The Young Pope: Italy

Forget ‘La Dolce Vita’, here at Black Tomato we’re all about La Vita Alta – the Italian high life where you’ll tour the country by private jet. In celebration of 2016’s smash-hit series ‘The Young Pope’, our travel experts have scoured the Vatican to come up with the ultimate insider’s guide to Italian grandeur. So, allow us to roll out the red carpet and pop the champagne, as you skip the queues at security and board your very own private jet for a week-long cultural whirlwind around Italia. It’s the ultimate Papal treatment here, as we bag you all the hottest tickets in the Italian cultural calendar, from opera-rock in Rome to something a touch more classical in Verona. This glamorous Italian getaway really does have it all: rich culture, luxurious hotels, famous vineyards, unique dining experiences – oh, and exclusive access to the Vatican Museum with an expert insider guide. One thing’s for sure, you’ll truly be able to say ‘veni, vidi, vici’ by the time you leave.

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A Papal Exclusive

The home of the Roman Empire, the Colosseum your high flying journey can only begin in one place – Rome. A myriad of streets brimming with history await you in the Eternal City, yet nestled in the heart of it all, lies the tranquil oasis of Hotel de Russie, your home for the next three nights. Settle in and get to know the area, perhaps with a stroll through the gardens of Villa Medici, as the young Pope did himself, or down the fashionable Via Condotti and up the iconic Spanish steps. In the evening you’ll enjoy an authentic start to Italian cuisine at family run Babette.

Tomorrow, the culture kicks in. Along with an expert guide, you’ll uncover Carvaggio’s Rome as you stroll through the cobbled streets that elude to his art and his genius. A painter of saints and sinners, Carvaggio has been a favourite of various Pontiffs over the centuries, yet he was also enchanted by everyday Roman life and walking through the city streets, it’s easy to see where he got his inspiration. Later that evening, you’ll enjoy an early supper before heading over to Vigna Barberini for a truly unforgettable experience. A one-of-a-kind opera-rock set high upon the architectural remains of Palatine Hill, Il Divo Nerone takes audiences through the 14 years of the infamous Emperor Nero and the devastating Great Fire of 64AD. Operatics and pyrotechnics? Now, that’s how we do history.

On your final day in this ancient city, you’ll take a private guided stroll through the heart of Baroque Rome, where famous sights await you around every corner and across every piazza. The Trevi fountain, Piazza Navona and Villa Borghese – you’re going to want to make sure you’ve got your camera.  Refuel with some gelati before heading off to the Vatican, where we can arrange for you to have exclusive access to the museums before they open to the public. After all, not many people can say they’ve enjoyed the wonders of the Vatican in complete privacy, so take your time as you stroll through the famous Raphael Rooms and into the splendour of St. Peter’s Basilica, this really is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

A Repertoire of Romance

From Rome, you’ll take to the skies on board your luxurious private jet to touch down in Verona, where a feast for the ears and the senses awaits you in the evening. To get you energised, we’ve arranged for you to enjoy lunch at the famous Bottega del Vino, where we can’t recommend the Risotto con Vino Amarone enough. After lunch, discover the amorous side to Verona with a private walking tour through its quaint streets, taking in the home of the star-crossed lovers, Romeo & Juliet, and the Piazza delle Erbe, a former Roman forum that is now lined with bustling restaurants and cafes.

Whether opera buff or newbie, the evening is sure to leave you spellbound. Puccini’s Tosca is one of the opera world’s most iconic works, the dramatic force of its story and its characters having captivated both audiences and performers for centuries. The atmosphere is only amplified by its performance at the outdoor Arena di Verona, renowned worldwide for its large-scale performances and tremendous acoustics. There is quite simply no better place to see an opera. Tomorrow, you’ll switch vibratos for vineyards with a visit to the Valpolicella wine region. Head down into the old cellars of Villa della Torre before enjoying lunch with the Allegrini family as they delight you with their stories and their fine red wines.

The Grand Finale

Just as in the finale of season one, this Italian episode comes to a close in enchanting Venice, home to the iconic Biennale. For a sensational glimpse into Italian contemporary art, board one of the famous water taxis and head off to the Biennale Pavilions and Arsenale Gardens, before checking out the Peggy Guggenheim museum later. Venice isn’t limited to contemporary art however and as you stroll through St Mark’s Square, past the Doge’s Palace, we think you’ll agree that there is nowhere more suited to a major architectural, or television, finale.

Ending your trip in the utmost style, you’ll enjoy dinner that evening on one of Venice’s lagoon islands, at Michelin-starred Venissa. Using ingredients fresh from the Rialto and their own vegetable garden, you are guaranteed a spectacular meal. But, arguably, it’s the journey back from dinner that’s the real highlight. Board a private boat and take in panoramic views of Venice and its twinkling night-lights for a lasting impression of an incredible trip.