Italy has drawn people in search of culture and romance for many centuries. Few countries can compete with its Classical origins, its art, architecture, musical and literary traditions, its scenery, food and wine. The story of early Italian art, from the 13th century until the late 15th century, illuminates one of the richest periods in European art history. Its tradition in music and opera are unequalled. Opera first emerged during the wedding celebrations of Italy's 16th century wealthy families. Each region of Italy offers its own traditional specialties made from the freshest seasonal produce. The wines are some of the best in the world. Politically, Italy is a young country: it did not exist as a unified nation state until 1861, and its 21 regions have maintained their cultural individuality.
Join us on this beautiful tour to Italy, sampling its many major attractions....
An economic powerhouse, but also a town of enormous grace and charm, with superb Baroque architecture and excellent museums set against the dramatic scenery of the foothills of the Alps. Turin is also home to the famous Turin Shroud.
Most often associated only with sweet Spumante sparkling wine, Asti is in fact at the center of Italy's most prestigious wine region. It is also a tranquil and noble city of medieval towers, elegant churches and warm red roofs.
Trading links with Spain and North Africa brought vast mercantile wealth and formed the basis of a scientific and cultural revolution in Pisa, which is still reflected today in the city's splendid buildings, especially the Duomo, Baptistry and Campanile (Leaning Tower).
A vast and beautiful monument to the Renaissance, the artistic and cultural reawakening of the 15th century. Writers such as Dante, Petrarch and Machiavelli contributed to its proud literary heritage, though it was the paintings and sculptures of artists such as Botticelli, Michelangelo and Donatello that turned the city into one of the world's greatest artistic capitals.
The thirteen towers that that dominate San Gimignano's majestic skyline were built by rival noble families during the 12th and 13th centuries, when the town's position on the main pilgrim route from northern Europe to Rome brought it great prosperity. The town remains mostly medieval, and is rich in works of art good shops, restaurants and vineyards.
Once a capital to rival Florence, Siena is still unspoilt and endowed with the grandeur of the age in which it was at its peak. This is particularly evident in the city's historic center, with the Piazza del Campo and the surrounding maze of medieval streets.
One of Tuscany's highest hilltowns, its walls and fortifications offer broad views over southern Tuscany, and the vineyards producing the Vino Nobile wine that has made the town's name famous.
A delightful village whose intimate little center was designed in the 15th century by Pope Pius II. The Florentine architect and sculptor Bernardo Rossellino was commissioned to build a Cathedral, Papal Palace and Town Hall in the model of a Renaissance town.
Capital of a vast empire and the center of the Christian world. Artists and architects flocked to work in this city, notably in the Renaissance and baroque periods. The legacy of this history can all be seen in the beautiful city of Rome today.
Named after its patron deity, the mighty Hercules. It was buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. Though less known, it is in better condition than Pompeii.
The home of emperors, seat of monasteries, Capri boasts constant sunshine and a reputation of a Garden of Eden.
On arrival in Milan (own arrangements), you will be met by our ground operator, and transferred to your villa located in Cortemilia. The beauty and tranquillity of the location, the extraordinary scenery and warm hospitality make the villa perfect for an unforgettable stay. At 5:00 p.m. you will enjoy a wine tasting at the villa, conducted by the Owner, Carlo Zarri. It will include 3 wines: Barbera d'Asti (red), Moscato d'Asti (sweet) and Barolo (big red of Piedmont). Dinner this evening will be at your villa.
Enjoy a plentiful buffet breakfast in the bright dining room. After breakfast, depart for Turin, which was the original capital of Italy, and site of the 2006 Winter Olympics. It is a fascinating city with wide avenues and spacious squares. The city lies in the footsteps of the Alps, along the banks of the River Po. Your half day tour will include the historical center and the Cathedral containing the famous Holy Shroud of Turin. You will also visit the leading attraction of Turin, the Egyptian Museum. This museum is one of the richest in Europe, containing even more displays than the Cairo Museum. After the tour we will take you to "EATALY" for enogastronomic shopping. It is a salami shop, fish market, bakery, vegetable and fruit market, and fresh pasta shop all under one roof! In addition, the wine cellar displays over 300 varieties of Italian wines by region. In the afternoon, enjoy a guided tour to the imposing Royal Residence of Venaria Reale, with its vast gardens. It is one of the best examples of the magnificence of architecture and art from the 17th and 18th centuries. Return to your villa for dinner and the night.
