We arrange bespoke tour itineraries for small groups of friends or colleagues wishing to travel together to a special destination or for specialist horticultural groups. The minimum numbers are eight guests who will be accompanied by Susan or her specialist guides. We have the experience, know the good hotels or lodges and the best itineraries to offer. The itineraries below are examples of bespoke tours. Tailor-made programmes can be arranged for your personal preferences.
To know more please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 (0) 1423 326 300.
The Medici created gardens in Florence and the surrounding hills in the sixteenth century with grottoes, statues, boschetti and waterworks. Later perspective gardens were designed in conjunction with the villa, often with terraces, and the early twentieth century marked the revival of the Italian formal garden. This rich heritage offers a fascinating programme of visits in the spring flowering season. The gardens chosen are mostly private and form a good balance encompassing the different periods. The vibrant city of Florence with its art treasures, churches and markets is an additional attraction.
Our comfortable, welcoming hotel in the heart of Florence is a perfect base, a few minutes from the Duomo. Originating as a palazzo in the sixteenth century, and now well restored, it retains its frescoed ceilings and architectural features.
The sweeping hill countryside around the eternal city of Rome has a superb collection of gardens – some historic, others recently renovated or created, some influenced by Russell Page. A private visit to Giardino di Ninfa is a highlight of the week. Its setting, variety of plants and flowing water are within an ancient ruined town: it is quite spectacular.
To visit the gardens south of Rome we stay for three nights in the attractive small hill town of Frascati, at a most comfortable hotel. A full day to visit Rome has been included; it can be reached in 30 minutes by train. We then transfer to the countryside near Lake Bracciano, north of Rome. The elegant and welcoming Hotel di Stigliano has recently re-opened after being beautifully renovated, and there are natural hot water springs and Etruscan remains in the surrounding gardens. It is a good base for gardens north of Rome.
Concentrating on the wealth of beautiful gardens around Lake Maggiore, this tour offers a balance between interesting botanic gardens and those of classic Renaissance and later Italian style. We also visit the gardens of Isole di Brissago in Switzerland with its interesting collection of plants. The shelter of high Alps to the north, the sharply varied seasonal temperatures and the humidity of the lakes provide excellent growing conditions. In late September the scent of Osmathus fragans is delightful.
Our base is the very comfortable Hotel Cannero, with its lovely garden on the quiet Maggiore lakeside, run by Signora Gallinotto and her family. The restaurant overlooks the lake and mountains beyond and specialises in north Italian cuisine. Cannero, a delightful, typically Italian village, is a perfect base. We use the lake ferries when possible to arrive at the gardens.