Italian Delights - XITD
Number of Days: 12
An Italian feast awaits, 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 Milan, Verona and the Italian Lake District, to Pompeii, Mt Vesuvius, Sorrento and the Italian Riviera, there are so many flavours to savour in this Italy holiday tour. Don’t forget your spoon!
- La Spezia
12 DAY ITINERARY
Tour commences and concludes in Rome.
DAY 1: 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. Tonight, you’ll meet the rest of the tour group at our included welcome dinner. Typical dishes include penne carbonara, spaghetti with garlic and olive oil, and a range of meat dishes, including roasted chicken and beef. D
Included experiences: After joining the tour, you will enjoy a welcome dinner this evening - the perfect opportunity to get to know your fellow travellers.
Accommodation: Cristoforo Colombo, American Palace Eur, Rome Midas Hotel Conference or similar.
DAY 2: Rome
Today, we’ll take a guided walking tour of the city, stopping off at the landmarks that have made Rome a perennial favourite with travellers all over the world. See Ancient Roman architecture, medieval buildings, Renaissance artworks and more remnants of Rome’s illustrious past as capital of this incredible country. 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 one day. In your free time this afternoon, why not visit the Coliseum, probably Rome's most recognisable landmark, and the centre of Roman social life. See where countless gladiators, martyrs, wild animals and other unfortunate souls did battle in the name of entertainment. Tonight why not seek out a pizzeria and grab a slice of pizza. True to Roman tradition, there’s not many toppings, but the pizza is cooked in wood fired ovens to thin, fresh and chewy perfection.
Included experiences: Rome walking tour: included in our tour we take a locally-guided walking tour of the city, stopping off at some of the sightseeing highlights that make Rome famous. Highlights include the Pantheon, the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, Piazza del Popolo, the Roman Forum and much more. B
Accommodation: Cristoforo Colombo, American Palace Eur, Rome Midas Hotel Conference, or similar.
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. After arriving in Sorrento you will be treated to a Neapolitan dinner. As Sorrento is on the Mediterranean coast, seafood features heavily in the local cuisine. You can expect to enjoy dishes such as fresh fish, margherita pizza - which was created in this region - and meatballs. After the meal, why not opt for a glass of limoncello; this sweet lemon liqueur is a speciality of this area and is commonly taken as a digestif at the end of the meal. B,D
Included experiences: On our way to the legendary ruins of Pompeii, you will see Mt Vesuvius, an ancient volcano. You take the opportunity to explore the ruins of Pompeii itself on a guided tour.
Accommodation: Hotel Giosue a Mare, or similar.
DAY 4: Sorrento region - Free day
A gorgeous old town hugging the coastline, the Sorrento peninsula is our base for the day. Explore the towns in your own time, and seek out little shops producing lace-work, ceramics and specialising in marquetry (the art and craft of applying pieces of veneer to create incredible artwork). Alternatively, choose our optional excursion to the famous Isle of Capri. Capri has charmed everyone from Roman emperors to modern showbiz elites. Try it for yourself and enjoy the smooth mix of cafés, rugged coastline, ancient Roman ruins and stylish piazzas. B
DAY 5: Cassino, Assisi
Today, we head north to Assisi, stopping en route in Cassino. Famed for the site of the Abbey of Monte Cassino, 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 the region of Umbria and the medieval town of Assisi, whose most famous son, St Francis, was born here in 1181. A charming town and the most popular pilgrimage site in Italy, you will enjoy the ancient churches and basilicas – many of them are just as St Francis would have seen them almost one thousand years ago. The Umbrian region is considered the green heart of Italy, and is well known for its contribution to Italian cuisine. Porchetta, a deliciously moist roast pork, and minestrone, a vegetable soup, are highlights of this region. The Italians take their time with their meals - it is a very social affair, which can last for two or more hours. Bon appotito. B,D
Included experiences: We take a comfort stop at the town of Cassino, the city was the scene of fierce fighting in World War II, which left the town almost completely destroyed. You will visit the abbey of Monte Cassino, which has been totally restored to it's original glory, and is still in use today. Arriving in Assisi in the late afternoon, you’ll have the opportunity to explore the city, famous for its historic churches and basilicas.
Accommodation: Hotel Casa Leonori, or similar.
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. Situated on a hilltop, you will witness stunning views of the surrounding countryside and the Adriatic sea. Later, we arrive in Venice in the early evening. You have the evening free to relax at the hotel, or explore Venice with the option to join your tour leader on a twilight water taxi cruise of the Venetian canals. Tonight, feel free to indulge in the local cuisine. Venice is of course located on a lagoon, and is therefore heavily influenced by seafood, including cuttlefish and sardines. Be sure to ask your tour leader for their recommended restaurants, and don't miss out on trying tiramisu - translating as "pick me up" it is a delicious combination of coffee liqueur soaked-sponge with mascarpone cheese. B
Included experiences: Short stop in San Marino, one of the worlds oldest remaining sovereign states.
