariatidi
      Palazzo Reale

       

      Palazzo Reale, also known as the Royal Palace of Milan, is a historic palace located just a short walk from the Milan Cathedral. Some of the things to see here include:

          1. The Sala delle Cariatidi: This room features stunning caryatids, which are columns in the form of female figures.

          2. The art collections: The Palazzo Reale contains several art collections, including the Pinacoteca del Castello Sforzesco, which features works by Leonardo da Vinci and other famous artists.

        Day 9-10:

        Lake Como -Travel by private car from Milan to Lake Como – You will be staying at the Villa d’Este for a care free and peaceful experience – Villa d’Este is a elegent hotel located in Cernobbio, a town on the shores of Lake Como in northern Italy. It was originally built in the 16th century as a summer residence for Cardinal Tolomeo Gallio, and was later transformed into a luxury hotel in 1873.

        The hotel is known for its beautiful gardens, which feature numerous fountains, statues, and terraces overlooking the lake. The villa has also hosted many famous guests over the years, including royalty, celebrities, and politicians. Today, it remains one of the most prestigious hotels in Italy, offering guests a unique blend of history, luxury, and natural beauty. -Wear light and comfortable clothing during the day, and smart casual for dinner at the Veranda prepared by executive chef Michele Zambanini.

        Villa d'Este (Cernobbio)
        Villa d’Este (Cernobbio)
        Villa d'Este Gardens, Lake Como
        Creator: Fani Kurti Copyright: © Fani Kurti

        Day 11-12:

        View of Florence
        View of Florence

         Tuscany -Travel by helicopter from Lake Como to Tuscany, -Stay at the Borgo Santo Pietro, which is a delightful five-star hotel located in the heart of the Tuscan countryside, near the town of Chiusdino.

        The hotel features 20 individually designed rooms and suites, a Michelin-starred restaurant, a spa, and extensive gardens. -Visit the beautiful Tuscan countryside and the historical cities of Siena and Florence

        Tenuta Torciano Wine Tasting
        Borgo Santo Pietro

        -Wear light and comfortable clothing during the day, and smart casual for dinner at the Saporium where you will be dining on porcini mushrooms, truffles, and roasted langoustines with the sommelier’s selection of Tuscany’s finest Chianti.

        Day 13-16:

        Rome -Travel by private helicopter from the hotel to Rome via the hilltop town of Montepulciano for lunch -Stay at the Hotel de Russie for a magnificent Italian experience Hotel de Russie is a luxury hotel located in the heart of Rome, Italy. It is known for its beautiful terraced gardens, elegant rooms, and central location.

        The hotel is situated between the Spanish Steps and Piazza del Popolo, making it an ideal location for exploring the city’s many attractions. Hotel de Russie offers a variety of amenities, including a spa, fitness center, and restaurant serving Italian cuisine. It has also hosted many famous guests over the years, including Pablo Picasso and Jean Cocteau. – While in Rome, visit the Colosseum, Vatican City, Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, and the Roman Forum.

        Hotel de Russie
        Hotel de Russie

        Watch the Carnevale parade and enjoy private viewings of the festivities -Wear festive attire for the events, and smart casual for other activities. You will be dining at the Mirabelle.

        The Hotel Mirabelle’s restaurant, which is also located on the rooftop terrace, offers a fine dining experience with exquisite Italian cuisine. The restaurant offers a stunning panoramic view of the Eternal City. The view from the Mirabelle is considered to be one of the best in Rome, as it provides a breathtaking vista of the city’s historic landmarks and beautiful skyline.

        Emerald jewels for ladies, symbols of eternity, perfect for the verdant green hills of eternal city. 

        Hotel Mirabelle's restaurant - The View
        Hotel Mirabelle’s restaurant – The View

        Day 16-24:

         Naples -Travel by private yacht from Rome to the Bay of Naples

        Yacht Charter Fleet - Faith
        Yacht Charter Fleet – Faith

         Naples -Travel by private yacht from Rome to Naples

        The Amalfi Coast is one of the most beautiful and coveted of destinations in Italy, and yachting is a great way to experience it in style.

