Day 1 | Rome
Rome is exciting, impressive and irresistible. There is no place like it and no shortage of iconic landmarks to see. Equally fascinating are the hidden streets and corners in the less crowded neighbourhoods of the historic centre. It is these streets that we wander for the real Rome where a few random turns reveal unexpected delights.
Day 2 | Rome
There is no better time to walk Rome than early morning. Imagine standing in front of the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps and the Pantheon with no tourists, just a handful of locals walking their dogs. Rome is yours alone at 6.30am while everyone still sleeps. Today unfolds into a treasure trove of exciting choices to allow you to see Rome through the eyes of a local.
Day 3 | Montepulciano
Less than two hours north of Rome is a tiny village perched on top of a hill, built by the Etruscans over 2,500 years ago, only accessible by a suspended footbridge. No touristy shops or museums, but a town frozen in time and our destination for a coffee break and awesome photos. Not far away is medieval Orvieto sitting 1,000 feet above a green valley on a plateau of volcanic tufa rock. It’s a beautiful historic town perfect for lunch and a few hours wandering the ancient streets. We arrive late afternoon in the hilltop town of Montepulciano, famous for Nobile di Montepulciano (red wine).
Day 4 | Montepulciano
This is Tuscany at its best. Positioned on a high ridge, there are glorious views from every aspect of the walled town across the Val d’Orcia and Val di Chiana. Montepulciano has one of the most intact historic centres of any Italian town. We could happily eat and drink for the next three days, but there is so much to see! Choose a day of adventure, riding an e-bike through the heart of Tuscany to the village of Monticchiello (location for the recent movie, ‘Made in Italy’ with Liam Neeson) or enjoy total immersion in the daily rituals of Italian life.
Day 5 | Montepulciano
There are several gorgeous Tuscan towns close by including Pienza, famous for Pecorino cheese, and Montefollonico, well off the tourist radar and so enjoyable to walk to along the quintessential Tuscan country road bordered by cypress trees winding its way through rolling green hills. There is a magic place here for lunch.
Day 6 | Siena
We visit rustic, romantic Cortona for lunch with time to relive ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’ before arriving at our 18th century Tuscan villa set on 18 acres just outside the walls of Siena. You may never want to leave the villa, but Siena opens its heart for you with its warmth and easy to enjoy soul.
Day 7 | Siena
Following a sumptuous breakfast on the terrace, we meet Roberta, our charming local guide, who takes us by the hand through the maze of alleys to reveal the innermost secrets and stories of Siena. With your head filled with wonderful places to explore further, the afternoon is yours to wander.
Day 8 | Siena
Not to be missed is a day in the Renaissance masterpiece of Florence. As crowded as this city has become with tourists, it is always possible to lose the crowds by crossing the Ponte Vecchio into the quieter neighbourhoods of Oltrarno and San Niccolo. We visit a Perfumery-Pharmacy that opened in 1612 where you can buy products that are still made to recipes from centuries ago; a leather factory in Santa Croce and Mercato Centrale, a huge indoor food market showcasing all the best product of Italy.
Day 9 | Monterosso al Mare, Cinque Terre
On route to the region of Liguria is the delightful town of Lucca which is surrounded by a monumental wall. We spend a few hours here cycling or walking the 12metre high, 4.2km wall; indulging in delicious pasta and vino; visiting the Piazza del Anfiteatro that was once a Roman amphitheatre and soaking up the atmosphere of a city that was once ruled by Napoleon’s sister.
Arrival late afternoon via a spectacular drive through the mountains to the seaside village of Monterosso al Mare in the Cinque Terre.
Day 10 | Monterosso al Mare, Cinque Terre
A magical day of complete immersion in the irresistible charm of the five fishing villages. We ferry to Riomaggiore to see the jumble of pastel-hued villages from the sea before walking Sentiero Azzurro, the coastal track, taking time to linger in each village, savour the local produce and chat to locals.
Day 11 | Monterosso al Mare, Cinque Terre
A private transfer only an hour away to the seaside resort town of Santa Margherita and famous, ritzy Portofino, both picture perfect gorgeous towns of the Italian Riviera. Choose between the ferry or a stunning coastal walk to a tiny, pristine cove for lunch on a pebbly beach.
Day 12 | Bellagio, Lake Como
The first time it takes your breath away, the second time you never want to leave! Bellagio nestles on the promontory that divides the two branches of the lake. We arrive to a warm welcome from our family owned hotel overlooking the lake and are immediately seduced by the surreal atmosphere of Lake Como.
Day 13 | Bellagio, Lake Como
The best way to see the lake is from the lake. An optional morning two hour guided kayak tour past hidden nature spots and beautiful lakeside gardens, leaving from the tiny fishing village of Pescallo.
For garden lovers, Tremezzo is home to Villa Carlotta, a place of rare beauty where masterpieces of nature and art live together in perfect harmony overlooking the lake.
Day 14 | Bellagio, Lake Como
Ferries crisscross the lake all day, departing from Bellagio to villages on opposite shores including Cadenabbia, Menaggio and Varenna. There are wonderful lakeside walks, the beautiful gardens of Villa Melzi in Bellagio or a walk through rural Cadenabbia, climbing to a tiny white church for the most spectacular views of both branches of Lake Como.
Day 15 | Milan
Transfer to Malpensa Airport and Milan
To be confirmed.
Cancellation of a tour must be received in writing – please click here to email Deb.