Accommodation: Elite Hotel Residence, Hotel Complex Ambasciatori & Delfino, Hotel Venezia, Russott Hotel, or similar
DAY 7: Venice - Free day
This morning we’ll take an orientation walking tour with your Our Explore tour leader, who will introduce you to sights including the Rialto Bridge and St Marks Square. The rest of the day is then free for you to explore as you wish. Every visit to Venice should include a gondola ride, which your tour leader can organise for you, as well as a trip further out into the lagoon to visit Murano and Burano. These islands are famous for their glass-blowing and lace-making crafts respectively, and rows of beautiful multi-coloured houses. Alternatively you can simply relax and soak up the sun on the sandy beaches at Jesolo or Lido. There’s also The Bridge of Sighs and the Doge’s Palace to see, and any number of culinary delights to sample too. B
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 Italian tours. Look out for the 2,000 year old arena and the ancient city gates. Later, we head to the Italian Lakes – and you’ll find out just why famous writers like DH Lawrence and Hemingway were so inspired by this region of Italy. Peek at palatial lakeside villas, and revel in the pleasant mix of luxury and rural charm. Tonight you will enjoy an included dinner. Pasta dishes typical in this region of Italy include casoncelli alla bergamasca - similar to ravioli and stuffed with meat and herbs, and pasta al pesto rosso - pasta served with pesto and tomato sauces. B,D
Included experiences. Included in the tour is a stop in Verona to admire Juliet’s balcony – where Romeo is said to have wooed Juliet. We stop off in The Italian Lakes for the night – one of Europe’s most beautiful settings. Make sure the camera batteries are fully charged.
Accommodation: Hotel Stazione, Hotel Lovere Resort & Spa, or similar.
DAY 9: Cinque Terre - La Spezia
Leaving the beautiful Italian Lakes, we head to the 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 towns by train or by foot. Each town has it's own unique charm - we are certain you will fall in love with each and every one. As you explore, why not taste local wines along with local produce such as pesto, freshly-caught fish and sweet lemons. In your free time you are sure to discover some of the many amazing restaurants in the Cinque Terre region. The village of Riomaggiore has some of the best seafood dishes in Italy, including Cappun Magro (seafood lasagna), anchovies, Muscoli alla marinara (mussels served in a white wine, garlic, parsley and lemon sauce) and Spaghetti allo scoglio (seafood spaghetti). B
Included experiences: You will have the full day to explore the famous Cinque Terre region, with a day pass included in your Our Explore tour. Hike or catch trains in between each one and sample fresh local produce, all the while surrounded by incredible scenery. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the five villages of the region are linked by rail or by hiking trails, giving you the option of how best to explore this incredible scenic region. Sample traditional cuisine sourced from the surroundings and soak up the atmosphere of this stunning region.
Accommodation: Hotel Firenze e Continentale, or similar.
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 exploring, it’s off to our accommodation in the Tuscan hills, in the ancient spa town of Montecatini Terme. Later, you are free to search for that perfect restaurant or ask your tour leader for recommendations. Why not discover the taste of Tuscany with an optional dinner this evening? Featuring bruschetta and antipasto, Cannelloni a la Fiorentina (pasta), pork roast (vegetarian option available) with potatoes and homemade dessert. or ask your tour leader for restaurant recommendations - a Florentine steak is worth seeking out. B
Included experiences. Explore the site of the famous leaning tower of Pisa – a true classic and a must-see on any tour visiting Italy. In Florence, enjoy a locally-guided walking tour taking in some of the city’s most famous attractions.
Accommodation: Hotel Massimo D'Azeglio, Hotel Settentrionale Esplanade, Hotel Le Fonti, or similar.
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 finish with a farewell dinner together on our last night together. B,D
Included experiences. Short stop at the town of San Gimignano. Famous for its medieval towers, it is a real gem of the region. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, 13 of the original 70 towers remain, providing an iconic and unforgettable skyline that sets it apart from the many other hill towns in Tuscany. Visit the UNESCO World Heritage town of Siena, famous for the Palio horse race, held each year on 2nd July and 16th August. This bareback horse race has taken place since the 14th Century in the main town square of Siena, and the 17 participants represent local families, or contrade. Enjoy a wine tasting accompanied by antipasto. An Italian buffet farewell dinner is included this evening upon arrival back in Rome, the perfect way to round off the tour and say goodbye to your new travelling friends.
Accommodation: Cristoforo Colombo, American Palace Eur, Rome Midas Hotel Conference, or similar.
DAY 12: Rome
After breakfast, we say goodbye to our travel companions and depart for home. We hope you have enjoyed your 12 day Italian tour. Arrivederci, Italia. B
Included: Meals B = Continental breakfast, D = Welcome, farewell and other dinners as per final itinerary.
This is a Comfort Guided holiday and includes:
- 11 nights' accommodation in twin rooms.
- 11 breakfasts, 1 Antipasto in Tuscany & 5 dinners
- 14 Experiences
- Free Wi-fi in all hotels
- Modern air conditioned coach with reclining seats and toilet.
- Services of your tour leader, who will be on hand with advice and tips.
- All taxes and fees
- Any public transport used as part of the tour (excludes free days)
- From $3220. Single supplement +$813