Renaissance & Riviera 2018 - 10 days
From Venice to Rome in 10 days, discover Italy's incredible architecture and art, beautiful landscapes and gastronomic delights. Visit Verona, relax by Lake Como, explore the spectacular cliffside villages of Cinque Terre and the captivating Tuscan cities of Florence and Siena.
Sunday. Welcome to the beautiful city of Venice, capital of northern Italy's Veneto region. You'll be met at Venice Marco Polo airport for a scenic water taxi transfer to our hotel, giving you the opportunity to take in the picturesque Grand Canal and the buildings lining its banks. The rest of the day is free for you to relax, have a wander or perhaps take a Gondola ride along the canals. Tonight meet your tour guide and the rest of the group at 19:00 for a welcome dinner in a local restaurant.
Please note: If you would like to spend more time in Venice we can arrange pre tour accommodation upon request and we also offer a range of Venice excursions.
Overnight: Venice | Dinner
Verona & Grappa Museum
Venice - Verona. 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, St Marks Square and the spectacular St Marks Basilica with its golden domes. This afternoon we leave Venice by water taxi, boarding our coach to head north west to Bassano del Grappa. Here we tour the Grappa Museum, visiting the distillation room and sampling some of Italy's favourite tipple. Then we continue our journey to the city of Verona.
Overnight: Verona | Breakfast
Verona & Wine Tasting
Verona - Lake Como. This morning we explore the old centre of Verona and see Juliet's famous balcony. Our tour also includes the Roman Arena, the Basilica of San Zeno and the Arco di Gavie, a fine example of Roman antiquity. Then it's time to tickle our tastebuds with a stop at Zeno Gelati e Cioccolato, where we'll sample some very unique flavoured gelati. Later we visit a local wine cellar in Preschiera del Gardia, where we are able to sample the locally produced wine.
We then depart for Lake Como. Our hotel for the next two nights is located near 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
Renowned for the rich and famous who live and holiday here, Lake Como's shoreline has some amazing villas which we can peek at as we enjoy a scenic drive along the west bank today. We head north to Tremezzo, where we visit The Villa Carlotta which is famous for its numerous Canova masterpieces and stunning gardens. Here we enjoy some free time to wander around the gardens and the villa.
In the early afternoon we take the ferry across to the beautiful lakeside town of Bellagio, which sits at the tip of the long promontory between the two southern branches of the lake. We can enjoy a leisurely Italian lunch, admire the spectacular views across the lake and explore the town, with its maze of cobbled streets and steep stone staircases, historic villas and picturesque waterfront. Late this afternoon we travel down the east shoreline back to Como, where we spend the evening at leisure.
Overnight: Lake Como | Breakfast
Lake Como - Genoa. Our first stop today is the fashion capital, Milan where we take in the highlights of the city on a short walking tour, including a visit to the beautiful, gothic Milan Cathedral. Then there's free time for lunch and shopping or a stroll around the Quadrilatero d'Oro, where some of the world's most famous fashion houses stand.
This afternoon we travel on to Genoa, where we visit an ancient palace for a pesto sauce cooking demonstration. Here we learn how to prepare the famous pesto Genovese with a mortar before tasting it with some traditional focaccia. This traditional sauce will then be served with a typical lingurian appetizer and glass of wine. We have the rest of the evening to explore Genoa after checking into our hotel for the night.
Overnight: Genoa | Breakfast
Cinque Terre Day tour
Genoa - Cinque Terre - Montecatini. This morning we travel to beautiful Cinque Terre, where we can explore the five captivating, pastel hued fishing villages, which cling to the rugged 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.
You're free to explore Cinque Terre at your own pace, travelling down the coast from Monterosso to Riomaggiore, where we meet back up for a short transfer to our first Tuscan town, Montecatini. After a busy day we enjoy some rest and relaxation before dining together at a local Trattoria.
Overnight: Montecatini | Breakfast, Dinner
Montecatini - Pisa - Florence. After breakfast we visit the charming Tuscan town of Lucca, which is entirely surrounded by its original wall. There's time to enjoy a leisurely stroll around the cobbled streets, or relax with a coffee in one of the lovely piazzas, before we travel on to Pisa.
In Pisa we visit the iconic Leaning Tower of Pisa for that all important photo opportunity! Then there's time to enjoy lunch and have a stroll around the city before we travel on to the beautiful Renaissance city of Florence.
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. After check in then have free time to explore the city at leisure.
Overnight: Florence | Breakfast
This morning we head out to the Central Market - Florence's largest and oldest food market where there is an incredible array of delicious local Tuscan produce to sample and purchase.
