Tour of Italy North and South with Lake Garda and Como
9 nights/ 10 days
2019 Sunday Departures from Rome:
Apr 7; May 12, 19, 26; June 2, 9, 16, 23, 30; July 7, 14, 21, 28; Aug 11, 18, 25; Sep 8, 15, 22; Oct 6, 13, 20.
20% off Departures: June 23, 30, July 21, Aug 11, Sept 15, Oct 6, 13
A comprehensive tour of Italy where you will experience the cultural gems of the North including Siena, Florence and Venice with a trip to the glassmaking artisans on the colorful island of Murano. You will experience the stunning Northern lakes, quaint villages of the Cinque Terre and the iconic Renaissance treasures in Pisa and Lucca. You will sip classic wines in Montepulciano taking in the sunny Tuscan landscapes as you move South to Rome. Your journey will then lead you to Naples and the archaeological wonder of Pompeii. You will see the splendor of the Amalfi Coast, stopping in Sorrento where you will visit the island of Capri and its enchanting Blue Grotto. This tour gives you the best Italy has to offer.
Visit: Rome, Siena, Florence, Verona, Venice, Murano, Sirmione, Lake Garda, Lake Como, Milan, La Spezia, Portovenere, Vernazza, Monterosso, Lucca, Pisa, Montepulciano, Rome, Naples, Pompeii, Sorrento, Capri, Anacapri, Rome
Day 01 – ROME – SIENA – FLORENCE
Pick up from your hotel from 7.30am to 7.45am, before departing by coach to SIENA, the beautiful medieval city renowned for the Palio horse race. Discover the street, Palazzo Salimbeni, which is now used as the headquarters for the Banca Monte dei Paschi Di Siena. It was built in the 14th century. Visit the main square of the town, Piazza del Campo, a beautiful seashell shaped square, where the famous Palio horse race is held every year on July 2nd and August 16th. Don’t miss the chance to discover the impressive facade of the Cathedral dedicated to the Virgin Mary, covered with colorful local marble. Several artists including Michelangelo, Donatello, and Bernini worked there. Before you go, don’t forget to taste local dishes including “Pici”, a homemade pasta, and almond biscuits “ricciarelli”, both symbols of the town. You then head to Florence, arriving around 2:00pm. After check-in at the hotel, with the help of tour leader, you have the chance to visit one of the famous museums such as the Uffizi Gallery, Accademia Gallery and Palazzo Vecchio. Welcome dinner in a local restaurant with the chance to taste a typical Tuscan menu. Overnight in Florence Meals: D
Day 02 – FLORENCE
After breakfast meet our local guide and visit the fascinating backstreets of Florence. We will go from Piazza del Duomo, with its Baptistery and Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral, to Ponte Vecchio; from Piazza della Signoria with its Palazzo Vecchio and Loggia dell’Orcagna, up the central avenue paved with stone, where you’ll ﬁnd authentic masterpieces whenever you direct your gaze. An intense and concentrated tour in the very heart of Florence that will introduce you to the many wonderful “must see” places of interest. Free time for lunch. In the afternoon your tour leader will take you to meet traditional local artisan’s. You will visit one of the most famous jewelers where you can admire the collections of a Florentine master goldsmith. Walk around San Lorenzo’s leather market that offers high quality products, made with high-grade leather. Made according to the most traditional methods, you will see elegant Florentine leather bags, wallets, shoes and jackets, all representing the essence of local artisan creativity. Finally, let your nose twitch in delight, whilst we visit an old perfume workshop, which still produces fragrances using medieval methods and recipes. Overnight at the hotel. Meals: B
Day 03 – FLORENCE – VERONA – VENICE
American buffet breakfast at the hotel, check out and depart to VENICE by coach. Along the way you will stop in VERONA. Explore the streets of this historic center, that was proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage-site. Be enchanted by this gem of a city with its ancient Roman arena. Built in 30 A.D. it is very well preserved and in the last century has hosted over 30,000 people for international music concerts. This includes the Verona Arena Festival, a summertime opera celebration that draws classical music lovers from all over the world. After taking some photos of the arena, we head to the former home of famed opera singer, Maria Callas. Then we move on to Juliet’s House, the structure that inspired Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Wander back to Piazza Bra in time for lunch. Proceed to Venice. Upon arrival we travel by boat until reaching Saint Mark’s square. Here you will meet a local guide who will introduce you to the most important buildings, such us the Doge’s Palace, the Campanile, the Clock tower and the Library. You’ll be told about the birth of the city and its glorious history. Walk in hidden Venice, admiring its alleyways, lovely canals and picturesque campos (squares) At the end of the visit there is a lovely walk to your hotel for check in. Tonight, you will enjoy a typical dinner in a local restaurant. Overnight in Venice. Meals: B D
