Italy, Veneto – A very special and unique journey!

I’d like to invite you to join me on a journey to discover the beauty and history of Venice and the Venetian lagoon. This is a place I first visited when I was just nineteen years of age. It is a land that inspired Hemingway, Browning and Churchill. When visitors arrive in Venice they are charmed and feel compelled to stay. I’m sure that Venice will have the same effect on you!

We will explore the canals and bridges of Venice on a private boat tour. We’ll see all the main landmarks, St Mark’s, Doge’s Palace, Rialto Bridge and the Bell Tower of St Mark’s. We will also spend time visiting the islands of the lagoon. The beautiful and mysterious island of Torcello – the original island in the lagoon to be inhabited. The fishermen’s island of Burano with its brightly painted cottages and traditional trattorias. Even the Giudecca island with its unparalleled views of Venice.

We will discover the mainland too. The Veneto region with its beautiful Palladian villas – country homes of wealthy Venetians built in the early 17th century. The university city of Padova and the Basilica of San Antonio. There will be delicious food in family-run restaurants. The chance to sample high quality wines at vineyards in the hills. The ethos of the tour is relaxing and interesting. There is time for conversation, creativity and peace.

We’ll visit Ravenna in the neighbouring region of Emilia Romagna (my favourite small city in Italy) and marvel at the 7th century mosaics in the church of Sant’Apollinare in Classe. We will spend time in Asolo – ‘La Citta delle donne’  ‘City of Women’ a popular destination for writers, actors and travellers, including Robert Browning, Freya Stark and Eleanora Duse. There will be lunch on the shores of Lake Garda. A private visit to a vineyard owned by five sisters and producing excellent wines. This is a unique and very special trip where I share the very best of this part of Italy with you.

Our flexible 6-8-10 night stay includes the following:

  • A wonderful and original itinerary devised uniquely for you
  • Only two hotels for 3-4-5 nights each – so very relaxing.
  • Note – choose the length of your trip 3-4-5 nights in each hotel
  • Clean & Comfortable double/twin rooms with en suite shower/wc
  • Breakfast daily (this will vary from very simple to very generous)
  • 4 x dinners or lunches in Italian trattoria-style ristorante with wine
  • Private boat tour of Venice with our own water taxi and driver
  • Transportation in comfortable Mercedes Viano mini-van with smart driver.
  • Expert tour guide to introduce the history and culture of Venice and the Veneto.
  • City tours in Asolo, Venice and Verona
  • A visit to a private vineyard and Palladian villa
  • Wine tasting and farm visit in the countryside. Sample the local produce.
  • The chance to meet the locals and hear about life in the Veneto.
  • Visit Juliet’s balcony in Verona
  • Enjoy lunch on the lake shore at Lake Garda
  • Experience a day on the lagoon of Venice visiting the islands of Torcello and Burano
  • Numerous visits, experiences and ‘golden moments’ too numerous to mention

Hotels – we are staying in just two locations – in the following styles of property:

  • Asolo (5 nights) – Characterful town-house property, family-run, charming owners.
  • Brenta Canal, Venice (5 nights) – Family-run country house hotel with garden.

The style of the trip:

  • This trip is designed for guests who like to travel with an enquiring mind.
  • It is about off-the-beaten track visits. It is relaxed and flexible.
  • Welcoming new experiences and learning about how other people live.

