Rome & Area
Savour the culture of this renowned region in true Italian tradition - slowly, like a glass of fine wine or an indulgent 6-course feast. This remarkable tour is flexible enough to allow a cappuccino stop or theatre visit when the whim takes you, but it is also cleverly crafted to reveal Tuscan treasures often overlooked on the typical tourist trail. Every meal is an adventure of fresh produce and divine wine and every accommodation stop is a showpiece of the region's rich culture, history and creativity. Highlights include a two night stay in a villa in the heart of Tuscany, cooking your own Italian lunch with a chef, wine tasting in Chianti, a day exploring the Cinque Terre, discovering Florence with a local guide, meandering through Tuscany at leisure, and strolling through medieval towns... Bello!
In general, the small group tours depart every Sunday from April 13 ,2014 until October 26, 2014 and have a maximum of 18 people per trip. Please note: This tour involves a lot of walking and steep inclines.
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.
For your added comfort, you will have Meet & Greet assistance upon your arrival, which will be waiting for you outside the customs. Your representative will help to co-ordinate meeting up with your private chauffeur at the airport and accompany you to your accommodation.
A welcome package with 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.
Meet up with your Guide and fellow travellers of your small group tour this afternoon for a pre-tour briefing. The rendezvous is at 6:00pm at the Pitti Palace Hotel, Via Borgo San Jacopo, 3, 50125 Florence, Italy. Please ensure you are at the meeting point at least 15 minutes prior to departure.
This morning you will take a fascinating walking tour of Florence. This ‘outdoor museum’ offers many must-see sights and no trip to Florence is complete without a visit to the Ponte Vecchio, the oldest and most famous bridge over the Arno. Stroll along the bridge, lined with glittering jewellery shops, before you make your way to the Accademia Gallery to see the statue of David, Michelangelo’s masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture.
Enjoy the afternoon at leisure to explore Florence further at your own pace before your welcome dinner this evening .
Leaving Florence behind you travel to Lucca via one of the region's lovely villages for a coffee break.
This afternoon you will arrive in Lucca, one of Tuscany's best-kept secrets. This beautiful little Tuscan town is protected by massive 16th century walls and is one of Italy's finest medieval towns. Take a leisurely stroll, before deciding where to enjoy dinner this evening.
Today you'll get to explore the steep Tuscan coastline of the Italian Riviera. One of the highlights of the tour is the Cinque Terre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Composed of five pretty pastel coloured villages nestled among five miles of remote and rocky coastline, the Cinque Terre offers magnificent scenery dotted with olive groves and vineyards, superb fresh seafood and beautiful little harbours. You will explore three of the villages by boat, train and foot before you return to Lucca in the late afternoon.
You will get to travel further afield today to an international icon - the extraordinary Leaning Tower of Pisa. This 12th century freestanding bell tower seems to defy gravity and has been attracting visitors for many years. If you are feeling energetic, why not climb to the very top! View the adjoining cathedral, the Baptistery of St. John as well.
Take in the rural romance and timeless beauty of the Tuscan countryside on the way to Volterra, a magnificent medieval town perched high on a rocky plateau. You might want to visit the famous Guarnacci museum with its fascinating collection of Etruscan artefacts.
Today the grandeur of the Tuscan countryside will continue as the first stop on the list today is the medieval Siena with its breathtaking array of majestic buildings drawn together by winding cobbled alleyways and steep steps. And of course a must see is the Piazza del Campo which stands at its heart, where the historic Palio horse race takes place each year.
Then on to one of Italy's most beautiful villages, San Gimignano, with its striking skyline of 800-year-old towers, which evokes images of medieval Tuscany better than anywhere else in the province. Spend some time wandering its cobbled streets before returning to Volterra for an evening at leisure.
Having being immersed in the history and culture of the region, now it is time to unwind and enjoy the Tuscan countryside at its very best. From Volterra you'll head for the Tuscan hills, a unique landscape of rolling green hills, vineyards as far as the eye can see, age-old olive groves to the delightful village of Monteriggioni. Later you will visit a local producer of olive oil for a tasting.
Today's final destination is the wonderful Villa la Palagina, a hidden gem, where we will stay for the next two nights – enjoy spectacular views from its panoramic terrace, relax by the pool with a cooling drink, perhaps take a stroll around the grounds.
Enjoy excellent Tuscan cuisine washed down by flavoursome Italian wines tonight at the onsite restaurant. Enjoy your idyllic surroundings, before sleeping soundly in the calm and peace of the Tuscan night.
It is time for a little work this morning as the Villa’s chef will initiate you into the secrets of how to make perfect pasta and tasty Italian breads in a fun and interactive cooking class. Afterwards, sit down and enjoy the lunch you prepared.
