Italian Indulgence - From Venice Back

Departs from : Venice

Duration : 8 days

Type : Small Group

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Price Per Person : EUR 2,363.00

Meals Included

Breakfasts : 7

Dinners : 6

Map

Travel, live and eat as the locals do in this 8 day luxury small-group journey which features Venice, Milan, Verona, the Lakes District, Florence, Pisa,Rome and more! Features superior 4* boutique hotels and special gourmet dinners throughout.

 


Day 1 : North fro Venice to Verona and into Italy's Beautiful Lakes District!

Where we visit : Venice, Verona, Lake Como

Meeting Location : Hotel in Central Location

Description :

Meet at the hotel,then the journey heads north to VERONA, where you will again enjoy a 2 hour tour,
visiting the town of Romeo and Juliet! Following the visit, you will continue to SIRMIONE, a charming town located in the southern part of Lake  Garda. Upon arrival, you will have free time for lunch and for a brief walking tour on your own of the historical centre. In the early afternoon, the tour will continue onto the town of Como located on the shores of Lake Como. 
 
Enjoy a panoramic visit of this beautiful lake before arriving at a 4 star superior hotel situated in the city centre of Como. In the evening, enjoy a fabulous 3 course gourmet dinner at a local restaurant (wine, mineral water or sodas are included) where you will savour more specialties of the Northern Italian cuisine.
 
Overnight at the hotel in Como.

Meals : Breakfast, Dinner

Day 2 : Head south to Florence, via Milan.

Where we visit : Milan, Florence

Description :

Delicious buffet breakfast at the hotel, board the minibus and proceed to MILAN. Once in the city, enjoy a tour with a 3 hours tour of the city centre. Free time for lunch before continuing your journey to Florence.
 
In Florence we stay at a beautiful centrally located superior four star hotel l in the city centre of Florence. Upon check in we will enjoy a 3 course gourmet dinner at a local restaurant (wine, mineral water or sodas are included) where you will discover the Tuscan cuisine.
 
Overnight at the hotel in Florence.

Meals : Breakfast, Dinner

Day 3 : Full day in Florence

Where we visit : Grosseto

Description :

After breakfast, meet a private English speaking guide for a 3 hour tour of this
incredible Renaissance city. You will visit the amazing Piazza del Duomo,
the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the Academia Gallery (inside visit,
skip the line entrance tickets included).Afternoon at leisure. In the evening
enjoy 3 courses gourmet dinner at a local restaurant (wine, mineral
water or sodas are included) where you will continue your culinary adventure
and taste even more Tuscan specialties. Overnight at the hotel.

Meals : Breakfast, Dinner

Day 4 : All roads lead to Rome!

Where we visit : Pisa, Siena, Rome

Description :

After another delicous buffet breakfast, you will journey through the picturesque
Tuscan countryside and reach PISA, for a 2 hour guided tour of Piazza dei
Miracoli, with the celebrated Leaning Tower (exterior visit), the Baptistery
(exterior visit) and other important monuments. Time at leisure for lunch, and
then proceed to the beautiful medieval city of SIENA where you will meet a private
English speaking guide for a 2 hour tour of the fascinating old city centre. Afterwards,
journey down to ROME., with an arrival in the early evening.

Meals : Breakfast

Day 5 : Full day in Rome

Where we visit : Rome

Description :

Delicious buffet breakfast at the hotel. In the morning you will enjoy a 3 hrs 
“Discovering Rome” guided walking tour, which includes Largo Argentina,
Campo de’ Fiori, Piazza Farnese, Piazza Navona, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Spanish 
steps. Rest of the day at leisure. In the evening, enjoy a 3 courses dinner at the 
hotel (drinks are included). Overnight at hotel.

Meals : Breakfast, Dinner

Day 6 : Journey north to Assisi, Ravenna, and Venice!

