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Padua & Secret Venice

By Pat Bellieni , 06 February 2019

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Padua

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As the resident Venetian, every year I have the pleasure of taking new members of the Kirker team to Venice, to show them the city, visit our favourite hotels and meet our wonderful friends and hoteliers.

You would think that I must get bored of seeing the same place every time – not so, this year we took an early flight on a Sunday morning and booked a day tour around Padua, somewhere new for me. I loved this city, with its medieval market squares, impressive gothic and classical buildings, and Italy’s second oldest University, founded in 1222. The city is on the train line between Verona and Venice and is often overlooked by tourists making it a joy to enjoy without the crowds. Padua is only 30 minutes by train from Venice, and can be easily done as a day trip; we took the train from Venice Mestre station (just €4), and left our luggage at Padua station (€5 per piece) and walked to our 4* Hotel Majestic Toscanelli, in the Historic Centre where we met our guide for a private three hour walking tour, including entrance to the Scrovegni Chapel to see the incredible Frescoes by Giotto. We then took the train back to Venice, tired after a long day but feeling exhilarated by the experience.

The next day, we also managed to see a new side to Venice – the highlight of this year’s trip was a private tour of the Secret Trails of the Doge’s Palace. Only available in the morning, this tour lasts two hours and is an excellent experience for anyone, whether you have been to Venice before or not. I have often visited the Doge’s Palace and have been amazed every time by the ornate walls and ceilings, elegantly decorated with masterpieces by some of Venice’s finest artists of the Renaissance period. This tour however took us behind the pomp of the state rooms and sneaked behind the wooden panels, through secret tunnels that housed the torture chambers and cells called The Leads, where the prisoners were questioned and statements logged; among them the famous Casanova. Our very knowledgeable guide Caterina filled us in along the way with stories of the fascinating day-to-day workings of Venetian politics in the 17th century, and brought to life Casanova’s legendary escape across the creaking wood-beamed ceilings of the vast Sala del Maggior Consiglio (Great Council Hall).

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A Weekend In Naples

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