ESCORTED TOURS - THE GOLDEN CIRCLE
The Tour lasts for 7 days and 6 nights and is operated every SUNDAY From APRIL 7, 21 MAY 12, 19, 26 JUNE 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 JULY 7, 14, 21 and 28, AUGUST 11, 18, 25 SEPTEMBER 8, 15 and 22 OCTOBER 6, 13 AND 20.
ROME - SIENA - FLORENCE (2 nights) - VERONA - VENICE (2 nights) - SIRMIONE (LAKE GARDA) - LAKE COMO - MILAN (1 night) - LA SPEZIA - PORTOVENERE - VERNAZZA
01 - DAY - ROME - SIENA - FLORENCE. 8.00am meeting point at the office or pick up at the hotel from 7.30am to 7.45am then departure by coach to SIENA, the beautiful medieval city renowned for the Palio horse race. Discover the street, Palazzo Salimbeni, which is now used as the headquarters for the Banca Monte dei Paschi Di Siena. Visit the main square of the town, Piazza del Campo, a beautiful seashell shaped square, where the famous Palio horse race is held every year on July 2nd and August 16th. Don't miss the chance to discover the impressive facade of the Cathedral dedicated to the Virgin Mary, covered with colourful local marble, where several artists such as Michelangelo, Donatello, and Bernini have work. Before you go, don't forget to taste the typical local dishes such as “Pici”, homemade pasta, and the almond biscuits “ricciarelli”, symbols of the town. Arrival in Florence around 1400, and after check-in at the hotel, the possibility to have an optional tour of the Uffizi Gallery or Accademia Gallery. Welcome dinner in a local restaurant to taste a typical Tuscan menu. Overnight in Florence. Meals: D.
02 - DAY - FLORENCE After breakfast meet our local guide and visit the fascinating backstreets of mysterious Florence: from Piazza del Duomo, with its Baptistery and Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral, to Ponte Vecchio; from Piazza della Signoria with its Palazzo Vecchio and Loggia dell’Orcagna, up to the central avenues paved with stone, where you'll find authentic masterpieces whenever you direct your gaze. An intense and concentrated tour of the very heart of Florence that will introduce you to the many wonderful “must see” places of interest. Free time for lunch and then, in the afternoon, your tour leader will take you to see excellent traditional local producers: visit one of the most famous jewellers where you can admire the collections of a Florentine goldsmith master; walk around San Lorenzo's leather market which offers high-quality products made with high-grade leather. Processed according to the most traditional methods, it gives life to the classic elegance of Florentine leather bags, wallets, shoes, and jackets that represent the essence of local artisan creativity. Finally, let your nose twitch in delight whilst visiting an old perfume shop, which still produces fragrances using the medieval monks' methods and recipes. Overnight at the hotel. Meals: B.
03 - DAY - FLORENCE - VERONA - VENICE American buffet breakfast at the hotel, check out and departure to VENICE by coach. Along the way, you will stop in VERONA. Explore the streets of this historical centre, proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage-site. Be enchanted by the gem of the city: the ancient Roman Arena (outside). Built in 30 AD, it is very well preserved and in the last century has hosted over 30,000 people for international music concerts, including the Verona Arena Festival, a summertime opera celebration that draws classical music lovers from all over the world. After taking some photos of the arena, head to the former home of famed opera singer, Maria Callas. Then move on to Juliet's House (outside), the structure that inspired Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Wander back to Piazza Bra and time for lunch. Proceed to Venice. Travel by boat to Saint Mark’s square where you will meet a local guide who will introduce you to the most important buildings such as the Doge’s Palace, the Campanile, the Clocktower and the Library. Here you’ll be told about the birth of the city and its glorious history. Walk in hidden Venice, admiring its alleyways, lovely canals, picturesque campos (squares) where everyday life takes place and explore the structure of the city. Arrive at the Rialto Bridge over the Grand Canal, the heart of the city, with its bustling market area. At the end of the visit, there is a lovely walk to your hotel for check-in. After, you will enjoy a typical dinner in a local restaurant. Overnight in Venice. Meals: B D.
