Posts Tagged ‘Small group tours in Italy’

Image result for biennale venice

May 2017 marks the start of FEST300, the Biennale International Exhibitions in Venice. For those who love contemporary culture, this is a must!

The location of the main exhibit spaces are the Giardini and Arsenal areas of the city. Both are located close together for ease of access.


Map of the primary locations for the Bienale in Venice 2017

This is a huge international event and hotels always book early. The closer to the dates of the Biennale, the more room prices increase and availability decreases.

Not only art is highlighted. There are events running concurrently in Architecture, Dance, Cinema, Music and Theater.

So, book early. As an example, the 2013 Biennale featured the works of 150 artists housed in eighty-eight country pavilions. Over 475,000 visitors viewed exhibits during the seven months of the event.

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Chiharu Shiota, Japan’s representative at the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015

Here are some additional things to keep in mind should you visit Venice during this event.


Image result for venice biennale photos

2015 Exhibit – “Cool Hunting”

Make a plan of attack There’s enough to see at the Biennale (not to mention the rest of Venice) to easily take up five days.


Tips for getting to multiple venues The Biennale’s main two exhibit spaces are relatively easy to navigate but if you’re headed to the 50-odd other Biennale venues scattered throughout Venice it helps to have a multi-day vaporetto (public boat transportation) pass, comfortable walking shoes and a smart phone with a GPS service to find your way through the city’s tricky geography (but ask your cell phone provider about the cost of roaming charges before you go!).

The city is the festival Besides the Giardini and Arsenale, other important Biennale venues are at the Peggy Guggenheim Museum, the Palazzo Grassi and the Punta della Dogana, the city’s Renaissance-era former Customs House and now a private museum of contemporary art on a stunning location where the Grand Canal meets the Giudecca Canal.

For all further information, please visit the Venezia Biennale Web Site.

Information about Tourist assistance, including accommodation details, in Venice is found at the Tourist Information Office Venezia.



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Mantua?Palazzo Te View

Yes, Mantua.

Yet another of Italy’s surprises await those willing to get off the beaten path and visit one of the country’s little-known treasures, the Palazzo Te. The city is only eighteen miles south of Verona, easily reached by way of the E45 Autostrada.

Mantua was established on the banks of the Mincio River, a tributary of the Po River. At that time, the town was surrounded by mosquito infested marsh and swamp.

During the 12th Century, the river was widened and the flow controlled so that four lakes were created. Three of those original lakes remain to this day.

The Gonzaga Family began their rise to political leadership of the city during the latter part of the 15th Century. Fortunes of the family improved as a result of visits by popes and the raising of a family member to the papacy. The family’s male leadership were famous condottieri – paid soldier/leaders. It was one of the desires of the first Grand Duke of Mantua, Duke Federigo II Gonzaga, to build a villa suburbana, on the scale of an ancient roman emperor’s, on a location just outside the city proper. He commissioned Giulio Romano to design and construct the Palazzo Te.

Vault, Sala dei Giganti Palazzo Te, Mantua

Vault, Sala dei Giganti
Palazzo Te, Mantua

Romano, a student of Raphael, designed and supervised the construction of the Palazzo over the course of only eighteen months. It was between 1524 and 1534, after the shell of the structure was completed, that a veritable army of plasterers, frescoists, artists and designers began the ten year task of covering nearly every interior inch of the building in the highest quality flooring, furnishings and paintings.

Sala dei Psychie Palazzo Te, Mantua

Sala dei Psychie
Palazzo Te, Mantua

The most famous of the fresco covered rooms in the Palazzo are the “Sala de Psychie”, a fresco covered room dedicated to the story of Psyche and Cupid and the “Sala dei Giganti”, the Room of the Giants. The frescoes are gorgeous, intricate. In the case of the Sala dei Giganti, the scale of the figures creates a strange and intended effect; you seem smaller once you stand in the chamber. In the vault, The Assembly of Gods cavort and frolic around the throne of Jupiter. Vasari, in one of his numerous writings, referred to this chamber as an ‘oven’ and, in summer, the word seems wholly appropriate.

This is a destination for visitors not to be missed. So, plan a visit off the typical ‘grand tour’ of Italy and discover the treasures of this splendid Palazzo in Manuta!

Sala dei Giganti View Palazzo Te, Manuta

Sala dei Giganti
Palazzo Te, Manuta


The best time to visit the Palazzo is in the cooler months of November through March. Summer months are very warm in Mantua and on the Veneto plain, so comfortable clothing is a necessity if you go during those months.

Train Service

Mantua is served by Trenitalia with easy connections from Bologna, Venice and – for a full day’s excursion – from Florence.

Refer to the Trenitalia web site below for routings, times and pricing:

Web: Trenitalia

Palazzo Te, Manuta

Entrance tickets: Euro 8.00 per person

Web: Palazzo Te


Monday 1:00PM to 6:00PM
Tuesday – Sunday, 9:00 am–6:00 pm
Phone: +39 0376 323266
Address: Viale Te, 13, 46100 Mantova, Italy

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