Day 04 – VENICE – MURANO
American buffet Breakfast at the hotel and then with your tour leader you will ride across the Venetian Lagoon to the colorful island of Murano. Here you will get an inside peek into the world-famous glass-blowing factories of the island. Watch a glass making demonstration from a master craftsman and enjoy time to browse the factory showroom, featuring ﬁnished works of art. Return to St. Mark’s Square for an afternoon at leisure and time for shopping and private visits. Overnight in Venice. Meals: B
Day 05 – VENICE – SIRMIONE (Lake Garda) – LAKE COMO – MILAN
American buffet breakfast at the hotel. This morning we check out and depart for SIRMIONE known as the Pearl of Garda Lake, “the gem of all the peninsulas”, as the poet Catullus wrote. The visit to the village starts with the spectacular Scala Castle dating back to medieval times. It was built at the end of the 13th century by the Lords of Verona. Wandering along narrow medieval streets one reaches the Parish Church of S. Maria which houses many images and paintings to be admired, together with different altars and precious 18th century works of marble. Slightly uphill, one reaches the S. Salvatore Church, which dates back to the 8th century. Optional boat tour to admire the park of the prestigious and luxurious 5-star Hotel Villa Cortine and the nearby Villa of Maria Callas, from here you will reach the entrance to the Grotte di Catullo. It is the most important archaeological area in the entire region of Lombardy, with imposing remains of what was once a luxurious Roman Villa on the edge of Lake Garda. In the afternoon we proceed to COMO LAKE where your tour leader will walk you around all the historic highlights. As we stroll through the ancient streets in the heart of the town, surrounded by Roman walls, we admire beautiful Romanesque and Baroque churches. Piazza Volta and Piazza Duomo, with its charming old Town Hall building, called Broletto, with its characteristic bell tower and the superb 600-year old Cathedral. Depart to MILAN where you will enjoy a panoramic tour to see: Sforzesco Castle, the medieval Piazza Mercanti and Piazza della Scala, admire the marble façade of Milan Cathedral and the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, one of the oldest shopping malls in the world. Your tour ends in the historic Piazza del Duomo. In the evening check in, dinner and overnight at the hotel in Milan. Meals: B D
06 -MILAN – LA SPEZIA – PORTOVENERE – VERNAZZA – MONTEROSSO – LUCCA
Breakfast in the hotel and check out. Depart to LA SPEZIA to embark on an unforgettable day dedicated to the discovery of one of the most amazing and enchanting landscapes in the World: “CINQUE TERRE”. We will reach the ﬁrst village of PORTOVENERE, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Its picturesque harbor is lined with brightly colored houses, while narrow medieval streets, lined with shops, lead up the hill from the ancient city gate to the castle. By boat you reach VERNAZZA, a small ﬁshing village, classiﬁed as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. The village is surrounded by steeply-terraced olive groves which are said to produce amongst the ﬁnest olive oil in the country. The last stop will be in MONTEROSSO, the largest of the ﬁve coastal villages. Its amazing beaches, beautiful reefs and the sea’s crystal-clear waters, make this small village one of the most convivial of the Ligurian Riviera. In the late afternoon we return to La Spezia by train and take the coach to LUCCA. With your tour leader, we stroll through the cobblestone streets and bustling piazzas, to the old Renaissance walls. Trace the city’s Roman past along Via San Paolino and Piazza San Michele and see the birthplace of local composer Giacomo Puccini. Admire the medieval buildings along Via Fillungo, peek inside San Frediano church and visit landmarks such as the Cathedral of San Martino, Piazza Anﬁteatro and Torre delle Ore. At the end of the walk transfer to your hotel for check in. Dinner and overnight in Lucca. Meals: B D
07 – LUCCA – PISA – MONTEPULCIANO – ROMA
