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Highlights of Italy
FH-EXD-118899
13 days from
£1,779
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At a glance
Visit historical Italian cities, rural agricultural land and striking coastal villages of the Amalfi Coast
Trip Highlights
Start Destination
Venice
End Destination
Naples
What's included
  • All breakfasts
  • All accommodation (see below)
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

All breakfasts are included and consist of a basic continental-style buffet.

What's not included
  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Itinerary
1
Day 1
Fly to Venice
Start Venice.
2
Day 2
Morning orientation tour, then free time to wander the narrow streets of this enchanting city.
Morning orientation tour and free time to discover the spectacular 'Floating City' its monuments and outstanding architecture rising from the lagoon. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Venice is built over 117 small islands separated by canals and connected by over 400 bridges. We have time to wander around the narrow streets of the historical centre and the magnificent San Marco Square. A great way to get an overview of Venice and its architecture is by taking a vaporetto (waterbus) trip along the Grand Canal, lined with ancient palaces and crossed by beautifully decorated bridges.
3
Day 3
Train to Verona and enjoy lunch in the home of Italian opera before continuing by train to Varenna.
We take a train to Verona and spend a few hours in this vibrant city home to numerous Roman ruins, such as the enormous Arena, the third largest Roman amphitheatre in the world and nowadays a legendary open-air opera house. There is the chance to visit the balcony where Juliet is said to have been courted by Romeo, this is usually a very busy area of Verona however so be prepared for queues if you wish you see the spot made famous by Shakespeare's classic. After lunch continue by train to Varenna, a quaint village on Lake Como.
4
Day 4
Scenic boat ride across Lake Como to the picturesque town of Bellagio; return to Varenna.
This morning we enjoy a scenic boat ride across Lake Como to the picturesque town of Bellagio. Shaped like an upside-down Y, Lake Como is nestled between high mountains rising from its rugged shores, scattered with small villages and superb villas. Bellagio is set in this idyllic landscape on the cusp of the lake's two arms and is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the view from its promenade or one of its elegant cafe's. Your boat ticket is valid all day so the rest of the afternoon is free to explore the local villages and gorgeous lakeside villas. There also several lakeside gardens worth a visit. Alternatively you can hop on a boat back to Varenna and walk to the panoramic viewpoint accessible directly behind our hotel.
5
Day 5
Train to Florence. Walking tour of this historical city including food tasting at a local market
This morning we board our second train, for our journey to the capital of Tuscany, Florence, travelling through the fertile farming regions of Emilia-Romagna. On our approach to the city we'll start to see the rolling hills and cypress trees that make Tuscany so famous. On arrival in Florence, we have a walking tour from our local guide, taking in all the famous sights and giving us time to get our bearings. We stop in Mercato Centrale, the famous food market; where we get to sample some of Tuscany's tastiest produce, include salami, cheese and fresh fruit. Our evening is free to enjoy the city by night.
6
Day 6
Free day in Florence.
We enjoy a full day in the magnificent city of Florence, the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance with an enormous wealth of historical sites, museums, galleries, churches and architectural delights. Most of the great artists, thinkers and builders from Renaissance history passed through or lived in Florence when it was under the rule of the Medici family, the most famous patrons of the 16th century. However Florence is not just a Renaissance showpiece: once you have had your fill of the historical trail there are many other things to see and do. The city has not ceased to be a centre of learning, and there is a university, many art and language schools and a large student population to liven up the café-bars, restaurants and nightclubs. There are some good flea markets and chic boutiques. For those wishing to visit the Uffizi or the Accademia we would advise booking ahead online or first thing in the morning to guarantee entry.
7
Day 7
Transfer into Umbria to agriturismo near Assisi for delicious homemade food.
In the morning we take a train to the fortified hilltop town of Assisi,in the heart of rural Umbria and then drive to our base for the next two nights, a lovely family-run agriturismo. This farmhouse has been renovated to a modern hotel and is set in a beautiful landscape typical of the Umbria region, a land of mediaeval hilltop towns, vineyards, olive groves and full of history and tradition. The hotel is approx. a 20 minute walk from Assisi town so we suggest bringing a torch for walking back after dinner as the roads are minor and not well lit.
8
Day 8
Free day.
