Day 1: Australia – – Rome
Make your way to your local airport and board your flights bound for Italy!
Day 2: Rome
You arrive in the Eternal City! Upon your arrival at the airport, find your own way to your hotel. You are then at your leisure to check in and begin your exploration at Rome, or you may choose 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)
Enjoy a guided sightseeing tour of Rome today, taking in the major ancient and imperial sites of the Italian capital city. You will need to make your way from the hotel to the pick-up point in central Rome, and from there you board a coach to take you to Piazza Venezia where you’ll first see the striking Il Vittoriano monument. Hop out of the coach to leisurely walk to Piazza del Campidoglio, a 16th-century square designed by Michelangelo. From this vantage point you have a great aspect into parts of the Roman Forum site. Return to the coach for a drive by Circus Maximus and Aventine Hill, and stop to see the statue of Moses at the Church of St. Peter in Chains. The final visit of the tour is perhaps the most exciting; the Colosseum. Entry into this former gladiatorial arena is included in this excursion – sure to be a highlight you’ll never forget.
Day 4: Rome – – Siena (B)
Today you leave Rome behind as you drive into the world-famous landscape of Tuscany towards Siena. Your car will be available for pick up at a point in central Rome and will be yours for the next seven days. Not only does having your own set of wheels give you incredible flexibility in your touring and sightseeing, but driving through Italy is a bucket list experience for many travellers the world over! The most direct route from Rome to Siena takes about three hours, but there are no time constraints today; there is no schedule to follow. Take a scenic drive along the coastline, or follow inland roads and perhaps make pretty pitstops at towns include Orvieto and Montepulciano. Enjoy the comforts of a charming boutique hotel in the Siena area which will serve as a base from which you can explore this picturesque region.
Day 5: Siena (B)
A two-hour walking tour of Siena is a great introduction to this incredible city. Meet your guide at the San Domenico Basilica at 10.30am and be shown around the cathedral before moving into Siena’s old town to see Palazzo Salimbeni, Palazzo Tolomei and Accademia Musicale Chigiana. Your next stop is Piazza del Campo and the tour then concludes with a visit to the Siena Duomo where you can admire masterpieces by the likes of Donatello, Bernini and Michelangelo. You have the rest of the day as free time to continue exploring Siena by foot, or jump into your car for a trip to a neighbouring town.
Day 6: Chianti Region (B)
Indulge with an afternoon devoted to one of Italy’s most famous wine varietals. First however, you have a morning of free time to explore the region however you like. Make the 40-minute drive to San Gimignano to wander the cobbled pedestrian-only streets of this hilltop town, or head slightly further afield to Arezzo to hop between its museums and galleries. Seek out Fattoria Viticcio, a vineyard located in Greve in Chianti, about an hours’ drive from Siena. Here, you will join a Chianti Classico winery and food experience that includes a tour of the estate and then a guided food and wine tasting. Expect to try examples of Chianti Classico and Super Tuscan paired with estate-produced extra virgin olive oil, as well as Tuscan breads, salami, cheeses and charcuterie, and a trio of bruschetta.
Please note that Italy has a strict drink-drive limit of .05. Do not drink and drive following this excursion.
Day 7: Siena – – Pisa (B)
Continue your taste of Tuscany by driving northwards into the area surrounding Pisa. Make any pitstops you like along the way – a particularly popular option is to stop in Volterra – before arriving in central Pisa in the afternoon for a one-hour walking tour. This guided stroll will give you insight into Pisa’s most iconic landmarks – the Duomo, Campo Santo and, of course, the Leaning Tower. The remainder of the day is at your leisure.
Day 8: Pisa (B)
Sink your teeth into authentic Tuscan cuisine with an Italian cooking class today. Make your way to Lucca to meet a local chef and get straight into the kitchen to whip up dishes including crostini au fegatini (crostini with chicken liver), crostini alle melanzane (crostini with eggplant), and panzanella (Tuscan bread salad). Move onto main courses and get hands-on making vegetable ravioli, meat ragu and arista di maiale (pork loin with Tuscan herbs). Dessert lovers will get their sweet fix learning how to prepare cantuccini, a biscotti that originated in Tuscany. Savour every mouthful of these beautiful dishes as you sit down to eat with the rest of your group. Buon appetito!
Day 9: Pisa – – Cinque Terre – – Pisa (B)
Rise early for breakfast at the hotel before you drive towards the Ligurian coast and the town of La Spezia. Arrive in time to board a small-group cruise (departing at 10.30am). The boat will ferry you to Cinque Terre – a string of impossibly photogenic small towns that all cling to the stunning coastline – and drop you in Vernazza. Take a break from your sea legs to walk around town before getting back on-board the boat to travel to Monterosso al Mare, the largest of the five towns. You arrive at about lunchtime and have six hours to enjoy Monterosso as you will. Those that packed their swimmers might make a beeline for the beach, or keen explorers can hop aboard the train (fare not included) to explore the other three towns – Riomaggiore, Manarola and Corniglia. The cruise departs Monterosso at 6.25pm and stops in Portovenere for a short break; arrive back in La Spezia by 8.20pm.
Day 10: Pisa – – Florence (B)
Travel to Florence today. There is no rush and you can stop anywhere that takes your fancy, such as Lucca, Pistoia or Prato. Say goodbye to your car as you drop it off at Florence Airport (FLR) and make your way to the hotel. The trip from the airport into central Florence takes about 30 minutes, depending on if you opt to take a taxi, bus or local tram (fares not included). You have the remainder of the day at leisure.
Day 11: Florence (B)
Florence is a magical city. As the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance and the former hometown of da Vinci, Michelangelo and the powerful Medici family, there is an incredible amount of history and things to see. A great place to start, especially for first-time visitors to the city, is this morning’s two-hour walking tour. You will be shown Florence’s best-known sights – Duomo, Palazzo and Ponte Vecchio, Giotto’s Bell Tower – and then have the freedom to revisit any favourites afterwards, in your own time.
Day 12: Florence – – Venice (B)
Find your way to the railway station to board a train headed to Venice. This scenic journey sees you travel through the countryscapes of Tuscany, Emilia-Romagna and Veneto. Arrive at the Venice St. Lucia station and make your own way to the hotel. Enjoy the remainder of the day as free time.
Day 13: Venice (B)
Join a guided walking tour of Venice this morning and learn more about the city nicknamed, ‘Queen of the Adriatic’. Wander past St. Mark’s Square and the Basilica, as well as the Clock Tower and Doge’s Palace. The tour then takes you to Campo Santa Maria Formosa, Campo S. S. Giovanni e Paolo, and to the house of one of Venice’s most famous residents, Marco Polo. Visit the Teatro Malibran before retracing your steps through the San Marco district via the Mercerie. The tour finishes with you clambering aboard the symbol of Venice – the world-famous gondola – for a joy ride through the city’s iconic canals and waterways. Tonight is your final evening in Italy.
Day 14: Venice – – Australia (B)
It is time to conclude your Italian adventure. Find your way to Venice Marco Polo Airport (VCE) and board your return flights back 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 15: Australia
Arrive home in Australia today.