Breakfast in the hotel and check out. Depart to PISA for a walk with your tour leader to the heart of the city. Admire the Cathedral Square with the Duomo di Pisa, Campo Santo, Pisa Baptistry, and, of course, the Leaning Tower of Pisa – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Take time for lunch and shopping and in the afternoon depart to cross VAL D’ORCIA, the area famous for its superb wine production and for its amazing landscape, symbolic of the Tuscan region. Enjoy a stop in the most iconic town in the area, MONTEPULCIANO. Surrounded by the ancient city wall, Montepulciano is a symbol of the power and wealth of the noble families from the 14th to 16th centuries. Be enchanted by the beauty of Piazza Grande, with the magniﬁcent Duomo and Palazzo Tarugi. We then continue on, to see the Fortezza and the Church of Santa Maria dei Servi, one of the ﬁnest examples of Renaissance art. Montepulciano is well known for the production of fabulous red wine. The “Nobile di Montepulciano” is one of the most lauded wines in Italy and abroad. Montepulciano has a distinct peculiarity, in that you can ﬁnd several historic cantinas right within the city walls. These cantinas have been dug out underneath the prestigious palazzos. Take time to taste local wines and buy some souvenirs. Proceed to Rome where you will arrive around 7.30pm for check in and overnight. Meals: B
Day 08 – ROME – NAPLES – POMPEII – SORRENTO
Departure from your hotel will be from 6.30 to 7.00 am. Please remember to order your breakfast box at your hotel the day before departure. Upon arrival in Naples we will take a walk in the historical center to admire Piazza del Plebiscito, the Royal Palace, Piazza del Municipio, the Gallery of Umberto I and the San Carlo Opera House. Today we will have lunch in a typical restaurant with Neapolitan specialities, water and 1 soft drink included. Then with our local guide we will visit the Pompeii excavations, UNESCO listed ruins. This ancient Roman city was destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. which buried and preserved it under a sea of volcanic ash for almost 1700 years. The archaeological journey through the ancient city will give us the opportunity to better understand how Romans used to live at that time. At the end of the tour, we may be given the opportunity to visit a coral and cameo factory, to admire items manufactured with a technique dating back to Ancient Greek times. Next, we proceed to SORRENTO, the gateway to the Amalﬁ coast, with its colorful historical center and pretty waterfront, lined with ﬁshing boats and the new Marina Grande cruise pier. Check in, dinner and overnight in Sorrento. Meals: B L D
Day 09 – SORRENTO – CAPRI – SORRENTO
American buffet breakfast at the hotel, and departure between 07.30-7.45am to the island of CAPRI. You will board the ferry and arrive in MARINA GRANDE. Once on the island you will visit the BLUE GROTTO (weather permitting) and stop at the famous Piazzetta. A minibus will take you up to ANACAPRI. After lunch in Anacapri, you will return to Marina Grande where you will board the ferry for your transfer back to Sorrento. Drop off at the hotel. Meals: B L D
Day 10 – SORRENTO – ROME
American buffet breakfast at the hotel. Today you have a day of leisure to explore Sorrento or to have an optional tour to discover the Amalﬁ coast visiting Positano, Ravello and Amalﬁ. Meeting back at the hotel lobby at 2.30-3.00pm. You will be transferred to Pompeii where we join the bus to return to Rome. Arrival in Rome around 9:00 p.m. Meals: B
- 2 nights’ accommodation in a 4* hotel in Florence.
- 2 nights’ accommodation in a 4* Hotel in Venice.
- 1 night’s accommodation in a 4* hotel in Milan.
- 1 night’s accommodation in a 4* Hotel in Lucca.
- 1 night’s accommodation in a 4* hotel in Rome.
- 2 nights’ accommodation in a 4* hotel in Sorrento.
- Ground transportation by deluxe coach with air conditioning.
- Boat and train ticket in Parco delle Cinque Terre.
- Guided tour of Pompeii, including entrance fee.
- Full day excursion to Capri
- Visit to the BLUE GROTTO (weather permitting/ entrance fee included)
- 9 buffet breakfasts.
- 6 dinners (drinks NOT included).
- 1 lunch in Naples/ POMPEII (water and 1 soft drink included)
- 1 lunch in Capri (drinks NOT included).
- Multilingual escorted tour (English/ French/Spanish).
- English/ French/Spanish speaking local guides.
- One bag per person allowed plus one piece of hand luggage.
- City taxes collected by the hotel. Euro 2-3 per night per guest
- Other meals and drinks
Hotels: (or similar)
- FLORENCE: Hotel Palazzo Ricasoli 4* or similar
- VENICE: Hotel Continental 4* or similar
- MILAN: Hotel Starhotel Business Palace 4* / Antares Concorde 4* or similar
- LUCCA: Hotel Grand Hotel Guinigi 4*or similar
- ROME: Hotel Gambrinus 4*/ Rivoli 4* or similar
- SORENTO: Hotel Vesuvio 4* / Michelangelo 4* / La Residenza 4* / Crawford 4* or similar
2019 Price per person in Euro:
20% off Departures: June 23, 30, July 21, Aug 11, Sept 15, Oct 6, 13
US$ rate varies depending on exchange rate
- Children only accepted from 12 years of age / adult rates