Rome & Area
Enjoy the best of both worlds during your exploration of Italy with a mix of private guided tours and transfers mixed in with a number of days on a small group trip taking in the best sights (some off the beaten path) along the way. Carefully crafted to create an intimate, indulgent introduction to one of the world’s most popular peninsulas, this tour takes in all the major, must-see attractions in Italy. Breach the typical tourist barriers to become totally immersed in the history of Rome, the creativity of Florence, the romance of Venice, and the glamour of Milan. Then move beyond the signature cities to the rustic countryside regions, the Cinque Terre and the lakeside spectacle of Lake Como. Enjoy the splendours of Italy as you uncover the elegance of Italian culture, cuisine and history.
Remember, there is always the option to add a full day or afternoon of private guided services throughout your small group multi-day tour. Do things your way, at an affordable price, knowing that you have 24/7 support as you travel.
In general, the small group tours depart every 2nd Monday from April 8, 2013 until October 14, 2013 and have a maximum of 16 people per trip.
Italy continues to inspire visitors year after year and this tour has been carefully crafted to include all the major must-see attractions, whilst taking you to some of the lesser-known hidden gems of this fascinating country. Enjoy tours in Rome, Florence and Venice, visit remote Tuscan villages, enjoy a ferry ride on beautiful Lake Como, try local Italian produce, taste local wines in Chianti, explore the stunning Cinque Terre and visit the Swiss lakeside town of Lugano.
For your added comfort, we will have Meet & Greet assistance for you upon your arrival. A representative authorised to enter the customs area will be waiting for you at the luggage belt in order to assist. If a private airport transfer has been arranged, this representative will help to co-ordinate meeting up with your private chauffeur at the airport.
Enjoy a private airport transfer in Rome (Fiumicino/Ciampino) with a private vehicle and driver.
A welcome package with your vouchers, a city map, train tickets (if relevant) and any other touristic information that we deem you may find useful will be waiting for you upon your arrival at your first hotel on your trip.
Hotel Artemide (4*) is a 19th-century property overlooking Rome’s central Via Nazionale, 500 metres from the Exhibition Palace and one kilometre from the Trevi fountain. Reception rooms at the Artemide Hotel retain original Art Nouveau features and the restaurant terrace boasts views of Rome’s city centre. Air-conditioned guestrooms feature minimalist or Art Deco-style decor with marble bathrooms and soundproof windows together with Internet access. Under new Roman law, hotels charge a small amount per traveller per day as a “tourist tax”, which needs to be paid locally through your hotel in Rome. Amounts may vary, but currently the cost is 2EUR per person for 2* & 3* hotels and 3EUR for 4* & 5* hotels. The charges will be added to your bill upon check out and are non-negotiable.
There are so many things to do in and around Rome but here are a few suggestions that you may be interested in; consider a private tour taking in any of the following; the Vatican city, the main monuments and history of Rome, go back in time as you discover the ancient Appian way, visit the Christian or Jewish sites of the city as well as the underground catacombs, visit the magnificent Borghese gallery and Parks, enjoy some exclusive wine tastings, take an excursion into the countryside in a vintage car, enjoy a horse drawn carriage ride as you sip on champagne, or embark on a personal shopping extravaganza with a Shopping Expert. If you feel like exploring outside of Rome you could take a private tour to the Roman castles - picturesque hilltop towns surrounding the city, or go futher afield to the Amalfi coast for the day. Please let your Sales Advisor know if any of these private tours are of interest.
Meet up with your group this evening at Domus Australia Hotel (Via Cermaia 14/B, 00185 Rome) who will be joining you on the next 14 days adventure as you discover Italy together, and enjoy the first of many delicious Italian meals in a local restaurant.
Domus Australia is the new boutique guest house in central Rome, offering a calm and welcoming refuge from the busy tourist pace of the Eternal City. The Domus was established by the Catholic Church in Australia, to provide a place for travelers to Rome to be able to stay while visiting the Eternal City. Home to its own Roman ruins, the old Italian building complex of accommodation wings surrounding a central courtyard was completely restored in 2011 and offers beautiful and very comfortable facilities including 32 bright and spacious rooms. There is a lounge room for guests to enjoy as well the more informal rooftop bar. The large dining room opens onto the internal courtyard for alfresco dining.
