Take a trip through Italy on the trail of Bardic love as featured in The Times on 2nd of May 2012
Italy inspired Shakespeare to write varied scenarios for lovers, from star-crossed and cross-dressed to the tempestuous, not to mention misogynistic.
Francesco da Mosto, the floppy haired heart-throb historian, will be revving up his Alfa Romeo Spider to revisit the settings for these scenes and others in a two-part series, Shakespeare in Italy, which starts on BBC Two tomorrow evening.
And with Bardic timing, Experto Italy offers a week’s self-drive holiday in May, taking in cities of northern Italy immortalised in Shakespeare’s verse, including Verona, Padua and Venice.
The trip starts in Verona, setting of Romeo and Juliet, for four nights at Villa Cordevigo, dating from the 17th century and surrounded by Bardolino vineyards on the shores of Lake Garda.
Then drive 110km east to Padua, setting of The Taming of the Shrew and often overlooked despite being replete with Renaissance treasure.
Twenty minutes further is Venice, where Portia outwitted Shylock to quite literally save her beloved Antonio’s skin.
Here, you will stay for three nights’ B&B in an 18th-century Venetian house with Rococo interiors, heavily brocaded curtains and original wooden floors.
The house is a five-minute stroll to the Grand Canal and a little farther to St Mark’s Square.
The week’s holiday in May costs £990, including B&B and car hire. The same package with a BA flight from Gatwick is £1,320.