Piazzetta San Marco

Venice Biennale with Grand Rapids Art Museum

June 23, 2019 - June 29, 2019

  • Art and Nature in Everyday Life: from Vesuvius to the Venice Biennale
  • 2 spots left!
  • 7 days/6 nights at luxury or boutique hotels
  • $4795 per person, boutique level
  • $6995 per person, luxury level
  • Final payment deadline: 15 February 2019
  • Past trips in 2011, 2013, and 2017

Join Grand Rapids Art Museum director Dana Friis-Hansen, D*Lux Travel's Diana Dopson, and fellow art lovers for a 7-day ArtAdventure to Italy featuring an exclusive tour of the international contemporary art exhibition La Biennale di Venezia paired with insider access to a curated mix of architecture, landscape, and culinary experiences. Our focus this week is how the ancient Romans living in the shadow of Vesuvius in Naples, Pompeii, Sorrento and Capri incorporated art and nature into their everyday lives to create spaces that have transcended time. This same emphasis is revisited every two years at the Venice Biennale, and is also the lived experience at two exceptional hotels where we will stay: Gio Ponti's Parco dei Principi in Sorrento overlooking the Bay of Naples and Byblos Art Hotel in the rolling hills outside of Verona. Along the way we meet local experts, enjoy wonderful dining experiences and boat rides, and give you lots of opportunities to explore on your own. This year, we are also offering a pre-trip to Rome and environs to dive deeper into this theme (please see separate itinerary). We visit the truly spectacular gardens of Bomarzo, Villa Lante, Villa Farnese Caprarola, Hadrian's Villa, Villa d'Este, the Borghese Gardens, Giardino degli Aranci, and the rugged canyon of Villa Gregoriana.

Pinterest Page for this Trip


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Parco dei Principi, Sorrento

The clifftop, 5-star Parco dei Principi, which opened its doors to guests in 1962, is a monument to modernist icon Gio Ponti, one of Italy’s most influential 20th century architect/designers. It lies two kilometers from the center of Sorrento, but the payoff is peace and quiet, a private salt-water pool, private beach and fabulous views. The setting of the hotel, immersed in three hectares of exotic gardens and atop a sheer cliff looking onto an endless expanse of shimmering blue sea, is fabulous. Modernist style mavens will be in seventh heaven here. The vibe is cool, hip and bang on-trend, and the seamless blending of the blue-on-blue color scheme with the infinite blue of the sea makes for a dreamy and very restful atmosphere. Everything in the hotel, from the simple furniture, fixtures and fittings in the bedrooms to the dazzling blue and white floor tiles and the diving platform in the salt water pool was designed by Ponti, and recent re-vamps have left it all intact. The beachside restaurant serves up pizza plus specialties such as octopus salad and paccheri with lobster, while at the gourmet Giò Ponti, you can feast on risotto with red radicchio and taleggio cheese, filet steak with Barolo wine and other pan-Italian dishes on a wide terrace looking out to sea. Aperitivi are served in the Lounge Bar with its magnificent ceramics by Fausto Melotti. We have reserved your choice of Classic Park View Rooms or Sea View Junior Suites here. http://www.royalgroup.it/parcodeiprincipi/en

Byblos Art Hotel, near Verona

Five star Byblos Art Hotel Villa Amistà, owned by the Byblos fashion house family, is an incredible showcase for their impressive collection of 20th-century design objects and contemporary artworks. Design lovers, quite rightly, are in heaven here, given the chance to spend time living with what would ordinarily be museum pieces. But for some, the objects may play second fiddle to the stunning setting in a sixteenth-century villa outside Verona, a place where relaxing gardens and fountains give way to Baroque interiors, where Venetian chandeliers illuminate mid-century Scandinavian furniture and life-size color photo prints. The pool and Espace spa will soak away your jetlag, while the chef's dishes will build your energy for the week ahead. We have reserved your choice of Superior Rooms or Junior Suites here. https://www.byblosarthotel.com/en

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Centurion Palace, Venice

This beautiful 5-star palace hotel on the Grand Canal is an interesting combination of traditional Venetian Gothic style and modern design with strong colours and rich detailing. Situated in the quiet and art-filled Dorsoduro neighborhood, the palace is perfectly located between the Peggy Guggenheim Museum and the iconic Salute church. The hotel is in the historic Palazzo Genovese, but was given its new name from a magnificent discovery during the recent renovation of a Roman coin from the time of the emperor Hadrian! In the entry, a spectacular chandelier made of glass crystal cubes flowing in the shape of a gondola hull beckons you. The New York Times notes, “From its attentive service to its sleek, elegant styling to its sought-after address, the Centurion Palace is not just another nice hotel, but an experience.” We have reserved Grand Canal View Junior Suites here. www.centurionpalacevenezia.com

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Hotel American Dinesen, Venice

This four-star hotel has a traditional, family feel. Its geranium-filled window boxes are a landmark along the pretty San Vio canal in Dorsoduro; its vicinity to the Accademia, Guggenheim Collection and Punta della Dogana make American-Dinesen popular with visiting art-lovers. The American Dinesen sits on a pleasant walkway that parallels one of the Dorsoduro's most picturesque canals, and is almost exactly the spot where Katherine Hepburn's pensione was created for her role in Summertime, that great Venetian classic. Although there is no restaurant, they serve an abundant breakfast each morning here. We have reserved Superior Rooms here. https://www.hotelamerican.it/en/

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