Day 1: Australia – – Rome
Ready to begin your Italian adventure? Head to the airport and board your flights towards Rome!
Day 2: Rome
Welcome to Rome! You arrive in the capital city of Italy and make your own way to the hotel. The rest of the day is at your leisure to explore this historic destination, or to relax in your hotel room following the long flight.
For those purchasing the Tour Only option, your tour starts today. Please make your own way to the hotel.
Day 3: Rome (B)
Get your first taste of Rome’s dazzling history by setting out on a guided tour of Imperial Rome and the Colosseum. The tour begins once you make your way to the pick-up location (in the centre of the city) and board a coach. You are taken to Piazza Venezia to admire the grandeur of Il Vittoriano, a monument dedicated to Italy’s first king that is colloquially dubbed ‘The Wedding Cake’. Next, the group continues on foot to Piazza del Campidoglio, a square designed by Michelangelo and a location that promises a great view into parts of the Roman Forum site. Return to the coach for a drive by Circus Maximus and Aventine Hill, and make another Michelangelo-skewed stop to see the statue of Moses at the Church of St. Peter in Chains. The last visit of the day is perhaps the most iconic: the Colosseum. Head inside this battle-hardened arena to learn about its gladiatorial past and more recent history.
Day 4: Rome – Naples – Pompeii – Rome (B)
Head south on a full-day outing to Naples and Pompeii. You will be following a stretch of highway nicknamed, ‘Motorway of the Sun’, and passing through countryside known as Castelli Romani – a moniker that alludes to the sprinkling of wine-producing towns and communes throughout the area. Along the way of this drive you will see Montecassino Abbey, a Benedictine abbey that saw a decisive battle during World War II. Make for the port of Mergellina and arrive in the Santa Lucia fishing quarter to see Castel dell’Ovo. Your tour of Naples continues at Piazza del Plebiscito, the Royal Palace, Basilica of San Francesco di Paola, San Carlo Theatre, Galleria Umberto I, and Castel Nuovo (also called Maschio Angioino). Leave the rugged cityscape behind and cross the valley of Mount Vesuvius towards Pompeii. Lunch is taken here before you join a two-hour tour of the site, led by a local guide. This experience offers invaluable insight into this city, as well as sheds light on the archaeological importance and on-going excavation work that continues today. Return to Rome at the end of the day.
Day 5: Rome – – Florence (B)
You leave the Eternal City behind as the group sets its sights on travelling into Tuscany and towards its capital of Florence. Make your own way to the station and board a train to the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance. This journey offers no shortage of beautiful scenery along the way, and upon arrival in Florence you head to the hotel for check in (self-transfer) and have the rest of the day at your leisure time.
Day 6: Florence (B)
A free day to fall in love with Florence. Art-lovers may want to make a beeline to the galleries at the Uffizi or Accademia (booking tickets in advance is highly recommended), while gourmets can peruse vendor wares and gorge on samples at Mercato Centrale. Pick up souvenirs from the stalls of the sprawling San Lorenzo Market, or those with a fondness for sweeping city views can walk or catch a bus to Piazza Michelangelo.
Optional: Walking Tour of Florence
This two-hour walking tour is a great introduction to Florence’s magnificent array of landmarks, monuments and historic sights – especially for first-time visitors. Wander between top sights, such as the Duomo, Palazzo and Ponte Vecchio, and Giotto’s Bell Tower. Additional cost applies.
Day 7: Florence – – La Spezia (Cinque Terre) (B)
Arrive at the railway station in time to board a service to La Spezia, a small city on the Ligurian coastline that is the gateway for exploring the towns of Cinque Terre. Make your way to the hotel upon arrival and have the rest of the day as leisure time.
Day 8: La Spezia (Cinque Terre) (B)
There is no set itinerary for you to follow today, and you are at your leisure to make your way to Cinque Terre and explore however you like. Use the provided rail pass to catch the train from La Spezia to any of the five small coastal towns – Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare. Tackle the entire, or a section, of the walk between Vernazza and Monterosso; sit down to a seafood feast at a hole-in-the-wall eatery; nab a sunlounger on the beach at Monterosso to soak up the sun; or aim to wander a couple of the towns and uncover each of their own unique charms.
Day 9: La Spezia (Cinque Terre) – – Milan (B)
Continue your adventure north towards the ever-stylish metropolis of Milan. Make your way to the railway station to board the train to take you to Milan, located in the Lombardy region. Find the hotel upon arrival (self-transfer) and have the rest of the day to explore. Lauded as the fashion and design capital of Italy, Milan has much more in its arsenal than high-end fashion boutiques. Admire the spires of the massive Gothic cathedral, the treasures inside Sforza Castle, and the ornate design of Galleria Vittoria Emanuele II. Those wanting to see Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper, housed in Santa Maria delle Grazie convent, should book tickets in advance.
Day 10: Milan – Lake Como – Bellagio – Milan (B)
Following breakfast at the hotel, board a coach for a one-hour journey into the Lake Como area. This excursion begins with sightseeing around the historic centre of Como, a city located on the banks of the eponymous lake. You then clamber into a boat for a lake cruise. From the water you will be able to spy the cluster of lavish villas and hotels perched along the lakefront. The boat docks in Bellagio, one of the best-known towns in the region, and you have time to explore its network of steep alleys, cafes and shops. The cruise continues to Cadenabbia where you disembark and commence the return journey to Milan.
Please note that seasonal variations occur for this excursion. During winter, the lake cruise is replaced with a funicular to Brunate.
Day 11: Milan – – Venice (B)
Head to the station in time to catch your train to Venice. Travel east through Veneto and arrive in the city fondly called, ‘Queen of the Adriatic’. Find your way to the hotel for check in and enjoy the rest of the day in this spectacular city.
Day 12: Venice (B)
This is your final full day in Italy. Wander around the web of alleyways and narrow streets, crossing steep bridges and winding canals as you go. Peer into the windows of shops selling souvenir Venetian masks, and pose for a photo at the crest of the Rialto Bridge. Perhaps board a ferry for a trip to either Murano or Burano, nearby islands known for glass and lace production, respectively. At night, sit down for one last Italian dinner and feast on typical Venetian cuisine, such as risotto al nero di sepia (squid ink risotto), risi e bisi (rice and peas) and fritole (sweet fritters).
Optional: Walking Tour and Gondola Ride
Venture out into Venice’s streets on a guided walking tour that sees you meander past some of the city’s most recognised sights, such as St. Mark’s Square and St. Mark’s Basilica, plus the Doge’s Palace, St Mark’s Clock Tower, Marco Polo’s House and the Malibran Theatre. You will walk through lively local squares and the San Marco district. The tour is capped off with a ride in one of Venice’s emblematic gondolas. Additional cost applies.
Day 13: Venice – – Australia (B)
Have breakfast at the hotel and then make your way to Venice Marco Polo Airport (VCE) to begin the return journey to Australia.
For those purchasing the Tour Only option, at the appropriate time please make your own way from the hotel to your next travel arrangements.
Day 14: Australia
Arrive back in Australia today.