Where we visit : Assisi, Ravenna, Venice

Description :

Meet your tour leader at a central location in Rome and travel north by deluxe minibus
to ASSISI where you will visit for 2 hours with a private English speaking guide this
mystical town. Continue towards RAVENNA , known as the mosaic city, with it's stunning
ancient monuments, for an equally spectacular 2 hour tour. The tour then continues back to
Venice where you will check in at  a 4 star superior hotel in the city centre, followed by a 3 course
gourmet dinner at a local restaurant (wine, mineral water or sodas are included) where you will discover
the Venetian cuisine.Overnight at the hotel in Venice.

Meals : Dinner

Day 7 : Full day in Venice

Where we visit : Venice

Description :

Delicious buffet breakfast at the hotel. Afterwards, enjoy apanoramic 2 hour walking tour
of this amazing and unique city. (Piazza and Basilica of St. Mark, Doge’s Palace,
the Bridge of Sighs and the Prison - with skip the line entrance tickets are all
included). Lunch at leisure, and in the afternoon with your tour leader you
depart by boat to the island of Murano. with time for shopping and a demonstration of
glass blowing. Return to Venice where a 3 course gourmet dinner of Venetian specialties
at a local restaurant (wine, mineral water or sodas are included) awaits you.

Meals : Breakfast, Dinner

Day 8 : Time to say Arrivaderci!

Where we visit : Venice

Description :

Delicious buffet breakfast at the hotel and end of the tour.

Meals : Breakfast

Tour Highlights and What's Included

  1. Accademia Museum
  2. Accommodation in superior four star hotels throughout
  3. Assisi: View of the Churches of St. Francis and St. Claire
  4. Breakfast and dinner daily
  5. Detailed explanation of sites
  6. English speaking guide and driver
  7. Florence: Guided visit of the most important monuments including the inside visit of the Academia museum with its Michelangelo statue
  8. Headsets
  9. Lake of Como: famous for its villas and mountain scenery
  10. Luxury small group journey with no more than 15 passengers
  11. Milan: Panoramic tour and guided visit of the city
  12. Pisa: Guided visit of Piazza dei Miracoli with its famous Leaning Tower
  13. Ravenna, guided visit of the Mosaics and Saint Apollinare Basilica
  14. Rome half day guided walking tour
  15. Siena: Guided visit of the city with its Piazza del Campo and the Municipal Palace
  16. Sirmione: on the Lake Garda with its beautiful castle
  17. Skip the line Entrance tickets included
  18. Travel in comfort with a new deluxe mini-bus for the entire tour
  19. Venice: Visit the famous Square of St. Mark and the Bridge of Sighs
  20. Verona: Guided visit the town of Romeo and Juliet

What's Not Included

  1. Airport departure taxes
  2. Gratuities of any type
  3. Local City Hotel Tax Paid Directly to Hotel
  4. Lunch
  5. Personal Expenses or Extras at hotels
  6. Travel Insurance

Venice


 

Perhaps the most famous Venetian in history is Marco Polo, whose travels and writings opened up the Orient to Europe. The City on the Water, once a powerful city-state, is famous for its romantic canals and waterways as well as its explorers and merchants. The architecture of this city alone makes for a fascinating sight-seeing excursion, from its fabulous churches, museums, and palaces to its elegant bridges and rural villas.

Yearly festivals include the Venice Carnival, which attracts visitors from around the world to don incredible costumes and masks and dance the night away at lavish parties and banquets, an absolute must to attend; dress up and lose yourself in the grand spectacle! Major attractions: Piazza San Marco (St. Mark Square), Palazzo dei Dogi (Doge's Palace), Bridge of Sighs, the Clock Tower, Rialto Bridge, the Islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello. Interesting museums are the Correr Museum, the Marciana Library, the Ca' d'Oro, Palazzo Grassi, the Guggenheim museum, Ca' Pesaro and others.

Major theaters, music venues and events: Teatro la Fenice, Teatro Malibran, Church of San Vidal, Palazzo Barbarigo-Minotto, Scuola Grande di San Teodoro, Ateneo San Basso, Scuola Grande San Giovanni Evangelista, Church of San Giacometto, and others. Events include the Venice Carnival, the Redentore Festival, the Historical Regatta.

