Day 01 ROME > ASSISI > SIENA > FLORENCE
Departing at 7:15 am from your hotel by a deluxe coach, you will arrive in Assisi, ready to explore, at your own leisure, this tiny town surrounded by walls, built in the Middle Ages. Take your time to visit the basilica of St. Francis, where you will see masterpieces by Giotto and Cimabue and, then, have free time for lunch (not included). Board on the bus to reach Siena, a Unesco World Heritage Site, world-known for the Palio, the historical horse race around the shell-shaped town square: Piazza del Campo. Next, you will continue on to Florence, where you will check in at your hotel before enjoying dinner and a well-earned night of rest.
After breakfast, you will spend the day venturing around beautiful Florence, the “Cradle of Renaissance, where, with the help of Michelangelo, Italian art reached its pinnacle. Based on etruscan-roman origins, the city flourished in the Middle Ages as a free “Comune” and was further refined during the Renaissance. You will be fascinated by the uncountable monuments, churches and buildings as Santa Maria del Fiore, more commonly referred to as the Duomo. On your visit, you will be amazed by its magnificent dome built by Filippo Brunelleschi. Cross a small piazza to see the “Campanile” tower (partly designed by Giotto) and the Baptistery, with its bronze doors where Michelangelo imagined the “Gates of Paradise.” In the heart of the city, you will see Piazza della Signoria, Palazzo della Signoria (also known as Palazzo Vecchio), and the Basilica of Santa Croce. Lunch in a typical Tuscan restaurant in Piazza Santa Croce. Spend the afternoon strolling the cobblestone streets of Florence on your own or take a short trip to Pisa (optional), one of the four main historical Marine Republics of Italy. There, you will tour the Piazza dei Miracoli with the Duomo, Pisa’s symbol “the Leaning Tower” and the Baptistery. Dinner at leisure, overnight stay in Florence.
Day 03 FLORENCE > BOLOGNA > PADUA > VENICE
After breakfast in Florence, departure to Bologna. There, you will discover the elegant city centre with its “porticos”, it’s shopping streets and so on. From Piazza Malpighi you will walk to Piazza del Nettuno and Piazza Maggiore (Neptune square and Major square) in the heart of the city, then King Renzo’s Palace; Palazzo Podestà and the basilica of San Petronio, one of the biggest in the world. Bologna it’s a real gourmet’s heaven…don’t miss a tasty meal at your own leisure! In the afternoon, continue toward Padua, with Sant’Antonio Basilica: one of the most visited churches by pilgrims of the catholic world. Later in the afternoon, arrival in Venice: the City of Love, one of the most romantic cities of the whole world and, undoubtedly the most beautiful city built by man! Check in at your hotel for dinner and overnight stay.
After breakfast, enjoy your private water-taxi transfer to Piazza San Marco, with “Skip the Line” tickets to visit the splendid St. Mark’s Basilica and, after this, check out the most iconic places of the “Floating City”: the Palazzo dei Dogi, symbol of Venice’s glorious past, the legendary “Bridge of Sighs”. Spend the afternoon roaming along Venice’s canals at your leisure and then return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 05 VENICE > MONTEPULCIANO (TUSCANY WINE REGION) > ROME
After breakfast, departure from Piazzale Rome heading to Tuscany, world-known for its landscapes, its churches and castles and its delicious wines. You will proceed to Val di Chiana with a stop in Montepulciano, a medieval town rich in history and art. Known for its “Nobile” wine, on purchase in local wine houses, Montepulciano also hosts an annual jazz and wine festival every July. Spend the afternoon discovering Montepulciano at your own pace, enjoying free wine tastings in many wine shops and free time for shopping. In the evening, you will arrive in Rome to check in into your hotel.
Between 7:45 - 8:00 am, after breakfast, departure from the hotel for the included tour of the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and St. Peters’s Basilica with our exclusive “Skip the Line” access! No stress to reach the area: upon arrival, your guide will lead you into the museums where you’ll visit one of the most important art collections of the world. Walk along the beautiful Galleries of Tapestries and Geographical Maps before admiring Raphael’s Rooms and, then, the amazing Sistine Chapel. After this incredible masterpiece, you will be taken by a privileged door to St. Peters’s Basilica: the biggest church in the world! The tour ends on St.Peter’s Square: enjoy the rest of the day to explore the city at your own leisure or get any one of our selected tours for the afternoon or at night! Overnight stay.
Enjoy an energetic breakfast at your hotel before spending the day exploring Rome on your own or by selecting one of our regular tours in the city or its surroundings. Return to the hotel for your last overnight in Rome.
Day 08 ROME > NAPLES > POMPEII > SORRENTO
After breakfast, pick up at your hotel at 7:00 am approximately. Departure by coach heading south crossing the regions of Lazio and Campania. Arrival in Naples and short panoramic tour climbing up to Vomero hill to enjoy beautiful views over the Gulf of Naples with the Vesuvius, Capri, Ischia and Procida and the city below; time to take some nice pictures, Descending towards the port of Mergellina, you will leave the city and travel south toward Mount Vesuvius, to reach the town of Ercolano where we will stop for lunch. The lunch break will be served in a first class hotel in Ercolano, set in monumental grounds with one of the best examples of what ecletic gardens were during the 1700s. After lunch you will reach Pompeii to enter into the world-famous site with “Skip the Line” tickets. Visit the haunting ruins of Pompeii, traveling back in time to the tragic days in 79 AD when the silent Mount Vesuvius suddenly erupted, covering the prosperous Roman city in deadly volcanic ashes and poisonous gases, leaving this prosperous city crystallized until our days. You’ll learn how people lived at that time, visiting houses and “bars” of the time, admiring frescoes and mosaics to imagine how rich and prosperous was the city before the dreadful day. After the visit, you will drive along the Sorrentine Coast, arriving in Sorrento for dinner (dress code: jacket for men) and an overnight in your new hotel.
