Experience Italy's magical diversity on this journey rich in architectural delights, evocative scenery and cultural heritage.
DAY 1: UK - Rome.
Fly to Rome where you will be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel for the night.
DAY 2: Rome - Orvieto - Tuscan Hills - Poggibonsi.
Drink in the Umbrian countryside as you head for Orvieto, a winemaking town on a high volcanic outcrop. Admire its black and yellow 14th century cathedral, which took 300 years to build, and overflows with frescoes and works of art. Afterwards, drive through classic Tuscan landscapes past the hill towns of Chianti before arriving at Poggibonsi for four nights. This pretty town is perfectly located for touring the area. (B, D)
DAY 3: Poggibonsi.
Spend today relaxing or take our optional excursion to two of Tuscany's most enchanting towns. With its pepperpot-shaped towers, cobbled streets and tall townhouses, hilltop San Gimignano looks as if it has bypassed time itself. Another medieval masterpiece, Siena's narrow lanes and russet-painted mansions cluster around its famous Piazza del Campo. Shaped like a scallop, this café-lined square is the setting for its fabled Palio horse race. (B, D)
DAY 4: Poggibonsi - Florence - Poggibonsi.
Brimming with artistic and architectural treasures, Renaissance Florence is heaven for culture vultures. Your full day excursion makes the most of this glorious city, ruled over for centuries by the Medici family. Enjoy a guided walk around its monuments, seeing its dazzling, domed Duomo and campanile, the Loggia della Signoria - an elegant arcade filled with statues and much more. (B, D)
DAY 5: Poggibonsi - Pisa - Poggibonsi.
This morning, drive to Pisa to see its world-famous Square of Miracles, home to the Leaning Tower. Begun in 1173, this extraordinary tower started to lean soon afterwards due to poor foundations, before being completed in the 14th century. Snap photos of this gravity-defying structure, admire the nearby Duomo, Baptistry and Campo Santo cemetery and enjoy some time to explore independently, dipping into the shops and restaurants along the historic Via Santa Maria. The afternoon is at your leisure. (B)
DAY 6: Poggibonsi - Verona - Venice area.
Travel through the Po Valley to Verona on the River Adige. Laid out in a grid by the Romans, this 'Pink City' serves up a wealth of sights, including 'Juliet's Balcony', which Shakespeare had Romeo climb to meet his lover. Later, continue your travels to the Venice area for two nights. (B)
DAY 7: Venice.
After a short drive and a boat trip along the Giudecca Canal, arrive in what is arguably the world's most beautiful city - Venice. An independent state and major maritime power during the Middle Ages, its narrow canals, ornate footbridges and exquisite architecture never fail to impress. Enjoy a demonstration of the historic Venetian delicate art of glassblowing. Get to know this magical city in your own way, exploring its piazzas, palazzos and churches or taking an optional romantic gondola ride. (B, D)
DAY 8: Venice area - Ravenna - San Marino.
Once the western seat of the Byzantine Empire, the peaceful town of Ravenna is known for its domed churches, many adorned with spectacular Byzantine mosaics. Admire these artworks before heading for the tiny republic of San Marino, Europe's third smallest independent state, for one night. (B, D)
DAY 9: San Marino - Urbino - Gubbio - Assisi area.
Today the first stop is Urbino, the birthplace of Raphael. Nestling on a hillside, this walled town is dominated by a twin-towered Ducal Palace, the setting for 15th century Europe's most illustrious court. Next, carry on to medieval Gubbio, whose fairytale Palazzo dei Consoli commands sweeping views over its rooftops and countryside beyond. Finally, drive towards Assisi, the birthplace of St Francis, staying in nearby Foligno. (B, D)
DAY 10: Assisi area - Naples.
Your day begins at the major Catholic pilgrimage site of Assisi. Admire Giotto's frescoes in its breathtaking 13th century Basilica, before crossing the Apennines to the Mediterranean coast for three nights in historic Naples, set against the imposing backdrop of Mount Vesuvius. (B)
DAY 11: Naples - Capri - Naples.
Today take in the scenery as you sail to the tiny island of Capri. Once favoured by wealthy Romans who built sumptuous clifftop villas here, it is packed with attractions, including fascinating classical ruins. Discover buzzing Capri Town, strolling its pretty piazzas and exclusive avenues studded with boutiques and restaurants. Grab the chance for an optional tour that takes you to the island's main highlights. (B, D)
DAY 12: Naples - Pompeii - Sorrento - Naples.
Get to know bustling Naples on an orientation drive before heading for Pompeii. Buried under thick ash for 1,700 years, this ancient city sits beneath its destroyer - Mount Vesuvius - and is one of the world's most astonishing archaeological treasures. Walk with your guide around its villas and streets before spending the evening in colourful Sorrento. (B)
DAY 13: Naples - Montecassino - Rome.
This morning stop in Montecassino. This hilltop town boasts a massive Benedictine Abbey and is the site of a famous World War II battle. Continue to Rome, where you'll have free time to acquaint yourself with the 'Eternal City', perhaps visiting its churches, shopping for souvenirs or enjoying its restaurants. Alternatively, dig deeper into the city on one of our optional sightseeing tours. (B)
DAY 14: Rome.