Verona


 

Verona, in the Veneto region is a city mmersed in an enchanting landscape, encircled by hills and crossed by the Adige River.  It is a city of ancient origins. The town's political and commercial importance in both Roman and Medieval times, can be seen in the many important monuments, these include the Verona Arena, the Roman Theatre, the Gavi Arch, Porta Corsari, Porta Leoni, the Scaligeri archeological site, the Lamberti towers, and the surviving sections of the ancient city walls of Verona: the Mura di Galieno, and Mura Comunali, found between the Aleardi Bridge and Castelvecchio.

With its Arena Foundation, the Civic and Capitolare Library, the Literary Society, the Academy of Agriculture, Science and Literature, Verona University and Conservatory Verona is, internationally of cultural importance.

Not to be missed: Juliet's House and her tomb, the Castelvecchio Museum, the Modern Art Gallery, Palazzo Forti, the Archeological Museum of the Roman Theatre, the International Center of Photography Scavi Scaligeri, and the G.B Cavalcaselle Museum of Frescoes.

Milan


 

Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital of Lombardy. The city proper has a population of about 1.35 million, while its urban area is the 5th largest in the EU and the largest in Italy.  The city is at the center of a huge metropolitan sprawl, the most dense in all Italy, where over 4.5 million Italians make their home.  It is a muscular city that is the financial, industrial and commercial heart of Italy. Indeed, Milan ranks, with New York, London, Paris, Los Angeles and Toronto as one of the world's great "alpha" cities.

As readers of www.italygroupspecialists.com are aware, our mission is to present the "off-the-beaten-track" places in Italy.  Strangely, from the point of view of tourism, Milan - or Milano as the Italians know it, is not one of Italy's most popular destinations.  So, we did feel an obligation to dip our editorial toes into the city and give you a good sense of what the place is all about.

Milan is not perceptibly quaint or immediately charming.  Nor is it located in a landscape that stirs the imagination.  It is a city of the plain, situated in the vast, fertile prairie that extends from the foothills of the Alps on the North, to the River Po to the south.  To enjoy Milan and discover its abundant delights, you must penetrate, by car, train or bus, to its ancient core, which rubs shoulders with the ultra-modern "new city".

Once there, you can explore on foot, or use local buses and an efficient "subway" system to get around.  From time to time a cab will suffice to get you to a site that is a bit further out than a good walk.

The city was founded, presumably by Celts as long ago as the 7th Century BC.  In its long history it has been ruled by Romans, then by the invading barbarians, first the Ostrigoths, then the Longobards.  Milan, like other Italian cities, operated under the commercial oligarchy commune system for a time, but also like other cities, came  under the despotic rule of Signoria, with the Visconti family dominating for several decades, followed by the Sforza family. 

The city was conquered by France in the 15th century, but the French were displaced by the Spanish, who, in the 18th century were overthrown by the Austrians, who, in the 19th century were defeated by Napoleon.  Ultimately, of course, Milan became part of the Kingdom of Italy, which merged with the rest of the Italian peninsula to form the modern country of Italy in 1861.

This long, complicated history makes it unsurprising, therefore, that the architecture of Milan incorporates at least a few fragments from its early tribal settlers, as well as churches, palazzi, and government buildings that reflect the Roman, Gothic and Renaissance styles, sometimes all in one building.  Nor is it surprising, given the wealth of the Milan's rulers and merchant families, that the artistic works scattered around the city include works from the best of the best, including works by Leonardo Da Vinci who's very famous painting, The Last Supper, hangs in the Basilica of Santa Maria delle Grazie.

There are countless churches in Milan, but the one that you will not, cannot and should not miss is the Duomo - the Cathedral - which is the 3rd largest cathedral in Europe featuring  a golden Madonna at its peak, over 140 spires, many of which you can see if you take the "roof walk", and 2000 statutes.  The Duomo is a Gothic building, constructed in the 13h Century, sitting in the main square of the oldest part of Milan.

Nor will you want to miss Castello Sforzesco, the seat of power for the mighty Sforza family who ruled Milan in the 14th and early 15th Centuries.  The building was started in 1368, but was extended and renovated continually throughout the family's reign.

