5th to 9th May 2019:
‘Roses & Nightingales’: Gardens of Rome & Lazio, featuring Ninfa & Villa d’Este
The tour is hosted by George Plumptre, one of Country Life’s most long serving contributors. His distinguished career as a gardens author and journalist has included a spell as Gardening Correspondent of The Times and a number of acclaimed books. He is now Chief Executive of the National Gardens Scheme. George will be accompanied by experienced Boxwood Tour Leader, Patience Shone.
This tour is timed to coincide with the magical weeks of early Italian summer when roses bloom and nightingales sing day and night. We explore some of the most famous Renaissance gardens as well as some lesser known and sometimes eccentric gardens of the twentieth century. We are also fortunate to be invited to lunch at two private villas. We start the tour in Rome at the Hotel De Russie, a Rocco Forte hotel, interiors created by his sister, Olga Polizzi. Located between the Spanish steps and Piazza del Popolo, a tranquil retreat amid a vibrant city, this enduringly glamorous hotel successfully blends modern design with classical architecture. With its own beautiful secret garden, this hotel attracts artists, writers, world travellers and garden enthusiasts. The second hotel is La Posta Vecchia, a 17th century palazzo built on the foundations of a Roman villa overlooking the Mediterranean; later the home to John Paul Getty who filled it with Italian art treasures. La Posta Vecchia balances the Baroque exuberance of a Fellini film with artful elegance.
Day 1: Sunday 5th May
Depart London Heathrow at 10:45AM to Rome Fiumicino airport, arriving at 14:25 PM on British Airways flight BA0546. We travel from the airport by coach to La Landriana. Originally the work of English garden designer Russell Page, this compartmentalised garden includes an Orange Garden, the Garden of Perfumes and an avenue of Old Roses. We then drive into the heart of Rome to the Hotel De Russie for a welcome drink before dining together at the hotel.
Day 2: Monday 6th May
We are planning a special tour to The Vatican Gardens but due to the Vatican rules we cannot absolutely confirm this until nearer the time. The Vatican Gardens have been a place of quiet and meditation for the popes since 1279 when Nicholas III (Giovanni Gaetano Orsini, 1277-1280) moved his residence back to the Vatican from the Lateran Palace. Today the gardens cover about half of the Vatican City State and include formal gardens, a rose garden, woodland, many fountains, statues and stunning views of St Peters dome. Free time for lunch is followed by an optional walk from the hotel to the Spanish Steps, past the Villa Medici and the Borghese gardens with a chance to admire the wonderful views back across the city before returning to the hotel for a free evening.
Day 3: Tuesday 7th May
We leave Rome for the hill top village of Oliveto with a special invitation to view the gardens of Palazzo Parisi, the childhood home of garden designer Arabella Lennox-Boyd. Here Arabella has created a magnificent garden with a luxuriously planted formal space leading out to olive groves underplanted with wild flowers. After a delicious lunch, we drive to Tivoli to view the iconic gardens of Villa d’Este. This garden was made to impress with its incredible fountains, grottoes, pools, waterfalls and eccentric water -powered entertainments. Continue to the coast and La Posta Vecchia with time to settle in before aperitifs on the terrace overlooking the sea followed by an evening meal together with local wine.
Day 4: Wednesday 8th May
Today is spent in the landscape of the Etruscans, visiting three remarkable gardens. We start with a visit to Palazzo Farnese di Caprarola with its stunning frescoed palace that leads through to the terraced garden. Then a private invitation to lunch in the magnificent setting of Castello Ruspoli and its beautifully preserved 17th century parterre garden. Lastly, the garden of Villa Lante, one of Italy’s greatest Renaissance gardens. Originally the summer residence of the Bishops of Viterbo, the garden dominates the town of Bagnaia and beyond with terraces filled with water features in the form of rills, fountains and pools. Return to La Posta Vecchia to dine together.
Day 5: Thursday 9th May
Drive south of Rome calling in at the informal rose garden of Valleranello belonging to Rosarian, Maresa del Bufalo. We then continue south to Ninfa, a supremely romantic garden where roses scramble over the ruins of a medieval town set on the banks of a river. A light lunch is included. Return to Rome Fiumicino airport to check in for the 18:45 PM departure on BA0557, arriving at London Heathrow at 20:25 PM.
How much & what’s included:
The price per person: £4390
Single supplement: £850 (levied by the hotels).
The price includes two nights at the Hotel De Russie in Rome and two nights at La Posta Vecchia with all breakfasts included as well as three evening meals at the hotels with local wines plus three lunches as stated in the itinerary. The price does not include extras at the hotel or travel insurance. The tour starts at London Heathrow Sunday 5th May: airline recommended check-in at 08:45 AM for the 10:45AM departure of British Airways flight BA0546. Please contact the Boxwood office if you wish to obtain a quote to upgrade to Club Class. Those wishing to make their own travel arrangements should state this on the booking form and deduct £122 per person from the tour price. Hotels used by Boxwood Tours are invariably hotels of character featuring a variety of rooms & styles. Please note that a number of the gardens are only accessible by foot up steep slopes with steps and uneven paths, so good walking ability is essential.
This tour is financially protected by the ATOL scheme. When you pay you will be supplied with an ATOL Certificate. Please ask for it and check to ensure that everything you booked (flights, hotels and other services) is listed on it. Please see our booking conditions for further information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOLCertificate