The Lagoon and Artisans of Venice


Special Evening visit to San Marco

2nd – 5th December

*Fully Booked*

Venice is in need of visitors who deviate from the overtrodden paths and delve below the surface.  Inspired by this we have devised a trip which will concentrate more on the creative side of Venice, with several visits to workshops of local artisans and the outer islands.  Printing has long been part of Venetian history and we will celebrate this with the opportunity to take part in a print making workshop.  Throughout our few days we will also be popping into churches to discover hidden gems in passing. The culmination of the trip will be the special evening visit to San Marco, here we will see that the Venetian passion for creating beautiful objects has a long history.

Another aspect of the trip will be the ecology and vulnerability of the lagoon.  We will discuss the ongoing projects to protect the city and visit one of the uninhabited islands.

We will stay in a beautiful palazzo on the Grand Canal and eat at excellent restaurants away from the tourist trail.  Christmas is also a magical time to visit Venice, the water plays perfectly with the strings of fairy lights looped across the canals – just make sure your luggage has enough space for presents.


Monday 2nd December

The only way one should arrive in Venice is by water taxi, direct from the airport to the Hotel Ca Sangredo.  After a quick but delicious pasta we will explore the streets and canals, discussing how the seemingly impossible was made possible with the history of this fascinating city and how it came to be.  We will start with a private tour of the Bevilaqua workshop, we thought this would be an interesting opportunity to see how Venice’s traditions of trade and colour, which so influenced her art, are still powerful today in the textile industry (they also have a small and rather dangerous shop on site!).  Dinner will be at one of our favourite places in Venice, just round the corner from the hotel.

Tuesday 3rd  December

The day will be spent exploring the lagoon by private boat to see the saltmarshes and various islands.  We will first visit the Island of San Lazzaro degli Armeni for a private tour of the Armenian Monastery by one of the resident monks.   We will discover the monastery’s fascinating history while being shown the church, cloisters and library. There is a room in the little museum dedicated to Lord Byron who worked for six months in their publishing house on the island, helping to prepare an English-Armenian dictionary.

Deep in the lagoon is an excellent restaurant for lunch.  We will then head to the Isola del Lazzaretto Nuovo, an old quarantine island, to learn more about the plague in Venice and the ecology of the lagoon.     Supper at an excellent restaurant famed for its fresh seafood.

Wednesday 4th December

In the morning we will visit Scuola Internazionale di Grafica, an arts institution in the lively area of Cannaregio. Here we will have a workshop on monoprinting, a technique which combines the process of printing with the spontaneity of painting. We will work with the artisans to create a selection of prints which each of us can bring home.  No previous knowledge or skill needed! After lunch there will be free time for further exploring or Christmas shopping.

We will have an early dinner at a local trattoria before our evening visit to San Marco.  Seeing the Basilica at night without the crowds is an unforgettable experience and the feeling of tingling awe as the custodian slowly illuminates the mosaics in the silence is indescribable.

Thursday 5th December

We will start the day with a visit to the Fortuny Museum housed in a gothic palazzo.  There is something for everyone here as Mariano Fortuny was not just the iconic textile designer, but a stage set designer, photographer, artist, printer and collector.  The palace is a sumptuous display of velvet wall hangings, frescoes, antiques, dresses and curios.  This eclectic collection is displayed as if the Fortunys have just popped out.  Our final visit will be to the workshop of the incredible artisan of glass making, Vittorio Costantini.  Vittorio, son of a fisherman and lace maker from Burano, began his apprentice at a glass furnace in Murano at the age of eleven.  He has always had a deep love of the ecology of the lagoon and his intricate creatures show his intense study of their anatomy.  Vittorio will give us a demonstration on how he creates these remarkably intricate pieces.

After one last delicious lunch we will set off for the airport by private water taxis.

Further Details


Charlie Winton and Cat Manson will lead the trip.  Charlie has taught for AHA for many years and lived in Venice specialising in Venetian Renaissance painting and architecture.  Cat specialises in brand, culture and reputation communications. She spent twenty five years at Christie’s where she oversaw some high level consignments such as the Rockefeller Collection and Salvator Mundi sales.


We will stay at the five-star Ca’ Sagredo Hotel, a beautifully kept palazzo dating from the 15th century on the Grand Canal.  Once home to Doge Nicolo Sagredo, the palace still retains much of the family’s art collection and wonderful ceiling paintings.  It is perfectly located within reach of all that we see but away from the main tourist area.  An upgrade to a junior suite is £350 a room extra.  A suite with a Grand Canal view is £650 a room extra.  Upgrades subject to availability.


We do not book the flights thus allowing you to travel to suit your budget, use airmiles, travel between different airports or on different dates. We recommend the following flights with British airways:

2nd December             London Heathrow     08.40 – 11.55      Venice                              BA0578

5th December              Venice                      17.40 – 19.10      London Heathrow             BA0583


There will be a private water taxi for the airport transfer to meet the recommended flights.  We will Venice explore by foot and spend Tuesday travelling by boat.


Dinner is by no means compulsory, but we book a table for the group each night at different restaurants and divide the bill equally between everyone.  The price will be adjusted for those who have not had wine or beer.


There is quite a bit of walking on this trip, as well as many bridges.  As is the case for all our courses, there is a lot of standing while we discuss the works we are looking at.


The fees are £1770 which includes accommodation and breakfast, all lunches, transfers for the recommended flight, transport when connected with teaching, entrance fees, printmaking workshop, private visits, special opening of San Marco, tuition, reading lists and local advice.  The single occupancy supplement is £150 (double room for single use).  Not included are the flights, all suppers, travel insurance.  The group will not exceed 16 people.

To register

Please complete the online registration form, having read our terms and conditions and pay a deposit of £600 via bank transfer.

If you have any queries please email charlie@arthistoryabroad or call 01379 871800 (302)

NB you must buy your own flights.

Terms & Conditions