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Private Dolomities Tour
Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat
Venice Piazzale Roma, more details at booking
Meet your driver to begin your private, full day excursion to the awe-inspiring Dolomite Mountains.
The Dolomites, as they are more commonly referred, are a mountain range in the northern region of Italy, part of the Eastern Alps. Their name stems from the minerals that compose it, which give the mountains a light pink and coral color when the sun sets.
Your first stop will be Misurina, passing via the scenic Auronzo di Cadore (alt. 1759m / 5770ft). There, you will be able to admire Lake of Misurina, the largest natural basin of the Cadore region. Walking around the lake, you will be able to spot several summits: to the north are the “Tre Cime di Lavaredo”, to the east the “Cadini”, and to the south the “Marmarole” and the “Srapiss”. After your visit to Misurina, you will continue to Cortina via the “Passo Tre Croci” (1805m).
Cortina, the capital of the Dolomites, is a winter sports and summer resort with an international reputation. Set in the heart of the Dolomites at an altitude of 1210m / 4000ft, Cortina is one of the best spots to enjoy the magnificent mountain scenery. While you are here, we suggest an excursion to the “Tofana di Mezzo”, the third highest peak in the Dolomites. It is accessible by a cable car which climbs to 3244m / 10 643ft and offers a superb panorama over the surrounding mountains. While in Cortina, you will have some time to get lunch. If you wish, the driver can suggest a restaurant.
After lunch you leave Cortina to drive along the “Passo Giau” where you will reach an altitude of 2233m/7382ft. From this height, you will have a breathtaking view of the surrounding mountains. On the opposite side of the steep road, you will continue to Selva di Cadore, Zoldo Alto and Longarone.
At the end of the excursion, you will be on the highway, bound back for Venice.
– Round trip transportation with private car
– Expert English speaking driver and guide
– Visit of Cortina
– Visit of Lake Misurina
– visit of Selva di Cadore
– Dolomities Landscapes
– Lake Misurina
– Cortina d’Ampezzo
– Passo Giau
– Selva di Cadore
– Confirmation will be received at time of booking
– Voucher and detailed operator information, including local emergency numbers will be received three weeks before the date of your tour.
– Adult pricing applies to all travelers.
– The dress code for men and women is strictly enforced in Churches. No shorts, bare shoulders or miniskirts.
Piazzale Roma, Venice. More details at booking.
Piazzale Roma, Venice.
Veneto Hill Towns
The Villa Barbaro, also known as Villa di Maser, is located on the foot of the Asolo Hills about 50 km from Venice. The villa was designed by the great Italian architect Andrea Palladio in 1560. Although its model is close to resurgent Roman villas like Villa Giulia or Villa d'Este in Tivoli, Palladio managed to combine the elegance of a summer villa with the practicality of a farm, seamlessly connecting the service area to the main building with large arcades. The artist Paolo Veronese decorated the interior with many influential frescoes while Alessandro Vittoria contributed stunning stucco decorations and several sculptures. The villa was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. Today, it is at the center of an agricultural holding known mainly for the production of wine named after the villa.
Things to see
The Barbaro family ordered the construction of this villa in the mid-1500s. Over the years, the villa passed on to the Trevisan family and later to the Basadonna family from whom Lodovico Manin, the last Doge of Venice, came from. The villa fell into disrepair during the early 19th century but was eventually bought and renovated by wealthy industrialist Sante Giacomelli. During the First World War, the villa was occupied by Italian forces who used it as headquarters and outpost. In 1934, the villa was purchased by Giuseppe Volpi di Misurata who continued to restore it; his descendants still live there today.
Andrea Palladio also built the Tempietto Barbaro, a small church that served both the villa and the nearby village of Maser. It is a compact domed structure with a temple front reminiscent of the Pantheon in Rome, two small bell towers prefacing the dome. It is likely that the church faced a small plaza which has long since been paved over.
Another particular feature of the Villa Barbaro is the Nymphaeum located behind it. These large monuments are typical of Roman gardens and were originally dedicated to the local water nymphs. The one at Villa Barbaro is decorated with several statues and frames a spring water fishpond.
Designed and built in the mid 16th century by the Italian architect Andrea Palladio, Villa Emo is one of Palladio’s best works and a countryside jewel. In fact, it was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996, along with Villa Barbaro, another of Palladio’s edifices.
Located in the lush Veneto region of Italy, some 40 km from Venice, Villa Emo is a simple yet elegant union of summer palace and working farm. Devoid of embellishments on the outside, conversely the interior is richly decorated with frescoes by the late Renaissance artist Giovanni Battista Zelotti. These frescoes celebrate mythological scenes as well as agricultural life, noble virtues, family and fertility.
