Explore Tuscany & Northern Italy
8 Days / 7 Nights From London to London
Emilia-Romagna, Veneto, Lombardy, Liguria, Tuscany, Bologna, Ferrara, Padua, Venice, Verona, Vicenza, Bergamo, Milan, Genoa, Arezzo, Cortona, Florence, Lucca, Montepulciano, Pisa, San Gimignano, Siena, Viareggio, Chianti Classico, Cinque Terre, Lake Garda
Upto 5 Pax: Citroen C4 or Similar
6-7 Pax: Renault Espace or similar
8-9 Pax: Renault Traffic or similar
Arrive in Milan, renown as one of the world capitals of design and fashion, its Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in the Piazza Duomo is reputed to be the world’s oldest shopping mall. The biggest and greatest example of Gothic architecture in Italy is the Milan Cathedral. Whilst in Milan see Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper. At the end of your day try some of the regional food which gives its name to several dishes, minestrone alla milanese and risotto alla milanese. Try the osso buco, and the tortelli di zucca (pumpkin fritters) with the regional wine Franciacorta.
Tourist Class La Residenza or similar
From Milan drive to Italy’s greatest seaport Genoa – a city of surprises and contrasts where the most splendid palaces stand beside the humblest alleyways. In central Genoa is the Piazza de Ferrari, around which are the Opera and the Palace of the Doges, as well as a house where Christopher Columbus is said to have been born. Other interesting landmarks include the Palazzo Rosso and the Old Harbor, which is now transformed into a mall. For lunch try some of the region’s dishes; polenta, creamy Gorgonzola and Panettone, a fruit cake with raisins and candied lemon peel. Leave Genoa as you take the coast road to Cinque Terre, “the Five Lands”. These comprise five villages, Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomagiore and their surrounding hillsides. Over centuries man has built terraces on the rugged steep landscape right up to the cliffs that overlook the sea and part of its charm is the lack of visible “modern” development. Then south to the fashionable seaside resort of Viareggio with its lovely beaches and end your day in the pleasant town of Pisa for your overnight stay. Although it is known worldwide for its Leaning Tower it has more than 20 other historic churches and several palaces.
Tourist Class Airone Pisa Park or similar
From Pisa drive the short distance to the beautiful Tuscan town of Lucca. One of Tuscany’s best-kept secrets it has some of Italy’s finest medieval and Renaissance architecture protected by massively thick walls. Wander through the town’s squares and streets and visit its antique markets. It is here in Tuscany that Italian cooking was born. For lunch try the region’s famous soup ribollita. Chianti is the most popular wine of the area. Leave delightful Lucca and continue to one of the most beautiful and ancient cities in the world – Florence, where we have booked your two-night accommodation. One is overwhelmed by the beauty and culture to be seen by simply walking around this unique and ancient city. Not to be missed is the Piazza del Duomo, the Piazza della Signoria where a copy of Michelangelo’s David stands (the original is also in Florence and may be seen at the Galleria Del’Accademia), and the beautiful Ponte Vecchio, the oldest bridge in Florence.
If you want to see more of Florence and Tuscany, book an extra stay.
Tourist Class Unicorno or similar (2 nights)
Drive by the flourishing vineyards and olive groves of the unique Tuscan countryside to the hilltop medieval towers of San Gimignano. In the heart of the town are four fine squares, each with its own historic buildings. On to the gentle, mystical and passionate city of Siena. As you stroll through its narrow streets, lined with palaces and mansions, you become enlivened with the clay colored (hence the color, burnt siena) and medieval past of this beautiful city. The famous Piazza del Campo is shaped like a fan, paved with brick and encircled by a ring of stone slabs. This is the site of the famous Palio horse race held every July and August. Drive through the glorious Tuscan countryside to the ancient town of Arezzo. Visit the Piazza Grande, the most noteworthy medieval square in the city. Drive on to the quiet town of Cortona whose ramparts cling to the steep slopes of a hill clad in olive groves. From the Piazza del Duomo see the lovely view over the valley. Then back to Florence and a traditional Tuscan dinner, try the bistecca (grilled steak) or fagioli all’ucelletto (beans with quail). A notable red wine is the Nobile di Montepulciano, and Vernaccia di San Gimignano is a favorite white wine.
From Florence you drive to the city of Bologna, which has one of the best preserved historic centers in Italy and is home to the oldest university in the Western world, the Alma Mater Studiorum founded in 1088. The central streets of the city are largely pedestrianized and follow the grid pattern of the early Roman settlement. The region has a fine gastronomic reputation; for lunch sample its Bologna salami and mortadella, its prosciutto ham, parmigiano cheese and of course spaghetti Bolognese.
Leave historic Bologna for Ferrara, a town of broad streets and numerous palaces. In its center is the Castello with four towers surrounded by a moat. Your journey now takes you to the pictureque city of Padua, with its dense network of arcaded streets opening onto a large communal piazza. End your day in Venice, the City of Water, often cited as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Having a car, it makes much more sense to stay in Mestre, where we have arranged a two-night stay and to take public transport across the causeway. There are no roads in Venice and just one parking garage. Typical food of the region is the bigoli (a type of spagehetti), risotto with chicory, excellent fish dishes including shellfish, dried cod, sardines, and the black spahetti made with squid ink. Accompany this with the wines of the district, the rose or red sparkling Valpolicella and Bardolino.
Tourist Class Hotel President or similar (2 nights)
To be in Venice is to be a believer in fairy tales, for the only way to get around this 1,500-year-old city is by foot or by water. Take the classical Venetian gondola or motorized waterbuses which ply regular routes along the major canals between the city’s islands. You will be awed by the magical beauty of this city filled with palaces and art. Wander the alleyways and bridges, stroll across the Bridge of Sighs – connecting the Doge’s Palace with the prisons where prisoners would suffer their final torment as they view Venice for the last time – relax in the Piazza San Marco in the very heart of Venice, which opens up on to the Grand Canal. With its water-lapped palaces, its panoramic view across the water from the Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace) it is precisely as Canaletto painted it. You will surely be awed at the Basilica whose exterior is richly decorated by marble and mosaic and the relics of St. Mark resting in the main alter. There are numerous beautiful churches, palaces and museums, many fine shops and restaurants serving excellent food. The Ghetto (Jewish quarter) is a hauntingly beautiful and secret corner of the Canneregio district close to the bustling Strada Nuova. Visit the museum here and the synagogue.
From Venice travel through the town of Vicenza, noted for its splendid
churches and palaces, many designed by Andrea Palladio. Your journey then continues to Verona where the Roman Amphitheater,commonly known as The
Arena, is one of the biggest, holding over 22,000 spectators, and best preserved.Here every year the opera Aida is performed with live elephants. In front of the Arena is the Piazza Bra, a huge square with such interesting buildings as the Palazzo Barbieri (the Town Hall) and Gran Guardia Palace. Among these beautiful buildings are many bars, restaurants and souvenir shops. Leave Verona for Lake Garda, the largest lake in Italy where exclusive resort hotels run along its shore. Continue to the pretty town of Bergamo. Its original location was a defensive hilltop, protected by stout walls, and now known as the Citta Alta (upper town) where you will find most of the historic buildings and tourist sights. Your exciting day ends as you arrive back in Milan for your overnight stay.
Tourist Class La Residenza or similar or a Tourist Class Airport Hotel
Travel to the airport for your return flight home. Drop-off Rental Car