TRAVEL PURSUITS – Calling all grandparents – to VENICE, the ultimate theme park

Calling all grandparents.

If you have a grandchild or two between the ages of 10 and 16 and you are interested in travelling together to Italy with Classical Pursuits in early July, read on. Then, we need to hear from you pronto if you are seriously interested.

You may have seen the Grand Tour of Italy trip posted on our website and in the brochure.

Based on your terrific feedback that our original plans were a mite too ambitious, we have revised the itinerary to make the trip both more kid-friendly and more relaxing and rewarding for the grandparents as well. We are taking our cues from you and from Italy – home of the Slow Food movement and dolce far niente (the sweetness of doing nothing).

The idea now is to set ourselves down in one of magnificent cities in the world– Venice — and savour its magical ambience and treasures at our leisure.

Venice is a city like no other.  Instead of noisy cars and scooters, Venice is a labyrinth of pedestrian paths and piazzas, shimmering canals and endless bridges. One gets around on foot or by some form of boat.

The received wisdom may be that this sensuous, aqueous city is reserved for adults, but kids revel in the wondrous weirdness of it all. They adore all the water, the boats and the islands and the beach. They love the food, the pasta and the pizza and the fact that Italians, even tourist weary Venetians, are so happy to see kids that they fuss over them and excuse them minor indiscretions. They actually like the tourist kitsch on sale in far too many shops, the little glass trinkets and mass produced masks, which later adorn their bedrooms back home. They even like the occasional visit to a museum, providing you don’t push them too far. Better just to relax and let this unique city wash over you.

Here are some of the highlights of our trip.

• Gain expert insights into Venice as a long-time resident discusses life in the lagoon from an artistic, musical, historic and cultural perspective
• A light hearted Italian lesson: just the basics to get you going
• Visit a gondola shipyard and observe masters at their craft of building and repairing the sleek black boats. Discover what the carved ornaments represent and the reason all gondolas are painted black.
• Practice mask-making and celebrate Carnival wearing your mask at a masquerade party
• Visit the open-air Rialto Market in the early morning and take a cooking class
• Voyage by boat to discover the lace makers of Burano and the 700-year-old glass blowing craft on Murano
• Glide through big and little canals in a gondola at night when Venice is most magical
• Explore hidden squares of Venice after dark with a local historian who spins spooky tales of Venetian folklore.
• Visit the magnificent basilica of St. Mark’s and the Ducal Palace in the main square of Venice.

Perhaps Venice is at its best at the end of the day when the car-less quiet becomes even more intense and a kind of ageless serenity settles over the tangled, watery warren. This is the time to just stroll and marvel, to lose yourself in its folds, stopping maybe at an unannounced backstreet gelateria or enjoy  a standing glass of wine from a tiny bar while the Grand Kids hang over bridges and don’t quite fall in. Kids are the first to admit that there is something very special about Venice. It may be a theme park, but it’s a real and a profoundly magical one, the ultimate one.

We think we have come up with a winning trip for your and your Grand Child, one where you are both exhilarated and relaxed at the same time. Who says, “no pain, to gain?” We beg to differ.

Optional excursions include a leisurely day on the Lido, Venice’s sandy beach and a visit to Verona and Padua, cities of the Veneto region.

Dates: June 30 – July 11, 2012 (11 nights)
Accommodation: a comfortable monastery guest house in the Dorsoduro neighbourhood of Venice.
Fees: US$3900 based on double occupancy.

Please let us know right away if you are interested in joining me (and my nipote, Thea). info@classicalpursuits.com / 1.977.633.2555

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