Places Covered: Rome, Sorrento, Cassino , Assisi, San Marino, Venice
Duration: 12 days
Tour Cost: €630
Welcome to Rome! If you arrive early enough, head into the city to see what Rome has to offer. An ancient city that has seen the rise and fall of entire empires, there is no shortage of historical real estate to feast your eyes on. Not to mention designer shopping and brilliant food… Meet up with your tour leader at our hotel in the afternoon and prepare for the tour of a lifetime! Tonight you’ll meet the rest of the tour group at our included welcome dinner.
Today we’ll take a guided walking tour of the city, stopping off at the landmarks that have made Rome a perennial favourite with travellers all over the world. See Ancient Roman architecture, medieval buildings, Renaissance artworks and more remnants of Rome’s illustrious past as capital of this incredible country. Highlights today include the Spanish Steps, the Pantheon, Piazza Navona and the Roman Forum. And let’s not forget Trevi Fountain – legend has it that if you drop a coin into the fountain, you’ll return again one day. Later you’ll have the option of taking a guided walking tour of the Coliseum, probably Rome's most recognisable landmark, and the center of Roman social life. See where countless gladiators, martyrs, wild animals and other unfortunate souls did battle in the name of entertainment. Eating and drinking well is also an important part of Roman life – and as they say, ‘When in Rome, do as the Romans do.’ One of the best areas for sampling authentic Roman food is in Trastevere where restaurants, favoured by the locals, serve original and classic dishes you may not find elsewhere. Be sure to grab a famous Roman gelato while you’re sight-seeing! This afternoon you have the option to explore the Vatican, please refer to our optional excursion letter.
Rome - Sorrento.
Leaving Rome, we’ll head to Sorrento. As it’s our first day on the coach, take the time to get to know your fellow travel companions, and listen out for tips on Italy from your tour leader. Finally we arrive in Sorrento where we have a two night stay. Among other things, Sorrento is famous for Limoncello, (a sweet lemon liqueur), and this is the perfect way to finish off your meal.
Christmas Day in Sorrento.
A gorgeous old town hugging the coastline, Sorrento is the perfect place to celebrate Christmas – explore the town in your own time, and seek out little shops producing lacework, ceramics and specialising in marquetry. In the evening, enjoy a festive dinner!
Sorrento - Cassino - Assisi.
Today we depart the coast and head north to Assisi, stopping en route in Cassino. Famed for the site of the Abbey of Montecassino, along with its rolling green hills, vineyards and rivers, the city was also the scene of fierce fighting in World War II, which left the town almost completely destroyed. After a comfort stop here we continue on to Assisi, whose most famous son, St. Francis, was born here in 1181. Enjoy the ancient churches and basilicas – many of them are just as St Francis would have seen them.
Assisi - San Marino - Venice.
Leaving the churches and basilicas behind, we head to Venice, stopping off for a comfort stop in Europe’s third-smallest state – San Marino. Claiming to be the oldest surviving sovereign state in the world, San Marino was founded by Saint Marinus on the 3rd of September 301, and is now one of the most popular day-trip destinations for visitors to the area. Once we’ve had a look around, we’re off to the canals of Venice! Here we’ll take an orientation walking tour with your tour leader including the Rialto Bridge and St Marks Square. Sample some of the city’s culinary delights and marvel at this incredible city – which features more artistic masterpieces per square kilometre than any other place on earth!
Venice free day.
Take the time to explore today on your free day in Venice. Get a classic Venetian view from the famous Rialto Bridge, board a gondola and see Venice the way it should be seen, try Venetian cuisine, visit museums & art galleries and get the full Venetian experience! Alternatively you can simply relax and soak up the sun on the sandy beaches at Jesolo or Lido. There’s also St Mark’s Square, The Bridge of Sighs and the Doge’s Palace to see – and any number of culinary delights to sample too!
Venice - Verona - Italian Lake District.
First up today we’ll stop off in ‘fair Verona’ to catch a glimpse of Juliet’s balcony, where Romeo supposedly wooed Juliet in Shakespeare’s classic ‘Romeo & Juliet.’ Beset by family feuds, drama and romance since its founding in Roman times, Verona has its share of stories to tell. Look out for the 2000 year-old arena and the ancient city gates. Later we head to Italian Lakes – and you’ll find out just what famous writers like DH Lawrence and Hemingway were on about when they heaped praise on the area. Peek at palatial lakeside villas, and revel in the pleasant mix of luxury and rural charm.
Italian Lake District - La Spezia.
