Morse's Palladian Pleasure

Saturday 31st July - Thursday 5th August 2004

A five day visit to Vicenza, Venice and Verona investigating the Death of the Self including a concert with Placido Domingo at the Roman arena

“It sounds like poetry to me, Lewis.”

“Have you been to Italy before, Sir?” “Not nearly enough.”

Introduction

This is not a trip for everybody and will because of various factors be more expensive than our regular weekend visits. However, we hope to make this the highlight of all our excursions thus far. There are also several reasons why the dates given have been chosen.

What can be promised is some fantastic scenery and good company throughout.

Itinerary

Saturday 31st July 2004

Optional day in Cambridge, staying at the Down Hall Hotel at Hatfield Heath (about 20 minutes from Stansted Airport. You may arrive at any time during the afternoon and make full use of the hotel facilities (including pool). In the evening a 3-course dinner is included and following dinner we will be showing ‘The Death of the Self’ in a private room (close to the bar) and a group briefing. An early continental breakfast will be served before transfer to the airport on the Sunday morning. Cars may be left at the hotel (cost included) for the duration of our trip. Return transfer back to the hotel is also included on the Thursday.

 

Sunday 1st August 2004

Early flight by Ryanair to Venice. No timetable published yet but likely to be around 7.30 and cost around 40. Ryanair only allow bookings 6 months in advance with the first ‘x’ seats on an aircraft at one rate, the next ‘x’ at a higher rate and so on. It is proposed that a group booking be made for all those already booked on the first day seats are available with the cost being averaged. Later bookings will be made individually at the then current rate.

On arrival we will drive the 60km by minibus to our hotel in Vicenza where we will stay the next 3 nights. A buffet lunch will be served on arrival. In the afternoon we will visit the centre of Vicenza where an English speaking guide will give us a walking tour of this UNESCO world heritage site. You will recognise many of the Morse locations used.

In the evening we have arranged dinner in the best restaurant in Vicenza which serves typically local cuisine.

 

Monday 2nd August 2004

This is a day of Palladian villas. There are numerous ones within 30km of Vicenza. We will be travelling by mini-bus to several of them during the morning. This will include one used in filming. A late lunch will be taken back in Vicenza at a Morse location before a special tour of the library has been arranged. It will be recalled that the plot in The Death of the Self revolved around ancient manuscripts. Filming did not take place in the actual library, but by special permission we have been given access to their collection of treasures and will be given a talk on them. The staff are very friendly and will retrieve anything they have of interest in advance of our visit – I was certainly privileged to handle some 13th century books, maps and prints on my recent visit.

The evening will be left free for members to explore Vicenza.

 

Tuesday 3rd August 2004

Leisure day. Members may elect to do as they please. It is suggested though that Venice would make a pleasant excursion being under an hour away by mini-bus and train. Alternatively Brenta (famous for its chess games with human pieces) or Padova are both within easy reach.

 

Wednesday 4th August 2004

After breakfast we will visit the famous Villa Almerico Capra Valmarana (on foot from the town centre) and the Basilica where filming took place. Both are only open on Wednesdays. We will then travel by minibus to Verona for lunch. The afternoon will be at leisure exploring this beautiful city. We have some suggestions available and have a walking tour for those who wish to join in.

In the evening we have the highlight of the excursion as we enter the great Roman arena for a one-off concert by none other than Placido Domingo. I trust that Morse would approve. Seats have been provisionally held (and range in cost from 200 to 30). Prior to the concert I have arranged for a slap-up dinner with drinks at the five star hotel in Verona where Morse stayed (portrayed as Vicenza in the episode).

 

Thursday 5th August 2004

There will be a little time to continue your exploration of Verona before a lunchtime flight back to Stansted from Verona, and transfers back to Cambridge.

Accommodation

I have personally looked at all the hotels in Vicenza. There are many smaller ones in the city centre but these do not have good facilities and are more like bed and breakfasts in facilities. I have therefore opted for a 4-star one (UK 3-star) 1km from the city, and next to a bus stop. It has parking and superb facilities having been built only 3-years ago. It is very comfortable, has good views and friendly staff.

The hotel in Verona has also been picked for its easy access to the arena and facilities.

Travel

To make the event worth while we need 10 members. Ryanair will be the most cost effect way of getting to and from Italy. The hotels chosen are good quality 4-star and 3-star in Vicenza and Verona respectively. Travel within Italy will be by minibus, though on the leisure days members may take advantage of the local train (e.g. return to Venice costs around 10).

Costs

Without knowing the final numbers, Ryanair costs etc we can only estimate the excursion price. However, to give a guide we estimate for accommodation and dinner in Cambridge, airport transfers, car parking, flights, all minibus excursions, entrance to villas, library tour, walking tour, 3-nights bed and breakfast in Vicenza, 1-night bed and breakfast in Verona, dinner and lunch in Vicenza, as described plus concert tickets will cost in the order of 550 (per person based on 2 sharing) and 600 for a single.

Bookings

If you want to come please let me know (01223 473025) as soon as possible. Prices will be kept as low as possible, though bookings will be made as they arrive in order to get the arena and flight tickets at the most advantageous prices and before they run out.