Christmas & New Year Italian Delights- XITDX
Number of Days: 12
An Italian feast awaits as for 12 days you can enjoy, explore, and immerse yourself in this Italy coach tour with a difference.
The classics are covered - Rome, Venice, Florence and Pisa and there is plenty of free time to explore at your own pace. Visual and cultural treats await from the North to the South, from Verona and the Italian Lake District, to Sorrento and the Italian Riviera, there are so many flavours to savour in this Italy holiday tour. Don’t forget your spoon!
DAY 1: Arrive in Rome
Welcome to Rome! If you arrive early enough, head into the city to see what Rome has to offer. An ancient city that has seen the rise and fall of entire empires, there is no shortage of historical real estate to feast your eyes on. Not to mention designer shopping and brilliant food… Meet up with your tour leader at our hotel in the afternoon and prepare for the tour of a lifetime! Tonight you’ll meet the rest of the tour group at our included welcome dinner.
DAY 2: Rome
Today we’ll take a guided walking tour of Rome, stopping off at the landmarks that have made it a perennial favourite with travellers all over the world. Highlights today include the Spanish Steps, the Pantheon, Piazza Navona and the Roman Forum. And let’s not forget Trevi Fountain – legend has it that if you drop a coin into the fountain, you’ll return again one day. This afternoon is a perfect opportunity to take advantage of an optional excursion to visit the Vatican City - the smallest country in the world! Inside the walls, you can visit the Sistine Chapel and see for yourself the famous ceiling painted by Michelangelo, as well as numerous other famous art pieces dotted around the buildings.
DAY 3: Pompeii - Sorrento region
Leaving Rome, we’ll head to Sorrento peninsula via Pompeii. As it’s our first day on the coach, take the time to get to know your fellow travel companions, and listen out for tips on Italy from your tour leader. On our way to the coastal region of Sorrento, you will see Mount Vesuvius and we will stop at Pompeii to explore the ruins of this ancient Roman town, destroyed in 79AD in a catastrophic volcanic eruption. Preserved since ancient times under meters of ash and pumice, it offers superb insights into life (and death) in the ancient Roman Empire.
As we leave Pompeii behind, you will have the option to visit the beautiful Amalfi coast, with some free time to explore the town of Amalfi. Upon arrival on the Sorrento peninsula we have a two night stay. Amongst other things, this area is famous for limoncello (a sweet lemon liqueur), and this is the perfect way to finish off your meal.
DAY 4: Sorrento region - Free day
A gorgeous old town hugging the coastline, Sorrento is the perfect place to celebrate Christmas – explore the town in your own time, and seek out little shops producing lacework, ceramics and specialising in marquetry. In the evening, enjoy a festive dinner!
DAY 5: Monte Cassino - Assisi
Today we depart the coast and head north to Assisi, stopping en route in Cassino. Famed for the site of the Abbey of Montecassino, along with its rolling green hills, vineyards and rivers, the city was also the scene of fierce fighting in World War II, which left the town almost completely destroyed. After a comfort stop here we continue on to Assisi, whose most famous son, St. Francis, was born here in 1181. Enjoy the ancient churches and basilicas – many of them are just as St Francis would have seen them.
DAY 6: San Marino - Venice
Leaving the churches and basilicas behind, we head to Venice, stopping off for a comfort stop in Europe’s third-smallest state – San Marino. Claiming to be the oldest surviving sovereign state in the world, San Marino was founded by Saint Marinus on the 3rd of September 301, and is now one of the most popular day-trip destinations for visitors to the area. Once we’ve had a look around, we’re off to the canals of Venice! Here we’ll take an orientation walking tour with your tour leader including the Rialto Bridge and St Marks Square. Sample some of the city’s culinary delights and marvel at this incredible city – which features more artistic masterpieces per square kilometre than any other place on earth!
DAY 7: Venice - Free day
Take the time to explore today on your free day in Venice. Get a classic Venetian view from the famous Rialto Bridge, board a gondola and see Venice the way it should be seen, try Venetian cuisine, visit museums & art galleries and get the full Venetian experience! Alternatively you can simply relax and soak up the sun on the sandy beaches at Jesolo or Lido. There’s also St Mark’s Square, The Bridge of Sighs and the Doge’s Palace to see – and any number of culinary delights to sample too!
DAY 8: Verona - Italian Lakes
First up today we’ll stop off in ‘fair Verona’ to catch a glimpse of Juliet’s balcony, where Romeo supposedly wooed Juliet in Shakespeare’s classic ‘Romeo & Juliet.’ Beset by family feuds, drama and romance since its founding in Roman times, Verona has its share of stories to tell and is an unmissable stop on all Italy tours. Look out for the 2,000 year-old arena and the ancient city gates. Later we head to Italian Lakes – and you’ll find out just what famous writers like DH Lawrence and Hemingway were on about when they heaped praise on the area. Peek at palatial lakeside villas, and revel in the pleasant mix of luxury and rural charm.
DAY 9: Cinque Terre
Leaving the beautiful Italian Lakes, we head to La Spezia, our base for exploring the famous Cinque Terre region. Made up of five picturesque Italian towns, Cinque Terre features hiking routes and trains running regularly along the coastline between the towns of Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. With cars and motorcycles banned from the towns, you’ll have a wonderful time exploring the region. Taste local wines along with local produce such as pesto, freshly-caught fish and sweet lemons. Unforgettable!
DAY 10: Pisa - Florence - Tuscany
On our way to Florence, we stop off at the famous town of Pisa to get a few shots of its distinctive Leaning Tower. Now over 800 years old, it’s a classic sight in Italy and well worth a visit. Bragging rights are all yours! On arrival in Florence, we take a guided walking tour of the city, exploring many of the most famous sites and gaining local insight from our guide. Sights to see in Florence include Ponte Vecchio, Palazzo Vecchio, Florence Cathedral, the Basilica of Santa Croce and of course Michelangelo’s David. A cultural and political focal point during the Renaissance, Florence is endowed with a huge variety of important buildings and famous artworks. After immersing yourself in art and history, it's time to ring in the New Year! The celebrations in Florence make for a mesmerising sight - prepare your camera so you can capture the fireworks exploding vibrant color over the iconic landmarks of Florence.
DAY 11: San Gimignano - Siena - Rome
This morning we make our way through one of the world’s most picturesque countryside landscapes, admiring Tuscan farmhouses, vineyards and olive groves as we drive by. Our first stop of the day will be in San Gimignano, a small walled hill town. Known as the 'Town of Fine Towers', it offers beautiful Romanesque and Gothic architecture and 12 well-preserved tower houses. We'll then make the short drive to Siena, a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for the 'Palio' horse race held twice a year in the main piazza, or public square. We'll enjoy a wine tasting accompanied with antipasto, before we head back to Rome and round the off the day with a farewell dinner together on our last night of the tour.
DAY 12: Depart Rome
- 11 nights' accommodation in twin rooms with private en-suite facilities. Single travellers have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure a private room.
- Services of your tour leader, who will be on hand with advice and tips to ensure that you get the most from your trip. You can also book any of the optional excursions available during your tour with your tour leader – please see the 'Essential Information' tab for more details.
- 11 breakfasts, 1 Antipasto, 6 dinners
- All taxes and fees
- Any public transport used as part of the tour (excludes free days)
- Modern air conditioned coach with reclining seats, TV for showing DVDs, and toilet.
- From $1999 per person twin share. Single supplement additional on request.