Renaissance & Riviera - 12 days
Marvel at the mighty Colosseum and the Leaning Tower of Pisa, travel through Tuscany's picturesque landscapes and explore the beautiful Renaissance cities of Florence and Venice, discover pastel-hued Cinque Terre on Italy's Riviera and relax by Lake Como on this 12 day tour which travels from Rome to Venice.
This morning we step back in time on a guided tour of this historic capital. Our first stop is to the Roman Forum, the former religious, political and commercial centre of ancient Rome followed by the mighty Colosseum where gladiators would battle to the death for glory before visiting the Pantheon, the best-preserved Roman building. The afternoon is free for you to independently explore the city and take in other famous sites such as the Spanish steps and the romantic Trevi fountain, or make your way to the Vatican, home to the Pope and the spectacular Sistene Chapel.
San Gimignano wine tasting
Rome - San Gimignano - Florence. We bid farewell to Rome today and head north to San Gimignano, a little town nestled in the Tuscan Hills which is famous for its medieval towers and wonderful panoramic views of the Chianti region. Italy's Chianti region is famous for its wine and we will visit a local vineyard to sample some prestigious Chianti wine. Then there will be time to wander around this picturesque town before we travel on to Florence, Tuscany's beautiful Renaissance capital. After check in there's free time to explore the city at leisure.
Known as the ‘Cradle of the Renaissance’, the small historic city of Florence is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and its narrow cobbled streets are filled with architectural masterpieces, wonderful sculptures and world class museums. This morning we take a walking tour through the historical centre, taking in highlights such as the 13th century Duomo, Giottos bell tower, Palazzo Vecchio in Piazza della Signoria and the beautiful Ponte Vecchio with its ancient gold shops.
This afternoon there’s free time to explore. Art enthusiasts can head to the Galleria Del Accademia, home of Michelangelo’s famous ‘David’ sculpture or explore the prestigious Uffizi Gallery. Alternatively, consider walking up to the Piazzale Michelangelo, which offers a stunning panoramic view of Florence.
Overnight: Florence | Breakfast
Leaning Tower of Pisa & Lucca
Florence - Pisa - Montecatini. After breakfast we bid farewell to Florence and make our way to Pisa to visit the famous Piazza dei Miracoli and take photos of the iconic Leaning Tower of Pisa. Then there's time to enjoy lunch and have a stroll around the city before we continue our journey to Lucca, a charming Tuscan city which is entirely surrounded by its original Renaissance walls. Here you can take a walk along the old city walls and admire views of the city below or perhaps relax with a coffee in Piazza dell’Anfiteatro, the central Market Square. From Lucca we drive to the small Tuscan spa town Montecatini which will be our base for the next two nights.
Overnight: Montecatini | Breakfast
Cinque Terre day tour
From Montecatini we embark on a full day excursion to beautiful Cinque Terre, where we can explore the five captivating, pastel hued fishing villages, which cling to the rugged Italian Riviera coastline. Cars have been banned in Cinque Terre for over 10 years but a quaint 19th century railway line connects the villages. The Cinque Terre pass allows you to travel on the train for free. Alternatively you can opt to walk along a section of the scenic coastal trail, enjoying spectacular views of the coastline and villages. Explore the five villages of Monterosso, Riomaggiore, Vernazza, Corniglia and Manarola at leisure before we return to Montecatini this evening and enjoy dinner together at our hotel.
Overnight: Montecatini | Breakfast, Dinner
Parma & Lake Como
Montecatini - Parma - Lake Como. We travel north to Lake Como today, stopping en route in Parma, an attractive riverside city in the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy. Parma is famous for its Parmesan cheese and Parma ham and we will visit a local producer to sample a selection of city's specialties. After exploring the town’s beautiful historic centre and visiting its famous opera house we continue our journey to Lake Como, in the beautiful Italian Lake District. Our hotel for the next two nights is located in the historic and charming lakeside town of Como, which has a 12th-century city wall and pretty piazzas, a wealth of shops, cafes and a lovely shoreline.
Overnight: Lake Como | Breakfast
Located in the shadow of the snow-capped Alps and surrounded by tree-clad hills, picturesque Lake Como has an idyllic shoreline dotted with enchanting lakeside towns and lavish villas, which are home to the rich and famous. Today is free to independently explore and the lake's regular ferry service allows you to take in highlights such as the famous Villa Carlotta in Tremezzo, with its stunning gardens and Canova masterpieces, or the beautiful lakeside town of Bellagio, known as the 'pearl of the lake'. Alternatively there is a full day boat excursion on the lake which can be booked locally.
Overnight: Lake Como | Breakfast
Milan & Verona
Lake Como - Milan - Verona. From Lake Como we drive to the fashion capital Milan, where we take in the highlights of the city on a walking tour, visiting the La Scala Theatre, the famous Quadrilateral fashion district and the city's magnificent Gothic cathedral. Then there's free time for lunch before we travel on to the beautiful city of Verona, arriving late afternoon. Spend the evening at leisure
Overnight: Verona | Breakfast
Verona, Grappa Museum & Venice
Verona - Venice. This morning we'll enjoy a walking tour of the old centre of Verona, which was the setting of Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet'. We will see the impressive Roman Arena, the Basilica of San Zeno and the Arco di Gavie, which is a fine example of Roman antiquity. No tour of Verona would be complete without seeing Juliet's famous balcony, and then we head to Zeno Gelati e Cioccolato where you can purchase some unique flavoured gelati.