Other landmarks, old and new, that we recommend for your "must see" list, include:

 

  • Arco della Pace (The Arch of Peace) – Piazza Sempione
  • Archi di Porta Nuova (The new gate) on Via Manzoni, in the old medieval wall.
  • Porta Ticinese (Ticinese Port)Via Molino delle Armi.  During Roman times, this gate opened to a small port at the convergence of the Norone and Seveso Rivers.
  • Stazione Centrale - Piazza Duca d'Aosta.  Done in the Art Nouveau style, this is one of the largest and most impressive train stations in all Europe.
  • Grattacielo Pirelli (Pirelli Tower) - Piazzale Duca d'Aosta.  Built in the 1950s on the site of the original Pirelli tire works, the tower is a symbol of the modern city.
  • Teatro alla Scala (La Scala Theatre) Piazza della Scala.  Built in 1776, the theatre is used for live theatre, ballet and, of course, opera.

While the architectural heritage of Milan is of considerable interest, Milan is also a paradise for those who enjoy haute cuisine and haute couture.  Along with Paris and London, Milan is one of Europe's most powerful fashion centers.  The importance of design, however, is not limited to fashion, but extends to furniture and industrial design of all kinds.  Shoppers, with money to burn, will not be disappointed with what they find in the beautiful shops that line the central commercial zoneMilan is Italy's most important financial center, featuring international-scale banks and  brokerages, and also Italy's largest bourse - or stock exchange.  Most of Milan's major media groups, advertising agencies, and commercial head offices are located in Milan.

To top it all off, Milan is also one of Italy's most important educational centers, with more than a dozen universities and a Polytechnic Institute of international repute.

As we said at the outset, Milan is a city of muscle.  But, it is also a city of considerable refinement and sophistication.  It is, as some say, a European city, not an Italian city.  But, that is a superficial assessment.  Milan and the Milanese are Italian, through and through.

Florence


 

Once the hub of the Renaissance, Florence is still a city marked by outstanding cultural and artistic splendor. In the modern day this translates into some of the best shopping anywhere for fine products from leather to gold. A perennial favorite of tourists and home to such historical figures as Machiavelli and the Medici clan, all of the finest aspects of Renaissance culture, from literature and art to theater and music still flourish here.
 

Besides tourism, food and wine production are also prominent industries in this city, which is the main city of the Tuscany wine-producing region. The Uffizi Gallery and Accademia Museum house two of the world’s great art collections and seeing the David by Michealangelo, at the Accademia is a moment never to be forgotten.


The Duomo in Florence is as breathtaking as it is massive. This amazing structure can be seen from many vantage points near the city center and it looms in its majesty above the city’s interesting architecture and unique streets. Major attractions: Uffizi museum, Accademia museum with the David, Piazza della Signoria, Duomo di Santa Maria del Fiore, Santa Croce and Santa Maria Novella churches and squares. Other museums of notice are Palazzo Vecchio, Palazzo Pitti with the Silver museum, the Boboli Gardens and the Palatine Gallery, the Brancacci Chapel, the Museum San Marco. Major theaters and events: Teatro Comunale, Teatro della Pergola, Toscana Opera Festival, Teatro Verdi.

Pisa


 

Believe it or no, describing what it's like to visit Pisa is a tough job.  No doubt, Pisa's Leaning Tower is an Icon and Millions of travelers come here each year.  For many, the fact that it is quite literally a "Mecca" for tourists is a good reason to stay away, however there is a very good reason why Pisa draws the crowds and it might just draw you too!  
 
Let's put it this way, if you go to Pisa from June to September, you will be rubbing shoulders with a lot of people, but the fact of the matter is that Pisa is BEAUTIFUL.  The architecture is a sight to behold and the truth be told, visiting Pisa is A LOT of fun for those that come! 
 
Believe it or not, Pisa began life in about 1000 BC as a seaport. In the 2nd Centure BC, the  Romans used it as a naval station and trading port.  By the 11th Century the city had evolved into a major maritime power, rivalling Genoa, Venice and Amalfi.  The Pisans raided and overwhelmed Amalfi in 1135, putting an end to Amalfi's maratime claims.
 
