Cities shape culture. For this reason many, perhaps a majority, of cultural holidays relate in some way to the urban environment. MRT’s houses and gardens tours, by contrast, focus on a type of domestic architecture that is specifically set against the idea of the city: these villas, private gardens and country houses were to be places of escape, of freedom and self-expression, where the preoccupations of the city were kept distant. Many are accessible only by private arrangement. All remain oases of harmonious tranquility.