Explore the contrasts of this magical country visiting some of Italy's most important artistic, religious & historical sites. Picture yourself admiring Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling, Florence's wealth of art galleries or basking under the Tuscan sun with a glass of red as you explore many of Tuscany's most famous towns & villages, before discovering the unique Cinque Terre!
Friday - Welcome to Italy! Collect your luggage & clear customs and then make your own way to your hotel in central Rome. Check-in and enjoy some time to relax or explore the Eternal City on your own before meeting your host and travel companions in the late afternoon at the hotel bar for an information session. Dinner this evening will be hosted at a nearby restaurant within walking distance of your hotel. (D)
Saturday - This morning, after breakfast you'll meet your driver and your guide and head to the Vatican Museum where you will enjoy Skip-the-Line entrance. Your visit will be memorable: our guides have drawn up a route to include all the major sights as well as some unexpected surprises. See the Belvedere Courtyard with Apollo Belvedere & Laocoön & His Sons, Raphael Rooms, the Galleries of the Candelabra, of the Maps and of the Tapestries, the Sistine Chapel and the Pinecone Courtyard plus St. Peter's Basilica ending with the magnificent view of the imposing Cathedral from St. Peter's Square. You'll return to your hotel with your driver and enjoy some free time for lunch on your own or simply take some time to relax before, late in the afternoon meeting your tour leader for a walking tour of the Baroque Town visiting Piazza Navona, the Pantheon, the Spanish Steps, Piazza di Spagna, the Italian Parliament and the fascinating narrow streets of ancient Rome. Now you can return to your hotel with your tour leader or remain in the historic centre to enjoy dinner on your own in the very heart of the eternal city. (B)
Sunday - Today is yours to pass as you choose. This tour has been designed to offer the best of each city visited combined with ample free time to customise your travel experience as well as take your time to relax. Optional tours to choose from today include and Imperial Rome Tour with Colosseum Visit, or visit one of the most beautiful art collections in Europe at Palazzo Borghese. If you are in the mood for travel, why not opt for an optional excursion to visit Capri or Pompeii taking advantage of the new high-speed train which connects Naples and Rome in just 1hour. Of course, you can simply spend the day wandering the historic streets of Rome. (B)
Monday - Today you'll check-out of your Rome hotel & travel by coach with your tour guide towards Florence with a stop along the way in Siena. During the journey, you will enjoy the beautiful Tuscan hills, the view of small enchanting villages as well as the vineyards and castles that dot this beautiful region. When the tour arrives in Siena, a wine & food experience will be held in the very heart of the old town. In ancient times, there was only one city that competed against Florence for power, wealth and artistic beauties: Siena. Here you will enjoy a wine & food experience and then time on your own to discover Piazza del Campo, the main central square where the famous Palio horse race takes place every year, as well as exploring quieter backstreets and learning everything about the Contrade, the 17 medieval city districts that compete against each other in the Palio. Continue to Florence where you will arrive later in the afternoon. Check-in to your hotel in Florence and the remainder of the day is yours to pass as you choose. (B)
Tuesday - Today you'll be introduced to Florence from the unknown and most picturesque sites of the city, you'll visit the market of San Lorenzo where it’s possible to see food arriving from the Tuscan countryside. It’s a chance to taste lots of varieties of local cheeses, fruits, vegetable, and bread. If you”re still hungry, there’s free time for lunch. In the afternoon, meet your guide at the hotel and get ready to explore the heart of the town. Lorenzo de Medici transformed Florence into the cradle of the Renaissance by attracting the best artists, architects and writers of the time; Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Botticelli who he commissioned to produce various works of art and architecture. We’ll visit Piazza della Signoria, walk by the Palazzo Vecchio, the Duomo with Giotto's bell tower (from outside), and the Ponte Vecchio. Our walk through Florence will end with a visit to the Accademia to admire, among the many masterpieces, the jewel of Michelangelo: the statue of David. The remainder of today and the evening are yours to pass as you choose. (B)
Wednesday - Today discover a spectacular corner of Italy, famous for its panorama, its wine, its food, beautiful sea and hiking opportunities. Leave Florence early in the morning with your guide, driving north & west towards the Riviera onboard a comfortable air-conditioned minivan. During the ride, you will enjoy the view of Tuscan Hills till the moment you will see the Southern part of Alps, that divide Tuscany from Liguria. Once in Cinque Terre National Park enjoy the most astonishing views either from land and sea, as we stroll along the national park by boat, train, and walking fabulous trails along the cliff. Your experience today includes a delicious full lunch with wine tasting held in a local restaurant on the sea where you will enjoy incredible fresh seafood cooked the Ligurian way, accompanied by some great white wines typical of this region. The return to Florence will be in the late afternoon and the evening is yours to pass as you choose. (B.L)
Thursday - Enjoy a relaxing morning on your own, take time over breakfast and perhaps enjoy a stroll through the historic centre of Florence. In the afternoon, meet your tour guide and start your Chianti experience beginning with a 25-minute ride onboard a comfortable minivan to bring you to the rolling hills of the Chianti Wine Region till you reach a noble Villa with a Boutique Winery on top of a hill. The landscapes are marvellous with beautiful vineyards and olive groves surrounding you. Once there, a wine expert will welcome you and take you to the 500-year-old cellar visit, a cellar which is still used today for a very small, selected wine production & ageing and is listed in the top 100 on Wine Spectator. You will taste all the different products of this boutique winery while learning the sophisticated techniques of winemaking and how to distinguish the different and various scents and flavours that each wine presents. A fine dinner will then be served in a charming restaurant where you will also learn how to pair different wines with specific dishes. You will enjoy 4 different wines, including the world-renowned Supertuscan of the estate and a typical sweet dessert wine. You will also taste the region's finest olive oil with typical unsalted Tuscan bread. The fine dining includes local charcuterie and a cheese selection, paired with different jams and balsamic vinegar, a selection of two pasta dishes and a traditional meat dish as the main course. A Tuscan dessert is then served with local sweet wine and then a return to your hotel in Florence. (B.D)
Friday - Today marks the end of your Heart of Italy with Cinque Terre small group tour. At a time to suit your departing flight or train make your own way to the airport or railway station to begin your journey home. Arrivederci! (B)
Guaranteed departures: July 2, 9 & 16; August 6; September 10, 17 & 24; October 8, 15 & 22 plus November 5, 2021 April 8 & 22; May 6 & 20; June 3 & 17; July 1 & 15; August 12; September 2, 9, 23 & 30; October 14 & 28 and November 11, 2022
This tour is limited to a maximum of 12 participants.
In the case of 6 or fewer participants, the tour will be operated with a tour host, instead of a tour escort. The tour host will assist with hotel check-in, visit guests daily and will be available by phone 24-hours. The tour host will also escort guests to restaurants when dinner is included.