Day 1: Welcome to the Eternal City of Rome
Welcome to Rome, a glorious city filled with classic antiquities, medieval buildings, Renaissance palaces and baroque churches. Transfers depart from Rome's Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport for your hotel. Relax and settle in before joining your Travel Director and getting to know your fellow travellers over a delicious Welcome Dinner with wine at a local restaurant.
Day 2: Vatican and Rome with a Local
Today is devoted to The Eternal City. Join a Local Expert for an in-depth visit to the Vatican Museums, full of priceless art treasures collected by the Popes. Visit the Sistine Chapel, where the Popes are elected, to admire Michelangelo’s famous ceiling. Continue to St. Peter’s Basilica, to wonder at another of his works, the emotive ‘Pietà,’ and stand beneath the dome completed after his death. Cross the Tiber river to enjoy views of ancient Rome. See the incredible Circus Maximus and the legendary Colosseum. There’s free time to do as the Romans do, or perhaps join a walking tour and toss a coin into the spectacular Trevi Fountain, see the Pantheon, the best preserved monument from the Roman period, and enjoy free time in Piazza Navona.
Day 3: Castel Gandolfo
Venture to Castel Gandolfo to explore the artistic treasure of the Villa Barberini Gardens. Ride an electric train along the pathways to marvel at the intricately designed mosaic flower beds and fountains. After our visit to the former papal gardens our journey continues south, drinking in the views of the Bay of Naples, to the resort town of Sorrento.
Day 4: Capri, the Isle of Dreams
Meet your Local Expert and cross the Bay of Naples to reach the beautiful Isle of Capri, a rock rising sheer from the Mediterranean! For 2,000 years, Capri has beckoned visitors from Tiberius Caesar to Gracie Fields. Arriving at the Marina Grande by boat, ascend to Capri town by one of the island's iconic open-top taxis. Explore the narrow alleyways, browse in exclusive boutiques and wonder at the views over the Tyrrhenian Sea. Descend to the port by funicular railway and return to Sorrento, where you are at leisure for the rest of the day.
Day 5: The Picturesque Amalfi Coast
Travel along Italy’s finest coastline, the Amalfi Coast. Stop for a bird’s-eye view of the terraced houses of Positano before venturing in to the heart of the town. There’s time to be tempted by the boutiques before returning to Sorrento to enjoy stunning views down to the clear waters of the Bay of Naples. Maybe relax over coffee and contemplate your options. You could stroll down to the harbour, visit the Church of St. Francis, take a swim from the foot of the cliffs or just relax and enjoy the warm, southern sunshine.
Day 6: Pompeii and Todi
Journey to the ancient Roman city of Pompeii and explore this extraordinary site with your Local Expert. Travel into the heart of Italy to enjoy free time in Todi, located on a hilltop pedestal overlooking a vineyard-covered plain. Savour the distinctly medieval ambiance during your orientation and admire the Piazza del Popolo where locals take their evening 'passeggiata'. Take in the flavours of the region and enjoy a Highlight Dinner at a local restaurant with a glass of Orvieto Classico wine - a magical culinary experience!
Day 7: Assisi and on to Perugia Relaxed Start
Cross the River Tiber to see the church of St. Mary of the Angels. Under the dome is a small medieval chapel and the spot where St. Francis died. In Assisi see St. Clare’s Church and the cathedral. Continue to walk down the Via San Francesco and visit the huge Basilica of St. Francis with a Local Expert. Journey to beautiful Perugia - the jewel of Umbria. Your guided walking exploration begins in the main street of Perugia's Old Town. See the Collegio del Cambio, the splendid Priors' Palace, the Cathedral and the finely sculptured Great Fountain in the magnificent main square. In the evening there is the option to discover the edible treasures of a traditional Umbrian kitchen, accompanied with wines of the region.
Day 8: Perugia, the Jewel of Umbria Relaxed Start
Time to explore more about this gem of a town. Join a MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience as you visit an artisanal workshop and meet Marta, a recipient of a TreadRight Foundation grant. Learn how Marta and her weavers are preserving the ancient craft of loom-weaving. With the rest of your day at leisure, perhaps visit Cortona, one of the oldest hill towns in Tuscany. On this Optional Experience, journey to a recently unearthed Etruscan Temple before a guided exploration through the town's historic centre with views of Lake Trasimeno and the Val di Chiana.
Day 9: Florence and Radda in Chianti Relaxed Start
Journey past Lake Trasimeno to Renaissance Florence. On arrival you will walk with a Local Expert to see the marble-clad cathedral, bell tower and Gates of Paradise on the baptistery. Enjoy time at leisure to explore Piazza della Signoria, still the political heart of Florence and an open-air gallery of Renaissance masterpieces. Spend time gazing at the fountains and sculptures along the front of the Palazzo Vecchio. Wander the area around Santa Croce Basilica, famous for the quality of its luxury goods of gold and leather. Later, travel through the cypress-clad hills and vineyards of Tuscany to your elegant hotel. This afternoon, enjoy a delicious exploration of Tuscany's red wines, discovering their robust flavours and absorbing history.
Day 10: San Gimignano and Siena
This morning visit the hilltop town of San Gimignano. Enjoy a tasting with award-winning, master gelato maker, Sergio Dondoli whose great inventions include innovative and mouth-watering flavour combinations. Continue to Siena and explore with Insight Choice. Choose to visit the medieval Cathedral or alternatively, sample panforte, a traditional Tuscan dessert.
Day 11: On to Lucca Relaxed Start
Travel to Lucca to view the churches, squares and palaces, perfectly preserved within encircling medieval ramparts. Pause a while and taste the lavish loaves of buccellato, Lucca's sweet raisin anise bread, said to be a favourite of the ancient Roman army. Later, perhaps explore Pisa?
Day 12: Exploring the Cinque Terre
Get ready to explore the Cinque Terre, or five villages, which for years were only accessible by foot. This UNESCO World Heritage site is one of Italy's most beautiful landscapes. Join a Local Expert in one of the picturesque fishing villages, before cruising along the rugged coastline (weather permitting). There is plenty of time to explore the old medieval quarter and popular sandy beach before returning to your hotel in Lucca.
Day 13: On to Parma
Journey to the beautiful university town of Parma, world-famous for its local ham and cheese. Meet one of the locals, Paolo. Learn about the process of making Parmigiano-Reggiano as Signor Paolo shares with you his passions for Italian food, especially excellent quality Parmesan cheese. Taste samples of the famous Parmigiano-Reggiano, accompanied by a glass of wine.
Day 14: Modena and on to Venice
Visit one of Modena's top producers of authentic, traditional, artisan balsamic vinegar and take a master class to understand what makes this vinegar as expensive as top-rated wines. Continue on through the Soave vineyards past Padua to Venice, Queen of the Adriatic. To the tune of accompanying musicians, you will be serenaded through the atmospheric canals as you glide by gondola past water-lapped doorways and rococo palaces.
Day 15: The Magic of La Serenissima
Join a MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience during a visit to a traditional arts centre, where you can see how beautiful handcrafted glass is made by expert glassblowers, safeguarding traditional skills. Visit St. Mark’s Square where the city’s former wealth and power is evidenced by the riches of St. Mark’s Basilica and admire the Doge's Palace with its adjoining Bridge of Sighs. In the evening, cruise the islands of the Venetian Lagoon to arrive at Burano, famous for its candy coloured houses. Sit down to a sumptuous Celebration Dinner with wine, sampling the local specialities.
Day 16: Arrivederci Venice
Your departure transfer arrives at Venice Marco Polo Airport.