        Some of the top spots to visit on a yacht charter along the Amalfi Coast include the picturesque town of Positano, with its pastel-colored houses and narrow streets; the charming fishing village of Praiano; and the stunning island of Capri, with its crystal-clear waters and iconic Blue Grotto.

        You can also anchor in secluded coves and enjoy a refreshing swim in the clear waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea. And when it comes to cuisine, the Amalfi Coast is renowned for its fresh seafood, homemade pasta, and delicious limoncello liqueur.

        Whether you want to relax on board your yacht and take in the stunning views, or explore the towns and villages along the coast, a yacht charter on the Amalfi Coast is sure to be an unforgettable experience. Your Patek-Philippe Aquanaut will be ideal for this opulent marine sejourn.  

        Tyrrhenian Sea, crystal-clear waters and iconic Blue Grotto
        Tyrrhenian Sea, crystal-clear waters and iconic Blue Grotto

        -On arrival in Naples you will be staying at the Grand Hotel Vesuvio for stunning views of the Bay of Naples –

        The Grand Hotel Vesuvio is one of the finest hotels in Naples, with a rich history dating back to the late 19th century. It’s known for its grand architecture, elegant furnishings, and stunning views of the Bay of Naples and Mount Vesuvius.

        There are several accommodation options to consider:

            1. The Vesuvio Suite: This is the hotel’s most elegant accommodation, featuring a spacious living room, a bedroom with a king-size bed, a marble bathroom with a Jacuzzi, and a private balcony with panoramic views of the bay.
            2. The Presidential Suite: This elegant suite has a living room, a dining room, a study, a bedroom with a king-size bed, a marble bathroom with a Jacuzzi, and a large terrace with views of the sea and Vesuvius.
            3. The Royal Suite: This opulent suite has a living room, a dining room, a study, two bedrooms with king-size beds, two marble bathrooms with Jacuzzis, and a balcony with stunning views of the bay.
          Grand Hotel Vesuvio for stunning views of the Bay of Naples
          The Lounge, Grand Hotel Vesuvio

          All of these rooms are beautifully appointed with antique furnishings, fine fabrics, and modern amenities.

          Whichever room you choose, you’re sure to enjoy your final days of this Grand Tour episode in the incredible surroundings and exceptional service at the Grand Hotel Vesuvio.

          Excavation of the Temple of Isis in Pompeii. Plate XXXI from Campi Phlegraei: Observations on the Volcanoes of the Two Sicilies’ by Sir William Hamilton (1776).
          19th century view of the Bay of Naples
          19th century view of the Bay of Naples
          On your Itinerary, you’ll be visiting the ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum, Mount Vesuvius, and the Naples National Archaeological Museum is a unique and unforgettable experience that will transport you back to ancient Roman times. Here are some of the highlights to see:

              1. Pompeii Ruins: The ruins of Pompeii, buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, offer a fascinating insight into life in an ancient Roman city. Be sure to see the Forum, the Thermal Baths, the House of the Faun, the Lupanare (brothel), and the Amphitheatre.

              2. Herculaneum Ruins: Herculaneum is another ancient Roman city that was also destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. While smaller than Pompeii, it is better preserved due to being buried in volcanic mud rather than ash. Highlights include the House of the Deer, the House of the Skeleton, and the Villa of the Papyri.

              3. Mount Vesuvius: A visit to Mount Vesuvius offers breathtaking views of the Bay of Naples and a chance to see the crater of one of the world’s most dangerous volcanoes. You can hike up to the summit with a guide, or take a bus and then hike the final stretch on your own.
              4. Naples National Archaeological Museum: The Naples National Archaeological Museum houses an incredible collection of ancient Roman artifacts, including frescoes, mosaics, and sculptures. Highlights include the Farnese Bull, the Alexander Mosaic, and the Secret Cabinet.
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