Day 1:ARRIVE IN ROME, ITALY.
Check into your hotel. The rest of the day is free for you to explore this ancient capital. This evening, meet your Tour Director and fellow travellers.
The “Eternal City” is steeped in history, vibrantly alive and exciting, and absolutely unique! included sightseeing with a Local Guide starts with St. Peter’s Square and Basilica. Other highlights are the iconic Colosseum, the largest amphitheatre ever built, and Circus Maximus. An optional visit is available to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel, world famous for Michelangelo’s fresco The Last Judgment.
Vistas of rolling hills, rows of cypress trees, terraced vineyards, olive groves, and rural villages form the backdrop of your journey through beautiful Tuscany. Stop in Pisa, and take a mini-train ride to see the SQUARE OF MIRACLES and the amazing Leaning Tower. Arrive in Montecatini.
Day 4:MONTECATINI. EXCURSION TO FLORENCE.
Today, enjoy an included excursion to Florence. Your Local Guide will show you the city highlights on the walking tour. You will see Piazza Santa Croce; beautiful Piazza Signoria; Palazzo Vecchio and its courtyard and Loggia dei Lanzi. To top it all, see Piazza del Duomo and its cathedral with the Giotto Campanile, and the magnificent East Doors of the Baptistry, known as the “Gates of Paradise.”
Day 5:MONTECATINI-LA SPEZIA-CINQUE TERRE-GENOA.
Travel towards La Spezia, where you’ll hop aboard the train to discover some of the five spectacular CINQUE TERRE villages. The beauty of the rugged cliffs and romantic fishing villages once inspired poet Lord Byron. From Levanto, head towards Genoa, birthplace of explorer Christopher Columbus.
Day 6:GENOA-MILAN-LAKE MAGGIORE.
Today’s included guided tour is an excellent introduction to Genoa. A maze of squares and alleys, the city grew around the port, a natural inlet, and boasts the largest medieval historical centre in Europe. Next, head north into the plains of Lombardy, and stop in Milan to marvel at its magnificent gothic DUOMO. Then, continue to Baveno on Lake Maggiore.
Day 7:LAKE MAGGIORE. EXCURSION TO LUGANO, SWITZERLAND.
Time to relax and get to know Lake Maggiore, one of italy’s largest lakes, located on the very edge of Alpine Switzerland. On clear days, you can see the peaks of the Alps. Take advantage of the included excursion to visit Lugano in italian-speaking Swiss Canton Ticino.
Day 8:LAKE MAGGIORE-VERONA- VENICE AREA.
Travel across the Po River plain, and stop in the romantic city of Verona for some time at leisure, marvelling at the Roman Arena, shopping, or tasting some of the excellent local wines. Continue to the Venice area.
Venice is more like a romantic film set than a real-life city, with its crisscrossing canals, gondolas and water buses, arched bridges, palaces, and piazzas. The included orientation starts with a BOAT RIDE to St. Mark’s Square, and is followed by time at leisure and a chance to watch Venetian GLASSBLOWERS fashion their delicate objects as they did centuries ago. Don’t miss out on the optional gondola trip, gliding along the picturesque canals with a local troubadour to serenade you.
Day 10:VENICE AREA-RAVENNA-ASSISI- ASSISI AREA.
Enjoy an interesting drive southward right across the Po Delta to Ravenna, renowned for its treasure of Byzantine mosaics, recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Continue to Assisi, enclosed by ramparts and little changed since the Middle Ages. This is the town of the deeply mystical and poetic St. Francis. See the BASILICA OF ST. FRANCIS with its famous frescoes by Giotto, with history brought to life by a Local Guide. Overnight in the beautiful area of Assisi, in the heart of Umbria.
Day 11:ASSISI AREA-POMPEII- SORRENTO COAST.
Travel to POMPEII, where time stopped for the rich, aristocratic town with the terrible eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD. On the included guided visit, see the remains of luxurious villas, temples, theatre, and forum. Carry on to Sorrento, set on a plateau above the waters of the Bay of Naples. Wander the winding streets lined with shops and stalls, and sit with a glass of wine, absorbing the easy-going lifestyle of this charming resort.
Day 12:SORRENTO COAST. BOAT TRIP TO CAPRI.
Enjoy a day trip to the legendary island, surrounded by a rocky coastline where the crashing sea has formed awe-inspiring caves. The town with its pretty piazzetta, maze of streets, fashionable boutiques, and cozy restaurants, is a mecca for the jet set. Explore on your own or take an optional island tour.
Day 13:SORRENTO COAST-ROME.
Today, enjoy time at leisure or visit Positano on our exciting optional excursion, before returning to Rome.
Your holiday ends with breakfast this morning.