Splendors of Northeast Italy Tour: Veneto & Friuli Regions

A 8 day trip to Italy 
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Discover the world where medieval meets the Renaissance. Quiet villages offer panoramic views of snowcapped mountains and emerald valleys. Gondolas glide across the tranquil waters of hidden narrow canals. Your custom tailored Northeast Italy tour consists of the splendors of Italy’s Veneto and Friuli regions, home to Venice’s Grand Canal and the dramatic foothills of the Dolomites. Delicate lacework decorates historical workshops. The secret influence of Venice’s Republic emerges from the shadows. Paintings that brought the human form into the light decorate church walls. Find a world of imagination, treasured cuisine, and inspiring history in Italy’s northern landscape. 

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Most tours are customized for private travel.

General Information

Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Venice, Verona, Asolo, Friuli, Padua, Portogruaro 

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Venetian Impression

Countless cobblestone lanes weave around the canals of Venice, creating a marvelous image of a floating city. The gray marble of the Ducal Palace contrasts the pink hue of the bell tower in St. Mark’s Square. Gondolas and speedboats glide across the Grand Canal. Restaurants set out tables alongside the waterway, offering unencumbered views of the life of Venetians. You arrive at Venice Marco Polo Airport. Your private transfer meets you at baggage claim and helps you into the city. Step aboard a private water taxi, which escorts you to your luxurious hotel.

The 17th-century domed church of Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute rises over the entrance to the Grand Canal as if guarding the historic waterway. The Venetian Republic funded the structure after the plague and erected a platform of one million wooden piles on which to construct the marvelous edifice. Four detailed evangelist statues adorn the façade. There are 12 Titian masterpieces that decorate the interior sacristy, including a lifelike self-portrait in which the artist imitates the form of St. Matthew. The church is a perfect welcome to Venice, showcasing the grandeur of the past and the city’s continued connection to its glorious former Republic. Consider learning more about your Italy travel agency that strives to craft the perfect itinerary pertinent to your particular interests and desires. 

What’s Included: transfer, accommodation

Day 2: Wonders of the Canal

In the morning, look out your window to find gondoliers punting their way down the narrow canals of the city. At breakfast, the aroma of a decadent espresso accompanies the sweet scent of freshly baked brioche. Your guide meets you at the hotel, eager to take you out to the Grand Canal and tranquil waterways of the city. There are precisely 177 canals that split the city into 118 different islands. In the heart of Venice, elegant bridges arch over the narrower waters connecting the islands, including the Rialto Bridge.

The stone bridge overtook the original wooden structure in the 16th century. The Grand Canal itself travels in an “S” shape for more than two miles, connecting St. Mark Basin to the Santa Lucia Rail Station. Visit the garden island of St. Erasmo, known for producing the local vegetables and fruit for the residents of Venice. Moor your boat at the island of Burano. Houses painted with pastel colors are reflected in the serene waters of the narrow canals.

The 18th-century bell tower leans slightly. You have a perfect view of the listing Renaissance and Neoclassical structure from the marble bridge. Women continue the tradition of embroidering exceptional lace products, from Venetian masks to shawls. When the men would head out to sea on a fishing expedition, the women would wait outside their homes, working with the soft fabric and waiting for their husbands to return. Today the island is known for its stunning facades, delicious seafood, and gorgeous lacework. 

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, accommodation

Day 3: Hidden Passageways of the Past

The Rialto Market brims with activity in the morning. The market remains the city’s principal source of gastronomic commerce, with lanes separated by produce. The zesty aroma of oranges covers the scent of exotic spices. Bright vegetables capture the eyes of marketers as often as the ruby color of the fresh prawns on display in the Pescaria, the fish market. After breakfast, you make your way to St. Mark’s Square for a tour of the authentic image of the Venice as seen through the secret passageways of the Ducal Palace.

The Venetian Gothic structure borders the square. The palace was erected in the 14th century. Its oldest wing touches the edge of the lagoon, which now contains the public entrance. The regular tour of the palace takes visitors through the grandeur of Venetian royalty during the height of the Republic’s power. Your exclusive tour guides you behind the footsteps of the most powerful people in the empire, slipping through hidden passageways and concealed doors. The attic at Ponte della Paglia is set between Rio di Palazzo and Bacino di San Marco. The walls contain coats of arms from the Doges (supreme authorities during the Venetian Republic) during the 14th century.

Stairs lead down to the Inquisitors’ Room. Your eyes turn to the lavish ceiling painted by Tintoretto in the 16th century. The room held the meetings of a secret society dedicated to protecting the state secrets of Venice at any cost. The elegant and bright paintings mask the true nature of the room. The remainder of the day is yours to enjoy the majesty of the city. Step aboard a gondola and traverse the canals on a Bacari tour. The Bacari are traditional wine bars known for their relaxed ambiance and delicious selections. Your guide leads you through the city, stopping at numerous Bacari to sample the famous ombra (“shadowy”) wine of the city. Learn about the distinct neighborhoods of the city along with the preferred flavors of the locals.

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, accommodation

Day 4: Into Italy’s East

The opulent ambiance of Venice emanates from the immaculate facades of palaces rising above the canals. The Byzantine domes of St. Mark’s Cathedral add to the decadent skyline. Today you venture outside of Venice for the day, making your way to the foothills of the Dolomite Mountains, the range separating Austria from Italy. The small town of Cividale del Friuli, founded by Julius Caesar in the 1st century BC and grown by the Lombards during their rule of northern Italy between the 6th and 8th centuries AD.