Bassano del Grappa
Bassano del Grappa is a modest town in the Veneto region, located north of Venice and built between the foothills of the Venetian Prealps and the bank of the Brenta River. The 16th century painter Jacopo Bassano lived, worked and died in this town, even adopting its name as his own. Bassano del Grappa is also famous for the invention of the Grappa, a strong, pomace-derived spirit traditionally enjoyed after dinner as a digestif.
Bassano was founded as an agricultural estate in the 2nd century BC by a Roman called Bassianus, who then gave his name to the city. Over the centuries it flourished thanks to trade and its industry of wool, silk and metals. Its history remains relatively quiet up until the French Revolutionary Wars, when the town because the site of the Battle of Bassano in 1796. Napoleon Bonaparte is said to have remained in Bassano del Grappa for many months.
Again, Bassano became the site of more, violent battles during World War I; many soldiers lost their lives on the nearby Mount Grappa. Originally called Bassano Veneto, the town changed its name in 1928 to Bassano del Grappa in honor of the dead soldiers. Interestingly, several American authors spent time in Bassano during the war, including Scott Fitzgerald, John Dos Passos and Ernest Hemingway. The latter settled in the town for a time and wrote his novel “A Farewell to Arms” based on his experiences.
Bassano offers several lovely sights and historical attractions, such as the Duomo Santa Maria in Colle, a cathedral built in the early 2nd century and later renovated in a more Baroque style. It is the oldest cathedral in the town and boasts a collection of works by Leandro da Bassano, Ottavio Marinali and other artists. The Church of St. Francis, built in the 13th century in the Romanesque-Gothic style, rises above Piazza Garibaldi. Within are 14th and 15th century frescoes, including “The Crucifixion” by Guariento di Arpo. Nearby is the civic museum which hosts a collection of archeological artifacts as well as various works of art by Jacopo Bassano, Antonio Canova, Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Albrecht Dürer.
Finally, there is the Ponte Vecchio or Ponte degli Alpini, a covered wooden bridge that spans the Brenta River. It was designed by the architect Andrea Palladio in 1569 to replace a pre-existing medieval bridge. The bridge was destroyed many times, the last time occurring during World War II.
Marostica, also known as the “City of Chess”, is a small town in the Veneto region, located north-west of Venice. It is best known for its medieval-themed living chess festival and cherry festival.
Two castles, Castello Superiore and Castello Inferiore, guard the town and surrounding area. These castles, referred together as “Castello di Marostica”, were built in the early 14th century although the construction of the wall that connects them did not begin until later that century.
Castello Superiore, a large square building with four small corner towers and one large central one, stands on the hill above the town. Castello Inferiore, on the other hand, is a smaller square structure that guards the city’s walled gates. Directly in front of Castello Inferiore is the Piazza degli Scacchi (Chess Square), a square plaza built after World War II and tiled to look like a giant chessboard.
Things to see
Every evenly numbered year, Marostica holds a particular event where a huge chess game is played out with living pieces, including real knights on horseback. This tradition stems from a play written by Mario Mirko Vucetich in the early 20th century about an event that supposedly occurred in 1454, wherein two noblemen fell in love the daughter of a local Lord and came to quarrel. The two wished to duel, as was the custom, but the Lord forbade it, decreeing instead that they play a chess game where the winner would earn his daughter’s hand in marriage. This game was organized in the plaza, where supporters from each nobleman’s family served as the chess pieces. Although the story is fictional, Marostica reenacts the chess battle in its chequered square every September falling on an even numbered year.
Between May and June Marostica hosts the Cherry Festival, which dates back to 1933 and where the local harvest of cherries is celebrated with tastings, competitions and other events.
Also known as “The City of a Hundred Horizons”, Asolo is a small town located in the Veneto region. It is considered one of the nicest cities in Italy thanks to its culture, architecture and of course, fine cuisine. Surrounded by a rampart, Asolo is built around a hill with the fortress La Rocca erected on top, overlooking the whole town. Old houses and narrow medieval streets with arches are the main components of the city.
Thanks to the Alps, Asolo enjoys a mild climate, best enjoyed with a walk through its historical streets, passing under arches, or by visiting one of its many gardens and villas. This small city has always attracted artists, poets, writers and singers, inspired by its charm. For instance the author Pietro Bembo wrote “Gli Asolani”, which makes a few references to Asolo, while the poet Robert Browning bought Villa Cipriani in 1889 and briefly lived in Asolo until his passing.
