Grand Tour of Italy

  • Days: 13
  • Nights: 12

Programme

1st Day: Arrival / Lake Maggiore

Arrival at Milan airport and departure by bus towards Lake Maggiore. Stop along the way, free time for lunch and later arrival in Baveno, Stresa or other nearby location surrounding the lakes. Welcome drink, dinner and overnight stay.

2nd Day: Milan

After breakfast depart from the hotel to Milan, one of the main cities of the province of Lombardy. Meet with our local guide for a tour of this superb city constructed in a series of concentric circles with its famous Duomo (cathedral)in the centre. You will have the possibility of visiting the Duomo, which, after St. Peter’s in Rome, is one of the largest churches in the world.


You can also visit Castello Sforzesco, (the symbol of the city itself) – an ancient fort that is today a centre for many museums and institutions of great interest such as Art Museums, The Archives of Milan, libraries etc. Free time for lunch and free afternoon to explore this wonderful city on your own. In the evening, return to the hotel for dinner and overnight stay.


3rd Day: Lake Maggiore

After breakfast we will have a half-day excursion to the Borromean Islands by private boat. First of all, we will visit Bella Island with its most famous Borromeo Palace constructed in 17th century by the Borromee Princes who dominated the archipelago. This building is surrounded by gardens constructed on 10 terraces and decorated with ornate sculptures and exotic plants and flowers.


Then, we will take a break on the ‘Fisherman’s Island’, which has long been a haven for artists. Free time for lunch and in the afternoon we continue on to Orta, one of the smallest but also the most beautiful of the lakes of the Lombardy region surrounded by wooded banks. Free time to explore the typical alleys, the palaces and the houses with their ornate wrought iron balconies. Transfer by boat to San Guilio Island where we will visit the basilica founded in 390 AD and restored in 9th and 10th centuries. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight stay.


4th Day: Verona and Venice

After breakfast depart from the hotel to Venice. Stop along the way and free time for lunch, near Verona. In the afternoon we meet with our guide who will help us appreciate this quaint medieval town including visits to the basilica of San Zeno, the picturesque Piazza delle Erbe which leads us to the house of Juliet, the heroine of the famous Shakespearian play (outside visit), the Arena and finally the old castle with the bridge of Scaligeri.


In the evening we continue on towards Lido di Venezia. Transfer by boat from Tronchetto directly to Lido di Venezia and accommodation in a hotel. Dinner and overnight stay.


5th Day: Venice

After breakfast we leave by private boat to reach the famous San Marco Square. With our local guide we will visit the historical centre with the amazing architecture of San Marco Square and its ornate basilica of the same name- the official church of the Serenissima also known as the ‘golden church’ with its two elegant architectural treasures- the Bell tower and the Clock tower.


Finally we will visit the Bridge of Sighs, a covered bridge dating from 16th century and so named because of the sighs of prisoners who crossed it in the past, on their way to prison. Free time for lunch and to explore the streets of this fascinating city by yourself and perhaps do some shopping. Alternatively you could visit the majestic Doge’s Palace another noteworthy and famous attraction of Venice. In the evening, return by boat to the hotel for dinner and overnight stay.


6th Day: Islands of the Lagoon and Venice

We leave the hotel for an excursion to the islands of the lagoon of Venice. We first arrive in Burano, also known as ‘Fisherman’s Island’ and famous for its lacework. We will explore this quaint island with its distinctive colourful houses and watch the old women in the main street creating beautiful embroidered lace.


After Burano, we will visit the island of Murano, famous for its glasswork. Free time for lunch and in the afternoon return to Venice to tour ‘Little Venice’, exploring the Frari Quarter, with its sumptuous gothic church, and the School of S. Rocco the most prestigious school in Venice known both for its architecture and its ornate decoration, designed and built by some of the most famous artists in Venice. Also worthy of a visit is l’Accademia, which houses a fine collection of paintings, and which demonstrates the development of the Venetian School from 14th century to 18th century. In the evening, return to the hotel for dinner and overnight stay.


7th Day: Florence

After breakfast, depart from the hotel to Florence, one of the most historical and prestigious cities of the Renaissance and once home to the Medici. Free time for lunch and in the afternoon we meet with our local tour guide. From Piazza Michelangelo we will experience a stunning view of the city, then we move on towards the historical centre of the city towards Piazza San Giovanni.


Here we will view the Duomo (cathedral of Santa del Maria Fiore) with the cupola by Brunelleschi and the Bell Tower designed by Giotto (one of the most important in Italy, and decorated entirely inside with black and white marble), which dominate the city from their imposing heights, and nearby the baptistery of St. John with its three beautiful decorated bronze doors. Continuing on we visit Ponte Vecchio, the oldest bridge in Florence and famous for its vast array of jewellery shops and the large Piazza delle Signorie, the heart of the town, dominated by Palazzo Vecchio (the old palace). If you prefer you can avail of an alternative tour to the church of Santa Croce, the most important Franciscan church in the city. In the evening, accommodation in a hotel in the city centre, dinner and overnight stay.


8th Day: Florence

After breakfast we continue our tour with a guided tour of Florence. The morning is dedicated to a visit to the splendid Uffizi Gallery. This palace, located between Piazza delle Signorie and the river Arno, was built by the architect Vasari and once hosted administrative offices. Today however, it houses one of the finest collections of Italian art in general and Florentine art in particular in the world.


