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Italy

Of all the holiday destinations, Italy is a true treasure chest with probably the richest artistic legacy in the world. But Italy also offers idyllic seaside resorts and some of the most magnificent cities in the world. Wherever you go, there is a sense of history and culture all around, where even the buildings are works of art and where the humblest churches contain some of the greatest paintings by the grand masters.

The grandeur and glory of Italy’s Renaissance period is still evident, complemented by a gentle, laid-back lifestyle where animated conversation is more likely to be about food and wine than anything else. Noted for their great sense of style, Italy is a shopper’s paradise, especially for clothes, leather goods, jewellery and glass. And, of course, eating itself is virtually elevated to an art form with restauranteurs going out of their way to ensure your every meal is an unforgettable experience.

Italians are very friendly, family oriented people and this adds to the relaxed and informal atmosphere. You won’t be rushed if you just want to sit in an outside café and watch the world go by.

Venice is one of the most romantic cities in the world with its fabulous facades, canals and gondolas that have inspired the greatest artists. Whether you visit the known places like St Mark’s Square and the Venice Guggenheim, or go off the beaten track to drink at Hemingway’s favourite bar or discover magical backstreets and hidden piazzas, you cannot fail to be charmed by Venice.

Alternatively, stay beside the stunningly beautiful lagoon at Grado, Italy’s oldest seaside resort and famed health spa. The area includes two nature reserves and the resort is totally dedicated to enjoying peace and relaxation in grand style.

RESORT INFORMATION
Currency                                     Euro
Time Difference (from UK)            +1 hour
Flight Time (from UK)                             2 hours
Voltage                                      220V, 50Hz
Shop Opening Times                    0900-1300 & 1400-2000 (shops may close Mon am, some shopping     centres open 24 hours)
Bank Opening Times                    0830-1330 & 1445-1545 Mon-Fri

Grado

General Description:

Grado is the extreme part of the port of Aquileia, which is the first port of call for the ships from coming from the Adriatic sea. In Roman times, Grado was home to a community of port workers and merchants. There are still several pre-Christian archaeological ruins in Grado. The most important are the foundations of a building of the 4th century under the basilica on Piazza della Vittoria. With over 12 thousand hectares land and 25 kilometres coastline the lagoon of Grado extends towards west as far as the lagoon of Marano and is the most beautiful in the whole Mediterranean. A tangle of canals and valleys, among the slimes, "mote" as the inhabitants use to call those little lagoon isles, covered with reeds and bushes. A timeless place of water, wind and silence. To protect this ecosystem there are two nature reserves, ideal habitat for several water-birds species that nest or winter here.

Location: 
18km west of Trieste airport and 120km east of Venice airport, Marco Polo.

Shopping: 
Italian clothes and shoe shops are mostly in this area as it is a typical Italian area.

Eating Out: 
Good traditional Italian restaurants where just Italian is spoken.

For the less mobile traveller:
Grado features excellent flat surroundings and beaches, which are accessible via wooden walkways, it also offers an accessible toilet. A beach resort, surrounded by nature reserves its the perfect place to relax or enjoy one of its many thalassotherapy centres, where some are accessible and offer excellent treatments. Grado has an excellent café society although many may not be accessible.

Tuscany

General Description:

Tuscany is an area of outstanding beauty and a treasure trove of history and culture. Striking buildings, galleries and mighty cathedrals set Tuscany apart as one of the top cultural destinations in the world. The Tuscan people are warm and welcoming and your Tuscan holiday will be enhanced further by the region's excellent wines and delicious cuisine.

Location:

The village of Lucignano is positioned between Siena and Arezzo and is located in the South of the Arezzo Provence. Arezzo is 25km away, Siena is 40km, Florence is 90km and Pisa is 160km.

Shopping:

Tuscany is known for its high quality leather goods, crystal, terracotta and lace, but the region is also home to factory outlets offering the height in designer fashion. The ancient village of Lucignano has a variety of products ranging from extra-virgin olive oil and honey, to the production of ceramics and gold jewellery and the authentic outdoor markets in this region will allow you to sample the freshness and quality of local produce to capture and taste Tuscany at its best.

