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Italy, Sicily and MaltaCountry Roads
Duration: 9 days Visiting: Italy
Welcome to Rome.
Transfers to your centrally located hotel, not far from the Ancient Roman Ruins, depart from Rome's Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport at 09:30, 12:30 and 15:30. Relax and settle in before meeting your Travel Director at 17:30. Get to know your fellow guests during your Welcome Dinner at a local restaurant.
Sistine Chapel, Cooking in Orvieto and on to Perugia.
Explore the Vatican Museums in the morning, where a local historian unveils the gems of the vast Papal art collection. Your special VIP visit includes fast-tracked entry and behind-the-scenes access to the Bramante Staircase, a part of the Vatican normally closed to visitors. View the imposing Basilica of St. Peter, the largest in the world. Journey north to the Umbrian hilltop town of Orvieto; its cathedral is one of Italy’s most celebrated buildings. You’re welcomed into the kitchens of zesty, Etruscan chef Lorenzo Polegri, who shares with you his virtuoso cooking skills and love of Italian food. Delicious pasta fresca, combined with the local staples of olive oil, cheese, prosciutto and focaccia, make for a memorable Highlight Lunch, all washed down with a chilled glass of Orvieto Classico wine. Continue to Perugia, one of the most beautiful centres of art in Italy. The evening is at leisure to explore and dine as you please.
Perugia Sightseeing & Free Time.
In the morning, join a Local Expert in Perugia to navigate the underground labyrinth of little streets, alleys and arches. Walk Corso Vannucci, resplendent in pale-pink stone, passing the princely Priors' Palace, cathedral and finely sculptured Great Fountain in the main square. Visit an artisanal workshop to meet Marta, beneficiary of a TreadRight Foundation grant, and her weavers. See how the fascinating art of loom-weaving textiles has been passed down through the generations and learn how this ancient craft is being preserved. Afterwards, you will be free to enjoy the many delights of Umbria's capital city. For dinner, choose your ideal ambience and palate-pleasing menu from a hand-picked selection of Perugian restaurants for your Dine-Around Evening. Buon appetito!
Assisi, in Search of St. Francis.
Journey to Assisi, one of Italy's most beautiful medieval hilltop towns, set high up in the mountains and enclosed by fortress walls. In the valley, see the famous Church of St. Mary of the Angels, much venerated as the place of St. Francis' death, then continue up Mount Subasio to the upper town. Step inside the massive, 13th century Basilica of St. Francis with your Local Expert to learn how Giotto masterfully painted frescoes that inspired a variety of Renaissance artists. Continue through the twisted groves that carpet the side of Mount Subasio. At a family-run olive mill, meet a third generation specialist to follow the evolution of the olive from tree to table. Relish the intense flavours drizzled over crusty bread with a sprinkle of salt – delizioso!
Tuscany to Cortona, Siena and San Gimignano.
Follow the shores of Lake Trasimeno to Cortona, one of the oldest hilltop towns in Tuscany. After free time to explore, continue to the narrow cobbled streets of Siena. Standing in the shell-shaped Campo, imagine the frenzied atmosphere of the biannual Palio horse race and see the superb 14th century Town Hall. Then, with your Local Expert, there is time to climb up to the black-and-white striped marble cathedral. Travel to your home for the next three nights, a delightful villa near the medieval town of San Gimignano.
San Gimignano sightseeing and Free Time.
In the morning, your Travel Director will show you San Gimignano's medieval skyscrapers, serpentine streets and hidden squares. The town is also home to world champion gelato maestro Sergio Dondoli. At his artisan ice cream parlour on Piazza della Cisterna, the jaunty gelataio doles out his silky, frozen treats in a range of unique flavours. The rest of the day is at leisure; why not join an Optional Experience to Pisa and Lucca?
Florence and Tuscan Countryside Experience.