After a leisurely buffet breakfast, depart for a local winery in Asti, for a tour of their vineyards, their cellars and to taste the famous "Spumante" wine, accompanied by light snacks. Made from the Moscato Bianco grape, it is sweet and low in alcohol, and often drunk with dessert. In the afternoon, you will experience truffle hunting, an exciting experience for truffle enthusiasts. A hunter, accompanied by his dog, will lead the group into the woods to seek out the precious underground tuber. The hunt will be preceded by a meeting with an expert, who will be provide all the information essential to understanding how, where and why truffles grow. Return to your villa for dinner and the night.
After breakfast, depart for beautiful Pisa. Your 2-hour guided tour will include the Cathedral, Baptistry and the Leaning Tower (to be seen from outside only). After the tour, there will be free time for lunch, before continuing to Florence. Dinner and overnight will be at your hotel in Florence.
Our morning half day guided tour will include the main sights: the Duomo and Baptistry, built of green, white and pink marble. It was built and paid for by the Florentine Republic and the cloth-maker's guild. It was begun in 1296, and consecrated in 1436. Piazza della Signoria, was and still is, the political stage of Florence, with a wonderful backcloth formed by the Palazzo Vecchio and the Loggia della Signoria. The many statues make it virtually an open-air museum of sculpture. You will also see Santa Croce, containing the tomb of Michaelangelo, and many other well known Florentines. The afternoon is at leisure. You may stroll along the Ponte Vecchio, and the side streets which abound in luxury shops specializing in fashion and fine leather. Or shop under the loggia in the New Market, along the arcades of Piazzale degli Uffizi and around San Lorenzo which is lively with open-air stalls. When tired by the bustle, sit on the terrace of one of the many cafes on the Piazza della Signoria, and enjoy a "gelato" or cup of coffee. Dinner and overnight will be at your hotel in Florence.
After breakfast, we will check out from our hotel, and depart for San Gimignano, a beautiful hill top town which has kept its medieval appearance unchanged since the 14th Century. The city is encircled by ramparts, bristling with thirteen tall towers of nobility, formerly seventy-two in number. Stroll along the narrow streets lined with palaces and old houses. Continue to Siena, where you will have some free time to buy lunch. Siena is believed to have been founded at the beginning of the Roman era by Senius and Aschius, the sons of Remus, which explains why its coat of arms includes a she-wolf and twins (who according to legend were nursed by a wolf). The town invites a stroll through its narrow Gothic streets lined with palaces and patrician homes. Encircled by ramparts, the town's plan extends over three converging red clay hills from which the colour "burnt siena" is named. Interesting sights include fan-shaped Piazza del Campo, the town hall and the Cathedral or Duomo. It was begun during the 12C and finished in the 14C. It has a Romanesque-Gothic facade, richly decorated with multicoloured marble. After the tour, continue to your hotel located in Pienza for dinner and the night.
Leisurely buffet breakfast, followed by departure for the city of Montepulciano, an ancient hilltop town in southeast Tuscany. It is worthy of a visit because it is a treasure trove of medieval and Renaissance architecture and artifacts. It also the home of a very fine Sangiovese-based red wine. The noble wine of Montepulciano, VINO NOBILE DI MONTEPULCIANO, is one of Tuscany's classic red wines. Enjoy a wine tasting tour at the FATTORIA LE CAPEZZINE, just outside Montepulciano. Your wine tasting will include a visit to their cellar and tasting their "VINO NOBILE". Lunch will be held in the winery's restaurant. Return to Pienza for an afternoon at leisure to explore this charming art center. It is one of the best planned Renaissance towns. Interesting sights include the Cathedral, which was completed in 1462, the Museum and the Palazzo Piccolimini. Dinner and overnight will be at your hotel in Pienza overlooking the Tuscan hills.
After a leisurely buffet breakfast, depart for Perugia, the gentle, mystic and pious capital of Umbria. Guarded by its ramparts, the town overlooks the Valley of the Tiber. On arrival, enjoy a half day guided tour, to include all the main sights: Piazza 4 Novembre, the Great Fountain and Prior's Palace (from outside only). After some free time to buy lunch, continue to Assisi. Your two-hour guided tour will show you the town's narrow streets, lined with old facades and flower-decked balconies which delightful pictures. You will also visit the city's most famous sight: the Basilica of St. Francis. Continue to your hotel in Trevi for dinner and the night.
Enjoy a COOKING LESSON by the hotel's Executive Chef, followed by lunch (which will consist of the items cooked). In the afternoon visit to the TREVI OLIVE MILL (OlioTrevi). Established in 1968, it is the only distributor of "Trevi Oil" sold directly to consumers and to Italy's finest restaurants. The extra virgin olive oil produced at this facility is known for its low acidity, intensive fruity taste and emerald green color. The visit will include sampling some of the products. You will also visit a cheesemaking facility, to learn about the art of cheesemaking and sample their products. Dinner and overnight will be at your hotel in Trevi.