The Pisans were themselves defeated - by Genoa - in 1284, a defeat which started the City's  steady decline.  That decline was hastened when the River Arno, on whose banks the city stood, began to silt up.  The Florentines took control in 1406 and retained it until the unification of Italy in the 1860s.
 
During its long period of prosperity, much of its wealth went into building some of Italy's most important and monumental buildings.
 
The famously leaning tower is the bell tower of the Duomo whose construction took over 200 years, starting in 1173 AD.  The soil under the Tower started to subside on one side even during construction, and remedial efforts were ongoing up until 1999, when a solution was found.  (Don't ask us what it was.)
 
The tower, the baptistry and the huge Duomo (100 yards long, with a massive nave, flanked by two aisles and 68 monolithic columns, are in the Romanesque style.  The pulpit, considered by many as the most beautiful in Italy, was carved by Giovanni Pisano, who also did much of the carving in the baptistry.
 
They sit together around the Campo dei Miracoli - or "field of dreams", an expansive grassy area.  Most tourists venture no further.  They should.
 
The city boasts one of the oldest universities in the world, and was the birth place of Galileo Galilei.  There are many cafes, trattorie, boutiques and flea markets.  Quality - well, tourist grade.  (If you want a great dinner, save your appetite and travel 15 km north to Lucca).

Siena


 

 

Siena is reknowned, both nationally and internationally, for the Palio horse race contested by the 17 contrada which divide this small city. But Siena is also unique thanks to its maze of narrow streets, its numerous towers and elegant town houses, the immense Piazza del Campo and the Cathedral which dominate the heart of the Medieval city encircled by impressive walls.
 
Those living in Siena enjoy an incredibly high quality of life. It is also the first city in Italy to close its center to traffic. As far as culture is concerned, Siena has been a city of great artistic significance since ancient times with internationally acclaimed institutions such as theChigiana Musical Academy, the Accademia dei Fisiocritici and Accademia degli Intronati, as well as the University for Foreigners.
 
Sites not to be missed: the Church of St Domenico, the Church of St Francesco, theDiocesan Museum of Sacred Art and Palazzo Salimbeni which houses important frescoes. The surrounding countryside is superbly peaceful with vineyards, olive groves,medieval hamlets and castles. The gastronomic traditions have gained international fame with the sweet Panpepato, Ricciarelli and Cavallucci being exported throughout the world.

Rome


 

Rome is known as the 'Eternal City', the centre of Western Civilization and one of the most widely visited cities in the world.  It is a city of contrasts, both ancient and modern. Romantic and harsh. It is a place of beautiful warm light and many dark corners. 
 
The layers of history in Rome are second to none in the world and to appreciate Rome, in all its glory, it is useful and helpful to have some understanding of what happened here over the centuries.  Whether you do tours with us or another company, it is most helpful to read - do guided tours - watch films.  
 
This city is one of the most important cultural, artistic and intellectual centres in Europe.  It is also home to Vatican City, the centre of the Catholic Church.
 
The history of Rome and Vatican City draw over 58 million visitors each year, almost as many people who live in Italy.  
 
 

 

Venice


 

Perhaps the most famous Venetian in history is Marco Polo, whose travels and writings opened up the Orient to Europe. The City on the Water, once a powerful city-state, is famous for its romantic canals and waterways as well as its explorers and merchants. The architecture of this city alone makes for a fascinating sight-seeing excursion, from its fabulous churches, museums, and palaces to its elegant bridges and rural villas.

Yearly festivals include the Venice Carnival, which attracts visitors from around the world to don incredible costumes and masks and dance the night away at lavish parties and banquets, an absolute must to attend; dress up and lose yourself in the grand spectacle! Major attractions: Piazza San Marco (St. Mark Square), Palazzo dei Dogi (Doge's Palace), Bridge of Sighs, the Clock Tower, Rialto Bridge, the Islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello. Interesting museums are the Correr Museum, the Marciana Library, the Ca' d'Oro, Palazzo Grassi, the Guggenheim museum, Ca' Pesaro and others.