Visitors can explore the medieval fortress on top of the hill and continue their visit to the Civic Museum. Another interesting place to explore is the Castle of Queen Caterina Cornaro (the queen of Cyprus between 1474 and 1489). She stayed in this castle with her court during the 15th century and it later became her official residence. As the years passed, the castle of Queen Caterina Cornaro became the symbol of the Asolan countryside. Three of its four towers still stand today.
Finally, a visit in Asolo is not complete without stopping in one of its restaurant to enjoy a delicious Italian meal accompanied by tasty wines from the area such as the Asolo Prosecco Superiore, a dry yet sparkling white wine.
In the heart of the Dolomite Mountains, in a quiet valley, can be found a small city named Cortina. This city is the capital of the Dolomites, an area located in the north Veneto; it is only 44 kilometers away from the Austrian border. Cortina d’Ampezzo, as it is formally called, is situated in the province of Belluno, 1210 meters above sea level.
Considered to be one of the Dolomites’ treasures, Cortina is well known for its VIP tourists and its luxury hotels. The city has a lovely ancient city center while the main street, called Corso Italia, is composed of several luxury shops. While Cortina is traditionally an elegant and trendy ski resort, it is also very agreeable during the summer. It was the first Italian city to host the Winter Olympic Games in 1956.
Things to see
Each winter, the Cortina Winter Polo tournament, the most important yearly event in the area, is held in the city. During the 1980s, a group of Swiss came up with the idea of playing Polo in the winter, specifically of playing on the frozen lake of Saint Moritz. In 1989, a group of Roman friends who shared a passion for Polo decided to create a tournament in Cortina just like the one in Saint Moritz. The Cortina Winter Polo Gold Cup was born and quickly became one of the most prestigious events in Europe. The presence of famous Italian and international entrepreneurs eventually attracted more and more people, making the city famous.
Today, Cortina belongs to a network composed of twelve different internationally renowned ski resorts called “Best of the Alps”. Cortina offers 140 kilometers worth of different marked ski runs. The longest run links Cortina to Dobbiaco and is about 30 kilometers long.
Among the Dolomite Mountains in northern Italy, there is a beautiful and quiet lake: Lake Misurina, found in the historical area of Cadore. It is considered the biggest lake in the Cadore area, giving its name to the small town on its shore. The lake can easily be explored by foot thanks to the paths that were built around it. The whole tour takes approximately one hour and offers beautiful views on the lake, the forest and the Dolomites Mountains.
Things to see
Lake Misurina is located 1754 meters above sea level and is about five meters deep with a perimeter of 2.6 kilometers. It is surrounded by different beautiful mountains: in the north we can see the summit of Tre Cime di Lavaredo (2999 meters), in the West is Monte Cristallo (3 221 meters) while in the East is the Gruppo dei Cadini. Finally, in the south is Mount Sorapiss, which is clearly reflected on the water. Lake Misurina is also surrounded by a great forest composed of many conifers and fir trees.
The different mountains around the lake still have vestiges from World War I, including military roads, tunnels, caves and shacks. Now a quiet place, Queen Margherita of Savoy chose Lake Misurina as a holiday destination after her husband King Umberto I was assassinated by the anarchist Gaetano Bresci. The lake is not simply a popular holiday attraction; given that the air there is so pure, an important clinic that specializes in curing children with asthma was built to take advantage of it.
In the northern part of Italy, in the Eastern Alps, are some of the most beautiful mountains in the country: the Dolomites. These mountains are a little bit different from the rest of the Alps because of the minerals that compose it, giving them a light pink, coral and light red color when the sun sets. In 2009, the Dolomites Mountains were registered on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites List.
The Dolomites are located near Austria and are spread over three regions: Trentino-Altino-Adige, Veneto and Friuli. Several charming villages and ski resorts are located near or on the slopes of the mountains. The Dolomites are the perfect region for sport lovers: during the summer it is possible to go hiking, parachuting and paragliding while during the winter, skiing is one of the most popular sports.
Things to see
The highest summit of the Dolomites is the Marmoada with its 3343 meters in height but in fact, the Dolomites boast 18 different summits reaching higher than 3000 meters. As such, this region offers visitors many breathtaking panoramas over the mountains, valleys and clear water lakes. It is unsurprising then that there are several legends related to the Dolomites Mountains, most of them involving kings, princesses, fairies and elves.
While the population in the Dolomites is technically Italian, they consider themselves Tyrol people. In this region there is also a small population that speaks Ladin. Ladin is a language composed of a number of dialects, related to Swiss Romansh, and spoken almost uniquely in this area.