Here you will find such masterpieces of the Renaissance such as ‘L’Annunciazione’ (Annunciation) by Leonardo da Vinci, ‘La Sacra Famiglia’ (The Holy Family) by Michelangelo, ‘La Primevera’ (Allegory of Spring) by Botticelli as well as masterpieces by artists such as Raphael, Tiziano and Caravaggio. Free time for lunch and in the afternoon depart for the city of Pisa (optional), famous for its leaning tower. Guided tour of Piazza del Duomo, a piazza also known as ‘Field of Miracles’. In this square stand four great monuments-The Duomo, The Baptistery, The Monumental Cemetery and of course the famous ‘Leaning Tower’ – the symbol of the city itself. The ancient wall which surrounds the square provides an unexpected and harmonious view. Free time to explore these ancient streets on your own then later, return to the hotel for dinner and overnight stay.


9th Day: San Gimignano / Siena

After breakfast depart for San Gimignano, a small medieval city surrounded by a wall of 72 towers which noble families, during the middle ages built in order to compete with the tower of the City Hall called Rognosa. With our tour guide we will explore this enchanting city, which preserves the decoration and atmosphere of medieval Italy before continuing on to Siena.


Free time for lunch followed by a meeting with our local guide who will show us the delights of this wonderful area beneath the hills. We will see the two towers considered as the symbols of the city itself : the Tower of the City Hall and the tower of the imposing cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, entirely decorated inside with stripes of light and dark marble. We will also visit Piazza del Campo, one of the widest squares built in the Middle Ages and the centre of Siena, of its history, of its life. It is in this square where every year the famous ‘Palio’ horse race takes place. Another noteworthy site is the church of San Domenico, in particular the interior cupola where Saint Teresa took her vows. Return to the hotel in the evening, dinner and overnight stay.


10th Day: Florence and Ancient Rome

After breakfast in the hotel, depart by bus for Rome. Arrival in Rome and free time for lunch. Earphones at disposal for 3 days. Later in the afternoon, we will have a guided tour of Ancient Rome, with its Roman Forums, The Palatino and The Colosseum (which has become the very symbol of Rome itself) where in ancient times emperors offered the spectacle of gladiatorial mortal combats. In the evening accommodation in a hotel in the city centre or nearby. Dinner and overnight stay.


11th Day: The Vatican and Baroque Rome

After breakfast depart by bus to the centre of the city. This day is devoted to the exploration, with our guide, of Catholic Rome. In the morning we will visit the Vatican Museum with its many treasures including The Sistine Chapel with its magnificent Michelangelo frescoes or the Rapahel Chambers painted in 16th century.


Continuing on, we visit St.Peter’s Square with its majestic basilica – the largest basilica in the Christian world. Free time for lunch. In the afternoon we will have a guided tour of Baroque Rome and a visit to the Trevi Fountain, where you can partake of the ancient custom of throwing a coin into the fountain and making a wish! Then onto Piazza Navona a magnificent square and the Pantheon, burial place of a number of Italian kings. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight stay.


12th Day: Christian Rome

After breakfast depart by bus to the city centre for a tour of Christian Rome. We will explore the Catacombs on the Appian Way, which were once inhabited by a Christian community who have left visible signs of their existence and way of life. We continue our excursion with a visit to a grand basilica such as San Giovanni in Laterano or San Paul Outside the Walls. Free time for lunch and to stroll around and explore the streets of this splendid city on your own. In the evening, return to the hotel for dinner and overnight stay.

13th Day: Departure

After breakfast depart by bus from the hotel for Rome Airport. End of our services.


Services included

- Half-board accommodation from dinner on day 1 to breakfast on day 13 (welcome drink included)
- Hotel accommodation in 3-4 star category (according to Italian standard, rooms with private facilities)
- Bus services (transportation, entry fee in
different cities and parking expenses for the driver included)
- Half-day guided tour of Milan (2 hours) on day 2
- Half-day excursion by private boat to the Borromeo islands on day 3
- Full day Escort service to visit the Borromean Islands and Lake
Orta (6 hours) on day 3
- Private boat to the island of San Giulio and return on Day 3
- Half day guided tour of Verona (2 hours) on day 4
- Boat from Tronchetto to Venice Lido on day 4
- Boat fee on the day 4, 5 and 6
- Private boat from Venice Lido to San Marco and return on day 5
- Half-day guided tour of Venice (2 hours) on day 5
- Boat for the half day excursion to the islands of the lagoon (from Lido
Venice to San Marco and return) on day 6
- Half-day Escort service (4 hours) for the trip to the islands of the lagoon on day 6
- Half day guided tour of Venice (2 hours) on day 6
- Private boat from San Marco to Venice Lido on day 6
- Half day guided tour of Florence (3 hours) on the day 7 and 8
- Half day guided tour of San Gimignano (2 hours) on day 9
- Half day guided tour of Siena (3 hours) on day 9
- Earphones available 03 days (day 10 - 11 - 12)
- Half day guided tour of Ancient Rome (3 hours) on day 10
- Full day guided tour to visit the Vatican (4 hours) and Rome
Baroque (3 hours) on day 11
- A personalized booklet with all the information necessary for your stay
- All that is mentioned in the programme

Services not included

- Drinks and meals
- Entrance fees
- The guide for the visit to Palazzo Borromeo on Isola Bella on day 3
- Reservation and earphones in the Doge's Palace in Venice
(compulsory) on day 5
- Reservation of the visit to Galleria dell'Accademia in Venice (compulsory) on day 6
- Reservation for the Uffizi Gallery in Florence on day 8
- Half day guided tour of Pisa (max 1 hour and a half - service
bus included ) on day 8
- Reservation for the Colosseum in Rome on day 10
- Earphones for the visit of the Roman Forum on day 10
- Reservation and entrance to the Vatican Museum (to be confirmed only 30 days before date ) on day 11
- The tourist taxes to be paid on the spot
- All that is not mentioned in the programme

It is possible to request an escort service for the entire stay



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