With its ancient monuments, Renaissance art and grand fountains and palaces, Rome spans the millennia like no other city on earth. Today's included sightseeing takes in its greatest sights, from St Peter's Square to the Roman Forum and majestic Colosseum - the largest ever built in the Roman Empire. Afterwards, there's time to explore on your own or take one of our optional excursions - visiting the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel, discovering Tivoli's Villa d'Este gardens or enjoying dinner and a scenic drive through the Roman hills. (B)
DAY 15: Rome - UK.
Transfer to the airport for your flight to the UK. (B)
Accommodation on Tour
Rome: Buenos Aires (3*) or Parco Tirreno (4*); Tuscan Hills: Toscana Ambassador at Poggibonsi (4*); Venice area: Poppi at Mira (4*); San Marino: Titano (3*); Foligno: Holiday Inn Express (3*); Naples: Palazzo Caracciolo (4*).
The Trevi Fountain at night, Rome
St Peter's Square, Rome
The Duomo in Florence
Ponte Vecchio Bridge, Florence
Florence's outdoor cafe life
The Statue of David, Florence
Relaxing near the tower in Pisa
A clock tower in Padua
Venice's famous gondolas
Palazza Ducale, Urbino
A view over Gubbio and surrounding countryside
Palazza dei Consoli, Gubbio
Capri is a delightful boat trip on day 11
Pompeii with Vesuvius in the background
To help you plan and make the most of your holiday, below is a list of optional excursions available to you.
TREASURES OF ROME BN & DINNER
An evening tour including some of the city's fountains and majestic squares. Finish the evening with a meal in a typical Roman restaurant with wine and music included.
Admire the world's greatest collection of Italian and Florentine art. The gallery exhibits works by Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli and Michelangelo.
SAN GIMIGNANO & SIENA
Drive through rolling Tuscan countryside to San Gimignano, famous for its 14 grey stone towers. Set on a hilltop and enclosed within an outer wall including five gates, it is a charming medieval town. Continue to Siena, site of the famous Palio delle Contrade horse race. See the cathedral in Piazza del Duomo, of multicolored marble and a richly decorated interior.
This is one of the highlights of any European holiday - a gondola ride through centuries-old canals, under famous arched bridges, and past lavish palaces and quaint piazzas.
DISCOVER THE VENETIAN LAGOON
By private boat cross the lagoon to the picturesque fishing island of Burano with its gaily painted houses. See lace makers at work; then there's time to explore this unforgettable island on your own before returning to Venice.
VENETIAN NIGHT OUT & DINNER
Enjoy a motorboat ride along the impressive Giudecca Canal with a commentary of the most important sights. A leisurely walk to St. Mark's Square, passing famous buildings, small bridges and inner canals, will take you to a typical Venetian restaurant for dinner.
FLAVOURS OF NAPLES
Enjoy a typical Neapolitan dinner right in the heart of the city.
Enjoy an evening out dining in a typical restaurant, with a mixed starter, pizza and pasta, dessert, wine, mineral water and coffee or tea or the famous Sorrento lemon liquor "Limoncello".
CAPRI ISLAND TOUR
This romantic island, one of the jewels of the Mediterranean, has always inspired artists and poets. Once the "In" place for Roman emperors, today it is a rendezvous for the jet set. Take a chair lift to Monte Solaro for a breathtaking view of the entire Bay of Naples.
VATICAN MUS.& SISTINE CHAPEL
A tour around the Vatican museums to admire the beautiful tapestry gallery and the Sistine Chapel with masterpieces by Botticelli and Signorelli. See the "Genesis" and Michelangelo's "Last Judgement".
CASTELLI ROMANI WITH DINNER
Drive through the ancient villages in the Alban Hills, a landscape of rare beauty, myths, legends and history. Take pictures of the Pope's summer residence, Castel Gandolfo. Then to Frascati where one of the famous local white wines is included with your dinner in a tavern.
Why not round off your Italian experience in the company of new found friends while enjoying dinner in a typical restaurant? Soak up "la dolce vita" of this romantic but pulsing capital to the sound of clinking glasses as you "saluti" your way through the evening. Before or after dinner you will have a tour including some of the city's fountains and majestic squares.
Please note that optional excursions and prices are subject to change.
Italian Showcase 14 nights
Availability and our best prices for all dates
Select the number in your party and accommodation options. Then select your holiday from the calendar.
Price from £1259
Just the tour £1089
Prices are per person
- Flights UK - Rome - UK
- Accommodation on tour in twin room with private facilities
- Meals on tour 14 breakfasts (B) and 7 dinners (D)
- Services of a tour director on tour
- Porterage at hotels during tour only (for one suitcase per person)
- Individual Audio System You will be given headphones and a receiver so you can clearly hear the tour director/local guide during your visits.
- Transfers between overseas airport and hotels
- All local and airport taxes/service charges
- Single share option (on tour only) no supplement to pay, see page 17
- Orvieto Visit cathedral
- Florence Walking tour with local guide
- Pisa Visit the Square of Miracles
- Verona City sightseeing with local guide
- Venice Canal boat ride, orientation and glass-blowing demonstration
- Assisi St Francis Basilica
- Capri Boat trip
- Naples Orientation drive
- Pompeii Visit archaeological site with local guide
- Rome City sightseeing with local guide
- London Heathrow
- London Luton
- London Gatwick
- Sundays - 2013
- Tuesdays - 2013
30 Jun 2013 to 10 Nov 2013