The Amarone della Valpolicella wine is produced in the north-eastern part of Italy in the Veneto region, in the Valpolicella area. The Amarone Classico della Valpolicella is probably one of the best wine of the area. The wine making process of the Amarone wine is an ancestral and very particular process.
The best grapes are collected manually at the beginning of fall. Grapes are then dried with air in a warehouse in order to increase their concentration in sugar and their famous taste. After, the wine is put in oak barrels for a time that can reach until 36 months. This wine has a higher percentage of alcohol (15-17%) compared to the other Valpolicella wines.
After a year spent in a barrel, the wine is put into a bottle before being sold. The Amarone Della Valpolicella. The Amarone is garnet-colored and often left for two years before being sold. Several producers keep it for 5 years before they sell it. The Amarone wine can easily be kept for 10 years. Some of the Amarone can even age until 20 years.
The Amarone wine is a new wine, it appeared in 1960, the label indicated Recioto della Valpolicella and blow “Amarone”. In 1968 the Amarone wine was included in the Italian DOC (Denominazion di Origine Controllata) with the following subtitle: Classico Superiore. The Amarone della Valpolicella became a DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita), the highest level of Italian wine appellation only in 2010.
The Amarone della Valpolicella can be served with cold cuts, game bird, meats, cheeses such as Parmigiano and desserts.
The first Church of Sant’Anastasia was built during the reign of Theodoric the Great, king of Ostrogoth. In fact, two different churches were built on the current site of Sant’Anastasia: one dedicated to Saint Anastasia and another dedicated to Saint Remy. In the 13th century, the churches were given to the Dominicans who decided to transform the two churches into a single one. They dedicated this church to Saint Peter, martyr of Verona, but people continued to call it the Church of Saint Anastasia.
Things to see
Sant’Anastasia is the largest church in Verona, built in the Italian Gothic style. It is composed of three different crossed naves supported by twelve huge red marble columns. Aside from providing relious services, the Saint Anastasia Church can also be considered a museum as it contains several masterpieces from the Middle Ages. While visiting this church, it is possible to see the Gothic fresco of Altichiero Da Zevio, the fresco of Adoration of the Virgin, and the fresco of Pisanello in the Giusti chapel. Pisanetto’s fresco represents St Georges delivering the princess of Trebizond. The church also boasts a collection of 17 terracottas made by Michele da Firenze.Many other artworks can be admired, made by Pietro da Forlezza, Cattaneo, Liberale da Verona, Girolamo dai Libri, Giolfino, Brusasorc and others.
At the entrance of Saint Anastasia Church, there is a sculpture of two hunchbacks supporting a holy water stoup. Legend says that touching the hump of one of the hunchbacks is a sign of good luck.
Located in the Veneto region, Verona was founded in the first century B.C. This city is still the second most important city of the region, having been built on a strategic place on the edge of the river Adige. In 216 B.C. after the battle of Cannae, Verona was united to Rome and became one of its provinces. It earned the nickname “small Rome” since the city was such an important hub, but also for its wonderful monuments and houses. During the height of the Roman Empire, the city grew quickly: several bridges, theatres and temples were built.
During the 5th century, the city became property of the Ostrogoth king Theodoric and as a result, several conflicts began with the other cities nearby. In 1405, Verona was owned by the Republic of Venice, which led to many improvements. Indeed, the Republic of Venice affected the cultural, social and artistic development of Verona until 1797, when the city was invaded by Napoleon (and after that by the Austrians). Finally, in 1866, the city was incorporated to the Italian kingdom founded by King Victor Emmanuel II in 1861. Verona was eventually recognized under the UNESCO World Heritage Sites List in 2000.
Things to see
The beautiful pink city of Verona became famous thanks to Shakespeare and his tragedy “Romeo and Juliet”. That play is the reason why nowadays, Verona is seen as a romantic city: tourists can see Juliet’s statue, Juliet’s house, Juliet’s tomb and many other places which reference the story of the two star-crossed lovers. There are many other monuments in Verona which have been preserved from Antiquity, the Middle Age and the Renaissance. The latter artistic period left the strongest mark and can be observed on the different buildings, which are a blend of Renaissance influences from Lombardy and Renaissance influences from Veneto.
Each year during the summer (June to September) the great Opera Festival of Verona takes place in the Arena of Verona. The most famous operas in the world can be enjoyed here, such as Verdi’s “Un Ballo in Maschera”, Bizet’s “Carmen” or more fittingly, Gounod’s “Romeo and Juliet”.