The romance of Italy comes to life on this culinary and cultural adventure that will take you from medieval masterpieces to lively markets.
The romance of Italy comes to life. Explore a local farm and indulge in a cheese and wine tasting. Explore the rugged coast and remote fishing villages of the Cinque Terre. Spend four relaxing nights in a Tuscan villa. Choose the way you discover the charming town of Lucca: on foot or by bicycle. Get to know Florence with a walking tour of the city’s treasures and monuments, including the Piazza del Duomo. Experience medieval life at the Palazzo Davanzati. Venture to rose-hued Siena. Visit a winery in the countryside and learn the secrets of Tuscan cuisine when you participate in a cooking lesson. Wander the streets of Bologna and taste some of the area’s speciality foods. Spend two wonderful nights in Venice. These are Italy’s treasures.
Days 1, 2 Regina Palace Hotel, Stresa or Grand Hotel des Iles Borromees, Stresa
Days 3, 4 Grand Hotel dei Castelli, Italian Riviera or Grande Albergo, Sestri Levante, Italian Riviera
Days 5 – 8 Villa Lecchi, Tuscany or Villa Sanpaolo, San Gimignano
Days 9, 10 Hotel Ca' dei Conti, Venice or Hotel Bonvecchiati, Venice
Multiple departure dates available
Day 1: Stresa, Italy - Tour Begins
Begin on the arresting shores of Lake Maggiore, surrounded by the peaceful beauty of the Alpine lakes region. Visit a wine shop and enjoy a cocktail party with some prima di cena snacks. Cruise to Isola dei Pescatori,* the most picturesque of the Borromean Islands, where you’ll engage with new friends at a dinner welcoming you to Italy. Today dinner will be included.
Day 2: Stresa
In an ancient village nestled in the mountains, a local family welcomes you to sample their very own artisanal cheeses, paired with the region’s best wines. The remainder of the day in Stresa is at your leisure. Explore the piazzas, flower-lined cobblestone streets, and lakeside promenades. Or, relax and enjoy the breathtaking surroundings during an optional cruise of this scenic lake region. Today breakfast will be included.
Day 3: Stresa - Orta - Italian Riviera
Witness picture-perfect views of the lakes region from Lake Orta, the ancient glacial lake in the Alpine foothills. A boat delivers you to Isola di San Giulio, dominated by its working convent. Journey next to discover the myriad glories of the Italian Riviera as the Liguria coast calls you to the town of Sestri Levante. Today breakfast and dinner will be included.
Day 4: Italian Riviera - Cinque Terre
Spend your day discovering the colourful Cinque Terre, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Travel by rail through the medieval villages of the Cinque Terre, perched on the edge of the sea. Traverse the rugged coastal area dotted with terraced vineyards, arriving at this nearly inaccessible string of fishing villages tucked between the mountains and the Mediterranean. Feel like you have stepped back in time. Spend an afternoon independently exploring this magical place. Today breakfast will be included.
Day 5: Italian Riviera - Lucca - Tuscan Villa
Encircled by 16th-century Renaissance walls, the medieval city of Lucca’s appeal lies in the old-world ambience contained within its ramparts. Old storefronts offer a glimpse into the city’s elegant past, while Lucca’s cultural scene thrives in the busy piazzas – local gathering spots for more than 2,000 years. This afternoon, it’s your choice! Discover Lucca on foot -OR- pedal the city circuit via bicycle. Whatever you choose, you’ll see historic marvels including the Cathedral of San Martino and the Piazza dell’Anfiteatro. On a tour of Lucca’s speciality food shops, sample the region’s seasonal delicacies. Stop at a family-owned leather shop and learn the traditional Italian techniques of leather making. End the day in a historic Tuscan villa where you’ll begin a rejuvenating 4-night stay.** Today breakfast and dinner will be included.
Day 6: Florence
Florence. Birthplace of the Renaissance. Home of the Medici family, Galilei, Botticelli and da Vinci. Set out on a walking tour and see medieval Florence’s treasures and monuments, including the Piazza del Duomo, the centre of religious life in medieval Florence, and the Piazza della Signoria. Visit the world-famous Academy Gallery to see Michelangelo’s incredible statue of David. Florence is yours to explore independently before returning to your villa. Today breakfast will be included.
Day 7: Siena
Travel south to Siena, where Romanesque and Gothic architecture surround you, and history ignites the culture inside this UNESCO World Heritage site. Walk the medieval streets through narrow passageways on a guided tour and visit the Gothic cathedral, a dramatic architectural marvel rich in frescoes by Pinturicchio and masterpieces by Pisano, Donatello, and Michelangelo. Retreat to your Tuscan villa for a relaxing afternoon. Today breakfast and dinner will be included.
Day 8: Tuscan Countryside
Tuscany’s landscape is a magical colour wheel, where the rays of a pure, sharp sun electrify its vineyards and groves. In the heart of the countryside, a family wine estate welcomes you. After a tour that showcases the wine cellar, the estate, vineyards and olive groves, engage in a lunchtime cooking lesson with the estate’s own chef. Break bread during an authentic Tuscan lunch and toast with wines produced on-site. Return to the villa for some leisure time this afternoon. Continue your culinary journey tonight at one of Tuscany’s traditional restaurants. Buona digestione! Today breakfast, lunch and dinner will be included.
Day 9: Tuscany - Bologna - Venice
On the way to Venice, discover the virtues of Bologna. A city barely changed since the Renaissance, the vivacious capital of the Emilia-Romagna region enthralls you during a walking tour of its medieval grid. Browse the city’s speciality food shops, ripe with the smells and sights of epicurean fantasy, and sample local delicacies along the way. Arrive later in Venice, the “Queen of the Adriatic,” and settle in for a 2-night stay in one of the most romantic cities in the world. Today breakfast will be included.
Day 10: Venice
Welcome to Venezia, the floating city that’s home to magnificent art collections, wonders of architecture, and where marbled palaces belonging to the Gothic and Renaissance periods tower over gondola-laden canals. Embark on a boat journey to Murano*** for an expert glass-blowing demonstration on an island that’s renowned for its long tradition of glass making. Journey back to Venice’s St. Mark’s Square, where a local guide takes you on a tour of its incredible sites, from the Bridge of Sighs and the Clock Tower, to St. Mark’s Basilica. Addio, Italia! Join friends tonight for a spectacular farewell dinner. Today breakfast and dinner will be included.
Day 11: Venice - Tour Ends
Wake up in Venice and depart for home. Today breakfast will be included.
Collette and Starts at Sixty booking conditions apply. Please enquire for more details.