The romance of Italy comes to life. Explore a local farm and indulge in a cheese and wine tasting. Explore the rugged coast and remote fishing villages of the Cinque Terre. Spend four relaxing nights in a Tuscan villa. Choose the way you discover the charming town of Lucca: on foot or by bicycle. Get to know Florence with a walking tour of the citys treasures and monuments, including the Piazza del Duomo. Experience medieval life at the Palazzo Davanzati. Venture to rose-hued Siena. Visit a winery in the countryside and learn the secrets of Tuscan cuisine when you participate in a cooking lesson. Wander the streets of Bologna and taste some of the areas specialty foods. Spend two wonderful nights in Venice. These are Italys treasures.
Day 1: Overnight Flight
Set out on your overnight flight to Italy!
Day 2: Stresa, Italy – Tour Begins
Begin in Stresa, on the shore of Lago Maggiore. Visit a wine shop and enjoy a cocktail party, tasting some local specialties. A boat transports you to your welcome dinner on Isola dei Pescatori,* the most picturesque of the Borromean Islands.
Day 3: Stresa
Today, visit an ancient village nestled in the mountains where youll stop at a local farm to sample their artisanally produced cheeses paired with the regions delicious wines. The remainder of your day in Stresa is at leisure. Perhaps you will investigate the piazzas, flower-lined cobblestone streets and lakeside promenades; or, relax on an optional cruise on this scenic lake and take in the breathtaking surroundings.
Day 4: Stresa – Orta – Italian Riviera
Ease your way into the local culture as your Tour Manager teaches you a few key phrases of the native language. Depart the Italian Lakes region for Sestri Levante on the Ligurian coast. Stop at Lake Orta and take a boat to Isola di San Giulio. Walk the grounds of this charming island with its working convent. Experience the outdoor cafs and shops of this lakeside resort. Continue on to the Italian Riviera.
Day 5: Italian Riviera – Cinque Terre
Spend your day discovering the colorful Cinque Terre, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Travel by rail through the medieval villages of the Cinque Terre, perched on the edge of the sea. Traverse the rugged coastal area dotted with terraced vineyards, arriving at this nearly inaccessible string of fishing villages tucked between the mountains and the Mediterranean. Feel like you have stepped back in time. Spend an afternoon independently exploring this magical place. Your Tour Manager will be on hand to help you plan your adventure.
Day 6: Italian Riviera – Lucca – Tuscan Villa
Drive to the medieval city of Lucca, encircled by 16th-century Renaissance walls. Then youll choose the way you discover Lucca: on foot or by bicycle. Either way, youll visit the Cathedral of San Martino, the Piazza Napoleone and the Piazza dell’Anfiteatro. Then, set off to get a taste of the region by sampling some seasonal, local delicacies at specialty food shops. End the day in a historic Tuscan villa and begin a relaxing 4-night stay.**
Day 7: Florence
Get to know Florence with a walking tour of the citys treasures and monuments, including the Piazza del Duomo, the center of religious life in medieval Florence, and the Piazza della Signoria. Visit the Museo della Casa Fiorentina Antica, housed in the 14th-century Palazzo Davanzati. Explore independently before returning to your villa.
Day 8: Siena
Travel to Siena for an expert-led walking tour. Visit the towns dramatic cathedral, a stunning example of Romanesque and Gothic architecture. Stroll through narrow medieval streets as you experience life in this historic cultural center. Return to your villa for a relaxing afternoon.
Day 9: Tuscan Countryside
Visit a winery in the heart of Tuscany that showcases the wine cellar, family estate, vineyards and olive groves. Participate in a Tuscan cooking lesson given by the winerys own chef. Enjoy an authentic Tuscan lunch expertly paired with wines produced on-site. Return to the villa for some leisure time. At dinner, continue your sampling of Tuscan cuisine in one of Tuscanys traditional restaurants.
Day 10: Tuscany – Bologna – Venice
Depart for Venice. En route, stop in Bologna where we take a guided walking tour of the center, virtually unchanged since the Renaissance. Well also sample local delicacies at specialty food shops. Later, arrive in romantic Venice for your 2-night stay.
Day 11: Venice
Enjoy a boat trip*** to Murano Island for a fascinating glass-blowing demonstration. Return to St. Marks Square for a locally guided walking tour featuring the Clock Tower, St. Marks Basilica, the Bridge of Sighs, and a visit to the Doges Palace. Tonight, partake in a celebratory farewell dinner.
Day 12: Venice – Tour Ends
Wake up in Venice and depart for home.