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Vineyards, olive groves, and cities that float. Incredible history, indelible culture, and unforgettable cuisine. This is l’Italia at its most iconic. Enjoy the natural beauty and calm of the Alpine Lakes region. Snake along the edge of the sea to the medieval villages of Cinque Terre. Aboard off-road vehicles, explore the marble quarries of Carrara, where Michelangelo obtained the marble for his statue of David. Relax during a leisurely 4-night stay at a Tuscan villa. At a family-owned villa, learn the fine art of creating Tuscan cuisine during a hands-on cooking class. Explore Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance. Discover Venice, a city of winding canals and bridges. From medieval masterpieces to bustling piazzas, be swept away by the legendary treasures of northern Italy.
DAY 1 Overnight Flight Travel along breathtaking landscapes and venture into metropolitan meccas ripe with culture and history. Discover Italy on an unforgettable journey that delves into its most cherished treasures.
DAY 2 Stresa, Italy – Tour Begins Begin on the arresting shores of Lake Maggiore, surrounded by the peaceful beauty of the Alpine lakes region. This evening, cruise to Isola dei Pescatori,* the most picturesque of the Borromean Islands, where you’ll engage with new friends at a dinner welcoming you to Italy. Regina Palace Hotel is our home for the next 2 nights. (D)
DAY 3 Stresa In an ancient village nestled in the mountains, a local family welcomes you to sample their very own artisanal cheeses, paired with the region’s best wines. The remainder of the day in Stresa is at your leisure. Explore the piazzas, flower-lined cobblestone streets, and lakeside promenades. Or enjoy your breathtaking surroundings during an optional cruise to Isola Bella, known as the “beautiful island.” Here an expert will guide you into the Borromeo Palace,** a lakeside Baroque beauty adorned with an exotic garden. As the day draws to a close, visit a family-run wine shop and enjoy a cocktail party with some antipasto snacks. (B)
DAY 4 Orta – Italian Riviera Witness picture-perfect views from Lake Orta, an ancient glacial lake in the Alpine foothills. A boat delivers you to the island of San Giulio, dominated by its working convent. Journey to the Italian Riviera and discover its immeasurable grandeur along the Liguria coast. Grand Hotel dei Castelli is our home for the next 2 nights. (B,D)
DAY 5 Italian Riviera – Cinque Terre Travel by rail today as you discover the colourful Cinque Terre (UNESCO), a string of medieval villages perched on the edge of the sea. Feel like you have stepped back in time as you traverse the rugged coastal area dotted with terraced vineyards. Spend an afternoon independently exploring this awe-inspiring landscape. (B)
DAY 6 Tuscany Veer off the beaten path to visit one of Italy’s great natural wonders: the Carrara marble quarries. During an off-road drive in the Apuane Mountains, you’ll follow the roads the cavatori (quarrymen) carved into the mountains while extracting the precious stone. Over the centuries, Carrara marble was used by artists such as Michelangelo to carve his Pietà in Rome’s St. Peter’s Basilica, as well as his legendary Statue of David. Enjoy some free time to explore Carrara’s old town on your own; view the town’s cathedral, the Duomo, built in white marble, or search for Michelangelo’s bust marking his former home. Continue on through the rolling hills of Tuscany, ending the day in a historic Tuscan villa, Hotel Villa Lecchi, for a rejuvenating 4-night stay. (B,D)
DAY 8 Siena Travel south to Siena, a UNESCO World Heritage site where stunning Romanesque and Gothic architecture can be found on every corner. Walk the narrow medieval streets on a guided tour. Get to know the local lifestyle of a contrada (neighborhood) whose community Museum is centered around the colourful Palio horse race. Retreat to your Tuscan villa for a relaxing afternoon. (B,D)
DAY 9 Florence Welcome to Florence – the birthplace of the Renaissance and the beloved home of the Medici family, Galileo, Botticelli and da Vinci. Set out on a walking tour of Florence’s treasures and monuments, highlighting the Piazza del Duomo and the famous Gates of Paradise on the Baptistery. You’ll also wander past the Palazzo Vecchio, the Signoria and Santa Croce squares. Enjoy time to explore Florence independently before returning to your villa. (B)
DAY 10 Bologna - Venice On a walking tour, discover the culture of Bologna, a city barely changed since the time of the Renaissance and Italy's food capital. Browse the city’s specialty food shops and sample local delicacies such as Parmigiano cheese, mortadella - the Italian progenitor of baloney - and lasagna. Arrive later in Venice, the “Queen of the Adriatic,” and settle in for a 2-night stay in one of the most romantic cities in the world at Ca' dei Conti Hotel. (B,L)
DAY 11 Venice Spend the day in Venezia, the floating city home to lavish art collections, wonders of architecture, and where marbled palaces tower over gondola-laden canals. Travel by boat to Murano**** for an expert glass-blowing demonstration, a renowned tradition on the island. Journey back to St. Mark’s Square, Venice’s iconic main square. A local guide takes you on a tour of its incredible sites, including the Bridge of Sighs, the Bell tower, and St. Mark’s Basilica. Say arrivederci to Italy at a savoury farewell dinner. (B,D)
DAY 12 Tour Ends Wake up in Venice and depart for home. (B)
INCLUDES Motor Coach Transportation, 10 Nights’ Accommodations, 10 Breakfasts (B), 2 Lunches (L), 5 Dinners(D), Services of Collette Tour Director, and All Taxes
Optional Pre & Post Tour Extensions Available. Inquire at time of booking.
This Tour has an Activity Level of 3. You’re an on-the-go traveler. You don’t want to miss a thing, so walking and standing for longer periods of time (2-3 hours) isn’t a big deal. A moderately paced two-and-a-half-hour walking tour, covering several miles, hills, and uneven surfaces, is no problem for you. Walking four miles over the course of a day is very doable, as is climbing into and out of various modes of transportation (tuk-tuk, cable car, zodiac, etc.). You can climb three flights of stairs easily and handle altitudes between 6,000 and 9,000 feet. Expect some longer days balanced with free time to recharge or set out on your own adventure. This level is not a fit for travelers who require mobility assistance devices.
Prices Range based on dates. They start at $4,699 and go up to $5649. *Rate is per person, land only, double occupancy, tour inclusions and available options may vary based on departure date.