Last June, 20 lucky Oldie readers stayed with Alexandra White at her home, the magnificent Castello di Mandela. The tributes came flooding in… ‘best ever’. In the words of Paul Canham: 'Alessandra is opening so many doors normally closed to tourists. She seems to know everyone: Princes and Prelates.’ Well, she wants us back…. with a completely different itinerary including a visit to Montecassino. It would be impossible for any of us to have this experience as visitors rather than her guests. DON’T MISS OUT. We shall eat splendidly either at the Castello, with local produce and family-produced olive oil and wines, or in a range of restaurants.
Saturday 16th May - Rome
We will visit the magnificent gardens of Villa Medici, the Gardens of the Aventine and The Abbey of the Tre Fontane, on the site where St Paul was beheaded. The magnificent gardens of Villa Medici used to be the gardens of Lucullus, who was a very successful general and gastronome of the late Roman Republic who returned to Rome from his victories in the east with such rich and vast captured booty that he amazed his contemporaries by his lavish entertaining. We will have lunch in one of the private villas on the Aventine with a collection of modern art.
Sunday 17th May - The summer retreats in the hills of Rome
Morning tour of the palace and gardens of the Pope at Castel Gandolfo, previously a Barberini palace built on the summer villa of the Roman Emperor Domitian.; afternoon in Ariccia, a Chigi palace by Bernini with wonderful collections still in their place. In some of the rooms Visconti filmed the ball scene of The Leopard. Gardens will be opened for us.
Monday 18th May - Subiaco in the footsteps of St Benedict
Subiaco was a very important centre of dissemination of culture and of monasticism in Europe during the Middle Ages after the fall of the Roman Empire of the West. We will visit the Monastery of Saint Scholastica, Monastery of Sacro Speco, which has the only portrait of St Francis painted while he was alive, and the Rocca Borgia where Lucrezia was born. This delightful little palace is still dominating the area with 360° stunning views of the mountains around and the national parks. Just beneath the terrace of the Rocca we can see the roof of the house of Cardinal Torquemada, uncle of the terrible Tomas Torquemada of the Spanish Inquisition.
The frescoes inside show that Nero’s villa was built just above Subiaco in the mountains. It had three artificial landscaped lakes bordered by statues.
Tuesday 19th May - Abbey of Farfa
We will visit this splendid Medieval Abbey and its untouched hamlet which is one of the three powerful abbeys of Latium, along with Montecassino and Subiaco. It was refounded by the Abbots of Cluny, France. Beautiful Romanesque, Lombard, Carolingian (Charlemagne) and Renaissance architecture entered via a natural reserve which we will visit by boat. We will eat in an agriturismo near Farfa with typical cuisine of the area and their own produce.
Wednesday 20th May - Montecassino
We will have a very special tour of the Abbey and visit the library.
Thursday 21st May - Blighty
Depart Rome Fiumicino on a BA flight at 12.55pm; arrive Heathrow at 2.40pm.
HOW TO BOOK: Call 01225 427311
Price per person: £2,450 which includes all meals, wine with meals, transport and entrances. You need to book and pay for your own flights. Single supplement: £300. A deposit of £750 will be required, with the full balance due on 1st February. Please email Katherine at firstname.lastname@example.org
Due to the recent collapse of sterling, The Oldie needs to protect itself against further sudden falls, and, hence, reserves the right to change the price of the holiday. The Oldie is happy to maintain the current price until the euro drops below €1 to £1, using FairFX’s currency rates as the arbiter. The current rate is €1.09 for £1.
We will absorb (and you will not be charged for) any increase equivalent to 2% of the price of your travel arrangements, which excludes insurance premiums and any amendment charges. You will be charged for the amount over and above that, i.e. if the exchange rate falls below €1 to £1 before February 28th, 2020. However, there will be no change after March 15th, 2020, if rates drop.
If this means that you have to pay an increase of more than 10% of the price of your travel arrangements, you will have the option of cancelling and receiving a full refund of all monies paid, except for an admin fee of £100. Should you decide to cancel: 1) you must do so within 14 days from the date on your final invoice of June 1st, 2020 2) We will provide a refund of insurance premiums paid to us if you can show that you are unable to transfer or reuse your policy. Should the price of your holiday go down due to the changes mentioned above, by more than 2% of your holiday cost, i.e. if the euro were to reach €1.20 to £1, then any refund due will be paid to you. However, please note that travel arrangements are not always purchased in local currency and some apparent changes have no impact on the price of your travel due to contractual and other protection.