See the world you want to see
With travel plans on hold, we must make sure our first post-lockdown trip is truly special to us. In an interview with Ariodante founder, Ricardo Araujo, we meet the man who offers life-changing cultural experiences which can even take place during lockdown.
I have always believed, that from the point of booking your next getaway, even if you are not due to leave for months, you become subliminally guided by the fact that you have something wonderful to look forward to. Times of immense business pressure seem, somehow, less stressful when you know there is something great on the horizon. I suppose it is the muting of this joyous feeling which travellers are ultimately suffering from right now – the loss of travel, the loss of excitement, the loss of discovery and understanding of the world – and, quite prominently, the lack of any clarity on when things can go back to normal. In this sense, the next travel experience should be one of immense personal delight. The next trip we take should be special, it should be unique to us and should truly change our lives for the better. Now surely is the time to plan the holiday of our lives. In our search for life-changing private experiences, we wanted to discover some truly unique travel options – and what we unearthed was Ariodante. This is a unique travel concierge service that specialises in arts, culture, history and provenance. The company’s website asks its visitors to “imagine being up close and personal with the brushstrokes of a famous artist, sharing a room where a king and queen once slept or enjoying dinner at the foot of a famous monument”.
Indeed, Ariodante invites you to compose your own symphony or create your own priceless masterpiece, via its tailored travel experience. This is because Ariodante can quite literally bring you whatever you desire. To gain more insights into what can be done, we called the company founder, a famed Colombian composer and conductor, Ricardo Araujo. It transpires that Ricardo’s lifelong history in the world of art and music has led him to create, what this humble reporter would describe as, truly unbelievable cultural experiences. Regaling the travel experiences Ricardo has created, he informs me that he makes every experience to suit the desires of the client – adding his own imagination into the mix, to make something immensely unique. With a key focus on history and culture, Ariodante organises private viewings of prominent artworks and tours which follow directly in the footsteps of key historical figures – something which Ricardo states, is simply not done by other travel concierge services”. In describing one experience which focussed around his client’s interest in the French Revolution, Ricardo reflects: “We visited the main landmarks and then opened the vault of the French National Archives, which was a true privilege. Our clients saw the original of the declaration of human rights – and they were able to touch it – and several other priceless original manuscripts of the revolution.” He continued, “We had a private gastronomic dining experience inside the French National Library after seeing some of their most precious manuscripts of that period, including a document with the blood of Marat when he was killed during the Revolution.”
To give insights, Ricardo enlists the services of world-leading historians, artists, and even descendants of the key historical figures, who offer their expertise throughout the tours. In some cases, as with the tour of the French Riviera, a Nobel Literature Prize winner gave their own considered insights. The profound quality of these excursions is how Ariodante stands far removed from other travel concierges. Ricardo divulges more details of trips to Rome, where they opened the Vatican for private viewings of the Sistine Chapel and toured apartments never before opened to the general public – he also mentioned following in the footsteps of the 5th Earl of Carnarvon (the explorer who uncovered the tomb of Tutankhamen) from his home at Highclere Castle all the way to private viewings of artefacts and exclusive access into the Valley of the Kings. Amid his regaling of the wondrous excursions, he has imagined in the past, at this point Ricardo is prompt to remind me that these are all immensely private experiences, engineered entirely to reflect the client’s interests, therefore he does not divulge every detail of the experience, but it is quite needless to say, that these extra intricacies gave the customers great delight. But this is merely an example of the service Ariodante provides. Every trip is genuinely organised with the clients’ true interests at heart. Ricardo creates travel experiences that are dedicatedly in tune with the individual’s wildest dreams. He admits that art is his own true passion and that he considers his “best and most meaningful creations are international experiences following an artist or a historical figure through different regions and countries, instead of a trip to just one location.
With this in mind, his latest offering is organised with art lovers in mind and follows the historical footsteps of Pablo Picasso on his artistic journey. The tour focuses on several periods of his life and the different facets of the artist. It explores the artists’ friendships and rivalries with several great artists such as Matisse, Braque, Giacometti and many more and those he admired and sometimes inspired him such as Rodin, El Greco and Velazquez. In Ariodante fashion, the trip includes travel by private jet and luxury accommodation in the best hotels in each destination. Short distance travels are taken by car or helicopter, and this tour includes private dining experiences and private viewings of Picasso’s famed masterpieces. The tour takes in many French and Spanish cities but can be tailored to take in as little as two specific locations and up to 15 for those wanting to gain a full understanding of Picasso’s life. Indeed, each echelon of the tour is considered to what the client desires, and is all curated by Ricardo himself, a man who has spent his entire life surrounded by the arts.
Excitedly, Ricardo offers insights into future trips he is working on, these include Europe-wide journeys of discovery into the lives of other key historical figures such as Matisse, Van Gogh, Leonardo da Vinci, Casanova, Emperor Charles V, Miguel de Cervantes, Mozart in addition to a tour focusing on WW2, all of which he claims will unearth “incredible places never open to the public”. Interestingly, with the majority of Ariodante experiences, part of the fee goes into the funding of cultural projects, restorations and further explorations into the history behind these cherished findings. In this way, the client is not only fulfilling their own desires to uncover true history but are paving the way for further discoveries of great cultural significance. In a similar vein, another facet of the company’s services explores nature in its rawest forms, this includes trips to the north pole to see glaciers and meet with leading scientific experts who work in global warming sites – a proportion of the tour fees goes into funding key scientific research. In all, these experiences are created to give true insights into the world that has gone before us. They put you eye to eye with history and allow you to truly see decisive moments that have shaped the world we now live in. Due to the truly bespoke nature of each excursion, it can take several weeks to discuss and compile the perfect trip, so, with lockdown beginning to ease across Europe, now may be the perfect time to start to plan the cultural getaway of your wildest dreams. Indeed, as Ariodante deal in the exclusivity of travel, trips can still adhere to privacy away from crowds and large gatherings – and therefore can still be made available in some instances. If we take a single thing from the grip of COVID19, it should be that life is for living.
Now is a time to draw up plans for life, for love and for excitement – it is time for us to see the world that we want to see.
For more information on how you can create your own bespoke travel excursion with Ariodante – click here.
If you would prefer to speak directly to Ariodante, request a callback and Ricardo and his team can discuss your perfect travel getaway. All discussions are confidential.