Un Bellissimo Viaggio! On the Road Again in Northern Italy

Nov 23, 2021

The Decorative Arts Trust’s first Study Trip Abroad since spring 2020, La Dolce Vita in Northern Italy: Genoa, Turin & Milan, was a tour to remember with treasures around every corner.

Members ventured on one of two tours, Tour 1 from October 4 to 13, 2021, and Tour 2 from October 18 to 27. The tours sandwiched a popular extension to Lake Como on October 14 to 17.  The Trust was pleased to provide a safe environment for members as they enjoyed the sites.


Genoa (or Genova) was our launching point, where we began with a walking tour of the Classical Carlo Felice Theater and the Church of San Matteo, after which we enjoyed a reception in a stunning private apartment in a palazzo on Via Garibaldi, Genoa’s famed Strada Nouova of splendid palaces. We returned to the Via Garibaldi the following morning and studied the collections at Palazzo Bianco and Palazzo Tursi. A reception at yet another private palace on Via Garibaldi and dinner at an exclusive club ended the night in style. The next morning, we explored the Romanesque-Gothic Cathedral of San Lorenzo, where the Treasury contains an impressive gallery of ecclesiastical silver and jewelry. After a visit to the Renaissance villa Palazzo Doria Pamphilj, we enjoyed lunch in the port district, noting Renzo Piano’s renovations, and then continued to enjoy the decorative and fine arts at Palazzo Spinola.


Departing Genoa, we set our sights on Piedmont’s renowned wine-growing area of Monferrato to examine the Tenuta La Marchesa and sample the fabulous wines produced there. We continued to the hilltop Castello di Montaldeo for lunch and a tour en route to Turin (or Turino) for dinner and a restorative night’s rest. The morning’s tours included the Baroque Church of San Lorenzo and the Palazzo Madama. After lunch, we admired the exemplary decorative arts collections as the Fondazione Accorsi Ometto, ending the day with a cocktail reception at a once-suburban villa still in private hands. Our final day in Turin began with a visit to the Egyptian Museum, the Palazzo Reale, and the Chapel of the Holy Shroud (recently reopened following an extensive renovation). Participants chose between the 18th-century Royal Hunting Lodge Stupinigi and the Villa Cerruti during a free afternoon. Dinner at the grand Whist Club closed the day on a perfect note.


Upon arrival in Milan (or Milano) we stepped across the street from the Four Seasons to the Museo Bagatti Valsecchi, a jewel-box collection of Renaissance-era decorative arts. An impressive sequence of sites awaited us in the afternoon, including the Brera Gallery, the iconic glass-roofed Galleria, and the Flamboyant Gothic Duomo. The next morning historian Maria Cristina Loi started our day with a fascinating lecture on the Milan that Thomas Jefferson encountered and described during a tour of Northern Italy in 1787. We walked to the nearby Poldi Pezzoli Museum, which contains an incredible collection, before reaching Brusuglio for a tour and luncheon at the Neoclassical Villa Manzoni. Our final day in Milan opened at the Castello Sforzesco and the Santa Maria delle Grazie, where we admired Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper. After lunch at a private apartment with an amazing assemblage of paintings on stone, we enjoyed a leisurely afternoon and then gathered for a tour and reception at Palazzo Crespi, closing with a celebratory farewell dinner at Palazzo Cicogna.


The extension is a time for members of each tour to cross paths, and we were thrilled to offer such an invigorating addition to our program. Exploring the Treasures of Lombardy: Lake Como and Bergamo began in the scenic town of Monza where we visited the Gothic Cathedral. We continued to Briosco and the Villa Medici Giulini for lunch and a series of private concerts. We reached Como for a welcome dinner at the refined lakeside Hotel Villa Flori. Traveling to Bergamo the next morning, we visited the Piazza del Duomo, the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore, and the Colleoni Chapel, and then we enjoyed lunch at Palazzo Agliardi. The next day began with a private boat ride to the Villa Balbianello and the lakeside town of Bellagio. The gardens of Villa Melzi made for a lovely afternoon, before we returned by boat to the hotel. The extension concluded with a spectacular farewell dinner at Villa Dosso Pisani.

Thank you to all of the members and hosts who made our first Study Trip Abroad in a year and a half such a success! The Trust offers spring and fall Study Trips Abroad annually, with additional programs that can be found on our Calendar of Events. Members at the Ambassador level and above receive advance registration benefits. 

About The Decorative Arts Trust Bulletin

Formerly known as the "blog,” the Bulletin features new research and scholarship, travelogues, book reviews, and museum and gallery exhibitions. The Bulletin complements The Magazine of the Decorative Arts Trust, our biannual members publication.


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