After all the morning activity, you'll have another chance to enjoy the afternoon in whatever ways you choose – just do as you please, take a dip in the pool, stroll through the age-old olive groves or simply relax on the terrace and admire the spectacular panoramic views. This evening you meet for your final dinner together.
After a relaxing start to the day we make our way to the Castle of Verrazzano, located on a hilltop in the Chianti Classico area, the first grape growing and wine producing area in the world. After visiting the castle and its historical ageing cellars, you taste a selection of wines and then enjoy lunch, which has been prepared using ingredients from local producers. After lunch you will return to Florence where the tour ends.
Your Small Group Tour will finish late afternoon at approximately 3.30pm at the Pitti Palace Hotel, Via Borgo San Jacopo, 3 -50125 Florence Italy.
A train station transfer service is provided for today in Florence. Enjoy the added comfort of riding in a privately driven vehicle. Please note drivers may or may not speak English, as their sole responsibility is to transfer clients from one location to another. If you would like to have the presence of an English speaking Assistant or Guide for your transfer, this can be pre-arranged upon request and would be subject to an additional supplement.
Enjoy the train ride from Florence to Rome. Your journey duration is approximately 1.5 hours.
A privately driven vehicle will provide a train station transfer today. Please note drivers may or may not speak English, as their sole responsibility is to transfer clients from one location to another. If you would like to have the presence of an English speaking assistant or guide for your transfer, this can be pre-arranged upon request and would be subject to an additional supplement.
Meet your private guide & driver at the hotel to head to the Vatican City, the smallest state in the world. Visit St. Peter's Basilica: it took well over 100 years to build and is the largest church in the world, resting on 800 pillars and lined with 44 altars. Visit the Vatican Museum and the 15th century Sistine Chapel and view paintings by great artistic masters. Dominating the chapel is Michelangelo's ceiling painting of the "Creation of the World." Leaving Vatican City, you will visit the famous Trevi Fountain. A short time is allocated at leisure for photographs. Enjoy an impressive drive through Rome. Places of interest seen may include the Borghese Park, the Janiculum Hill, Castle Sant'Angelo and Circus Maximus. Pass the huge monument to Victor Emmanuel, Capitol Hill, and the Roman Forum with the rostrum where Mark Anthony made his impassioned speech over the body of Julius Caesar. View the interior of the historic Colosseum, acknowledged as one of the world's most celebrated buildings. (Please note inside the Basilica it is not allowed to speak at high tone; for this reason your guide will whisper in a microphone and you will be provided with a radio headset to clearly hear the description of one of the biggest wonders of Christianity. Vatican Museum and Colosseum entrance fees included).
Enjoy a private airport transfer in Rome (Fiumicino/Ciampino) with a private vehicle and driver. Please note drivers may or may not speak English, as their sole responsibility is to transfer clients from one location to another. If you would like to have the presence of an English speaking assistant or guide for your transfer, this can be pre-arranged upon request and would be subject to an additional supplement.
Positioned in one of the most picturesque parts of the city, close to the Ponte Vecchio, the Pitti Palace, and the Vasari Corridor, the Hotel Pitti Palace (3*) al Ponte Vecchio is nestled in historical Florence and is lulled by the architectural wonders that surround it, looking out over the entire the city. Its particularity is to offer a glimpse of the monuments that make this city special, and it is for this natural setting that we have decided to decorate the rooms with a warm and welcoming style, making your stay pleasant and relaxing. All the 90 rooms have a particular view of the Pitti Palace, the Boboli Gardens, Santo Spirito, the Vasari Corridor, the Lungarno, as well as the magnificent Ponte Vecchio. Enjoy breakfast in the dining room on the 6th floor, surrounded by large windows that frame the monuments and the city center each in a different way. There is also a panoramic terrace where from which you can look over and almost "touch" the Duomo, the Palazzo Vecchio, and all the wonders of Florence to start your day at its best.
Please note that your hotel may be the above or a hotel of similar standard and will be confirmed prior to departure.
Albergo San Martino (3*) is located in the heart of the ancient town of Lucca, inside the town walls. All 10 rooms are ensuite and include air conditiooning, central heating, direct dial phone, colour tv and minibar. There are also wifi facilities on the premises.
Hotel San Lino (4*) is located within the medieval walls fo Volterra and was originally built as a convent in 1480 before becoming a hotel in 1982. The property has managed to retain its historic charm whilst introducing necessary modern day comforts. The rooms facing the street Via San Lino offer guests a suggestive view of the medieval architecture of Volterra, while the rooms which face the internal side of the hotel have views of the small garden, where the dominating colours are the blue of the swimming pool and the multi coloured rays of the stained glass window belonging to the tiny church of San Lino.