This afternoon we drive to Bassano del Grappa at the base of Mount Grappa, which is the home of Grappa, that popular and somewhat potent Italian tipple. Here we enjoy a tour of the Grappa Museum visiting the distillation room with its ancient steam system and sampling Grappa. There's also time to admire Bassano's famous pottery stores before we travel on to Venice, where we're transferred to our hotel by water taxi, giving us the opportunity to take in the beautiful canals and the buildings lining their banks. We spend the last two nights of our tour in this incredibly romantic and beautiful city.
Overnight: Venice | Breakfast
This morning we take in the delights of Venice on a walking tour, marvelling at the glorious Venetian architecture, as we wander along the waterways and down the winding narrow streets of the island. Highlights include the beautiful Rialto Bridge, which spans the Grand Canal, the Bridge of Sighs, St Mark's Square and the spectacular St Mark's Basilica with its golden domes. This afternoon is free to independently explore and perhaps enjoy a traditional Gondola ride along the canals. This evening we celebrate our final night in Italy together with dinner at a local trattoria.
Overnight: Venice | Breakfast, Dinner
Friday. Our Italian adventure comes to an end after breakfast and hotel check out today. If you wish to spend longer in Venice, post tour accommodation can be arranged upon request.
Prices & Dates
Departure dates noted with a 'G' are guaranteed to operate. All other departure dates are guaranteed with a minimum of 4 persons. Prices shown are per person travelling. 'Twin/Double' prices per person apply when there are 2 people travelling, sharing a room. The 'Single supplement' applies for single travellers who require their own room and needs to be added to the 'Twin/Double' price.Read More
The hotels listed below are ones which we frequently use on this tour. We reserve the right to substitute these hotels to ones of a similar standard when necessary.
Smooth Repubblica, Rome
Situated in the center of Rome, this modern hotel offers a fabulous location just a 15-minute walk from the Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica. Its comfortable guestrooms feature minimalist furnishings and tiled flooring, alongside a fast internet connection and air conditioning. Guests can start the day with the continental breakfast buffet offering pastries, cheese, ham and hot drinks. You’ll find a number of other eateries all within an easy walking distance, where you can sample pizza, pasta and all of the other delicious dishes that Italy is so famous for.
Smooth Termini, Rome
Set in a 19th century building, this designer hotel has a young and contemporary feel. Its guestrooms feature modern furnishings with tile flooring and are equipped with essential amenities including tea and coffee making facilities and WiFi access. Guests can enjoy a tasty sweet and savoury breakfast before they head out to explore Italy’s magnificent capital. Boasting an excellent location in the heart of Rome, you’ll find yourself within walking distance of many great eateries and close to The Baths of Diocletian and beautiful Piazza della Repubblica.
Hotel San Giorgio , Florence
Situated in the historic center of Florence, this family-run hotel is well-located close to many of the city’s top attractions including Ponte Vecchio, Uffizi Gallery and the famous Duomo. Each of the guestrooms is furnished in an elegant and modern style, with amenities such as free WiFi and air conditioning. Guests can take advantage of the simple buffet breakfast, which offers cereal, croissants, yogurts, meat, cheeses and fresh coffee, or check out the local cafes and restaurants nearby. The hotel’s reception is open 24 hours a day meaning there’s always a friendly member of staff to give you recommendations during your stay.
Hotel Settentrionale Esplanade, Montecatini
Situated in the heart of Montecatini, this family-run hotel offers comfortable and elegant guestrooms, featuring large windows to allow in plenty of natural light. They’re fully equipped with all the modern amenities you’d expect, including WiFi access, and some also have balconies with views of the surrounding hills. The onsite restaurant serves Tuscan and Mediterranean cuisine across two dining halls or, during in the summer, you can dine out on the beautiful terrace overlooking the pool and garden. Guests can also enjoy a cocktail in the hotel’s cosy bar or on a sun lounger down by the water.
Hotel Como, Lake Como
Boasting an excellent location close to the city centre, this recently refurbished hotel features spacious and modern guestrooms, complete with complimentary WiFi and air conditioning. On the ground floor, you’ll find the Lobby Bar serving a range of drinks and snacks, then up on the rooftop the hotel offers an inviting open-air pool and bar. With breathtaking views of the green hills surrounding Como, this is the perfect setting to enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail. Guests can also take advantage of the hotel's fitness centre and free bicycle hire, as well as the tasty breakfast buffet served in the onsite restaurant.
Hotel Italia, Verona
Conveniently located just 300m from Verona city centre, this family run hotel is within walking distance of all the main sites including Piazza Bra, the Roman Theatre, The House of Giulietta and the wonderful market of Piazza Erbe. All rooms offer Wi-Fi, satellite TV, and ensuite facilities; some even have balconies, if you are hoping to find your Romeo on the streets below. The hotel's restaurant serves traditional Italian and local cuisine, and its staff are always available at the 24-hour concierge to help you find your way around the city.
Hotel Santa Marina, Venice
This intimate yet elegant hotel is located on the site of an ancient convent in the heart of Venice and provides a luxurious Venetian experience. Start your day with a buffet breakfast on the hotel terrace, then stroll down to the Rialto Bridge or St Mark's Square, both of which are less than 10 minutes away. Rooms combine beautiful furniture and modern comforts such as WiFi and satellite TV; many feature marble floors and Murano glass furnishings.