Major theaters, music venues and events: Teatro la Fenice, Teatro Malibran, Church of San Vidal, Palazzo Barbarigo-Minotto, Scuola Grande di San Teodoro, Ateneo San Basso, Scuola Grande San Giovanni Evangelista, Church of San Giacometto, and others. Events include the Venice Carnival, the Redentore Festival, the Historical Regatta.

Assisi


 

Assisi is known throughout the world as the city of St Francis, the monk who spoke to the animals and with God, whose cult has spread across the globe. Linked to the Saint are theBasilica of St Francis, as well as the Eremo of the Prisons and the convent of St. Damian, the place where God spoke to the Monk.

 
As well as these places associated with the saint, there are many other sites which earn Assisi great historical relevance, the Palazzo dei Priori in the Piazza del Comune, the Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo and the temple of Minerva. Descending towards the plains below the city, one finds the large Basilica of St. Maria of the Angels, erected to protect the Porziuncola Chapel.
 
The geographical position of Assisi completes the beauty of the place, dominated by Mount Subasio, a natural oasis rich of holm oaks and oak trees. The visitor is struck by themedieval structure, characterized by the long city wall which protects the heart of the ancient Assisi.

Lake Como


 

Lake Como is one of the most beautiful of the Italian Northern Lakes.  Surrounded by extraordinary villas that were built by the Italian elite, mostly from Milan, this lake welcomes European Aristocrats and Hollywood stars, like George Clooney who has an exceptional lake-front property, directly accross from the town of Bellagio.

The lake is a Y shape and is is Italy's 3rd largest lake.  Como is the largest town on the lake and has the most hotels, however there are dozens of other towns that dot the lake and the top 10 worth-while of a visit, include:

Bellagio:
This is perhaps the most famous of the towns on Lake Como, situated at the junction of the lake’s two legs, this is an extremely attractive town yet less crowded and quieter than the others in the vicinity.
 
Bellano – located on the east side of the lake just to the north of Varenna, this lesser visited town features a pedestrian-only area in the center of town.
 
Colico – although the town may not appear to be as attractive as the others surrounding Lake Como, it is still worth visiting because of its views from the top of the lake.  There is a historical World War I fort that is open to the public once a week.
 
Como – the main town of the group is Como which is located at the southern end of the lake.  It is a more elegant resort than most and makes an excellent base for exploring the surrounding areas and towns.
 
Griante – situated on Lake Como’s western plateau, this small village is well worth visiting because of its spectacular vistas out over the lake and the surrounding countryside villas.  Be sure to visit the small church that is perched high up the village’s mountain side.
 
Lecco – sitting at the southeastern end of Lake Como is the quaint town of Lecco and its 25,000 or so residents.
 
Menaggio – located on the western shoreline, this attractive tourist destination is not as busy as Bellagio and Varenna.  There is a youth hostel located here but it is usually filled on weekends so keep that in mind.  Additionally, the pedestrian-only area in the heart of town is populated with coffee shops, gelaterias, a lakefront mini-golf course and snack bar, and several restaurants.
 
Nesso – located about halfway between Bellagio and Como, this very small town is situated on Lake Como’s western leg.
 
Tremezzo – right across the lake from Bellagio is the beautiful little town of Tremezzo.  The main attraction of the town is Villa Carlotta with its botanical garden and waterfront.
 
Varenna – sitting across from Bellagio and Menaggio along the eastern shoreline is this beautiful town with its charming villas of Villa Cipressi and Villa Montastero, the attractive and relaxing gardens of which are worth visiting.
 
One of the best ways to visit these towns is by boat and there are ferries that depart every hour that are inexpensive to take, about 8 Euro and will give you a wonderful tour of these areas from the lake and allow you to get off where you choose to browse the shops, enjoy a delightful coffee or just marvel at the spectacular scenery that Como has to offer.
 
 
 
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Price Per Person : EUR 2,363.00

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