Surrounded by the stunning scenery of the Chianti, the Villa la Palagina is situated in the undulating countryside that stretches out between Florence, Siena and Arezzo and was first populated by the Etruscans in around the seventh century B.C. Reflecting the natural beauty of Tuscany, the Villa is constructed using stone from an ancient convent and has tastefully furnished bedrooms and apartments. Relax in the expansive gardens, sunbathe poolside, or enjoy a gourmet meal al fresco or in the stone vaulted restaurant.
The Rose Garden Palace is located on Via Vittorio Veneto in Rome, chosen as one of Conde Nast’s Top Cities, a mere forty five minutes away from the Fiumicino Airport. This historical property is situated in the heart of the city centre and features elegantly designed guest rooms and contemporary and spacious suites. Feast like royalty with menus that feature delicious Italian delicacies and international specialties at the onsite a la carte restaurant, Il Roseto. Wander through the hotel’s garden area, hosting beautiful floral compositions and handcrafted modern sculptures. The Rose Garden Palace also boasts a well-equipped fitness centre, a relaxing whirlpool and soothing sauna. The property is within walking distance to some of Rome's most famous landmarks including the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain and various Baroque inspired churches.
Vanessa Oquendo ,
April 21, 2014
"Melissa Field was extremely helpful! She was courteous, professional, knowledgeable, and friendly! She kept me updated on the status of everything and provided timely correspondence. She took ownership for any problems I had and remedied them. I had the most amazing time of my life in Iceland and Paris! I would not have experienced everything without the help of Kensington Tours."
Marilynn Weaver ,
April 21, 2014
"All of our guides were beyond fabulous! Our time in Dublin was much too short, would have loved to stay there at least one more full day. Would recommend extending this package to 15 days for any future visits. The train to Edinburgh was super! Beautiful scenery and great steak pies!"
Ann Saxon ,
November 06, 2013
"Our trip was fantastic!!! I cannot say enough good things. Lianne worked with our exact dates and time frame beautifully.Our drivers were prompt and friendly. The private guides were so knowledgeable. We left with an appreciation of the history, the culture, and the beauty of Andulasia. We were very pleased and will certainly recommend your company to friends and family."
Coby Scherr ,
November 05, 2013
"Everyone involved in our Portugal trip made it terrific. Exactly as advertised. Every event on time and most pleasant. Guides were well-informed, courteous and friendly. Really made for a great journey every time. Each hotel was clean, upgraded and staffed with knowledgeable and friendly folks. Breakfasts were complete -- almost too much to eat. It will always be a wonderful memory thanks to Kensington Tours."
Couples Dellinger & Hubbell ,
November 06, 2013
"We've been raving to everyone about the food, the friendliness of the people and the amazing history and sites in Turkey. Yes, we want to go back."
John Edstrom ,
October 22, 2013
"Overall, our tour in Spain was very enjoyable, and well planned and executed. Our private tour of the Alhambra was excellent. Virginia, tour guide for royal palace ruins outside of Cordoba, was also excellent. In Seville, we went to the Flamenco Show/dinner, and the Flamenco was outstanding!"
Kevin Wilshere ,
October 19, 2013
"Great trip to Spain! Thanks again for all your help, Lianne. The destinations, hotels, guides and everything were all top notch."
Chery Westlund ,
November 07, 2013
"My husband and I took a 3 week vacation to southern Europe and North Africa and had a great time. All the guides were very knowledgeable and bent over backwards to accommodate us. The arrangements made by Kensington went off without a hitch. This is our second trip with Kensington (we went to Peru in 2009) and we will certainly book with them again."
Randy Gramlich ,
October 07, 2013
"Thank you for your follow up, we both loved our time in Croatia. It’s really a beautiful place, especially the coast. Your choice of hotels was great. It was an incredible view from the Bellevue hotel in Dubrovnik and the Vestibule in Split was in the best possible location. We were able to relax in our room listening to the wonderful singers in the courtyard and its central location made it so easy to walk anywhere we wanted to see with ease. "
Jay Steffan ,
September 24, 2013
"We just returned from a 10 day trip to Paris and Normandy. We spent three nights in Paris and then enjoyed a seven night cruise on the Seine to Normandy with AMA Waterways. The time in Paris was well spent and has piqued our interest to return for a more thorough visit. Guide Wafaa Lankey was superb in our visit to Versailles. The Seine cruise was relaxing and beautiful. So many wonderful little towns and we wished we had more time in each one to explore and enjoy.
We traveled to Croatia and Slovenia using Kensington earlier this year which was a fantastic trip."
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