Your guide: Janet Simmonds

I’ve been running unique and exceptional tours in Europe since the 1980s. I trained originally in Venice where I worked as a tour guide. Later I studied Geography at Oxford University. I am passionate about landscape, people, history and culture. I love introducing guests to architecture, art and literature. Ten years ago I went back to university and studied for a Master’s in History of Art – specializing in classical art and the art of Italy. I have run several specialist travel companies where I offer unique, tailor-made experiences to an international clientele. I also write a blog about my travels. I divide my time between England, France and Italy. I am a wife and mother with four grown up children. I speak French and Italian. My blog:

Provisional dates for Veneto and Venice, behind the scenes in 2020

  • 01-09 May, 2020
  • 22-30 Sept, 2020


THE COST OF THE TRIP – based on 4 nights in each hotel (total 8 nights):

  • GBP Pounds £ 2950 – per person
  • US Dollars $ 3900—per person
  • Euros € 2800—per person
  • Prices are per person – all rooms are double for single occupancy.
  • There is no single room supplement
  • Please note prices may vary depending on length of tour.
  • Exact costs at time of booking may vary – depending on exchange rates.

How do I reserve my place?

  • A deposit of 50% of the trip cost is required to confirm your place.
  • The balance payment is then due 8 weeks before date of travel
  • You can pay by bank transfer direct into our UK bank account.
  • Pay Pal payments are also accepted.
  • Our bank details are available on request.


  • Prices are land only – and include all services listed above.
  • The itinerary may change slightly to allow for special visits and unique experiences
  • This is a unique and very special trip – ideal for 4-6 guests.
  • Don’t hesitate to give me a call to discuss the trip further.
  • For the right people this is a truly unique experience.
  • Please note costs based on 4-6 paying guests.
  • For further information contact Janet at Grand Tourist: +44 (0)7590 990 160
  • For more on Palladian Villas click here Venice to Padova by the Brenta Canal

I’ll look forward to hearing from you. It will be my absolute pleasure to welcome you to the Veneto, just contact me to discuss more.

Kind regards

Janet Simmonds

Learn more about Venice:

Film, Books, TV – where Venice plays a role:

I’d strongly recommend reading up on Venice and the area before you travel. Some of my recommendations are:

  • Death in Venice (1912) – a novella by Thomas Mann. Set on Venice’s Lido in 1911.
  • Also made into a film starring Dirk Bogarde (1971)
  • A History of Venice (1982) – John Julius Norwich – readable history book.
  • The Tourist (2010) – A film starring Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie. The cinematography of Venice is stunning!! In my opinion Venice is the star of the fil
  • Across the River and into the Trees (1950) – Ernest Hemingway. Novel set in and around Venice and the Venetian Lagoon. It is romantic and lyrical.
  • Don’t look Now (1973) – Film starring Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland. Based on a short story by Daphne du Maurier. Directed by Nicholas Roeg. Atmospheric and menacing.
  •  Freya Stark’s travel writing. A characterful British woman who retired to Asolo in the 1970s. I wrote an article about this indomitable woman! Freya Stark – traveller, writer, adventurer
  • Asolando (1889) – Robert Browning – Poetry. The final volume of poetry by Robert Browning. Written whilst he was living in the hill top town of Asolo. For more on Asolo (which is idyllic) click here: Asolo – art, history, women, prosecco!

Some memories of our October 2016 trip from the talented brush of Mary Lou Peters. Our friend and artist.

Happy Reading!

  • Here’s what a happy traveller said about one of my trips:
  • ‘I have traveled with over a dozen touring groups, and now that I have discovered Grand Tourist for my last two trips, I’m hooked. Janet pays attention to the tiniest details and produces travel that is seamless–just what I’ve been looking for. She gives just enough information to put what we’re seeing into historical and geographical perspective–truly the Educated Traveller!’ Mary Lou Peters (MI) – December, 2017


Written: 15-12-16

  • Updated: 10-04-17
  • Updated: 10-09-18
  • Updated: 01-08-19

9 thoughts on “Venice and the Veneto

  1. Oh, I would love to do this with you! But October is pretty full, with American friends coming to mallorca and then Ken and I are planning a trip to South Africa. However, if anything changes, I am SO there! I have enjoyed Elsa Ferrante’s books, and I especially enjoyed the Ischia holiday. Such a fab trip we had!

    Lots of love, Me xx Sent from my iPad

    Liked by 1 person

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