Ciao Roma! Explore this imperial city of emperors and senators, gods and goddesses, before joining your companions and Travel Director later for a Welcome Reception. Our introduction to the Eternal City is an evening orientation drive to view some of the sights which await you.
The Holy See takes centre stage today as we join a Local Specialist for an included sightseeing tour in the fascinating Vatican Museums. Witness first-hand the masterpieces of Bramante and Michelangelo in a Cultural Insight, admiring the smooth, step-less staircase created for Pope Julius II in the early 16th century, the magnificent frescoed ceiling in the Sistine Chapel Experience and the marble masterpiece of Pietà, housed in St. Peter's Basilica. We venture across the Tiber and into Ancient Rome to visit the famous Colosseum see Circus Maximus, once the site of celebrated chariot races. This afternoon, enjoy free time to explore the city streets of Rome on your terms. Indulge in an espresso in beautiful Piazza Navona, clamber up the Spanish Steps, or wander through the colourful food market of Campo de' Fiori soaking up the enthusiasm of its lively vendors.
Today we pay tribute to the brave souls of the World War II Italian Campaign whose last resting place is the Commonwealth War Cemetery in Cassino. We view the Benedictine Abbey, which featured as the site of the Battle of Monte Cassino in 1944, before heading south to the well-preserved ruins of Pompeii. Here we join a Local Specialist who will share details of the devastation caused by the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79 as we wander through the ancient paved roads of a city that was frozen in time. Later, we arrive at our hotel in the clifftop village of Sorrento where we will dine tonight.
We cross the Bay of Naples today by ferry to the glamorous Isle of Capri where we will visit some of its landmark sights. Wander past the chic boutiques and pavement cafés in Capri Town in the company of a Local Specialist before taking your time to soak up the sophistication of this lovely island on your own terms. Later, we return to the mainland.
Heading north to the slopes of Mount Subasio, we arrive in the mystical town of Assisi, the birthplace of St. Francis, under whose protection this medieval city is said to remain. We join our Local Specialist on a walking tour along the cobblestone streets towards the Basilica of St. Francis, which we will have a unique opportunity to visit before free time to explore the town on our own terms. See the remnants of Roman heritage at the church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, shop on Corza Mazzini or admire the beautiful façade of San Rufino Cathedral. Dine tonight at your hotel.
Today enjoy the glorious countryside and historic architecture of the Emilia Romagna region. This area is also renowned for its cuisine such as tortellini, mortadella and parmesan cheese. Travel to Verona, the home of Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers, to admire the Roman arena and Juliet's Balcony. Arrive later in Venice, the Queen of the Adriatic. Please note: On certain departures Verona will be visited on Day 8 instead of Day 6
Wind your way through Venice by private launch along the city's charming canals to soak up the unique sights and sounds of what was once one of the world's greatest ports. We venture to the island of Giudecca where talented tradesmen share their centuries-old glassmaking traditions in a Cultural Insight, before meandering through the domain of St. Mark to view the impressive square and Basilica that still bear his name. Our journey through Venice takes us past the opulent Doge's Palace and the Bridge of Sighs, before an afternoon at leisure to wander across the ornate bridges that connect this island city. See the colourful fishermen's houses on the Island of Burano or perhaps stumble across a cosy bacaro for some tasty Venetian treats.
Today we cross the lush green plains of Lombardy to sophisticated Milan, the global capital of design and fashion. An orientation tour takes us past the intricate Gothic Duomo, La Scala Opera house and the famous Galleria, before we enjoy a Regional Meal.
The glistening blue waters of Lake Como welcome us today, with free time to enjoy the lakeside lifestyle and beautiful scenery that has enchanted visitors for millennia. Spend the day exploring the picturesque little towns, indulge in the delicious gelato of the area, take the funicular for spectacular views of the lake or perhaps consider a cruise on the lake.
The charm of Tuscany lures us across the forested Apennine Mountains, past Genoa to the famous city of Pisa and its Square of Miracles where we will enjoy an opportunity to view the Leaning Tower. Our next stop is Florence, the Cradle of the Renaissance, where you will have an evening at leisure to indulge in the extraordinary tastes of Tuscany.
Delve into the extravagant legacy of the de' Medici and the glory of a city whose exquisite art and architecture is explored in the company of a Local Specialist. The elegant Duomo dominates the skyline as we visit Piazza della Signoria with its exquisite statues and palazzi. Enjoy spectacular panoramic views of the beautiful skyline of Florence and the 400-year-old Ponte Vecchio from Piazzale Michelangelo, perhaps stopping for a taste of the rich hot chocolate for which the city is so famous. Tonight experience typical Tuscan cuisine as you enjoy a special Be My Guest dinner with a local family.
This morning we visit the charming Tuscan hill town of San Gimignano, within whose colourful city walls are extraordinary examples of medieval architecture and history. Venture to the centre of town to view its Piazza del Duomo, surrounded by thousand-year-old towers and ramble along the town's 13th century city walls. This evening in Rome we enjoy a Farewell Dinner spent in the company of newfound friends and our Travel Director.
Our discovery of the best of Italy has sadly come to an end. Transfers are available to Rome Fiumicino Airport. Conditions apply.
Special Rate Solo Rooming: Departures 18 November, 09 December 2018, 13 January and 03 February 2019 include 20-100% discount on our standard single supplement. Please see website for pricing.
Venice Carnival: Departures 17 February and 24 February will be staying in Venice during the Carnival of Venice 2019.
Christmas & New Year's Eve Highlights: The 16 December 2018 departure will celebrate Christmas in Florence. The 20 December 2018 departure will celebrate Christmas in Venice and New Year's Eve in Rome. The 23 December 2018 will celebrate Christmas in Sorrento and New Year's Eve in the Italian Lakes. The 27 December 2018 departure will toast New Year's Eve in Assisi. Each of these specially arranged festive meal celebrations will replace one of the included meals featured in the itinerary.