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Duration: 22 days Visiting: Italy
Welcome to the ultimate in guided vacations, river cruising and first class rail. From the water-lapped piazzas of Venice, embark on a romantic journey of discovery that unveils the unmissable landmarks of Italy along with some of her revealing treasures. Experience the Dorsoduro and Rialto districts on a 'Do as the Locals Do' tour of Venice. Explore the idyllic Venetian Lagoon. Stay at the 5-star Capri Palace Hotel. Discover the magnificence of Venice on a once in a lifetime private evening tour of the Doge's Palace. Enjoy a luxurious lunch at the Michelin-starred Mammà restaurant in Capri.
Your Journey Begins
Board your overnight flight to Europe (please ask about our great deals).
Welcome to Milan
On arrival at Milan Malpensa Airport, enjoy a private transfer to your hotel.
Exploring Magnificent Milan
Vibrant Milan is the fashion and design capital of Italy. Today you'll explore this dazzling city with a Local Expert and encounter two of its greatest sights — the towering Gothic cathedral and see Da Vinci's astounding The Last Supper.
Verona, city of Romeo and Juliet and Venice
Journey to 'fair' Verona and with a Local Expert, explore its maze of elegant squares and see the well-preserved Roman Arena, still used for Opera performances. Set within a beautiful Valpolicella wine estate, stop to sample this intensely flavoured wine, that has made this region so famous and enjoy a delicious lunch. On arrival in magical Venice, you will board your stunning, award-winning boutique cruise ship and embark on your exploration of the 'Queen of the Adriatic'.
Explore 'hidden Venice' - the back lanes and ‘campi', small squares, where tourists seldom tread. Upon emerging into Piazza San Marco, the dazzling Basilica, pink marbled Doge's Palace and its adjoining Bridge of Sighs stand as testimony to the city's former wealth and power. Next, enjoy a truly memorable experience - an exclusive, crowd-free, lighting ceremony inside the spectacular St. Mark's Basilica. In the evening, you're invited to the Captain's Welcome Reception and Gala Dinner.
(Relaxed Start) Enjoy magnificent views of the Grand Canal as you leave Venice and journey South to Chioggia. Disembark and journey to the walled city of Padua to enjoy a walking discovery tour. This medieval walled city is home to Italy's second-oldest university, established in 1222, with frescoes by Giotto in its Scrovegni Chapel and the vast 13th-century Basilica of St. Anthony, a pilgrimage site. Marvel at the ancient arcades and porticos of the old city finishing in the Palazzo della Ragione, Padua's historic city center, and enjoy a treat at a local cafe. Perhaps discover Chioggia, often referred to as “Little Venice,” on a discovery tour; or for an active day, join a bicycle ride along the beaches of Chioggia.
Polesella (Bologna or Ferrara)
Choose to spend the whole day in Bologna, its portico-lined streets are home to Europe's oldest university and amazing food markets. You also get to grips with the age-old techniques of Italian cooking at a pasta-making workshop. Alternatively, spend a half-day in Ferrara, one of Italy's best-kept secrets and discover how the city became an artistic hub for the likes of Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Titian and Petrarch, amongst others.
Taglio di Po, Chioggia, Venice
There's no better place to indulge in Italy's famed frutti di mare than Chioggia, a colourful fishing village on the Venice Lagoon. Embark on a guided stroll through the town's bustling fish market, or alternatively, head to a casoni (fisherman's hut) to learn the art of mussel harvesting from local fishermen. You'll get to steam your own freshly gathered mussels in prosecco and enjoy them on the waterfront - a unique culinary experience (mussel harvesting weather and maritime conditions permitted). Later, head to the Sun Deck of your luxury ship to take in views of two more Venice Lagoon isles: sleepy Pellestrina, and Lido, home to the prestigious Venice Film Festival.
Venice Islands (Torcello, Burano and Mazzorbo), Venice
Spend the day exploring the Venice Lagoon and three of its entrancing islands. Start with a visit to Torcello, home to spectacular Byzantine mosaics. Then take a stroll through Burano with its rainbow of colourful homes, and visit a lace-making atelier. Complete the day with a venture to Mazzorbo, where you are treated to a very special wine tasting made from a salt-water-tolerant heirloom grape, Dorona.
Today, choose to experience Venice like a local during a 'Do as the Locals Do' walking discovery tour of the Dorsoduro district and the Rialto, the city's historic core. Alternatively, join an Art Historian for an in-depth exploration of the Accademia. Absorb yourself in the rich collection of works by Bellini, Carpaccio, Bellotto and Longhi to name but a few. This evening, celebrate the culmination of your cruise at the Captain's Farewell Reception and Gala Dinner.
To Rome by rail
Transfer to the station to board your high-speed train to Rome. Enjoy the ever-changing scenery and business class comfort as you head South across the back-bone of Italy. On arrival in the Eternal City, you are met and transferred to your charming downtown hotel. At 18:00, meet your Travelling Concierge for a short stroll to the Trevi Fountain, enjoying the romance of the Eternal City as night falls, before an evening of authentic food and wine.
Rome and the Vatican in style
In the ultimate VIP experience, enter the Sistine Chapel for a private tour with a Local Expert before it is open to the public and view its majestic treasures without the crowds. Our fast-tracked entry into the Vatican Museums ensures maximum enjoyment of the priceless Papal art collection. After contemplating Michelangelo's frescoed ceiling, continue into St. Peter's Basilica, before visiting the Colosseum where the gladiators prepared for battle.