Eating Out:

Boasting a blend of delicious food, beautiful wine, Tuscany is home to the very finest home-grown food and you can expect to sample the most delicious natural fare. Eating out is a real event and you will certainly taste the true flavour of Italy.

For the less mobile traveller:
The local town of Lucignano is full of small windy enchanting streets which lead to the town centre, areas care cobbled with limited drop kerbs. Car hire or booking excursions are advisable in order for you to visit the most accessible places that Tuscany has to offer.  

 

Venice

General Description:
A great maritime power until the 16th century, ruling whole swathes of the former Roman Empire and dominating the Mediterranean, Venice is a living museum, its rich blend of Byzantine, Renaissance and Gothic architecture framing a labyrinth of canals and waterways, narrow lanes, alleys and quiet corners. Justifiably popular, each year it attracts around 10 million visitors undeterred by the steamy summers and damp, chilly winters, accommodating them in a city area measuring just 2½ miles from east to west and 1¾ miles from north to south. The most popular sights are clustered round St Mark's Square, though in the height of summer its grandeur is often lost beneath a sea of people and pigeons. However, Venice manages to retain a serene charm – aided by the fact that no motorised transport is allowed (apart from the vaporetti, or water buses) – and it is easy to escape the crowds, with photo opportunities around every corner.

Venice lido – built around a long, sandy beach – is used by many travellers as an escape from the relative confinement of Venice while remaining within easy distance of its sights; the resort has a slower pace of life but sees the unwelcome return of traffic (and its noise). Measuring 500 yards from southeast to northwest and stretching for 7½ miles southwest to northeast, the main tourist development is located along the broad shopping avenue, Gran Viale Santa Maria Elisabetta, which links the Venice water-bus terminal with the beach. 2 miles from the centre is the casino which hosts the annual film festival, while the rest of the island is given over to woodland and well-spaced residential mansions.

Location:
In northeastern Italy, at the very of top of the Adriatic coast. 250 miles north of Rome. 130 miles NE of Florence. 100 miles west of Trieste. 65 miles east of Verona. 5 miles from Marco Polo airport. Venice Lido is 2 miles from Venice by boat, 3 miles from the mainland by boat and 14 miles by motorboat or bus and ferry from Venice airport.

Shopping:
A full range, from top designer boutiques to numerous markets. The main commercial area is in the San Polo district, where a string of popular shopping streets connect Campo San Polo with the Rialto Bridge. Many fashionable stores around St Mark's Square, and a good selection of stores along key walkways. Some specialist retailers in quieter, outlying areas. Upmarket boutiques and speciality shops in Lido. Glassware and lace are local specialities, together with masks. Lots of tacky souvenir shops radiate from St. Mark's Square. Most goods are relatively pricey.

Eating Out:
Generally more expensive than most other Italian cities, though the quality and quantities are not always as good. The top, pricey establishments are mainly around St Mark's Square. Many traditional trattorias in the San Polo and Dorsoduro districts. Plenty of food stands, cafes and ice-cream shops for quick snacks. Venice Lido restaurants are nearly all based in hotels. Plenty of familiar fare (pastas and risottos) with seafood a speciality; pastries are a local treat. Regional cuisine makes use of spices and exotic flavours, a legacy of its lucrative trade with the East centuries ago. Fegato is an example of a local dish: liver with onions and polenta.

For the less mobile traveller:
Venice provides an excellent opportunity to view many fantastic sights from its accessible water buses. These are easily accessed at many points by wheeling straight on to the boat. Venice, renowned for its hundreds of bridges is not fully accessible and keys will be required to operate the few bridge lifts that make up its accessible routes. It is recommended that accessible route maps are purchased prior to travel or from the hotel reception, as certain areas will be inaccessible.  Many museums and places of interest do provide accessible toilets and are clearly signposted. The majority of the streets within Venice are paved, but some will be cobbled.  The Lido in Venice is well worth a visit, it is very flat with excellent drop kerbs and a lovely sandy accessible beach.  It offers paved walkways down to the sea and accessible toilets.

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