Captivating holiday soaking up Italian splendour
This 12-day adventure takes you to the highlights of Italy in less than a fortnight. This captivating holiday soaks up Italian splendour from the waterways of Venice to the culture of Florence, the ancient relics of Rome and the scenery of Sorrento.
We leave St Pancras after meeting at our exclusive Departure Office. Travelling on the Eurostar we make our way to Paris. Here, we change trains and continue to Turin, where we overnight.
After breakfast, you have a morning at leisure in which to explore Turin, a stylish city that boasts airy city squares, verdant parks and broad boulevards of Renaissance architecture. This afternoon we leave Turin behind, travelling by high-speed rail to the spectacular 'Floating City' of Venice. On arrival, we transfer to our hotel on the Venice Lido, just outside the centre of the city, but nonetheless in an excellent position from which to discover the charms of Venice.
Our excursion today takes in the highlights of incomparable Venice, a city synonymous with romance and instantly recognisable waterways. We are transferred by boat from the Lido to Venice itself, where we are met by a local guide for an insightful tour of the city. The glorious city is set in its own shimmering lagoon - an incredible environment that has UNESCO World Heritage status. We explore the icons of Venice, wandering through the narrow winding streets to see some of the city's main sights. Our tour ends in St Mark's Square, without a doubt one of the world's most beautiful city squares - indeed, this reputation has earned it the nickname 'the drawing room of Europe'. Entrance is included to St Mark's Basilica, and our tickets handily help us to skip the lines, for easy access to this stunning church. Inside, the walls are decorated with over 85,000 square feet of mosaics, with Biblical scenes depicted in an array of incredible colours, whilst the artifacts housed here often date back centuries - many are relics gained from the Fourth Crusade. After time to explore, we are transferred back to our hotel on the Venice Lido.
Leaving Venice behind after breakfast, we travel by rail this morning to Florence, a delightful Tuscan city known as the 'jewel of the Renaissance', owing to its abundance of Renaissance art and architecture. From here, we are transferred to our hotel, situated in Montecatini, a little way outside of Florence, in the Tuscan countryside. On arrival, your time here is at leisure to settle in, or perhaps venture out into the town to explore.
We spend today soaking up the sights of Florence, with a guided tour that leads us to the key attractions of the city. The city's many treasures include the Duomo, a cathedral topped with an iconic red-tiled dome, and the Ponte Vecchio - a 14th century bridge that is home to 43 jewellers' shops. Your afternoon is free to explore Florence, before we return by rail to Montecatini. Perhaps use this opportunity to spot some of the city's vast collection of Renaissance artworks, or, if you'd prefer to spend your time outdoors, the Giardino Bardini, or 'Bardini Gardens' are a pleasure to visit. The beautiful gardens have a typical Tuscan feel, featuring azaleas, peonies and wisteria, which bloom in April and May.
We begin today with a visit to Lucca, a hidden gem of Tuscany that has escaped the tourist crowds, despite its beautifully-preserved medieval architecture. Splendid Renaissance architecture mingles with historic buildings from the Middle Ages, making the city a pleasure to explore on foot. One of Tuscany's hidden gems, Lucca is known for its piazzas, small community churches and fabulous art galleries, linked together by narrow cobbled streets and intricate passageways.
You are free to discover its charms under your own steam, before we head off to Pisa - a much better-known destination. Our guided tour includes the Field of Miracles, home to the famous Leaning Tower, as well as a collection of fine examples of Romanesque architecture. The marvellous white marble Duomo is key; absorb its sublime Moorish mosaics.
The next stop on our Italian adventure is Rome, the nation's ancient capital. We transfer by rail to the 'Eternal City', where there is free time to freshen up ahead of a guided sightseeing tour, taking in key points of interest, including the Trevi Fountain, a wonderfully detailed sculpture set in a tiny square and the iconic Colosseum. We also have included entrance to the Pantheon, a former Roman temple that now serves as a church, and is one of the city's most popular landmarks.
Your evening, and Day 8, are at leisure to spend as you wish; perhaps ascend the monumental Spanish Steps or take a walk through the bustling city. The city's impressive array of architecture charts the passage of time as clearly as anywhere in Europe, with distinctive Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque attractions. Be sure to try some of the local cuisine - with a rich culinary history, Rome has hundreds of pizzerias, trattorias and gelaterias to offer in its sprawling ancient streets. Alternatively, you could visit the tiny enclave nation, Vatican City, where marvels include the Sistine Chapel with its world-famous frescoes, and the colossal St Peter's Basilica, one of the most awe-inspiring religious structures in Europe.
After breakfast today we leave Rome behind, travelling by rail to Naples, then transferring by coach to Sorrento, our home for the next three nights. En-route, we pause at a local agriturismo, where we enjoy a delicious lunch and a tasting of limoncello, a popular local drink made from the lemons of the orchards that populate Sorrento.
On Day 10, we set out along the Amalfi Coast, taking in the captivating views of this gorgeous stretch of scenic coastline. Our first photo-stop is at Positano, a charming town that sits at the base of a deep gorge, and retains a distinctly old-fashioned feel. Our next stop is Amalfi, the jewel of the coast, characterised by its steep cliffs and historic buildings. We have free time here, before finally visiting Ravello, a town perched on the cliffs.
Today we visit the famous city of Pompeii, a historical testament to the power of Vesuvius. The ancient city of Pompeii is regarded as the best-preserved Roman city in the world, due to having spent the best part of two millennia buried by volcanic ash. We take a guided tour for an insight into this incredible city, followed by free time. Tonight we have a farewell dinner together in our hotel.
We leave Italy behind today, transferring back to Naples airport for our flight back to London Gatwick. On arrival in the UK, your tour concludes, and you are free to make your own way home from the airport.
Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.
An escorted experience and all travel arrangements
Comfortable accommodation in your destination
Delicious meals included
Exciting excursions and free time to explore
Enhancing your tour
Captivating holiday soaking up Italian splendour