After breakfast, depart for Rome. On arrival, enjoy a half day guided tour to include the city's most famous historical sights: the Roman Forum, the Coliseum, the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona and more. Transfer to the hotel after the tour. Dinner and overnight will be at your hotel in Rome.
After breakfast, enjoy a half day guided tour of the city's famous religious sights: St. Peter's Square and Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museum. The afternoon is at leisure to discover Rome at your own pace. Dinner this evening will be at Trastevere, famous for its pedestrian streets, Santa Maria Church and fine restaurants (such as Osteria Pucci).
After a leisurely buffet breakfast, depart for Herculaneum. Founded, according to tradition, by Hercules, this Roman town on the seashore was overwhelmed during the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79. Less known than the site at Pompeii, it is one of the few ancient cities that can now be seen in almost its original splendor. Unlike Pompeii, it was mainly affected by pyroclastic flows, thus preserving the wooden objects such as roof tops, building beams, beds, doors, and even food. Moreover, Herculaneum was a wealthier town than Pompeii, possessing an extraordinary density of fine houses, and far more lavish use of colored marble cladding. After the tour, continue to your hotel located in Sorrento.
Today you will enjoy a full day excursion to the island of Capri by hydrofoil. Your morning tour will include a visit to Villa Jovis, to see the palace of Tiberius Ceasar, from where he ruled the Roman Empire until his death. The afternoon is at leisure in Capri to explore and do your last-minute souvenir shopping. Dinner and overnight will be at your hotel in Sorrento.
Transfer to the airport in Naples.
Our Tour Escorts are personable and knowledgeable. Contact us for more information on any of the travel experiences we offer.
Transfers between airports and hotels (Milan and Naples)
13-nights accommodations in carefully selected 4-star hotels and villas (based on double occupancy), as follows:
- 3 nights at a Villa San Carlo in Cortemilia (Piedmont)
- 2 nights at a 4-star hotel in Florence
- 2 nights at the Chiostro di Pienza (Tuscany)
- 2 nights at a 4-star hotel in Trevi (Umbria)
- 2 nights at the Hotel Villa Pamphilli in Rome
- 2 nights in Sorrento
Buffet breakfast every morning;
4-course dinners every evening (including 1/2 Litre of wine, mineral water and coffee).
3 light lunches (to be arranged at wineries where you will be tasting wines)
Cooking lesson by the Chef at your hotel in Trevi, followed by lunch consisting of the items cooked during the cooking lesson
Deluxe chartered coach transportation throughout the tour for all transfers, sightseeing tours, visits, etc
Sightseeing tours and excursions as follows:
- Half day tour of Turin (with a guide)
- Tour of Venaria Reale Royal Residence (with a guide)
- Two-hour tour of Pisa (with a guide)
- Half day tour of Florence (with a guide)
- Visit to San Gimignano (no guide)
- Two-hour tour of Siena (with a guide)
- Visit to Montepulciano (no guide)
- Visit to Pienza (no guide)
- Two-hour tour of Perugia (with a guide)
- Two-hour tour of Assisi (with a guide)
- Half day guided tour of historical Rome (with a guide)
- Half day guided tour of religious Rome (with a guide)
- Half day tour of Herculaneum (with a guide)
- Half day tour of Capri (with a guide)
Entrance fees to the following places:
- Egyptian Museum (Turin)
- Venaria Reale (Turin)
- Cathedral and Baptistry (Pisa)
- Half day tour of Florence (with a guide)
- Santa Croce (Florence)
- Duomo (Siena)
- Basilica of St. Francis (Assisi)
- Forum and Coliseum (Rome)
- Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museum (Rome)
- Villa Jovis (Capri)
Special activities as follows:
- Visit to EATALY for enogastronomic shopping
- Wine tasting tour of Cascina Chicco with light lunch (Barolo and Barbera wines)
- Wine tasting tour of Asti Spumante with light snacks
- Truffle hunting with a hunter and his dog
- Wine tasting tour of Fattoria Capezzine, including light lunch (Vino Nobile de Montepulciano)
- Visit to the Trevi oil mill to sample their products
- Visit to a cheesemaking facility in Umbria
Includes entrance fees to the places mentioned in the itinerary.
Services of a TOURINGHOUSE representative from the time of arrival until departure
Baggage handling at the hotels and tips to the bus driver and guides
All service charges and taxes