Please note that your hotel may be the above or a hotel of similar standard and will be confirmed prior to departure.
Explore Rome’s classical streets and see famous landmarks including the Trevi Fountain, the Piazza Navona, the Pantheon, the Roman Forum and the Colosseum.
This afternoon is free to explore at your own pace.
Enjoy a visit to the Vatican Museum where you will discover iconic masterpieces, including Michelangelo’s painted ceiling in the Sistine Chapel.
This afternoon is yours to spend at your leisure.
Leaving Rome behind, you head to the picturesque town of Rieti, whose cathedral dates back to the 12th century. This afternoon you will visit Assisi, the birthplace of Saint Francis. Its medieval masterpieces, including the Basilica of San Francis and paintings by Cimabue, Pietro Lorenzetti, Simone Martini and Giotto, made the city a reference point for the development of Italian and European art and architecture. Then continue to Perugia, a lively medieval walled town, where you will spend the night.
Tonight's stay is in Perugia, a lively medieval walled town, famous for its chocolates. The traditional hotel that is home for the night is located in the heart of the town so the old town can be easily assessed on foot. The Hotel Fortuna dates back to the 13th century and is a stones throw from the Corso Vannucci and the Palace. The 52 ensuite bedrooms are individually decorated and include facilities such as telephone, tv, mini-bar, air conditioning and a safe. The third floor has a relaxing reading room and the hotel also has a wonderful solarium.
Today you travel to the Chianti wine region in Tuscany, renowned for its exquisite art, food and wine. Your first stop is in Siena, where you see its exquisite sites such as the Palazzo Pubblico and the Piazza del Campo. This afternoon you travel through a landscape of rolling green hills, vineyards and age-old olive groves to their idyllic rural accommodation in the Chianti region, where you will spend the next two nights.
Villa Casagrande, a superior and elegant hotel located in the historical centre of Figline Valdarno, a small town strategically located between the cities of Florence, Arezzo and Siena, is a vast and characteristic building with a large and austere courtyard in pure Tuscan style. The restaurant, located in the antique hall of arms during the winter, and in the courtyard during the summer months, offers the strong and delicate flavours of the ancient Tuscan Land. Located at the bottom of the castle walls, the wellness centre at Hotel Villa Casagrande in Figline Valdarno includes a sauna, hydro-massage tub, hammam, sensory showers and relaxation areas.
This morning you will learn the art of traditional Italian cooking and try your hand at pasta making. You will then sit down to enjoy the dishes that you have prepared.
The Chianti wine region specialises in rich red wines, derived from the native Sangiovese grape, and this afternoon you will have the opportunity to taste these wines with a visit to a reputed winery with vintage cellars complete with wine caves.
Depart from Chianti towards Lucca via Florence. Most of today will be spent in Florence, the home of Renaissance art and architecture. Take a walking tour with a local guide to see some of the city’s most remarkable sites including the Ponte Vecchio, the Duomo, Piazza della Repubblica and Piazza della Signoria, and visit the Uffizi Gallery. Late this afternoon you continue your journey to Lucca, probably the most spectacular walled town in Italy.
Albergo San Martino is located in the heart of the ancient town of Lucca, inside the town walls. The rooms are comfortable and furnished with the facilities of a modern hotel with familiar and friendly atmosphere.
This morning take a journey to ancient Pisa whose famous Leaning Tower has withstood the onslaught of gravity for almost 600 years. You will visit the Baptistery of the Cathedral of Pisa, just one of the stunning buildings on the Piazza dei Miracoli, which captivates visitors with its mix of architectural styles. Inside you will discover the building’s remarkable acoustics. Return to Lucca in the afternoon.
Time at leisure in Lucca to explore the narrow winding streets of this almost perfectly preserved jewel of medieval architecture.
Today you travel to the Italian Riviera and explore its rugged coastline, which includes the five captivating villages that make up the Cinque Terre. You will explore three of the five villages by boat, train and foot to discover the secrets of this stunning UNESCO World Heritage site. You will then continue to your overnight accommodation in Soragna, a town in a region known as Italy’s “Food Valley”.