The town stands at an altitude of 443 feet above sea level on the rugged banks of the Natisone River. Stroll through the tranquil streets to Piazza Paolo Diacono in the heart of the town. A fountain with four lion heads adorns the center of the piazza. Locals lounge in cafés, sipping cappuccinos and reading the morning paper. The pedestrian street of Corso Mazzini leads you to the 15th-century bridge of Ponte del Diavolo. Scattered benches along the walkway provide viewpoints to take in the enchanting town set atop the stone cliffs. Church spires and bell towers paint the skyline. Green hills rise into the distant snowcapped mountain peaks.

The Tempietto Longobardo is a 9th-century Lombard chapel containing a cloistered garden surrounded by vines. On your way back to Venice, you stop in the town of Portogruaro. A row of 15th-century Venetian-style palaces lines the riverbanks and hides the quiet waters. The bell tower of the local cathedral resembles a miniature version of St. Mark’s Campanile. Portogruaro retains a small town ambiance with welcoming locals. Old mills overhand the water, along with a medieval building housing a tiny votive chapel.

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, accommodation

Day 5: A World Away in Veneto

Padua is less than an hour away from Venice in the same region of Veneto but feels completely different. Medieval marketplaces accompany fascist-era facades. The historic university, the second oldest university in Italy, draws a large student population, keeping the local lifestyle and ambiance energetic. Your private transfer greets you at the hotel in Venice and escorts you across the Grand Canal and through the forests of Veneto into Padua. Legend claims the Trojan prince Antenor founded Padua in the 12th century BC after the fall of Troy. The Romans assimilated the city into the Republic in the 2nd century BC. Follow your guide through the city on a spectacular tour of Padua’s evolution through the ages.

The Cappella degli Scrovegni is the city’s version of the Sistine Chapel. The church contains a fresco cycle attributed to the artist Giotto, completed in the 14th century. Famous Italians of history, including Dante Alighieri and Leonard da Vinci, claim these honor Giotto as an artist, who used humanistic depictions of biblical figures. The image entitled The Kiss of Judas depicts Jesus staring down at his disciple. Saints and stars decorate the ceiling, imitating the heavens. You continue to the grounds of the University of Padua, established in the 13th century. The anatomy theater provides students the opportunity to observe operations in the perfectly proportioned gallery. In the evening, locals enjoy stepping out onto the cobblestone streets for their passegiata, or nightly stroll. You step aboard a small boat to cruise the Brenta Canal. Little towns and dazzling villas line the banks of the historic channel.     

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, transfer, accommodation

Day 6: Quiet Mountain Villages and Vineyards

Palazzo della Ragione was erected in the 13th century and has maintained the largest medieval hall in Europe. Frescoed panels with astronomical and mythological themes decorate the walls. An astronomical clock adorns the 14th-century tower rising above Piazza dei Signori. After breakfast, your guide greets you at the hotel and leads you into the countryside to the town of Asolo. Medieval walls wrap around the bordering cobblestone streets. A small collection of paintings and Roman artifacts fill the Museo Civico. Ruins of a medieval fortress overtake the summit of Monte Ricco.

The restored buttresses offer a panorama of the green hills rolling along the Po Valley and framed by the snowcapped mountains. The vista lends credence to Asolo’s nickname as “The Town With A Hundred Horizons.” The Roman aqueduct runs through the main square and continues to carry water. The aroma of wood-baked bread drifts along the cobblestone streets. Ancient houses and arcades line via Canova. After visiting Asolo, your guide leads you into the wine-growing region outside of town. Vineyards spread across the hillside bring an emerald glow to the landscape. Veneto is known for producing celebrated Prosecco, a sparkling, sweet wine.

You arrive at Bele Casel, a family owned and operated winery with a DOCG seal of approval. Explore the fields and cellars of the winery for a behind the scenes tour of the production of Prosecco. The pride and enthusiasm for their product are apparent. A tasting awaits you at the end of the tour. Your guide first pours a sample of the driest Prosecco the winery offers, progressing to different wine with each tasting. The Colfondo has a straw yellow hue and long lasting bubbles. You find notes of white fruits emanating from the glass.

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, accommodation  

Day 7: Following in the Footsteps of Romeo 

Today you make your way to the charming city of Ravenna, located halfway between Milan and Venice. The Adige River emerges from the Alps and winds through the city. There are 10 bridges that cross over the water, connecting the left bank with the historic center. The Roman colony was founded in the 1st century BC, laying the foundations for the city’s evolution. Locals erected the amphitheater in 290 AD. Four arches on the outer wall have survived the tests of time. The interior contains 44 rows and could accommodate up to 22,000 people. During summer, the theater fills with spectators eager to view one of the many concerts taking part in the Verona Opera Festival.

The Basilica of San Zeno Maggiore was built between the 11th and 12th centuries. It remains one of the finest examples of Romanesque architecture in northern Italy. Brick and white tufa alternate along the main façade. The 14th-century battlement defensive tower belonged to the former Benedictine abbey. Verona is best known as the home of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. A small palace off of Piazza delle Erbe was christened the House of Capulet. A charming courtyard looks up to a small balcony. A bronze statue of Juliet greets visitors. Letters fill the arched tunnel connected to the street. A team of secretaries read the letters and answer the mail left to the mythical Juliet of House Capulet.

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, accommodation

Day 8: The Veneto Experience

In the morning, you can visit the old haunt of Ernest Hemingway and Lord Byron at the Caffé Pedrocchi. The founder established the café in 1722 in response to the increasing demand for coffee by European enthusiasts. It has since become a staple of the community, radiating culture and history from inside the walls of its neoclassical structure. The aroma of strong espresso pours from the doors. Students order the special named after the café. It resembles a cappuccino but consists of a cold mint foam top layer and a rich espresso bottom layer, combining cool and sweet with hot and bitter. Your guide meets you at your hotel and escorts you back to Venice, where you continue onward to the airport for your flight home.

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer


Starting Price 

This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.