Welcome to Rome, a glorious city filled with classic antiquities, medieval buildings, renaissance palaces and baroque churches. Transfers depart from Rome's Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport for your hotel at 09:30, 12:30 and 15:30.Relax and settle in before joining your Travel Director at 17:30. Get to know your fellow travellers over a delicious Welcome Dinner with wine at a local restaurant.
A Local Expert leads you through the priceless art collection of the Vatican Museums, culminating beneath Michelangelo’s famous ceiling in the Sistine Chapel. Your priority visit includes fast-tracked entry to the museums and a behind-the-scenes look at the Bramante Staircase. Later, continue to St. Peter’s Basilica. Cross the Tiber river to enjoy ancient Rome. See the incredible Circus Maximus. Come up close and personal with the beautifully preserved Arch of Constantine, walking on the ancient pavement. Discover the history, the construction and the legends of the iconic Colosseum as you stroll around the exterior of this amazing structure.
Enjoy a delightful drive to Pisa through rolling countryside dotted with cypress trees, passing vineyards and olive groves.With a Local Expert, view the incredible Leaning Tower in the Square of Miracles from which Galileo is said to have conducted experiments on velocity and gravity. See the splendid cathedral and baptistery, decorated with mosaics and designs in solid marble.Your journey continues to the pretty seaside resort of Santa Margherita Ligure.
Head to the famous Cinque Terre, which translates to Five Lands. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is located on a gorgeously wild yet hospitable part of the coastline. With a Local Expert, approach one of the fishing villages by boat. In Monterosso, spend some time exploring the medieval quarter in or the popular sandy beach before continuing to the village of Portofino, famed for its colourful houses. Browse the boutiques and stay a while in the cafe bars on the piazzetta, watching the yachts moored in the harbour. Should weather permit, return with a cruise along the rugged Ligurian coast to your hotel in the resort of Santa Margherita.
Head north to the beautiful Lake Maggiore in the Italian Lakes District and the town of Baveno, noted for its narrow cobbled streets and charming 16th century square. On arrival, settle into your hotel and take in the magical scenery. In the afternoon, why not join an optional cruise to Isola Bella to explore the palace and admire the stunning and immaculate Italian style gardens.
Your travels continue through the Soave vineyards, passing Padua and on to the canals of Venice. In the evening, indulge in a delicious dinner at a local restaurant.
Your private boat takes you past historic churches and 13th century palaces to St. Mark's Square. The first sight is the pink marble of the Doge's Palace, connected to the prisons by the Bridge of Sighs. It was from here that Casanova made his daring escape. Turn the corner, and the gilded regalia of St. Mark's Basilica comes into view. Afterwards, board a traditional gondola for a serenade along the romantic canals. Join a MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience during a visit to a traditional arts centre. See how beautiful handcrafted glass is made by expert glassblowers, safeguarding traditional skills.
Bid farewell to Venice and begin your journey to Renaissance Florence. Explore Florence with Insight Choice. Choose to visit the Accademia Museum to see Michelangelo's David. Alternatively, wander through the market stalls on a guided shopping tour. Walk to the cathedral and see Giotto’s bell tower and the Gates of Paradise on the baptistery. Wander through the open-air gallery of Piazza della Signoria, gazing at statues such as Neptune, Hercules and Cacus, along the front of the Palazzo Vecchio. Your exploration will finish in front of the basilica where Michelangelo lies buried in Piazza Santa Croce, famous for its quality goods. Enjoy a traditional Bistecca alla Fiorentina steak dinner paired with delicious local wine, a specialty not to be missed.
Start the day with a traditional Florentine leather-work demonstration, then there is plenty of time to shop with the rest of the day at your leisure. Perhaps join an Optional Experience to explore the hilltop town of San Gimignano?
Journey south through the volcanic hills of Frascati to Pompeii, which was buried in A.D. 79 by Mount Vesuvius' catastrophic eruption. Walk with a Local Expert through the preserved cobbled streets for a glimpse into the daily life of civilisation during the Roman Empire. Follow the clifftop road to the resort town of Sorrento, overlooking the Bay of Naples.
Meet your Local Expert and cross the Bay of Naples to reach the beautiful Isle of Capri, a rock rising sheer from the Mediterranean! For 2,000 years, Capri has beckoned visitors from Tiberius Caesar to Gracie Fields. Arriving at the Marina Grande by boat, ascend to Capri town by one of the island's iconic open-top taxis. Explore the narrow alleyways and descend to the port by funicular railway for the return to Sorrento. Later perhaps explore the Amalfi Coast?
After breakfast, discover two UNESCO World Heritage Sites. First, visit Matera for an in-depth guided exploration of the extraordinary Sassi, ancient troglodyte dwellings and churches dug out of the rock. These are the most extensive example of their kind in the Mediterranean and were inhabited by about 20,000 people up until 1950. Matera was also used as the setting for the film 'The Passion of the Christ'. Continue to Alberobello, the second UNESCO World Heritage Site and your home for the next two nights.
Admire another of Italy's record number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites with a Local Expert. The Trulli of Alberobello are circular structures with conical roofs that are domed within. They are built from local limestone and stacked without using mortar. In the evening, join a MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience at Trattoria Terra Madre. Alessandro, the owner, shares his philosophy of using home-grown organic and seasonal produce. See Nonna making orechiette pasta during a demonstration, before a delicious four-course, Farm-to-Table Highlight Dinner.
The local roads will take you south, following the shores of the Gulf of Taranto to the mountainous Calabria region. Travel along the Purple Coast to the very 'toe' of Italy and board your ferry bound for Sicily. According to ancient legend, it was here at the Straits of Messina where the twin whirlpools of Scylla and Charybdis carried unwary seafarers away to their doom! After disembarking, continue to the Taormina Riviera.
Join a Local Expert for a visit to the Greek Theatre, graced with the most spectacular of backdrops. Stroll onto the tiny courtyard of the Palazzo Corvaja, Taormina’s grandest building. The remainder of the day is yours to enjoy at your own pace. Perhaps join an Optional Experience to Mt. Etna?
Head to the Sicilian capital of Palermo. On arrival, your Local Expert will show you the highlights of the capital. Palermo Cathedral has been altered over the years and a venture inside will help you to appreciate the composite architectural styles. Next, head to the amazing Palatine Chapel in the Palace of the Normans. With the outside completely covered in glittering 12th century mosaics, it provides an insight to what's within.Join your travelling companions and Travel Director at a local restaurant for an unforgettable Celebration Dinner of delicious local cuisine and wine.
Your journey draws to an end. Departure transfers arrive at Palermo Falcone–Borsellino Airport at 06:00 and 08:00.