Day 09 SORRENTO > CAPRI > SORRENTO
After breakfast, get ready for an exciting excursion to the island of Capri: one of the most exclusive summer destinations of the Mediterranean! Depending on weather and sea conditions, you will admire the dreamy Blue Grotto on a small rowboat. Afterward, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant and then roam the island at your own pace. Once back on the mainland, return to your hotel for dinner and your last overnight in Sorrento.
Day 10 SORRENTO > PALERMO (OVERNIGHT ON FERRY BOAT)
Breakfast at your hotel, then spend a leisurely morning exploring Sorrento. In the afternoon, you will reach the port of Naples, where you will board on the Tirrenia/Snav ferry to Palermo. Let the waves rock you to sleep. Dinner and breakfast are not included on the ferry.
Arrive in Palermo and transfer to your hotel. That night, have dinner in the hotel and rest up for the adventure that lies ahead.
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel, and then head out on a morning excursion to Monreale, recently included on the UNESCO World Heritage List, an ancient royal town famous for its almonds, olive oil and citrus fruits, as well as for its fine Norman architecture. Visit the elaborate Cathedral of Monreale and then enjoy some shopping of local delicatessen and souvenirs. Back to Palermo and continue with a walking tour of the city. Wander the streets of the Old Town, hearing tales of Palermo’s 3,000-year history and discovering attractions like Palermo Cathedral. Walk inside the impressive-looking place of worship and marvel at its arches, cupolas and mosaics – with an incredible mix of influences coming from several dominations on the island. Enjoy free time in the late afternoon and return to your hotel for dinner. Overnight.
Day 13 PALERMO > ERICE > MARSALA > AGRIGENTO
Early breakfast and departure to Erice, a medieval village stacked into the side of Monte San Giuliano. Many say that little has changed in the village since the sixth century, and its labyrinth-like twist of lanes is perfect for a cool and pleasant morning amble.Continue to Marsala, a pretty coastal town on the westernmost point of Sicily. Explore at leisure, perhaps shopping for a bottle of local Marsala dessert wine to take home. Return to your coach and travel south, passing Mazara del Vallo – the closest Sicilian city to Africa – before stopping in the town of Agrigento, your final destination of the day. Visit Ancient Greek monuments and ruins at the Valley of Temples (entrance included) - a UNESCO World Heritage site - and learn about archaeological relics like the Classical Temple of Concord the Temple of Hercules; the Temple of Jupiter, one of the largest Doric-style buildings. Check in to your hotel in the evening. Dinner and overnight.
Day 14 AGRIGENTO > NOTO > SIRACUSA > TAORMINA (GIARDINI NAXOS)
Breakfast at the hotel and travel to Noto, a picturesque fishing town popular for its stately Baroque architecture. Visit Cathedral of San Nicolò, recently restored after a earthquake, and then have a nice walk in the town’s center. Continue along the south coast to Syracuse, on Sicily’s southeastern tip. Visit “Parco Archeologico della Neapolis”, Syracuse’s famous archaeological area, home to a vast collection of Greek and Roman ruins from all over Sicily. Head inside to see impressive landmarks such as the Greek Theater, the Roman Amphitheater and the Ear of Dionysius – an artificial limestone cave. After the visit, cross one of the city’s bridges for a visit to the island of Ortygia – the most ancient part of Syracuse - home to a wealth of Baroque churches and medieval palaces. In the late afternoon arrive in Taormina, check in to your hotel and enjoy dinner.
Day 15 TAORMINA (GIARDINI NAXOS)
Breakfast at your hotel and then head off to Mount Etna, the largest active volcano in Europe and the highest mountain in Italy. Learn about volcanic activity and marvel at the old lava fields and black magma rock that comprises Etna’s landscape. If weather permits, you have a chance to climb to the summit (1800 m). After, return to Taormina, the beautiful and romantic town located on Mount Tauro. Return to Taormina in the afternoon and spend the rest of your day at leisure. Dinner and overnight
Day 16 TAORMINA (GIARDINI NAXOS) > SAVOCA AND FORZA D’AGRÒ > CATANIA
After breakfast travel to Savoca and Forza D’Agrò, two pretty hillside villages where Francis Ford Coppola filmed some of the immortal scenes of Godfather’s trilogy. A visit for cinema lovers but, even if you aren’t a fan, this stop is a fascinating way to visit these unspoiled and typical Sicilian villages with a real insight into the island and the heart of its people. A stop for a “Granita” at Bar Vitelli is a “must” for any visitor in town. It is still run by the family who owned it at the time of the movie shooting and you can see a photo-collection taken while Francis Ford Coppola was filming some scenes of The Godfather II. We also leave you some free time to explore more and really soak up in the atmosphere of this hidden, not-for-tourists Sicilian hilltown. After the visit, departure for Catania. In the afternoon, free time to explore Catania’s UNESCO-listed historical center with his Baroque palaces and Roman ruins. See Piazza Dante and the Fountain of the Elephant, carved from volcanic rock. Dinner at the hotel and overnight.
Enjoy one final breakfast before the tour comes to an end.