Enjoy a leisurely, relaxed holiday in Italy
Enjoy a leisurely, relaxed holiday to some of Italy's most beautiful sights. We join the MS Michelangelo for a magnificent cruise through the spectacular Venice Lagoon, admiring the tiny islands of this attractive archipelago, before exploring fashionable Milan and the many attractions of Lake Garda.
We meet at our dedicated Departure Office at St Pancras International then travel by Eurostar to Paris, where we change trains and continue by TGV to Turin, for an overnight stay. On Day 2 we enjoy a leisurely morning in Turin before travelling by rail to the floating city of Venice. In the evening we board the MS Michelangelo, where the crew welcomes us with a cocktail before dinner.
This morning we have the chance to take in some of Venice's most popular sights on an optional walking tour. The sightseeing begins in St Mark's Square, undoubtedly one of the world's most beautiful city squares, and includes the incredible St Mark's Basilica and the imposing Doge's Palace - seen as a leading example of Byzantine architecture. Back on board we then cruise through the shimmering lagoon and its assorted islands, taking in the landscape that has made Venice justly famous. You could choose to join the optional sightseeing trip to some of the lagoon's prettiest islands. Here you can admire the cobbled streets crammed with brightly painted houses, and see some of the lacework for which Burano is known. The tour also visits Murano, which is world famous for its glassworks. Murano boasts a beautifully historic centre, where grand old palaces and fine churches are set alongside attractive shops and houses. Back on board we enjoy dinner and dancing.
Today is free for you to explore at your own pace - perhaps visit the Gallerie dell'Accademia, which holds many spectacular masterpieces, or visit the domed 'Santa Maria della Salute' Church. You may prefer to join the optional excursion to see how two of the city's iconic specialties are made - gondolas and Venetian masks.
After cruising across the magnificent Bay of Venice, this morning we reach Chioggia. Free time here allows you to explore the sights of this bustling fishing port. In the afternoon, you may wish to join an optional excursion to Padua, which boasts historic buildings, cultural monuments and grand, spacious city squares. After visiting St Anthony's Basilica, your time here is at leisure. We celebrate our final night on board with a Gala evening.
After breakfast on board, we disembark MS Michelangelo and travel by train to Desenzano, on Lake Garda's southern shores. On arrival we check in to our base for six nights, the Hotel Piccola Vela.
Today we visit Verona, a charming walled city of Roman origin and the setting for Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet'. Here we take in the narrow streets lined with medieval buildings, and the well-preserved Roman Arena, which dates back to 30AD. Later we dine at the Cascina Capuzza, a local farmhouse and wine cellar, set amongst expansive vineyards. We enjoy a dinner of local ingredients, complemented by home-produced wines. Day 8 is then free to relax in Desenzano, enjoying the warm local climate and the hotel's facilities.
We enjoy an excursion to stylish Milan. Here we take a guided tour of this impressive city, including the mighty Duomo and the 'Teatro alla Scala' opera house. The highlight of our trip is a visit to the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, where we see Leonardo da Vinci's celebrated painting 'The Last Supper'.
We visit wooded Isola del Garda, the lake's largest island, today. We enjoy a guided tour of the impressive neo-Gothic villa which dominates the island, as well as its beautifully manicured terraced gardens.
This morning we cruise to Sirmione, a pretty town set on a peninsula jutting into the lake. Here we have time to explore; you could visit the Rocca Scaligeri (payable locally), a beautifully preserved 13th century castle that dominates the Old Quarter of town, with excellent views over Lake Garda from its ramparts. Later we return to Desenzano, for an afternoon at leisure. On Day 12 we bid farewell to Garda and travel by coach to Milan, where we join the rail service to the French town of Chambéry, for an overnight stay at the Mercure Chambéry Hotel. We take the train to Paris on Day 13, and here we connect with the Eurostar service for the journey to St Pancras International.
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
Delicious meals included
Exciting excursions and free time to explore
Enhancing your tour experience
Enjoy a leisurely, relaxed holiday in Italy