04 - DAY - VENICE - MURANO American Buffet Breakfast at the hotel and then with your tour leader you will ride across the Venetian Lagoon to the colourful island of Murano. Here you will get an inside peek into the world-famous glass-blowing factories of the island. Watch a glassmaking demonstration from a master craftsman and enjoy time to browse the factory showroom, featuring finished works of art. Return to St. Mark's Square for an afternoon at leisure and time for shopping and private visits. Overnight in Venice. Meals: B
05 - DAY - VENICE - SIRMIONE (Lake Garda) - LAKE COMO - MILAN American buffet breakfast at the hotel, check out and departure for SIRMIONE known as the Pearl of Lake Garda, "the gem of all the peninsulas", as the poet Catullus wrote. The visit to the village starts with the spectacular Scala Castle dating back to medieval times. It was built at the end of the 13th century by the Lords of Verona. Wandering along narrow medieval streets one reaches the Parish Church of S. Maria which houses many images and paintings to be admired, together with different altars and precious 18th century works of marble. Slightly uphill, one reaches S. Salvatore Church, which dates back to the 8th century. Optional boat tour to admire the park of the prestigious and luxurious 5-star Hotel Villa Cortine and the nearby Villa of Maria Callas, from here you will reach the entrance to the Grotte di Catullo. It is the most important archaeological area in the entire region of Lombardy, with imposing remains of what was once a luxurious Roman Villa on the edge of Lake Garda. In the afternoon, proceed to LAKE COMO where your tour leader will walk you around all the historical highlights. As we stroll through the ancient streets in the heart of the town, surrounded by Roman walls, we can admire beautiful Romanesque and Baroque churches, Piazza Volta and Piazza Duomo, with its charming old Town Hall building, called Il Broletto, with its characteristic bell tower and the superb 600-year old Cathedral. Depart to MILAN where you can enjoy a panoramic tour to see the Sforzesco Castle, the medieval Piazza Mercanti , and Piazza Della Scala, admire the marble façade of Milan's Cathedral and the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, one of the oldest shopping malls in the world. Your tour ends in the historical Piazza del Duomo. In the evening check in at the hotel, dinner and overnight at the hotel in Milan. Meals: B D.
06 - DAY - MILAN - LA SPEZIA - PORTOVENERE - VERNAZZA - MONTEROSSO - LUCCA Breakfast in the hotel and check out. Depart to LA SPEZIA to embark on an unforgettable day dedicated to the discovery of one of the most amazing and enchanting landscapes in the World: “CINQUE TERRE”. We will reach the first village of PORTOVENERE, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Its picturesque harbour is lined with brightly colored houses, while narrow medieval streets, lined with shops, lead up the hill from the ancient city gate to the castle. By boat, you reach VERNAZZA, a characteristic small fishing village, classified as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. The village is surrounded by steeply-terraced olive groves which are said to produce amongst the finest olive oil in the country. The last stop will be in MONTEROSSO, the largest of the five coastal villages. Its amazing beaches, beautiful reefs, and the sea’s crystal clear waters, make this small village one of the most convivial of the Ligurian Riviera. In the late afternoon return to La Spezia by train and take the coach to LUCCA. With your tour leader, stroll through the cobblestone streets and bustling piazzas, to the old Renaissance walls. Trace the city’s Roman past along Via San Paolino and Piazza San Michele and see the birthplace of local composer Giacomo Puccini. Admire the medieval buildings along Via Fillungo, peek inside the church of San Frediano and visit landmarks such as the Cathedral of San Martino, Piazza Anfiteatro, and Torre delle Ore. At the end of the walk, transfer to your hotel for check-in. Dinner and overnight in Lucca. Meals: B D.
07 - DAY - LUCCA - PISA - MONTEPULCIANO - ROMA. Breakfast in the hotel and check out. Depart to PISA for a walk with your tour leader to the heart of the city. Admire the Cathedral Square with the Duomo di Pisa, Campo Santo, Pisa Baptistry, and, of course, the Leaning Tower of Pisa – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Take time for lunch and shopping and in the afternoon depart to cross VAL D'ORCIA, the area famous for its superb wine production and for its amazing landscape, symbolic of the Tuscan region. Enjoy a stop in the most iconic town in the area, MONTEPULCIANO. Surrounded by the ancient city wall, Montepulciano is a symbol of the power and wealth of the noble families from the 14th to 16th centuries. Be enchanted by the beauty of Piazza Grande, with the magnificent Duomo and Palazzo Tarugi; continue on to see the Fortezza and the Church of Santa Maria dei Servi, one of the finest examples of Renaissance art. Montepulciano is well known for the production of its fabulous red wine. The "Nobile di Montepulciano" is one of the most lauded Italian wines in Italy and abroad. Montepulciano has a distinct peculiarity, in that you can find several historical cantinas right within the city walls, which have been dug out underneath the prestigious palazzos. Take time to taste local wines and buy some souvenirs. Proceed to Rome where you will arrive around 7.30pm. End of our services. Meals: B.
2 nights’ accommodation in a 4* hotel in Florence (PALAZZO RICASOLI or similar), 2 nights’ accommodation in a 4* Hotel in Venice (CONTINENTAL or similar), 1 night accommodation in a 4* hotel in Milan (HOTEL STARHOTEL BUSINESS PALACE / ANTARES CONCORDE or similar), 1 night accommodation in a 4* Hotel in Lucca (GUINIGI or similar).
6 American buffet breakfasts
4 dinners in hotels or local restaurants (drinks NOT included)
Boat and train ticket in Parco Delle Cinque Terre
Ground transportation by deluxe coach with air conditioning
Multilingual tour English – Spanish
Only one bag per person allowed plus one piece of hand luggage.
This tour is also available for 9 nights and 10 days - ROME (2 nights) - SIENA - FLORENCE (2 nights) - VERONA - VENICE (2 nights) - SIRMIONE (LAKE GARDA) - LAKE COMO - MILAN (1 night) - LUCCA (1 night) - ROME (1 night). Ask for Further Details.