Leaving the beautiful Italian Lakes, we head to La Spezia, our base for exploring the famous Cinque Terre region. Made up of five picturesque Italian towns, Cinque Terre features hiking routes and trains running regularly along the coastline between the towns of Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. With cars and motorcycles banned from the towns, you’ll have a wonderful time exploring the region. Taste local wines along with local produce such as pesto, freshly-caught fish and sweet lemons. Unforgettable!
La Spezia - Pisa - New Year's in Florence.
On our way to Florence, we stop off at the famous town of Pisa to get a few shots of its distinctive Leaning Tower. Now over 800 years old, it’s a classic sight in Italy and well worth a visit. Bragging rights are all yours! On arrival in Florence, we take a guided walking tour of the city, exploring many of the most famous sites and gaining local insight from our guide. Sights to see in Florence include Ponte Vecchio, Palazzo Vecchio, Florence Cathedral, the Basilica of Santa Croce and of course Michelangelo’s David. A cultural and political focal point during the Renaissance, Florence is endowed with a huge variety of important buildings and famous artworks. After immersing yourself in art and history, it's time to ring in the New Year! The celebrations in Florence make for a mesmerising sight - prepare your camera so you can capture the fireworks exploding vibrant color over the iconic landmarks of Florence.
Tuscany - San Gimignano - Siena - Rome.
Today we enjoy a Tuscan highlights driving tour, winding our way through one of the world’s most picturesque countryside landscapes. We also stop off in the medieval town of San Gimignano with its amazing towers, here sample local wines and enjoy Antipasto (a selection of cheese, cured meats, bread and olives). This afternoon we stop at the town of UNESCO World Heritage town of Siena – featuring largely gothic artistic remnants, as opposed to the Renaissance flourishes of Florence: a true Tuscan experience. We then return home to Rome to round things off with a celebratory final dinner.
Breakfast, Antipasto, Dinner
After breakfast we say goodbye to our travel companions and depart for home. We hope you have enjoyed your 12 day Italian Tour. Arrivederci Italia!
Included in Tour
REMEMBER ALL TOURS ARE GUARANTEED DEPARTURES AND WILL OPERATE.
Many other companies that operate tours of Europe cancel tours if minimum numbers are not achieved or will only guarantee some departure dates. All tours operated by us are guaranteed departures and will operate ∗
1 Included Experience
1 Optional Experience
Included in our tour we take a locally-guided walking tour of the city, stopping off at some of the sightseeing highlights that make Rome famous. Highlights include the Pantheon, the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, Piazza del Popolo, the Roman Forum and much more.
Optional Experience: Vatican &Sistine Chapel
Vatican City - Take a guided tour around the amazing art works in the Vatican Museums and bask in the beauty of Michelangelo’s frescoes in the Sistine Chapel. Tour includes queue jumping privileges for both the Vatican Museums and St Peter’s Basilica
Other places of interest you could visit in your free time:
Assisi & Cassino
2 Included Experience
Arriving in Assisi in the late afternoon, you’ll have the opportunity to explore the city, which is famous for its churches and basilicas.
Comfort stop at the town of Cassino,the city was the scene of fierce fighting in World War II, which left the town almost completely destroyed
Venice & San Marino
2 Included Experiences
On arrival in Venice, your tour leader will take you on an orientation tour of Venice
Comfort stop at San Marino,one of the oldest surviving sovereign states in the world
1 Included Experience
Included in the tour is a stop in Verona to admire Juliet’s balcony – where Romeo is said to have wooed Juliet.
The Italian Lake District
1 Included Experience
We stop off in The Italian Lakes for the night – one of Europe’s most beautiful settings. Make sure the camera batteries are fully charged!
La Spezia & Cinque Terre
1 Included Experience
Using La Spezia as our base, we explore the famous Cinque Terre region, made up of five picturesque Italian towns. Hike or catch trains in between each one and sample fresh local produce, all the while surrounded by incredible scenery.Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the five villages of the region are linked by rail or by hiking trails, giving you the option of how best to explore this incredible scenic region. Sample traditional cuisine sourced from the surroundings and soak up the atmosphere of this stunning region.
1 Included Experience
Explore the site of the famous leaning tower of Pisa – a true classic and a must-see on any tour visiting Italy.
Florence & Tuscany
5 Included Experiences
In Florence, enjoy a locally-guided walking tour taking in some of the city’s most famous attractions.
Enjoy a driving tour through the stunning Tuscan countryside.
Be treated to a wine-tasting in the San Gimignano region.
Anitpasto, enjoy the local cuisine.
Comfort stop at the amazing town of Siena.