Pompeii and The Isle of Capri
Journey to the ill-fated town of Pompeii, frozen in time when it was engulfed by an eruption of Vesuvius in 79AD. Explore ancient shops and patrician villas with a Local Expert. Next, board your hydrofoil bound for the sun-drenched Isle of Capri. Transfer to open-top taxis and ride up to your exclusive hotel in style. Once the day-trippers have returned to the mainland, you will be offered a selection of discerning restaurants to choose from on your Dine-Around evening.
Explore the Isle of Dreams
(Relaxed Start) Relax on-board a cruise around the island. See the white grotto and spectacular cliffs, before ascending to Capri town by funicular. Cool off with a refreshing lemon granita, then walk with your Local Expert to the gardens of Caesar Augustus to view the Faraglioni Rocks. Lunch will be served at Mammà - a Michelin-starred restaurant.
Into the Green Hills of Umbria to Assisi and Perugia.
After returning to the mainland, follow the Highway-of-the-Sun north to the winding, cobbled streets of Assisi for a guided visit inside the imposing Basilica of St. Francis. Move on to the Umbrian capital of Perugia. Ascend from the lower town, through the maze of medieval streets, to your 5-star deluxe hotel. This afternoon meet your Local Expert and walk along Perugia's Corso Vannucci to the main square, before spending the evening at your leisure.
San Gimignano and Tuscany
(Relaxed Start) This morning you are visiting a workshop to see how the art of hand-weaving textiles has been passed down through the generations. Continue to hilltop San Gimignano, famous for its medieval towers. Ascend serpentine alleyways to taste the award-winning gelato of Sergio Dondoli. Journey on through the vines, olive groves and cypresses of the Chianti hills for a delicious exploration of the regional wines.
Meet an art historian for an insider's guide to Florence. Admire Michelangelo's original ‘Statue of David' in the Academy Museum before strolling to the cathedral, ‘Gates of Paradise' and open-air gallery in Signoria Square. The afternoon is free to enjoy Florence at your own pace before a delicious dinner with wine in delightful Barberino Di Mugello.
Tuscan Cooking Class and Pisa
(Relaxed Start) Join a qualified chef to experience authentic Italian cooking at a hands-on culinary master class with lunch. In the afternoon, head to Pisa and view the splendid Duomo, baptistery and of course, the gravity-defying bell tower!
Exploring The Cinque Terre and The Italian Riviera
Journey northwest, towards the Mediterranean, and continue along the coast to the Cinque Terre where you join a Local Expert in the picturesque fishing village of Manarola. Then cruise along the rugged coast to explore Monterosso's medieval quarter and popular sandy beach. After free time for lunch, board the train bound for the resort of Rapallo. Your prestigious hotel overlooks the Portofino Promontory.
Magnificent Venice and the Doge's Palace
Cross the fertile Po Valley to Verona, home of Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers. Stroll past the well-preserved Roman Arena and through a maze of elegant squares to stand beneath the balcony said to have belonged to the Capulet family. Head on to Venice and to your exclusive 5-star luxury hotel. In the evening, you are invited to an out of hours private visit of the magnificent Doge's Palace. As all crowds disappear, discover the history, art and culture of the Venetian Republic.
Venice and the Magic of ‘La Serenissima’
(Relaxed Start) A Local Expert will introduce you to the joys of Venice. Admire St. Mark's Basilica and see the Bridge of Sighs. Witness the age-old skill of glassblowing at an arts centre. Later, take your seat in a traditional gondola for a serenade through the romantic canals. In the evening, cruise to the idyllic fisherman's island of Burano for a celebratory dinner.
Your Luxury Gold journey will come to an end after breakfast with a private boat transfer to Venice Airport for your onward flight.
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 trips. Please note, many Optional Experiences are operated by independent third party suppliers, not Insight Vacations. The Optionals and pricing listed here are a guideline only and subject to change.
Milan (Contemporary) - Italy
Uni world (Cruise) - Italy
The recently remodeled, 130-passenger River Countess is filled with light and color. Muted shades of turquoise complimented by soothing cream, taupe, and white accents create a luxurious and sophisticated environment for your northern Italian adventure. The River Countess was the top-rated cruise ship (river or ocean) in Travel + Leisure’s prestigious 2013 World’s Best Awards. It offers lavishly appointed riverview staterooms and suites with handcrafted Savoir® of England beds, high-thread count 100% Egyptian cotton sheets and European duvets, with a menu of pillow options.
Rome (Central) - Italy
Hotel Bernini Bristol, Rome
Rome (Central) - Italy
Regina Baglioni, Rome
Perugia (Central) - Italy● ● ● ● ●
Brufani Palace, Perugia
Barberino Di Mugello (Scenic) - Italy● ● ● ● ●
Villa le Maschere, Barberino Di Mugello
Rapallo (Scenic) - Italy● ● ● ● ●
Grand Hotel Bristol, Rapallo
Venice (Heritage) - Italy
The Palazzo is divinely located on the Grand Canal, just off St Mark's Square, and offers spacious and elegant guest rooms.
Clothing, gear, and accessories you need for your next premium or Luxury Gold escorted journey
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