The desire to travel the world and discover new wonders is ingrained within the psyche of all of us. It is the reason that a small group of primates, originating in Africa, have managed to colonise nearly every environment of the globe and reach a population of over seven billion. In the modern era, the travel industry has sought out various ways with which to sate our appetite for adventure. Whereas before a holiday would involve a journey to a destination where, upon arrival, you were left to your own devices, package deals are increasingly becoming more commonplace. For those with the finances to spare, the possibilities this facilitates are remarkable. Yachting combined with water sports, luxury chalets accompanied by mountaineering, or the finest Parisian hotel with guided tours of the cities cultural and gastronomical hotspots. However, even those with large amounts of disposable income will find areas closed off to them. Those seeking historical antiquities and buildings will have to make do with a guide explaining their wonders without actually having the chance to stand up close and soak in their spectacle. There is a company though which takes great pride in circumventing such hurdles. Their name is Ariodante.
This is a company where there are only two limits: your bank account and your imagination. They do not describe themselves as a travel company but as goldsmiths. As the finest craftsmen where the art world is their workshop. This may sound self-aggrandising but they are absolutely correct in their self-definition. For them, there is no such thing as off-limits. Some may travel all the way to the Sistine Chapel to find that it is closed to the public that day. Ariodante offer the chance to have your own private visit. You may have tickets to the premiere of an opera in Vienna, but Ariodante can allow you intimate access throughout the production. From the first Marquette to the opening night you can meet the cast, conductor, choreographers and even watch the rehearsals. They have no prospectus on what they offer, only previous and future examples of travels they have put together. This is because every single voyage is down to the client’s wants and desires. It all starts with a phone call and from there the process begins, limited only by the imagination and income of the client.
Before delving into the way this seemingly miraculous experience functions, I feel obliged to mention the company’s origins and cover a few previous examples more in depth to adequately portray why Ariodante’s service is unique. The founder is Ricardo Araujo. He is a Colombian conductor and composer whose résumé is, to put it simply, astounding. Encouraged by his artistic mother, Ricardo became proficient in music at an early age and debuted as a pianist with the Brussels’ Royal Conservatoire Orchestra at the tender age of 12. In 1996, he took on the role of 2nd musical director of the Colombian National Symphony Orchestra. Since then he has conducted some of the best orchestras in the world, including the Paris Opera House Orchestra, the Bamberg Philharmonic Orchestra and the Dresden’s Staatskapelle Orchestra. Araujo was even the first Colombian conductor invited to conduct the Moscow State Symphony Orchestra. As such, his experience within the great heights of the artistic world have given him, as the company proudly boasts, an “unrivalled black book” of contacts. From here the contacts continued to amass and now Ariodante can facilitate the passions of all kinds. They are even capable of taking people to the international space station, should the world seem too inhibiting.
As someone with an academic background in history, there are two previous experiences they have orchestrated that make my mouth water. The first was a journey through one of the most important events in human history, the French Revolution. Not only did it encompass tours to the various sites that bore witness to this seismic event, but there was a truly scrumptious piece of icing to top the proverbial cake. Ariodante managed to allow their client access to look at a document so treasured that it is never open to public viewing, The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. Essentially Ariodante created a personal documentary. It is fascinating to see programmes where academics, who have spent years in the field, are given special dispensation to enter the vaults of the French National Archives, and show to us at home this document which has proved so crucial to our evolution. But to actually stand there in its presence, to see the penmanship of hands and minds long since gone, must be a truly incredible experience. Studying the French Revolution during my undergraduate degree was a crucial part of my life. It helped to change my understanding of both past and present and played a part in forming the person I am to this day. The power of reading archives through a screen was mesmeric and so to see them in the flesh is a historian’s wildest dream. Even when researching my MA thesis there were archives that I was not allowed to see, so to hear that Ariodante can pass through these hurdles was quite the revelation to me.
The second which particularly caught my eye was a cruise that followed the journey of Homer’s odyssey. Such a trip is not only interesting but shows the scope and the lengths Ariodante go in order to cater to their clients’ wildest desires. A family of four were taken from the ruins of Troy on a Mediterranean cruise that visited all the many sites of interest. They were also accompanied by an expert in Homeric poetry and two renowned archaeologists and art historians. To undertake this voyage, or odyssey if you will, would be special on its own merits. But to be guided through it by some of the foremost intellectuals must have brought to life a piece of literature that continues to stir the hearts of many to this day.
These are but a few examples, and it must be highlighted that they were catered specifically to the individual client. Not even the sky is the limit as they can send you into space if you wish. Such an experience is not for the many though and Ariodante explicitly state in their brochure that they provide services for a “handful of cultured, ultra-discerning individuals.” Due to the extremely in-depth nature of the company’s operation, new clients should expect to have a delay of several weeks, or even months.
The process begins with a meeting or a phone call with one of their senior travel advisors, or even Ricardo Araujo himself, to understand as much as possible about your travel plans, passions and what you expect from your adventure. They will then begin the research process and will put forward some bespoke ideas based upon the information you have provided them. No matter the length of time it takes they work with you to ensure the experience you have totally conforms to your wishes. Each client receives a project manager who oversees a whole team that researches every aspect of the proposed trip to ensure that any dream becomes a reality. During the trip you have tailor made, the project manager will be on hand to ensure everything runs smoothly, thus allowing you to take in all the life changing experiences you have with total peace of mind.
Upon gaining the privilege of working with Ariodante there may be the possibility of joining their exclusive members’ club. Upon joining the CEO will personally travel to meet you in order to develop an intimate working relationship. Each member then receives a dedicated account manager who is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week, which makes organising any subsequent adventure much easier to get off the ground. Membership also allows the perks of having bespoke travel suggestions and access to exclusive events that are all predicated upon the preferences you provide. What all this amounts to is an experience like no other. No other travel companies offer the extraordinary access to the wonders of the world like Ariodante. It is therefore no wonder why they cater to the few. To the vast majority, myself included, the chance to partake in the services Ariodante provide is but a dream with which to indulge in during the serenity of slumber. But to those with the resources, the passion, and the desire to seek out the very best and most exquisite of what life has to offer, then not even the sky is the limit.
To find out more about Ariodante, please take a look at https://www.ariodantetravel.com/