After lunch we are joined by our local guide for a walking tour through the historical centre of Florence, including the Duomo, with its striking red dome, Giottos bell tower and the Baptistry. We then visit the famous Galleria Del Accademia, home to one of Michelangelo's most famous sculptures "David". Later this afternoon there's free time to explore. Art enthusiasts can head to the Uffizi Gallery or consider walking up to the Piazzale Michelangelo, which offers a stunning panoramic view of Florence.
Overnight: Florence | Breakfast
Florence - Siena. Today we leave Florence and head south to Greve in Chianti. Stopping at the famous Falorni" butchers, which opened in 1729, we can sample the local specialities, such as Prosciutto Saporito (cured ham) and Finocchiona (salami). Then we continue through the picturesque Tuscan countryside to the beautiful gothic city of Siena.
This afternoon we explore the historic centre of Siena, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with its stunning cathedral and enchanting medieval square. After wandering around the city's vibrant streets, we stop to sample some delicious traditional desserts like the panforte, in one of the most famous pastry shops. This evening we check in to our hotel in Montaperti and enjoy a group dinner to celebrate the final night of our tour.
Overnight: Siena | Breakfast, Dinner
Tuesday. Siena - Rome. This morning we head south towards Rome. En route we visit the beautiful hill top town of Civita di Bagnoregio, which is located above the Tiber River valley and has architecture spanning several hundred years. There's time to explore the cobbled streets of this captivating town and have lunch at a local trattoria or bar before we continue on to Rome. Our tour ends upon arrival in Rome at approx 5pm this afternoon.
We offer post tour accommodation in Rome and a range of Rome excursions, allowing you as much time as you'd like to independently explore the capital, which is home to the legendary Colosseum and a whole host of other historic sights.
Prices & Dates
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.
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.
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 Due Corti, Lake Como
Facing the medieval town gates of Como, this former 19th-century post office is one of the city's oldest hotels. Its cozy restaurant and lounge with free Wi-Fi, surrounded by stone walls and polished furniture, make it the perfect place to relax after exploring the Lake Como region. The soundproof rooms combine modern amenities with antique furnishings; some overlook the hotel's inner courtyard and outdoor pool.
B&B Hotel Como, Lake Como
Situated close to one of Italy’s most beautiful lakes, B&B Hotel Como offers a relaxing and comfortable stay. The en-suite guestrooms are modern and spacious, complete with free WiFi, air-conditioning and a large flat-screen TV. The all-you-can-eat buffet breakfast features a wide selection of sweet and savoury food, including croissants, artisan bread, muffins and more. A perfect base for exploring, you can take a stroll to the famous Cathedral Square or walk through the ornate gardens of Villa Olmo.
Starhotels President, Genoa
This upmarket hotel in the heart of Genoa offers city views in a comfortable setting. Its spacious rooms provide a choice of pillows, wake-up calls, and a concierge service for a painless stay. When you're finished exploring the sights of this bustling port city - the Natural History museum is nearby - try some homemade Ligurian dishes at the La Corte restaurant or relax with an Italian aperitif in the bar.
Grand Hotel Francia & Quirinale, Montecatini
The Grand Hotel has a storied history dating back to 1908, offering guests a luxurious yet welcoming stay in the heart of Montecatini. Furnished with an incredible art collection accumulated over the years, the hotel houses rooms with amenities such as Wi-Fi and LCD TVs, two elegant restaurants, and the Achilles' Shield lounge-bar. The Grand Hotel is only ten minutes' walk from the town's famed thermal baths - where hotel guests can claim a 10% entry discount - or if you prefer the peace and quiet of the hotel grounds, it has its own solarium and outdoor pool.
Hotel Palazzo Ricasoli, Florence
With the Accademia (home to Michelangelo's David) and the Duomo of Florence just minutes away, the Palazzo Ricasoli perfectly reflects the city's historical richness. Situated in a 16th-century former palace once home to the Ricasoli dynasty, its rooms are family-friendly, with Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, and satellite TV. The tea room is open late, and a lovely outdoor terrace with views of the bustling Via San Gallo is available to guests.
Montaperti Hotel, Siena
The Montaperti is tucked into the edge of Tuscan countryside, an oasis of calm just several kilometres from the heart of Siena. Its bright, contemporary rooms include flat-screen TVs and large ensuite bathrooms, while the 1260 Restaurant serves regional dishes crafted with fresh seasonal produce. When you've finished exploring the city streets, the recently renovated hotel notably has a gym, heated swimming pool, and wellness spa for de-stressing.