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ItalySpecial Interest Trip
Duration: 18 days Visiting: Italy
WELCOME TO VENICE
Transfers from Venice airport depart at 9.30, 12.30 and 15.30 to your canalfront hotel, located between St. Mark’s Square and Rialto Bridge. Later, join your Travel Director for Welcome Drinks and a relaxed evening of dinner and wine at a local restaurant.
Venice & the Magic of La Serenissima
A Local Expert introduces you to this fabled city. Standing in the iconic Piazza San Marco, admire the grand basilica and Doges’ Palace. See the Grand Canal and learn about the history and culture of ‘La Serenissima’. The rest of the day is free for independent exploration. Perhaps experience a romantic gondola ride or get a bird’s eye view of Venice from one of the bell towers. In the evening, enjoy a mouth-watering dinner at one of Venice’s prized local restaurants.
Cortina d’Ampezzo & the Dolomites
It’s through the distinctive formations of the Dolomites today, where rugged peaks take the form of towers belfries or domes, to visit the chic ski resort of Cortina d’Ampezzo.
The Colourful Peaks of the Dolomites
There is an opportunity today to join the coach for a scenic drive to the pretty Lake Misurina. The rest of the day is at leisure. Perhaps ascend to the summit of one of the nearby peaks by cable car?
From the Mountains to Milan & Magical Lake Maggiore
Head for magnificent Milan to see the impressive cathedral, its façade dripping with pinnacles and spires. Now on to the enchanting Italian Lake District for three nights by the water in beautiful Baveno.
The Borromean Islands & Lakeside Lugano
Take to the waters of Lake Maggiore for a delightful cruise to the beautiful Borromean Islands. Visit Isola Bella renowned for its incredible palace and stunning Botanical Gardens. Next, embark on a scenic drive along the shores of the lake, past splendid villas set in sub-tropical gardens with the Swiss Alps providing the backdrop. Cross into Switzerland to explore the fashionable resort of Lugano.
Lake Como Excursion
Spend the morning in Bellagio – the pearl of Lake Como! Enjoy glorious water views and explore the narrow cobblestone alleyways, filled with luxurious boutiques. In the afternoon, visit the romantic gardens of Villa Carlotta. Built at the end of the 17th century, this botanic haven is famous for its art and a photographer’s dream come true!
PORTOFINO AND RAPALLO ON THE ITALIAN RIVIERA
Leave the Italian Lake District and travel down to the sunny, colour-splashed Ligurian coast, known as the Italian Riviera! Here, visit the exclusive fishing village of Portofino, epitome of La Dolce Vita. Admire the gaily coloured houses, browse the trendy boutiques, stay a while in the cafes on the piazzetta and watch the yachts bob in the harbour. A short cruise (weather permitting) along the Ligurian coast brings you to your waiting coach in Santa Margherita. Fans of Italian seafood are in for a treat at this evening’s Highlight Dinner.
Get ready to explore the ‘Cinque Terre’, or ‘five villages’, which were for years only accessible by donkey. Explore a couple of the fishing villages hugging the cliff-face, where there are amazing opportunities to capture great photographs. Soak up the atmosphere before returning to your hotel.
This morning, there is time to relax and explore the resort more before continuing to your charming Tuscan villa style hotel set in the charming Tuscan wine growing region.
Tastes of Tuscany Excursion
Get your cameras ready for a drive through the beautiful rolling countryside of Tuscany, past olive groves, old farmhouses, medieval towns and rows of vineyards. Visit an estate in the heart of Tuscany to taste the finest produce of wine and olive oil. Enjoy a cooking lesson, where you prepare a full meal, from antipasto to dessert. Afterwards, you get to eat what you have prepared for lunch, along with a glass of the famous vino, Salute!
Today is dedicated to Florence, birthplace of the Renaissance. Join your Local Expert inside the Uffizi Gallery and enjoy crystal clear commentary via your audio headsets as you study works of art by some of the most famous Italian masters, including Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci. Walk on to the Duomo to see the ‘Gates of Paradise’ before reaching Signoria Square, adorned with statues and fountains. Your walking tour concludes at the Basilica of Santa Croce, where Michelangelo lies buried. After free time for lunch, visit the Pitti Palace and relax amid the formal terraces of the Boboli Gardens.
Villa Lante & Hilltop Orvieto
Drive into the heart of Umbria to Villa Lante, Italy’s finest example of late-Renaissance design, featuring cascades, fountains and dripping grottoes. Continue to hilltop Orvieto, overlooking a sea of vineyards. Sightseeing shows you the Gothic cathedral, housing Luca Signorelli’s beautiful frescoes.
Pompeii & Positano on the Amalfi Coast
Drive south to the ancient city of Pompeii, preserved by the eruptions of Mount Vesuvius in AD79. Walk with a local guide through the cobbled streets to explore the shops, villas and temples. Continue to the exclusive artists paradise of Positano on the breathtaking Amalfi coast - its Moorish flair and colourful houses make it one of the most photographed places in Italy. We enjoy two special nights in this sought after location. As evening descends, make the most of this beautiful setting with an imaginative dinner at a local restaurant.
Excursion to the Isle of Capri
There is magnificent scenery at every turn as you travel along the Amalfi Coast to board your ferry to Capri - the Isle of Dreams. Arriving at the Marina Grande, ascend to Capri Town by funicular railway. There is time to browse in the elegant shops before taking the spectacular Corniche road to Anacapri, with its magnificent views over the Mediterranean. There is free time to explore and enjoy an included light lunch a before returning to Positano.
The Gardens of Villa d’Este & Rome
Drive to the UNESCO listed gardens of Cardinal d’Este. In the 16th century he diverted the river Aniene to feed hundreds of fountains for his fantasy garden which still function perfectly today! Continue to the ‘eternal city’ of Rome.
Highlights of Rome
Hear tales of the glory of ancient Rome as you see the Colosseum and Forum with a Local Expert. On the opposite side of the Tiber, tour St Peter’s Basilica, home to Michelangelo’s early masterpiece the Pieta, before enjoying some free time for last minute shopping or sightseeing. At this evening’s Celebration Dinner, savour the flavours of Italy along with local wine. Round off your trip with a glittering illuminations drive.
Your memorable trip comes to an end today. Transfers arrive at Rome’s Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport at 07:00 & 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.
Venice (Central) - Italy
The outstanding Starhotels Splendid Venice, is perfectly positioned in the centre of Venice Island - only a stone's throw away from all the sights and walking distance to St. Mark's Square.
Veneto (Central) - Italy
Baveno (Central) - Italy
Grand Hotel Dino, Overlooking Lake Maggiore, ideally located in the hillside town of Baveno. Facilities include pools, massage rooms and Turkish baths.
Rapallo (Scenic) - Italy
Grand Hotel Bristol, Rapallo
San Gimignano (Historic) - Italy
The villasanpaolo is a charming resort situated in one of the most beautiful locations.
Rome (Traditional) - Italy
The Veneto Palace Hotel is located in the monumental and unique scenery of ancient Rome, not far from Piazza di Spagna, the Trevi Fountain and Villa Borghese, which is the largest park in central Rome. The guest rooms offer a classic style that blends in perfect harmony with the style of the building.