Trieste, Miramare, Aquileia, Venice – April, 2022

Grand Tourist Map of Veneto & Friuli regions by talented artist Bek Cruddace, commissioned by
Grand Tourist – Veneto & Friuli regions by talented artist Bek Cruddace

A journey in Italy discovering the history of Trieste and Venice

Join me from 01-08 April, 2022

Trieste is Italy’s most north-easterly city (Austrian for 500 years) and still reminiscent of Vienna – then travel across the Veneto region to Italy’s proudest independent republic for 1000 years – I’m talking about Venice of course. A visit to Aquileia, the most extensive archaeological site in Northern Italy, famed for colourful Roman mosaics and an imposing medieval basilica will link these two extraordinary cities….

Combine the two Trieste and Venice and you have exceptional history, fascinating art and amazing food and wine. The Friuli wines are just fabulous. Join me for Trieste to Venice – a week of history, art, fun and learning. A week filled with conversation, historical context and new ideas.

Why not start here with an article I wrote earlier this year: A brief history of Trieste  

Message me now to reserve your place.

Trieste is famous for the Bora wind – that blows strongly during the winter months

Day One: 1st April, Friday – Trieste

Our journey will start at Venice Airport this morning. Venice Airport will be the meeting point for our small group. From here we’ll proceed east to Trieste. As we travel through the rich, farming  land of the Veneto region we’ll see the extensive lagoon of Venice to our right and to the north the hills and mountains leading up to the Alps. The road we are following was originally known as Via Annia, a Roman road built more than 2000 years ago, linking the Roman cities of Tergeste, Aquileia and Altinum. This was a trade route linking east and west.

It will take us about two hours to get to Trieste. On arrival in Trieste we will check-in to a small, boutique hotel in the old town. There is time to relax, maybe take a nap and unpack before we meet for evening drinks in nearby Piazza Unita. Later there will be a ‘Welcome Dinner’ featuring home-made pasta, local salads and some spectacular Friulani wines.

  • O/N The Modernist, Trieste.
  • Meals included: Dinner

Day 2 – 2nd April, Saturday – Trieste

After a leisurely breakfast in the hotel, we’ll meet up in the lobby for a day exploring this magical and unique city. We’ll start with the extensive waterfront and discover the trading history of the city of Trieste. Trieste was established as a Roman municipality known as Tergeste in 177 BC, it was an important port and trading centre linking Istria and Magna Grecia with the Italian peninsula and Roman Empire. There’s a Roman theatre and the remains of a Roman Arch still visible.

Trieste became important in the late 14th century when, so the story goes, citizens of the city invited Austria to claim Trieste as Austria’s port on the Mediterranean. This began a long period of trading prosperity for the people of Trieste. The city gained free port status in 1719, by which time it was an emporium for goods coming from all corners of the Mediterranean. The city continued to develop as a prosperous and cosmopolitan port with a strong literary and musical tradition until the 1930s. Lunch today will be at one of Trieste’s famous Literary Cafes.

This afternoon we’ll explore the numerous Viennese style cafes that are still going strong in the centre of Trieste. The city was a major importer of coffee beans and several famous Italian coffee brands are based here, Illy and Hausbrandt. We’ll visit Caffe San Marco, Caffe degli Specchi and Caffe Tommaseo. These cafes help us to understand the culture of Trieste in the 18th and 19th centuries and why the city became a mecca for ‘new thinking’. James Joyce and Sigmund Freud both spent long periods of time here in Trieste.

This evening we’ll enjoy a fish supper over-looking the port and Trieste’s imposing waterfront.

  • O/N The Modernist Hotel, Trieste.
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 3 – 3rd April, Sunday – Trieste – Revoltella Museum – Muggia

After breakfast, we’ll stroll to the wonderful Revoltella Museum, former home of Barone Revoltella, a businessman and character who originally haled from Venice. Revoltella made Trieste his home, he was a huge personality and one of the original share-holders in the Suez Canal Company. He filled his home with incredible art which is still on display as it was during his lifetime. There’s an enormous sculpture representing the building of the Suez Canal and numerous paintings by Cesare dell’Acqua – a prolific 19th century artist in Trieste.

For a charming introduction to the museum check out this short video: Coffee with Barone Revoltella made and probably paid for by the dynamic and inspiring Trieste Tourist Office.

The area around the museum is lively and often hosts a street market which is fun to explore. Around about lunch time we’ll take a boat ride across the Golfo di Trieste to Muggia, a charming seaside town. Muggia is very close to the border with Slovenia and is a great place to wander and explore. There’ll be free time in Muggia and then (depending on the weather) either an early supper in the old town or the ferry back to Trieste for dinner in the city. Either way Gelateria Penguino next to the famous molo (pier) in Trieste awaits us.

