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Italy, Sicily and MaltaSpecial Interest Trip
Duration: 18 days Visiting: Italy
WELCOME TO VENICE
Transfers from Venice airport depart at 09.30, 12.30, 15.30 to your hotel. Later, join your Travel Director for a welcome drink 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.
CORTINA D’AMPEZZO AND THE DOLOMITES
It’s through the distinctive formations of the Dolomites, where rugged peaks take form of towers belfries or domes to visit the chic ski resort of Cortina d’Ampezzo.
Enjoy a full day 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, with its façade dripping with pinnacles and spires. Now onto the enchanting Italian Lake District for three nights by the water in beautiful Baveno.
THE BORROMEAN ISLANDS
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.
LAKE COMO AND LAKESIDE LUGANO
Spend time in Bellagio – the pearl of Lake Como! Enjoy glorious water views and explore the narrow cobblestone alleyways, filled with luxurious boutiques. Visit the romantic gardens of Villa Carlotta. Built at the end of the 17th century, the botanic haven is famous for its art and a photographer’s dream come true! Next, embark on a scenic drive along the shores of the lake, past splendid villas set in the sub-tropical gardens with the Swiss Alps providing the backdrop. Cross into Switzerland to explore the fashionable resort of Lugano.
PORTOFINO AND RAPALLO ON THE ITALIAN RIVIERA
Leave the Italian Lake District and travel down 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 piazetta and watch yachts bob in the harbour. A short cruise (weather permitting) along the Ligurian coast brings your awaiting coach and onto your hotel. Fans of seafood are in for a treat at this evening’s dinner.
Get ready to explore the “Cinque Terre” or “five villages” which were for years only accessible by donkey. With our Local Expert we explore a couple of the fishing villages hugging the cliff-face, where there are amazing opportunities to capture great photographs. Enjoy some free time to soak up the atmosphere before returning to your hotel.
A relaxed start this morning before continuing to your charming hotel set in the wine growing region.
TALES OF TUSCANY EXCURSION.
Get your camera’s 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 Tuscan meal, from antipasto to dessert. Afterwards, you get to eat what you have prepared for lunch, along with a glass of the famous wine. Salute!
Today is dedicated to Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance. Join your Local Expert and enjoy commentary via your audio headsets as you walk from the Basilica of Santa Croce, where Michelangelo is buried to the Uffizi Gallery. Here we study works of art by some of the most famous masters. We reach Signoria Square, adorned with statues and fountains, here we have some free time for lunch before we visit the Pitti Palace and relax amid the formal terraces of the Boboli Gardens.
HILLTOP ORVIETO AND TODI
Drive to hilltop Orvieto overlooking a sea of vineyards. Sightseeing with your Local Expert shows you the Gothic Cathedral, housing Luca Signorelli’s beautiful fescoes. Later we continue to our hotel in nearby Todi.
POMPEII & THE AMALFI COAST
Drive south to the ancient city of Pompeii, preserved by the eruptions of Mount Vesuvius in AD79. Walk with a Local Expert though the cobbled streets to explore the shops, villas and temples. Continue to the exclusive artists paradise of Positano on the breath-taking Amalfi Coast – its Moorish flair and colourful houses make it one of the most photographed places in Italy. 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 before returning to the mainland.
THE GARDENS OF VILLA D’ESTE AND 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! Later we arrive in the “eternal city” of Rome.
Highlights of Rome
Hear tales of the glory of ancient Rome as you see the Coloseum and Forum with a Local Expert. On the opposite side of the Tiber, see St Peter’s Basilica, home to Michelangelo’s early masterpiece the Pieta, before enjoying some last minute shopping or sightseeing. At this evenings Celebration Dinner, savour the flavours of Italy along with local wine.
Your memorable trip comes to an end today. Transfers arrive at Rome’s Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport at 07.00 and 09.00.
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.
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.
San Gimignano (Historic) - Italy
The villasanpaolo is a charming resort situated in one of the most beautiful locations.