British and American tour operators take visitors to Italian gardens. The alternatives are car hire, which is easy, and public transport, which is cheap and extensive. There can be long hot queues at ticket windows in Italian stations but many stations have automatic ticket machines with instructions in several languages. They look intimidating but are surprisingly easy to use. Driving in country districts is relaxing and easy. Driving in and around the big cities of Italy can be a nightmare: heavy congestion, confusing road signs and hot tempered drivers. An air conditioned car helps.
Ninfa and the Villa Lante, departing 12th May, 2nd June, 8th September 2015
This tour includes the two best-loved gardens in Italy ( Villa d’Este
and Villa Lante
) and a charming botanical garden outside Rome (Ninfa
, pictured left - image copyright Daniele Muscetta
Tuscan Garden Tour, April 24th-29th 2015
“Once you’ve been on an Amanda Patton tour you don’t want to go on anybody else’s!”
HOPE TAFT First Lady of Ohio 1997-2007
This Tuscany garden tour features mainly private gardens of the Renaissance, Baroque and early 20th century in Lucca, Fiesole, Florence and Siena. The emphasis of the tour is not just on the aesthetics of the gardens but also the personalities who created them, from the power-hungry Medici, keen to impress, to the eccentric ex-pat Anglo-American community who bought the crumbling Renaissance villas in the early 20th century and restored them with their own interpretations of historic Tuscan gardens. This tour is personally designed and led by Chelsea award-winning garden designer Amanda Patton.
The Great Gardens of Italy, 27th April to 11th May 2015
This spring tour is for both the avid horticulturists and for those who just want to add another dimension to their Italian experience, with guided garden visits with local experts and general sightseeing as well as excellent food and wine. This tour includes the spectacular gardens of the Amalfi Coast, Rome and the gardens of Tivoli, the Renaissance gardens of Florence and Tuscany, as well as the extravagance of gardens on Lakes Como and Maggiore.
Gardens of Venice & the Veneto, 19th May to 24th May 2015
Hosted by authors Helena Attlee & Jenny Condie
The tour begins gliding across the Lagoon in a private boat to the island of Giudecca and the exclusive five-star Bauer Palladio Hotel, a 16th century palace by the famous Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio. The
following day we visit two gardens on the Giudecca and enjoy aperitifs overlooking the Grand Canal. The next day sees us enjoying lunch on a private boat as it navigates the Brenta Canal up to the five-star Hotel Due Torri in Verona. From this base we visit a fascinating variety of gardens and enjoy traditional dishes in local restaurants and as guests at a private villa.
The Land where Lemons Grow, 27th April to 2nd May 2015
By the end of April, wild flowers carpet the slopes of Mount Etna in Sicily and the scent of zagara, or citrus blossom, bludgeons its way onto the plane as soon as the doors open in Catania. This glorious perfume will lead us to groves where Sicily’s famous blood oranges grow in the shadow of Etna and to private gardens packed with ornamental citrus. Crossing the Strait of Messina to Reggio Calabria, we spend a day immersed in the unique world of bergamot in this remote and disregarded region. Our journey will take us to farms and
palaces, to a packing house and a marmalade kitchen.
Iconic Gardens of Italy from Tuscany to Ninfa, escorted from Canada, 13th to 22nd May 2015
From Florence to the gloriously romantic Ninfa Garden just south of Rome, this tour encompasses the best. Some are historic, some are revival Renaissance with a modern twist and a few are interesting curiosities; from the very public and dramatic to the personal and private ensuring a true adventure in garden exploration. With excellent hotels, this exclusive tour of only 10 guests is designed and escorted by Pat Webster – garden artist & writer in Montreal, and Julia Guest – Travel Consultant in Vancouver who together will guide you there and leave the feelings of the place to you.
COUNTRY LIFE goes to Turin, 17th to 22nd September 2015
Hosted by Helena Attlee & David Wheeler
It was here that Russell Page created some of his most famous landscapes, and his pupil Paolo Pejrone, now Italy’s best-known landscape architect and garden writer, has made his own garden. Page and Pejrone will be
a constant presence as we visit two of Page’s landscapes, enjoy Pejrone’s company at Bramafam, and visit several private gardens that he has designed. The tour will also take us to the magnificent landscapes of palaces and villas of the House of Savoy, whose rule in Piedmont spanned almost nine centuries. Here we will
find gardens and cuisine deeply influenced by France.