  • O/N The Modernist Hotel, Trieste
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 4 – 4th April, Monday – Trieste – Miramare – Duino – Cividale (Friuli)

We’ll travel along the coast today to the Castello of Miramare, a magnificent sparkling white confection, built in the 1860s by Maximilian brother of Austrian Emperor Franz Josef. Maximilian loved the sea and built this fairytale castle for his bride Carlotta. We’ll visit the castle and gardens before continuing to Duino, a medieval castle with an equally fascinating history. Duino has been home to the Counts of Torre and Tasso for more than four centuries. During the Second World War it was a barracks for British and New Zealand troops. You can read more about Miramare here: Miramare Castle and Maximilian

Next we’ll head inland into the heart of Friuli wine country. In the Colli Orientali and Cividale area some of the finest white wines in Italy are produced, we’ll enjoy a visit to an enoteca where the local producers are represented. Lunch and a tasting are included. Cividale is a UNESCO world heritage site. There’s time to enjoy the medieval streets and frescoed houses of this delightful town – not to mention the superb Lombard Chapel. We’ll enjoy several hours this afternoon in this charming historic town.

Day 5 – 5th April, Tuesday – Trieste – Palmanova – Aquileia – Venice

Today we head west out of Trieste bound for Palmanova a fascinating geometric military town, built by the Venetians to keep the Austrians at bay in the 1590s. The project was originally supervised by Marcantonio Barbero, of Villa Barbaro (Maser) fame. Palmanova was a fortress town, walled and fortified to keep the enemy at bay. A curious place for coffee and to admire the vast and eerily empty central square.

Next it’s down to the coast to visit the city of Aquileia, a Roman town with exceptional Roman mosaics and numerous active archaeological digs. The medieval basilica and campanile dominate the town. Everywhere you look there are excavations taking place with numerous universities, both Italian and from overseas taking part. We’ll have a light lunch here in Aquileia before continuing on our way to Venice (about two hours to our west).

In the late afternoon we’ll board our boat bound for the historic heart of Venice and our centrally located hotel, with private jetty right on the water. Our hotel has an exquisite terrace, the sort of place where you want to sit and dream for ever. On arrival we’ll check into our comfortable rooms and then meet downstairs on the terrace for prosecco and canapes.

  • O/N Calcina Pensione, Venezia
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 6 – 6th April, Wednesday – Venice

Today is all about discovering Venice, starting with each of the sestiere (districts) of the city. We will start with Dorsoduro which we will reach by traghetto (a traditional flat-bottomed boat) rowed by two Venetian oarsmen. Custom dictates that you stand up on the traghetto, but that’s not compulsory! Dorsoduro is the part of Venice where the Guggenheim Art Gallery is located and La Salute – the famous church built to celebrate Venice’s survival of the plague in the 16th century. We will visit both buildings and enjoy a stroll along Zattere, the waterfront facing Giudecca. We’ll have lunch with a wonderful view to Redentore and San Giorgio Maggiore.

Later we’ll continue to San Polo, another Venetian sestiere where we’ll meet an artisan paper maker and watch the skillful process of hand colouring paper. By aperitivo time we’ll be at Rialto – just in time for an Aperol Spritz and some delicious Venetian cicchetti. From Rialto we’ll either walk or hop on the vaporetto back to the hotel.

This evening dinner is at a nearby osteria, where the main dining room is in a former chapel. To reach the restaurant we’ll walk through San Marco and Castello (that’s two more sestiere visited).

  • O/N Calcina Pensione, Venezia.
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 7 – 7th April, Wednesday – Venice

From our hotel we’ll stroll along the Merceria today – the main commercial street linking San Marco and Rialto, our destination today is Scuola San Marco – a former guild hall and now possibly one of the most beautiful hospital entrances in the world. After a glimpse inside we’ll visit Gianni Basso – a traditional printer, working in Venice for decades. He uses printing machines salvaged from the Armenian monks of San Lazzaro in the 1980s. To read more about San Lazzaro

From Fondamenta Nova it’s a boat ride across the lagoon (by private boat) to Burano for a wonderful fish lunch at Da Romano. This is one of life’s golden moments. Risotto and fresh fish are the house specialities. Nearby is the island of Torcello, one of the original points in the lagoon where a permanent community developed, as the Roman Empire declined. In the Basilica of Torcello which dates from the 12th century there is a spectacular ‘Last Judgement’ mosaic. The tortures of Hell are vividly shown in black and red whilst the joys of Paradise are represented in green and gold and blue. A sobering message for the God-fearing congregation of medieval times.

Our private boat will whisk us back across the lagoon as the sun goes down.

  • O/N Calcina Pensione, Venezia.
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 8 – 8th April, Friday – Venice – departures

Our Trieste and Venice journey has come to an end. Private transfers by water taxi to the airport are included this morning. Guests wishing to stay on in Venice for a few more days should let me know and I’ll extend your stay as required – offering you a special pre-negotiated rate.