The morning is devoted to the Renaissance city of Florence. A fascinating walking exploration with a Local Expert takes you to the marble-clad cathedral crowned by Brunelleschi's dome. See the baptistery with its beautiful Gates of Paradise and Giotto's splendid bell tower. Walk on to Piazza della Signoria with its open-air gallery of Renaissance sculptures, followed by free time to shop for top-quality Florentine leather or seek bargains in the gold workshops. Journey through the Tuscan hills to Il Vecchio Maneggio, where you'll enjoy beautiful views of its vineyards, olive groves, saffron crop and orchards Enjoy a drink upon arrival before sitting down to your Celebration Dinner - a delicious Farm-to-Table experience, with all the organic produce sourced from the surrounding farm.
Venice and the Magic of La Serenissima.
Descend from the Apennine Mountains before crossing the fertile valley of the River Po and continue to magical Venice, a city which seems to float on the lagoon. There is no better way to see Venice than by water. Once you disembark, a short walk will bring you to St. Mark's Square. Wonder at its marbled expanse as well as the Byzantine basilica, Doge's Palace and lofty bell tower. Later, embark on a romantic gondola ride along the charismatic canals while musicians serenade you with some of Italy's best-loved songs. With the afternoon at leisure, why not immerse yourself in this romantic city with an Optional Experience to St. Mark's Square by private water taxi, where you take your reserved seat at a famous Venetian cafe for a live orchestral performance?
Delight in your final views of this sea-lapped city in the morning. Transfers arrive at Venice Marco Polo Airport at 08:00 and 09:30.
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.
Enjoy an afternoon excursion to the breathtaking Umbrian hillside town of Spello, its centro storico still enveloped by Roman walls. With a local expert, we'll ascend through ancient arches and tight cobbled streets, where houses cascade with hanging flower pots and churches seemingly sanctify almost every street corner.
Adult Price: EUR 25.00
Umbria is not only a region which is culturally rich and full of beautiful vistas, it is also a region rich in its gastronomic offerings as well! A journey to explore the edible treasures of the traditional Umbrian kitchen and the superb wines of this region too, all served to you in a beautiful rustic restaurant!
Adult Price: EUR 62.00
Florence and Tuscany are renowned for their rich gastronomic heritage. Tonight we'll travel into the hills near Florence to the Chiantri countryside, where a local chef will introduce you to the dishes that make Tuscan cuisine famous throughout the world. This wonderful cooking demonstration, with superb food and wine, will provide warm and genuine Tuscan hospitality.
Adult Price: EUR 69.00
A fabulous dinner of Tuscan specialities awaits you. We drive into the hills surrounding Florence for a delicious typical Florentine meal complete with Chianti wine, music and lots of fun! An evening to remember. Viva Italia!
Adult Price: EUR 65.00
Enjoy the day visiting two of Italy's most beautiful cities, Pisa and Lucca, with a local expert. First, we’re off to Pisa, where you'll have time to explore the famous Square of Miracles, dominated by the leaning tower. We'll continue to the quaint and picturesque town of Lucca where you’ll take a leisurely tour of the medieval centre to admire the beauty of this Tuscan gem. Then, enjoy free time to do your own exploring.
Adult Price: EUR 56.00
Venice can be Europe's most romantic city in the evening, offering dramatic landscapes with buildings that dazzle as the sun sets and the lights go on. Sit back and take it all in as private water taxis whisk you to the centre of it all, Piazza San Marco, where we have seats reserved outside a famous Venetian cafe, in front of a live orchestra and in view of those illuminated St Mark's sights. Our private water taxis will also take us the length of the Grand Canal, under the Rialto Bridge and back to our hotel, having seen Venice at its most magical.
Adult Price: EUR 55.00
The K Boutique Hotel/Kolbe Hotel Rome.
Perugia (Traditional) - Italy
Located in central Perugia, the elegant Sangallo Palace Hotel is the perfect base from which to explore the surrounding areas. The hotel offers fantastic facilities and features modern rooms with wonderful views over the town.
SAN GIMIGNANO (Historic) - ITALY
The Villasanpaolo is a charming resort situated in one of the most beautiful locations.
Venice (Traditional) - ITALY
Situated in the Cannareggio Quarter and overlooking the Grand Canal, Bellini Venezia was converted from an 18th century palazzo to a luxury hotel. Indulge in its classic Venetian décor and enjoy free WiFi throughout the hotel.