The day starts with a hearty breakfast featuring local produce and seasonal fruit from the agriturismo’s garden. We then have some free time to relax or enjoy a self-guided walk in the peaceful countryside. Alternatively, you could visit one of the villages nearby: Perugia and Spello are two fine examples of fortified hilltop towns, both accessible from our base, although not walkable. In Spello there is an option of wine tasting to learn about the region’s specialities
9
Day 9
Morning transfer to Rome; orientation walk to some of the city's best sights.
Hoping aboard a train again we head towards Rome, arguably the most fascinating of Italy's cities. The Italian capital is best explored on foot and, after an orientation walk to some of its famous sights, we have a day and a half to discover its vast historic centre at our own pace. According to the legend, the city is named after Romulus, who killed his brother Remus to take control of the city and in 753BC named it Roma. Such is the legend, but it is more likely that the people of Latium built the city as a fortress. The city gradually spread over the adjoining hills and thanks to its strategic position by the River Tiber and proximity to the coast, Rome dominated trade routes from Etruria to Campania. Etruscan kings ruled until 510BC, when Rome became a republic. By the 2nd century BC the city was poised to take over the whole Mediterranean, but several civil wars ended the republic, the emperors took over and a frenzy of monumental building began; each Emperor wanting to leave his mark on the city. Nero built the Domus Aurea, Vespasian the Colosseum and Hadrian built Castel Sant'Angelo - all still standing today. With the rise of Christianity in the 4th century, Rome became the centre of a new empire, Christendom, and many of the city's large basilicas such as San Pietro were built.
10
Day 10
Free day to explore Rome.
Free day to discover Rome’s incredible landmarks and monuments. The oldest and most evocative ruins are those of the Roman Forum, once the heart of the Mediterranean world. Through the gates the noise of the busy screet seems to fade away and it's easy to imagine the city as it was over 2000 years ago. The most imposing monument of ancient Rome is the Colosseum. Gladiatorial contests and mock sea battles took place here with up to 50,000 people seated in the amphitheatre. No trip to the Eternal City would be complete without visiting St Peter's and the Vatican Museum - Piazza San Pietro is one of the most beautiful squares in the world with its marvellous colonnade and triumphal arches designed by Bernini, an obelisk from Egypt at the centre and the awe-inspiring basilica of St Peter, with its beautiful cupola designed by Michelangelo. Ascending to the gallery around the interior of the dome we can see the artwork close up and go out onto the roof for a panoramic view. Rome is a city of fountains and piazzas, which make an ideal spot to soak up the atmosphere and watch the world go by while enjoying an ice cream or a coffee at one of the many street cafés.
11
Day 11
Continue by train to the capitvating city of Naples, sitting in the shadow of Mt Vesuvius; orientation walk.
Today we contiune by train to the captivating city of Naples, sitting in the shadow of Mt Vesuvius. Naples has a mixed reputation as a city, but the electric atmosphere and mix of modern and historic architecture makes it unique. Our tour leader will take us on an orientation walk around the city’s historic centre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, still bearing the mark of the several and very distinct civilisations that invaded the city over the centuries. The rest of the day is free to soak up Naples’ buzzing atmosphere and explore its main attractions, including Piazza del Plebiscito, the city’s largest square, San Carlo theatre, Italy’s oldest opera-house, and the Archaeological Museum, housing one of the world’s greatest collections; There is also the chance to visit the Subterranean Naples an 80km long labyrinth of caves, some lying up to 40 meters underground. Of course, no visit to Naples would be complete without tasting its world famous pizza, baked rapidly in a wood-fired oven that will make you want to go back for more.
12
Day 12
Free day to visit Pompeii, Sorrento, Capri, Amalfi or walk up Mt Vesuvius.
A free day to explore this stunning part of Italy. You can choose to spend an extra day in Naples, or venture out of town and discover some of the wonders this region has to offer. During the long catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius which spanned two days in AD 79, the Roman villages of Pompeii and Herculaneum were completely buried in ash and pumice. Lost for 1700 years, the villages’ perfectly preserved remains give us an amazing insight into the life of a Roman city. Alternatively, south of Naples, is the legendary Amalfi Coast, arguably the most impressive stretch of coastline in the Mediterranean, with its precariously located hilltop villages, beautiful coastal towns and the spectacular island of Capri just offshore.
13
Day 13
Fly to London.
Transfer to Naples airport; fly to London.
Prices & Availability
Highlights of Italy 5/5

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