Sunvil Discovery launches 2014 Italy & Sicily brochure

NEW: a mini cruise from Padua to Venice, visiting three sumptuous Venetian Villas, helpful ‘Highlights’ on the regions, plus some superb new properties
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Jan. 17, 2014 - PRLog -- Italy specialist Sunvil Discovery launches its 2014 real Italy & Sicily brochure this week, featuring an outstanding choice of accommodation including five-star villa hotels, agriturismos (farm properties), apartments, spa resorts and trulli houses (traditional cottages with conical roofs). From simple short breaks to flexible fly-drives, travelling by air or perhaps aboard the Orient Express, tailor-make Italy as you like it.

Sunvil Discovery’s comprehensive Italy & Sicily programme is now in its 35th year. The product team’s in-depth knowledge extends well beyond the hotels and obvious attractions, and includes Italy and Sicily’s wonderful cuisine, culture, language and lesser-known regions. Sunvil is proud to feature the most comprehensive range of agriturismos in Italy & Sicily from the UK, all of which have been carefully handpicked for their character and location.

For the first time, Sunvil Discovery invites travellers to visit the Ville Venete (Venetian Villas), recommending the Il Burchiello mini-cruise along the extraordinarily beautiful Brenta River as the ultimate way to explore an interesting selection of three villas. Travelling from Padua to Venice (or vice versa) in a day, on what was once a typical Venetian barge (now a very comfortable, air-conditioned motorboat), there are three guided villa visits, with stops for bridges, locks and lunch. Costs £94 per adult including entrance fees, plus £27 optional lunch. The villas you will visit are:

Villa Foscari in Mira, designed by Andrea Palladio – one of the world’s most influential figures in architecture. Built in 1558, raised on a pedestal beside the Brenta, it’s nicknamed La Malcontenta since a spouse of one of the Foscaris was locked up there, having allegedly failed to live up to her conjugal duty.

Villa Widmann, also in Mira, is stunningly frescoed and captures the Brenta’s last days of French Rococo decadence, with Murano glass sea-monster chandeliers and a grand ballroom with upper viewing gallery.

Villa Pisani in Strà - the grandest of them all - is part of a series of villas, primarily built as a demonstration of the power achieved by the family since one of them, Alvise Pisani, was elected Doge of Venice in 1735.

“Once you’ve fallen in love with Venice - as of course one does - the natural next step is to venture further afield into the Veneto, and the River Brenta is an impressive accompaniment to time in the city”, comments Rosanna Melaragni, Sunvil Discovery’s Product Manager. “Plus, Padua – often overlooked – is a fascinating old university town, and a less expensive alternative to Venice”.

Sunvil Discovery has added three NEW properties in the Veneto from which the villas can easily be visited:

Hotel Villa Margherita, Mira: Luxurious four-star 17th century residence, owner-managed and overlooking the Brenta River. Only 15km from Venice, it’s a quiet retreat surrounded by magnificent, Palladio-inspired villas. Three nights’ B&B cost from £493 pp (two sharing) including return flights (Heathrow) and car hire.

Hotel Villa Franceschi, Mira: Made up of several 16th century villas, this grand five-star hotel is set within expansive private parkland. Cookery lessons, wine tasting, and boat and bike trips can be arranged. Three nights’ B&B cost from £522 pp (two sharing) including return flights (Heathrow) and car hire.

Hotel NH Mantegna, Padua: Ultra-modern, this four-star in the centre of Padua has exciting avant garde design elements and a 12th floor restaurant offering traditional cuisine and awesome city views. Three nights’ B&B cost from £429 pp (two sharing) including return flights (Heathrow) and car hire.

Also NEW in the 2014 brochure is a double-page ‘Highlights’ introduction to each region. Sunvil Discovery shares its favourite 15 or so places and aspects of each Italian area, with inspiring photographs and succinct descriptions. This insider information is enormously helpful to first-time visitors who want to make the most of a few days in a destination.

Other NEW properties for 2014 include:

Hotel Marina Riviera, Amalfi: Perched on a cliff, the outdoor heated swimming pool has sweeping sea views and the interior is Mediterranean-style. Breakfast at this four-star establishment is a treat, with freshly-sourced products and local cakes typical of the region. Seven nights’ B&B cost from £1,112 pp (two sharing) including return flights (Gatwick) and private transfers.

Hotel Principe di Villafranca, Palermo, Sicily: An elegant four-star boutique property, its recent refurbishment means minimalist décor with luxurious touches. An excellent base from which to explore the city’s centuries-old palaces and villas. Three nights’ B&B cost from £627 pp (two sharing) including return flights (Gatwick) and private transfers.

Hotel Locanda Don Serafino, Ragusa Ibla, Sicily: Rooms are characterful and cave-like in this elegant four-star hotel in the beautiful, Baroque city of Ragusa Ibla. The hotel’s restaurant, in the former stables of an old mansion a ten-minute walk away, has two Michelin stars. Seven nights’ B&B cost from £806 pp (two sharing) including return flights (Gatwick) and car hire.

Sunvil Discovery also features a tantalising range of gastronomic and wine-themed experiences, from traditional cooking tutorials in the Chianti Hills and limoncello-making classes in Eastern Sicily, to wine-tasting in a Tuscan medieval hilltop hamlet to participation in olive and grape harvests (all payable locally). Many of its properties, especially the agriturismos, offer mouth-watering, authentic local cuisine and wine-tasting, and food and wine itineraries can be tailor-made to suit individual requirements.

The extensive regions covered in the new brochure include Veneto and the Lakes, Tuscany, Umbria, Lazio (Rome), Campania and Basilicata and Puglia in Italy, plus Messina, Catania, Syracuse, Ragusa, Enna, Palermo, Trapani and Agrigento in Sicily, and Lipari and Vulcano in the Aeolian Islands.

The lead-in price is from just £458 pp (two sharing) including seven nights’ self-catering accommodation at the Terra Rossa Apartments in Taormina, return flights (Gatwick) and private transfers.

To order the new 2014 Sunvil Discovery real Italy & Sicily brochure, please call 020 8758 4747. Alternatively, visit for further information and a pdf copy downloadable in sections, or call to speak to an expert on 020 8758 4722.

Ends / 17 January 2014

Press: For high-res images and further information, please contact Sarah Belcher at Travel PR on 020 8891 4440 or

Sarah Belcher
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