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See the once-in-a-decade Oberammergau Passion Play
One of the greatest and most unforgettable European travel
experiences is the Oberammergau Passion Play. Held just once every
10 years, this epic performance by the inhabitants of a beautiful
Bavarian town tells the story of Christ from his entry into
Jerusalem to the Resurrection. If you miss this extraordinary event
in 2022, postponed in 2020 for two years because of coronavirus,
you'll have to wait until 2030 for the next performance.
Our exclusive itinerary includes tickets to the Passion Play and the best of Veneto - one of the most beautiful and historic regions of Italy - including private tours of sumptuous villas in the company of Italian aristocracy, a very special dinner and an evening visit to Giotto Under the Stars at Padua's extraordinary Scrovegni Chapel.
Your fascinating journey will begin in Vicenza, where you will see one of Andrea Palladio's masterpieces, the Villa la Rotonda, then take in the Villa Valmarana ai Nani, noted for its elegant gardens and 18th-century paintings by the Tiepolos. Other visits will include the rural Villa Barbarigo at Valsanzibio, Villa Barbaro in Maser and an exclusive evening visit to Padua's Scrovegni Chapel.
See the Passion Play
The Oberammergau Passion Play draws visitors from around the world and no wonder; it is an incredible undertaking, involving half the town's residents, as they tell the story of Christ from his entry into Jerusalem to the Resurrection.
Meet Italian Aristocracy
Your visit to the Villa la Rotonda includes a private tour with Count Valmarana, a meal at Villa Valmarana ai Nani with members of the family in a room decorated with Tiepolo frescoes, and a dinner at Villa Godi Malinverni.
Reasons to book
Dinner with Italian aristocracy
Watch the Oberammergau Passion Play
Visit a UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Direct international flights, domestic travel by coach and the services of a Brightwater Holidays tour manager.
- Four nights in Padua or Vicenza in a four-star hotel.
- One night with dinner, bed and breakfast in a hotel in the Innsbruck area.
- A night in a hotel in the Oberammergau area with dinner, bed and breakfast.
- Tickets to the Passion Play.
- Visits to six villas, including Valmarana ai Nani, Barbarigo, la Rotonda, Barbaro and Pisani.
Day1Fly from London to Venice; transfer to hotelVenice, Italy
We depart from London on a direct flight to Venice (Marco Polo) airport. On arrival, we are met by a local coach and guide and transferred to our hotel in Padua or Vicenza. Dinner is served in the evening.
Day2Discover Vicenza, Villa la Rotonda, Villa Valmarana ai NaniVicenza, Italy
Enjoy a walking tour of Vicenza's historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage site with a local guide. Views include the Corso Palladio, Palazzo Thiene, Palazzo Barbaran, Palazzo Chiericati, the Basilica Palladiana, the Duomo, and we make a visit to the wonderful Teatro Olimpico.
Following this, is a tour around one of the most recognisable buildings of the Renaissance, the Villa Rotonda, designed by Andrea Palladio around 1570. Situated on the top of a hill just outside the town of Vicenza, the Villa Capra is called the Villa Rotonda, because of its completely symmetrical plan with a central circular hall. In 1994 UNESCO designated the building part of the Vicenza World Heritage Site. Our private visit is hosted by Count Valmarana.
We continue to the nearby Villa Valmarana, an outstanding architectural and artistic site belonging to the Valmarana family taking its name from the statues of dwarves (nani) which decorate its garden wall. The family still lives in Valmarana Villa, which is widely considered to house the top expressive painting of the 18th century and the highest testament to the genius of Tiepolo. We are privileged to have dinner in a room decorated with Tiepolo frescoes.
Day3Villa Pisani, Villa dei Vescovi, Villa Barbarigo, Scrovegni ChapelPadua, Italy
Today we depart for a visit to the grand gardens of Villa Pisani, in Stra, near Venice. When Alvise Pisani was elected Doge of Venice in 1735, he commissioned a grand villa to reflect his status. Originally the area behind the villa was filled with French parterres. These were replaced by a long pool of water which now dominates the garden, with the palace at one end and an ornate pavilion, converted into luxurious stables, at the other. Avenues provide further views along the length of the garden, overlooked by a hexagonal belvedere. High walls enclose Pisani's impressive array of greenhouses, where prize-winning camellias were once grown.
A brief photo stop outside the Villa Vescovi, the 16th century summer retreat of the Bishops of Padua, follows. Then, in the afternoon, we visit the gardens of Villa Barbarigo at Valsanzibio. The gardens were created for Antonio Barbarigo between 1665 and 1669, and their carefree atmosphere and garden 'rooms' full of surprises have earned them a reputation as some of the most entertaining gardens in Italy. One of the most striking features is a series of ascending pools decorated with statues and fountains including a graceful watergate with Diana, goddess of hunting, sitting astride the pediment with her dogs close at hand. There is also a large and intricate maze, a charming rabbit island and various giochi d'acqui (water tricks) providing unexpected amusement.
After an early dinner, a treat is in store with a special 'Giotto under the Stars' visit to the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua, home to a 14th century fresco cycle considered one of Europe's great masterpieces of art.
Day4Tour Villa Barbaro, Asolo, Villa Godi MalinverniMaser, Italy
We depart for a visit to the gardens of the Villa Barbaro in Maser. The Villa was built by Andrea Palladio for Daniele and Marcantonio Barbaro from 1560-68 as a farmhouse at the centre of an agricultural estate. It is unique due to it being the only Palladian villa in Veneto to retain some of its original garden. The garden was laid out in front of the villa and Palladio's great achievement was to unite the villa, garden and surrounding landscape, seemingly creating a single architectural structure. Palladio also designed a secret garden behind the villa as the gardens at the front were essentially a public space. Here there is a small enclosed courtyard dominated by a magnificent nymphaeum, decorated with statues of classical gods.
Enjoy some free time in the beautiful little town of Asolo, where the poet Robert Browning and the explorer Dame Freya Stark once lived before we return to the hotel. Dinner tonight is at the Villa Godi where we are met on arrival by a member of this aristocratic family who show us around the villa before we eat.
Day5Transfer to InnsbruckInnsbruck, Austria
Today we head north over the Brenner Pass into Austria, arriving in Innsbruck in time for lunch (not included). In the afternoon we cross into Germany, travelling via Garmisch Partenkirchen, and check into our hotel in Bavaria late afternoon. Dinner is served in a local restaurant this evening.
Day6The Passion PlayOberammergau, Germany
After a leisurely morning, we attend an afternoon performance of Oberammergau's legendary Passion Play, recounting the arrest, crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. Uniquely, the cast is formed of the townsfolk of Oberammergau. Dinner is included during the intermission.
Day7Return homeMunich , Germany
We transfer to Munich airport in time for our flight back to London.