The morning bustle of Rome fades into the verdant rolling hills of the Umbrian countryside – in no time you find yourself in tiny, perfect Assisi, gazing in wonder at the imposing Basilica of San Francesco. Our visit brings to life the early Renaissance – seeing the frescoes depicting the work of St. Francis; standing before his tomb, it is easy to understand how this town became one the great pilgrimage centres of the world and the perfect start for our trip. Through hills filled with olive groves and vineyards we travel on to Siena – from it’s lovely central square take in what might be the most beautiful medieval town in all Italy. You’ll spend the night in the cradle of art and thought, Florence, home to Giotto, Michelangelo and Leonardo (oh, and some of the best food in the world). (D)
You’ll talk about today’s sights for years to come…. Guided by an expert, you will explore the narrow streets of Firenze, from Brunelleschi’s incomparable Duomo, the “Gates of Heaven” at the Baptistry, Giotto’s 14th century bell tower, the Campanile, the Church of Santa Croce and the famed Galleria Dell’ Accademia – standing before Michelangelo’s four unfinished slaves and his celebrated “David”, you’ll leave with a sense of 4 Star Hotels April to November the genius and the effort that left these treasures for us to know. We’ll share lunch and for the rest of the day, this is your town to explore – churches and museums abound, shop for the finest leather-goods, eat like a Medici or find a spot to write a postcard, a poem or even start a novel – this is the home of inspiration…. As an option, you might take a tour of nearby Pisa and visit its Duomo, baptistery and famed “leaning” tower. Tonight you’ll sleep in Florence.(B)
Florence, Bologna, Padova, Venice
After breakfast we’ll head for Bologna and the elegant arcades for which it’s famous. You’ll encounter the Neptune Fountain, the King Renzo and Podestà Palaces and the Basilica of San Petronio, one of the most imposing churches in the world. This afternoon we’ll continue toward Padova, and view its Basilica Sant’Antonio. Following our visit we’ll move on to Venice, take dinner together and turn in for the night.(B,D)
This morning we travel to Milan, where you’ll have the day to explore this vibrant, metropolitan city. We’ll stay the night here.(B)
Milan, Lake Orta, Stresa, Como
This morning we’ll enjoy breakfast and head to picturesque Lake Orta, and the beautiful village of Orta San Giulio. Here we’ll travel by boat to the island of San Giulio, and the imposing Monastery Mater Ecclesiae. Our next stop is Stresa, on Lake Maggiore. Here you’ll have time for lunch before we tour Pescatori Island, The island, characterized by its simple houses and narrow lanes retains the feel of the fishing village it was. On Bella Island, you’ll visit the Borromeo Palace and its magnificent gardens before returning to the mainland and heading to Como for the night.
Como, Bellagio, Varenna, Bergamo, Brescia
This morning we’ll start off in Como, taking in vistas of Lake Como and surrounding mountains alpine valleys. We’ll take to the lake to visit Bellagio, home to the loveliest beach in Italy. Here you’ll have some time to explore a bit and find the perfect café for a relaxed lunch. Back on the boat, we’ll wind our way to Varenna and Bergamo, where we’ll tour the historic citycentre before departing to Brescia for the night.
Brescia, Sirmione, Riva Del Garda, Verona
Lake Garda, the largest of Italian lakes, is our next destination. We’ll tour of the western shore, taking in the scenic terrain and lush vegetation of the region, home to famed olive oil producers and wineries – one really can’t leave without trying them…). From here head to Sirmione, taking in views cherished by ancient Romans (the poet Catullus owned a villa here), tour the castle – back on land we’ll have time for lunch before departing for the northern end of the lake and Riva del Garda with its Venetian-style historic center. Verona, that most romantic of cities, home to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, will be our final stop of the day — here we’ll spend the night. (B)
After breakfast we’ll explore Verona, tracing of its Roman origins, its magnificent renaissance palaces and impressive fortifications. The combination of history and artistic brilliance is compelling. When we’ve all had a chance to find lunch we’ll depart for Milan, where our tour will, sadly, come to an end….(B)
*From Venice to Milan, up to five people will be transferred by train.
Arrival transfer from the airport to the hotel in Rome
Accommodation at 4* hotels centrally located
Service charges and taxes included
Ground transportation by deluxe motor coach with air conditioning
English speaking local guides
Entrance to the St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice