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Italy, Sicily and MaltaCountry Roads
Duration: 10 days Visiting: Italy
Welcome to Italy.
After a warm welcome at Milan’s Malpensa Airport, transfers depart for your hotel at 09:30 and 12:30. Meet your Travel Director at 15:30 and join a Local Expert in the heart of Italy’s renowned fashion capital to see the impressive facade of the cathedral and the world famous La Scala Theatre. Linking the two is the elegant glass vaulted shopping arcade of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, lined with luxury boutiques. Mingle and get to know your fellow travellers during your Welcome Dinner at a local restaurant.
Fair Verona and Trento.
Cross the fertile plains of Lombardy to fair Verona, the home of Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet, with its maze of elegant squares and well-preserved Roman Arena, which is still used for Opera performances. Join a Local Expert in the Piazza delle Erbe or Square of Herbs, a lively market square surrounded by beautiful buildings. View the frescoed Casa Mazzanti and lofty Lamberti Tower and continue to the Piazza dei Signori, the civic and political heart of the city, graced by a statue of Dante and see the Gothic tombs of the Scala family beyond. Continue on to Trento, regarded as one of Italy's most appealing cities to live in.
Climb up to Cortina d’Ampezzo.
Follow the Adige River north, into the magnificent mountains and the distinctive limestone peaks of the Dolomites. Arrive at the town of Bolzano, where Italy and Austria culturally collide and you are at leisure to explore the the arcaded streets and squares. Continue along the zig-zagging scenic route to Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy’s most exclusive ski resort and a beautiful alpine haven during summer.
The Dolomites at Leisure.
Enjoy a day at your leisure in this fashionable playground of the rich and famous, surrounded by towering cathedrals of rock. Take in the fresh mountain air as you stroll the pedestrianised Corso Italia, lined with designer stores and backed by the impressive green and white bell tower of the parish church. Why not ascend to the summit of one of the nearby peaks by cable car for magnificent panoramic views of the Dolomites?
Through Prosecco Country to Venice.
Travel down through more majestic Dolomite scenery to one of the world’s most breathtaking wine regions. Protected by the Alps to the north, and caressed by the warm breezes from the Adriatic, the vineyards around Conegliano Veneto produce Italy’s most prized sparkling wine. Stop at Carmina where meticulous viticulture and manual harvesting produce distinguished proseccos. See how production differs from its more famous French counterpart, Champagne. Be tempted with a taste of the crisp and aromatic flavours and learn how to make the perfect Bellini. Continue on to the unique and remarkable island city of Venice, Queen of the Adriatic and check into your hotel.
The Magic of La Serenissima.
Visit an arts centre on Giudecca Island to witness the age-old skill of glassblowing. Then, cruise along the scenic canals, lined with ornate palaces - memories of a bygone golden. Alight by the Bridge of Sighs, named in the last century by Lord Byron. Turn the corner into St. Mark's Square, dominated by its magnificently decorated Byzantine basilica, and overlooked by the great clock tower where bronze Moors figurines beat out the hours on a huge bell. No visit to Venice would be complete without a ride on a gondola; delight in being serenaded as you journey through the romantic canals. The rest of the day is at your leisure and there is free time to shop or perhaps cruise out into the Lagoon to try local fish and wine specialties?
Sirmione and Como.
Bid farewell to this enchanting city and take the scenic route along the Brenta Canal, lined with classical villas by Renaissance architect, Andrea Palladio. Continue past the university town of Padua to the peaceful shores of Lake Garda, the largest of Italy's lakes. Near the tip of a narrow peninsula, jutting out into the lake, visit the charming resort of Sirmione, clustered around the 13th century Scaligero’s Castle. Follow the southern fringes of the Alps to reach the spectacular Italian Lake District and your hotel on the shores of Lake Como where you will enjoy views on the lake from your room. Later, you have a choice of cuisine and ambience from a hand-picked selection of local restaurants for your Dine-Around Evening.
Como at Leisure and Lake Maggiore.
Enjoy a relaxed morning in Como, the playground of Europe's wealthiest people. Nestled in the foothills of the Alps, the lake plays host to the most glamorous social sets and is a great place to people watch. Head on to Lake Maggiore's Baveno, noted for its narrow cobbled streets and charming 16th century squarer.
Italian Lakes at Leisure.
Relish a full day to relax and enjoy this popular resort and beautiful lake. Napoleon came here to plan his Italian Campaign, and Mussolini and Chamberlain met here before World War II to sign the Treaty of Stresa. Perhaps take a cruise out to the lovely Borromean Islands - Isola Bella is where Carlo Borromeo built his charming Palace. Savour delicious Farm-to-Table cuisine during your Celebration Dinner, accompanied with Italian wine and toast to your travels with your newfound friends.
Your journey draws to a close in the morning and transfers arrive at Milan's Malpensa Airport at 07:30 and 10:30.
Most Insight trips already include a host of bonus highlights and comprehensive sightseeing. There may also be an exciting array of Optional Experiences which will turn an already amazing experience into the trip of a lifetime! These are entirely optional and can be booked through your Travel Director/Local Representative at the commencement of your trip. Please note, many Optional Experiences are operated by independent third party suppliers, not Insight Vacations.
Prices and availability of Optional Experiences are subject to change.
We'll enjoy a guided visit to discover some of the spectacular highlights of Bolzano with a local expert including the Archaeologic sensation, media star, research topic and museum object: Ötzi in the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology. Ötzi is a glacier mummy from the Copper Age, who, thanks to extraordinary circumstances, has been preserved to the present day.
Adult Price: EUR 40.00
Explore the colourful peaks and sheer valleys of the Dolomites – one of the most impressive mountain ranges in the Alps. Your full-day of discovery includes a thrilling cable car ride to the summit of one of the peaks for breathtaking 360 degree views. In a unique combination of nature and history, learn about the incredible war waged in the mountains with a visit to a WWI museum. Complimentary coffee and strudel is included. (Weather and season dependent).
Adult Price: EUR 63.00
Venice is one of the most unique cities in the world and, after the crowds have left, it's at its most beautiful and suggestive! We board our private water taxis and are whisked down the most famous canal in Venice - the Grand Canal! We witness the beautiful and spectacular palazzi adorning the most famous ‘street’ in Venice then travel under the remarkable Rialto Bridge to arrive in the centre of it all, Piazza San Marco! There we have seats reserved outside a famous Venetian cafe, in front of a live orchestra! We enjoy a drink and gaze out at illuminated St Mark's sights while being serenaded. This is Venice at its most unique and magical An evening not to be missed, with images and sensations you'll never forget!
Adult Price: EUR 59.00
To only experience Venice's big set pieces -- St Mark's Square; the Rialto; the Grand Canal -- is to miss out on a hidden world full of surprises! Join a Local Expert for a fascinating walk through some of the lesser known quarters of Venice. The back lanes and ‘campi’, small squares, where tourists seldom tread are full of history and great places to sample local life.
Adult Price: EUR 34.00
Leave the hustle of St Mark's Square behind on a delightful private cruise around the islands of the Venetian lagoon. Alight at the island of Burano, a photographer's paradise, famous for its candy coloured houses, artisan lace makers and leaning bell tower that would give Pisa a good run for its money. Enjoy a superb meal sampling the local specialities with wine included. An excursion not to be missed!
Adult Price: EUR 72.00
Lake Como is the most picturesque of all the great Italian lakes, deeply treasured in the hearts of all the Italians. To enjoy its beauty, a private boat is the best way! You'll cruise past the magnificent villas of the rich and famous, stopping in Bellagio where there will be time to relax and enjoy this charming “pearl of the Lake” that sits spectacularly at the centre of the three branches of Lake Como.
Adult Price: EUR 44.00
This evening escape to the charming and tranquil island of Isola dei Pescatori. A short boat ride from the shores of Lake Maggiore, this fisherman’s Island is inhabited year round by only 50 permanent residents. Stroll through the small piazza surrounded by the tight and winding alleys to enjoy a sumptuous dinner where reservations have been booked in one of the Island's splendid restaurants.
Adult Price: EUR 68.00
The premier attraction of Lake Maggiore is the Borromean Islands. We take a private boat over to Isola Bella, the largest and most famous island, renowned for its incredible palace and stunning Botanical Gardens. A guided tour of this privately owned palace with free time to admire the gardens is a must.
Adult Price: EUR 43.00
Milan (Contemporary) - Italy
The chic designed Crowne Plaza Hotel Milan City is centrally located and offers minimalist rooms with a comfortable feel.
Trento (Contemporary) - Italy
The very trendy, eco-friendly NH Trento perfectly lends modern style with luxurious comfort, the ultimate home away from home. Located in the newly created Albere district, both the hotel and surrounding area were designed by famed architect Renzo Piano. Designer style rooms will make for a comfortable stay and free Wifi will ensure you're connected to friends and family.
Cortina D Ampezzo (Traditional) - Italy
Surrounded by the beautiful Dolomite Alps, Cortina's delightful Hotel Ancora is built in the characteristic Ampezzano style with wooden balconies and intricately carved and painted interior details.
Venice (Historic) - Italy
Eurostars Residenza Cannaregio Venice is a hotel with traditional and modern elements complete with a door opening onto a canal.
Como (Traditional) - Italy
Hotel Barchetta Excelsior is set in the heart of Como, with the lake just a stone's throw away and visible from the hotel's front doors. Your Lake View Room opens up to a small balcony where you can take in the beautiful scenery of the surrounding hills at any time of day.
Baveno (Traditional) - Italy
Hotel Simplon is located mere minutes from the centre of Baveno which is nestled along the banks of Lake Maggiore. Its pink façade showcases the famous local marble, while the interiors provide a classic, luxurious feel. The hotel features a permanent art exhibition of famous paintings displayed along one of it's corridors.