The Biennale in Venice and the Renaissance in Ferrara; Art’s Past, Present and Future

08 June - 13 June, 2022


Trip Dates:
08 June - 13 June, 2022

Trip Length:
6 days

Trip Price: £1680

The Biennale is the world’s largest and best-known international exhibition of contemporary art. Founded in 1895, it has served as a ‘mother-model’ for innumerable art fairs and displays world-wide. Spread across several Venetian venues, this year’s 59th Biennale brings together 213 artists from 58 countries. Accompanied by art scholar, Nirvana Romell, spend two days exploring the many pavilions of this festival of contemporary art in a city which itself, boasts one of the most impressive accumulations of artistic and architectural masterpieces in the world. Please note the Biennale opens to public on 23 April and while the participating artists and countries have been published, the full programme is yet to be  released which may have insignificant impact on our order of visits.


The region Emilia Romagna has one of the highest concentrations of art and culture in Italy. The city of Ferrara is perhaps its finest jewel - a fascinating and eclectic town where there is undoubtedly a strong sense of the ‘real’ Italy away from some of the country’s more frequented cities. It is situated in a fertile plain of the River Po whose marshes once made Ferrara unappealing to the Grand Tour travellers. Today, this well administered city with a peaceful atmosphere is regarded as the most beautiful one in the region, with its cultural and natural riches recognised as the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. Ferrara is indebted to its former rulers, the noble Este family, for most of the town’s treasures, its long tradition of civic tolerance and for its remarkable urban layout. The city is divided into two parts; the older, southern district retains many attractive cobbled streets and medieval houses; whereas the area to the north, the Addizione Erculea, was laid out in the Renaissance by the Estes. This urban plan by Biagio Rossetti has earned Ferrara the title of the first modern city in Europe.


Please note this visit has been organised exclusively for the Friends of the Whitworth Art Gallery. However, all are most welcome to become Friends where annual membership is £27 per person or £45 per couple per annum if paid by Direct Debit but please note these rates are subject to confimration at time of joining.

Trip Leader: Mrs Nirvana Romell

Nirvana has been lecturing on the social history of Western art for 22 years and has presented numerous lectures to the Friends of the Whitworth. She has also worked on collection interpretations and museum staff training. Her passion is cultural travel and she has created many unique cultural tours in the Balkans, northern Italy, France, Sweden and South Africa. In her work, she links the past with the present by combining aesthetic, historical and social theoretical approaches to art and culture. Those who travelled with Nirvana have particularly praised her ability to engage the audience and use her solid grasp of the subject matter to impart a lasting understanding of the artists, artefacts and their broader context. She has accompanied eight previous Friends of the Whitworth visits also organised by Distant Horizons.

The Biennale in Venice and the Renaissance in Ferrara; Art’s Past, Present and Future. Trip Comments:

‘The pre-departure information was probably the most comprehensive we have ever received’

‘Meals included in the trip had been specially selected by Nirvana – we enjoyed a wonderful variation of local specialities and of such a high standard.’

‘We were very impressed with the professionalism and dedication of Distant Horizons and their colleagues to give superb service with the personal touch that makes all the difference.’

‘Nirvana was an excellent scholar, showing expert knowledge, the capacity to explain in an interesting way, a strong sense of humour and willingness to adapt to changing circumstances.’

‘We thoroughly enjoyed travelling to a region pretty much unknown to us with excellent planning and services and with the academic rigour, yet amusingly accessible day to day guidance of Nirvana Romell.’

‘Nirvana was a wonderful scholar with a fantastic depth of knowledge which made the trip quite special.’