“For us to go into Italy and to penetrate into Italy is like a most fascinating act of self-discovery.”
Italy is known by the locals as ‘Il Bel Paese’, the beautiful country, and it truly is a blessed country, not only home to the Vatican, but also blessed by good food, wine, music and weather. This tour has been carefully designed to encourage an appreciation of all things Italian, from an understanding of its viticulture, to tasting the local cuisines and visiting places of significant religious importance.
“You may have the universe if I may have Italy”
Day 1 Pisa to Florence
Upon arrival into Pisa we will make a brief stop at the Tower, a truly Italian phenomenon. We will then head to Florence to settle into the hotel and enjoy some relaxation time before going out for our first taste of Tuscan cuisine at a local restaurant. (D)
Day 2 Florence
“The creator made Italy from designs by Michelangelo” said Mark Twain and it is to his most famous design that we are headed this morning: the David. Having feasted our eyes upon him, we will then feast our palates upon the local specialities that Florence has to offer as we continue our guided tour, enjoying food from the San Lorenzo market to keep us going until lunch. The afternoon is at your leisure to explore yet more of this city and then we come together for a Tuscan feast at another local popular restaurant. (B, D)
Day 3 Siena & a Tuscan Vineyard Visit
One of Italy’s two patron saints is Santa Caterina di Siena and it is to Siena that we head for a morning’s guided visit. You will have an opportunity to go into the famous cathedral, enjoy a wander through the town and perhaps enjoy lunch in the celebrated Piazza del Campo which opens up like a golden fan as the sun creeps in through the day. We then continue on to a small Italian village where we will learn about wine tasting, followed by dinner to help soak up some of the wine we have tasted! (B, D)
Perugia to Spoleto, Umbria
Day 4 Perugia to Spoleto
In Italian when you sign off emails or end a conversation to a friend or family member, you say Baci which literally means ‘kisses’. Some of the most famous Italian kisses come in chocolate form and today we will be taking you to learn how to make such kisses in the very place that they originate: Perugia. On our way we will make a stop at the Santuario della Verna where Saint Francis, Italy’s other patron Saint, received the stigmata. Having visited the basilica we will have a coffee stop and then continue on to Perugia where we will have lunch and visit the chocolate factory to make our own kisses! We then head to beautiful Spoleto in the afternoon to enjoy exploring typical, small town Italy. (B, D)
Day 5 Truffle Hunting in Umbria
Truffle is so prized in Italy that it is not uncommon to see it presented to a restaurant on a little cushion for everyone to admire, prior to it being eaten. Today we shall be enjoying some of the lush green countryside for which Umbria is so famous; this region is called the cuore verde d’Italia (green heart of Italy). Having sourced our truffle, we will then use it to cook a typical Umbrian meal. Later in the afternoon we return to Spoleto for free time and dinner on your own.(B, L)
Assisi, Umbria to Rome, Lazio
Day 6 Assisi to Rome
Today we head to Assisi, the hometown of Saint Francis. Despite Saint Francis’s humble wish to be buried among the paupers and criminals, he is entombed in one of Italy’s most impressive basilicas. This basilica is all the more impressive for having been entirely restored, tiny piece by tiny piece, following a devastating earthquake in 1997. Giotto’s world famous frescos, which pay homage to Francis’s life, are just one of the many impressive sights to see in this lovely Umbrian town. Following lunch and free time in the town, we continue our journey south to Rome where we will begin by visiting the Holy Staircase, which reputedly Jesus ascended to his trial with Pontius Pilate. Having checked in to our hotel we will then continue in the Romans’ footsteps, by feasting on a banquet of Roman fare before an evening visit to the Colosseum to avoid the crowds gathered there in the day. (B, D)
Day 7 Rome Highlights with Gelato
“Rome is not like any other city. It’s a majestic museum, a living room to tiptoe through.” (Alberto Sordi)
This morning, in order to escape the crowds, we can enjoy breakfast and an early entrance into the Sistine Chapel so that it can be enjoyed as the Italians say ‘con calma’. After our morning visit therefore, we shall therefore head to Trastevere, Rome’s oldest and most traditional central neighbourhood, where we will have lunch and then visit Rome’s oldest church, Santa Maria in Trastevere. Rome is home to the classic film ‘La Dolce Vita’ and there seems no more appropriate way to celebrate this than learning how to make their most famous sweet product: gelato. This evening is free to spend at leisure. (B, L)
Day 8 La Dolce Far Niente (the sweet art of doing nothing) a Roma
Today is free for you to spend either perhaps visiting the Catacombs, or perhaps Saint Peter in Chains’s famous Moses figure. Or simply to just soak up the joys of Rome on foot, by exploring and discovering your own version of the city. (B, D)
Day 9 Departure
In the words of the classic Italian song, it’s time to say Arrivederci Roma. We look forward to writing your next travel story together. Ciao Ciao! (B)
Included in this trip:
Accommodation & Services:
- 3 nights in Florence, 2 nights in Spoleto and 3 nights in Rome.
- Centrally located, upmarket hotel.
- The services of an extremely highly qualified and experienced Tour Manager who will accompany you throughout your trip
- Transfers to and from the airport.
- Private transport, unless otherwise stated.
- All tips. For instance, tips to tour managers, local guides, restaurants and porterage (where available) are all included in the total price; one less thing to think about.
- We will be visiting: Florence, Spoleto, Siena, Perugia, Assisi and Rome.
Food & Beverages:
- Breakfast and either lunch or dinner (unless otherwise stated).
- When lunch and/or dinner are included, alcohol in the form of wine and/or beer is provided, unless otherwise stated.
- Aperitivi, coffee and snacks where stated.
Entrances & Tickets:
- Santa Croce
- Siena’s cathedral
- Leaning Tower of Pisa
- Sistine Chapel/Vatican Museums
Guided Tours with a difference:
- Vatican City
- cookery lesson
- truffle hunting
- wine tasting
- gelato-making lesson
- chocolate making lesson
- a surprise (we are children at heart after all)
NOT INCLUDED IN THIS TRIP:
- Flights not included. I would suggest flying into Pisa and out of Rome.
- Travel insurance.
- Visas, where applicable. (Please note: US and Canadian nationals do not require Visas when travelling to Europe).
There are no ‘optionals’ for sale. Everything you have in the itinerary is included in the total cost.