Built in the 18th century by the Princes Meli Lupi, lords of this lands, the Locanda has been restored with great care. Its original atmosphere is intact not only on the outside, but also on the inside. Antique furniture and paintings of the 17th century Italian School decorate the reception area, the hall and the restaurant while the brick-floor still spreads at heat from the kitchens to the surrounding rooms. The Locanda offers 46 bedrooms, comfortable with spacious bathroom, radio, colour TV, telephone with outside line and air conditioners, antique furniture, 18th century fireplace, wooden ceiling beams and comfortable beds with linen covers. Locanda del Lupo is the perfect setting for guests during the day and peaceful night, ensuring a heartfelt welcome and a music that will never be forgotten.
Begin your exploration of the food valley with a visit and tasting at a local producer of Parma Ham, Felino Salame, Culatello and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Then continue to Modena, renowned for its production of balsamic vinegar. Here you will enjoy a traditional balsamic vinegar tasting.
Continue your journey to Venice, stopping briefly in Bologna. When you reach Venice you take a water taxi to your hotel, located on Venice Island itself.
A delightful old Venetian courtyard is the pleasant prelude to the Locanda La Corte, an exclusive guest house in the heart of Venice. Locanda La Corte is an elegant, comfortable guest house right in Venice’s historical centre, just a short walk from St Mark’s Square. The property has several rooms in three separate buildings, all overlooking this courtyard, an enchanting, charming place. The bright rooms available to guests at Locanda La Corte are a perfectly match for the varying needs of those wishing to holiday in Venice, enveloped in the typical atmosphere of the city of lagoons. Some are more comfortable and simple while other are more elegant and sophisticated.
Enjoy a guided walking tour of this fascinating city this morning. Watch daily Venetian life pass by in bustling St Mark’s Square and see local landmarks including St Mark’s Basilica, Doge’s Palace and Rialto Bridge.
This afternoon is free for you to continue your enthralling exploration of the city.
Leaving Venice, you'll head to romantic Verona and explore the city, seeing its colossal Roman amphitheatre, the Piazza delle Erbe, the Madonna Verona fountain, Tower Lamberti and Juliet’s Balcony.
This afternoon you travel to the serene lakes region of northern Italy, nestled in the foothills of the Alps. After a stop in Lake Garda, continue to Como where you take a ferry ride across the lake to your lakeside hotel.
Enjoy a ferry ride on lake Como and take in the views of the pretty lakeshore villages and towering hills that surround the lake.
The Grand Hotel Victoria in Menaggio on Lake Como is a historical hotel built in 1890. Recently restored, but keeping it's late 1800's style. Many of their rooms offer a view of Lake Como and of the enchanting villages of Bellagio and Varenna, others allow you to admire the private gardens and the hotel swimming pool, in the frame of the surrounding mountains. The restaurant "Le Tout Paris" offers the possibility of trying Lake specialities and regional dishes and the more elaborate international recipies. Their dishes can be tasted on terrace while admiring the enchanting views of Lake Como and Bellagio.
This morning the destination is across the border into Switzerland to explore the lakeside town of Lugano. On the way back, enjoy a brief visit of the town of Como, an ancient walled town on the lake front. On your return you are free to relax and enjoy Lake Como, an oasis of tranquillity with arresting views across the pristine lakes and surrounding majestic mountains, an area which continues to attract celebrities and movie-makers alike.
This evening you will enjoy a farewell dinner together.
Leave the serenity of the Lakes today and head to Milan, Italy’s famous fashion capital, where the tour ends.
Your small group tour concludes in Milan at the Hotel Genius Downtown at approximately 11:00am.
In the afternoon, enjoy some time on your own to relax.
Set 50 metres from the iconic Duomo, Hotel de la Ville (4*) is located within Milan’s famed fashion triangle and 400 metres from the financial district – the hub of Italy’s banking. The 109 guestrooms all feature ornate, antique-style furnishings, such as cherry wood writing desks and gold-framed mirrors, and decor including 18th-century prints and patterned flock wallpaper. The hotel’s pool has a retractable roof which opens during the warmer months to offer views across the spires of the Duomo, whilst the water is filled with music from the underwater sound system.
Enjoy an airport transfer in private vehicle with English speaking driver.
Citizens of other countries may require a visa. Please ask your Sales Advisor. These requirements change often and therefore it is best that you check with the Embassy of Italy for the most up to date visa information.
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