Stylish Milan is our launch pad to the Lake District where we spend the first night of our At Leisure jaunt through Italy. After arriving in Como, unwind and soak up the peaceful atmosphere. Admire the mesmerising reflection of the surrounding peaks in its deep blue waters which makes this one of Italy's most soul-stirring settings. Enjoy a leisurely stroll past exquisite lakeside villas and gardens before meeting your travel companions and Travel Director for a Welcome Reception. Tonight, you'll stay at one of Trafalgar's Stays With Stories and a Lake Como institution, frequented by local aristocrats since the late 19th-century.
The runways of Milan take centre stage today as we explore the fashion capital of Italy. Join a Local Specialist to see the iconic and unexpected highlights of this hard-working city. View the exquisite Gothic architecture of the Duomo, with its massive stained glass windows, the neo-classical La Scala Opera House and ornate Galleria with its imposing iron and glass-domed roof - of course, all in the company of the trendsetting Milanese.
The tragic story of Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers is revealed during our visit to romantic Verona, where we will view Juliet's Balcony and the ancient Roman Arena, still in use today. Indulge in a leisurely cappuccino stop in the city's beautiful Piazza Bra, admiring the imposing bronze statue of King Victor Emanuel II. Or shop up a storm on trendy Via Mazzini before continuing to Venice, where we will spend the next two nights.
Glide through the canals of Venice by private launch visiting some of the jewels in the crown of the 'Queen of the Adriatic'. Dive Into Culture and witness the centuries-old Venetian tradition of glassmaking. Then it's on to St. Mark's Square to admire the profound beauty of the Doge's Palace and St. Mark's Basilica. See the Bridge of Sighs, so named because of the sound prisoners would make when taking one last longing look at their beloved city before being imprisoned. Spend the rest of the day at leisure, or consider an Optional Experience to the colourful fishing island of Burano.
From Venice, we cross the Apennine Mountains to Florence, the 'Cradle of the Renaissance'. Consider joining your Travel Director for a traditional Florentine dinner in the heart of the Chianti Hills.
This morning we join a Local Specialist on a leisurely walking tour to delve into the culture and history of Florence. We'll visit the Piazza del Duomo to view the multi-coloured marble Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, Piazza della Signoria with its exquisite art and palazzi, and the Ponte Vecchio bridge that has straddled the Arno River for almost 700 years. Admire spectacular views of the city from Piazzale Michelangelo. Later, learn about the quality and workmanship of two of this city's historic industries at demonstrations of Florentine leathercraft and 18-carat gold. This afternoon, consider an Optional Experience to the Fine Arts Academy to see Michelangelo's 'David'. Join your fellow travellers this evening for an opportunity to Connect With Locals over dinner at a Be My Guest experience set against the backdrop of Tuscan vineyards and olive groves.
Journey south through the Arno Valley, passing the Bay of Naples bound for Maiori on the Amalfi Coast, where we will spend the next three nights. This evening we dine at our hotel.
This morning travel to Amalfi, perched perfectly on this dramatic stretch of coastline. See the 10th-century Sant'Andrea cathedral in the heart of the town, with its beautifully striped Byzantine façade, and soak up the laid-back atmosphere. You'll also have time to join an Optional Experience to Positano.
Relax at your hotel on the Amalfi Coast or wander past fragrant lemon terraces. You have a full free day to indulge in your heart's desires - consider a fresh seafood lunch, from sea to table, or take a dip in the welcoming, warm Mediterranean waters.
Embark on a Small Group Sightseeing walking tour with a Local Specialist and discover the lost city of Pompeii, which was buried under volcanic ash when Mount Vesuvius erupted. Continue to the 'Eternal City' of Rome later, enjoying views of the 6th-century Benedictine Abbey in Cassino en route. Spend the evening exploring the extraordinary heritage of Rome, which spans millennia, or consider an Optional Experience to see the exquisite art and architecture of what was once the capital of the world.
Spend the morning in the Vatican City with a Local Specialist, visiting the imposing St. Peter's Basilica to view Michelangelo's sorrowful Pietà. Consider an Optional Experience to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel with its exquisite frescoed ceilings crafted by Michelangelo. Then, cross the Tiber into Ancient Rome to see the Circus Maximus, once the site of exhilarating chariot races that entertained thousands, and visit the impressive Colosseum. This afternoon we have time to explore the city on our own terms. Perhaps toss a coin in the Trevi Fountain to secure your return to Rome, soak up the coffee aromas on Piazza Navona or wander through the ruins of Palatine Hill.
Indulge in a full free day to explore the passionate embrace of the city and its zesty locals. Ease into la dolce vita, or consider an Optional Experience to Tivoli, where you can visit Villa d'Este with its magnificent Renaissance gardens and exquisite fountains. This evening, we enjoy a Farewell Dinner with newfound friends and your Travel Director before bidding arrivederci to Rome.
Our unforgettable encounter with Italy comes to an end today. Find out more about your free airport transfer at trafalgar.com/freetransfers.