  • Meals included: Breakfast

Hotel List – accommodation

01-05 April (4 nts): Trieste

  • Boutique Hotel – The Modernist Hotel, Corso d’Italia, Trieste
  • Five minutes walk to Piazza Unita and 3 minutes walk to waterfront.
  • Friendly, boutique-style hotel, excellent location and friendly staff. Comfortable rooms.

05-08 April (3 nts): Venice

  • Calcina Pensione, Zattere, Venezia.
  • Really lovely and characterful 3-star hotel, located on the water looking across to Giudecca.
  • Well managed, rooms very comfortable. Superb terrace looking towards Redentore.

Trip Notes:

  • Guests must take out travel insurance / trip cancellation insurance so that they are covered if they are unable to travel. Towards the end of the trip we will assist guests in getting necessary Covid tests appropriate for their onward journey. This information will be updated regularly.
  • Hotels quoted are subject to availability at time of booking.
  • Additional nights before/after the tour can be booked in either Trieste or Venice – just ask.
  • Trieste and Venice are both cities on the sea, there is a strong tradition of fish eating and fishy diets tend to dominate. It is always possible to find alternatives, meat, vegetarian, vegan options. However many of the finest restaurants do specialise in fish. We will do our best to accommodate varying dietary requirements and intolerances – please let us know.
  • Your guide: Janet Simmonds has a Master’s Degree in Geography from the University of Oxford and a Master’s in History of Art from Manchester. She has worked in Italy for many years.

Trieste, Aquileia, Venice: 01-08 April, 2022

What’s included – hotels and meals:

  • 7 nights accommodation in good quality hotels
  • Trieste (4 nts) / Venice (3 nts)
  • Small, boutique, 3-star hotel in Trieste and 4-star (superior) hotel in Venice
  • All rooms are double for single occupancy.
  • Welcome Drinks Party with prosecco and canapes.
  • Generous buffet style breakfast daily
  • Two meals a day included, either breakfast and lunch or breakfast and dinner
  • 2 x Lunches – typically two courses including a glass of wine.
  • 5 x Dinners – 3-courses including 2 glasses of wine
  • All restaurants are carefully selected and good quality.
  • In Venice a very special lunch is included at the fabulous Da Romano Trattoria

What’s included – transport, sight-seeing, guides:

  • All transportation during the programme in comfortable minivans.
  • Friendly and competent drivers for all transportation services
  • Competent and friendly tour manager (guide) to co-ordinate and lead trip.
  • All visits listed in itinerary including entrance fees
  • Local guides in Trieste, Miramare and Duino
  • Expert lecturer in Venice and Aquileia
  • Boat trip to Muggia, near Trieste for visit
  • Wine tasting and tasting platters in Friuli with local wine degustazione
  • Private tour of Lagoon of Venice with visits to Torcello and Burano
  • 2 x Walking Tours of Venice with Janet, discovering my ‘hidden gems’.

Special activities:

  • Private boat tour of Lagoon of Venice – visits to Burano and Torcello
  • Lunch at fabulous Da Romano Ristorante.
  • Visit to Miramare Castle and then to Duino Castle with Danika (our local guide)
  • Friuli Wine Tasting – with a selection of fine wines and matched sharing platters
  • Special visit to Revoltella Museum, Trieste to discover an exceptional art gallery
  • Shopping opportunities in Trieste and Venice – including locally made artisan items.
  • Several out of the way visits in Venice – usually overlooked by visitors.
  • All Italian services co-ordinated by myself and our local guides in Italy.

Not included:

  • Gratuities to drivers and guides (suggested €10-20 per day)
  • Snacks or drinks between meals (typically € 5 glass of wine)
  • Wines and cocktails in addition to those included with meals

The programme cost:

  • Euros € 3600 pp / GBP 3300 pp / Modernist Hotel, Trieste + La Calcina, Venice
  • All accommodation is in double rooms
  • There is no single supplement.

  • To book:
  • If you’d like to book, message or e-mail me and we’ll arrange a time for a chat.
  • A deposit will then be required of 50% of total package price to secure your place.
  • The balance payment will be due no later than 28 days before travel.
  • Participants must take out full travel insurance to protect against trip cancellation

My contact details:


Venice - The Guggenheim
Venice – The Guggenheim Collection – modern art on the Grand Canal for more: Peggy Guggenheim – Modern Art in Venice
Venice, Italy - My friend the mask maker at work.
Venice, Italy – My friend the mask maker at work – The Mask Maker of Venice

Background reading:

12 Reasons to join us in Trieste, Italy next April

Trieste – Italy

Trieste – Miramare Castle and Maximilian

Updated: 10th March, 2022

10 thoughts on “Trieste, Miramare, Aquileia, Venice – April, 2022

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