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This marvellous journey, in the classic tradition of 19th-century 'grand tours', begins with the glories of Venice. Take in Tuscan treasures, beautiful Florence and timeless Rome. Rest and relax near idyllic Sorrento, experience the dizzying Amalfi Drive, perhaps visit exquisite Capri, and see Sicily's towering Mount Etna.
Fly to Venice, meet your tour manager and make the short transfer to your four-star hotel. You'll enjoy a two-night stay here, in the historic Veneto town of Mirano.
In the early afternoon begin your Grand Tour in incomparable Venice. Our guided walking tour includes highlights such as the Grand Canal, the stunning Accademia, the Rialto Bridge and St Mark's Square. You'll have the opportunity to enjoy dinner at your leisure in Venice before you return to the hotel late this evening.
You'll journey south across Emilia-Romagna, today, towards the rolling hills of Tuscany. En route, call at exquisite Ferrara, former home to the wealthy and powerful Este dukes. Arriving in Chianciano Terme this afternoon, you'll spend three nights close to the heart of the celebrated spa-town.
An included tour of stunning Florence will be one of the undoubted highlights of this holiday. See the magnificent Florentine skyline, Santa Croce and the medieval Ponte Vecchio, and perhaps visit a world-famous gallery. You'll then return to Chianciano Terme for dinner.
Choose to join an optional excursion through the Tuscan hills to Siena, today, one of Europe's most perfectly preserved medieval cities, its centrepiece the vast piazza il Campo. From here we'll head to another exquisite Tuscan gem, San Gimignano, with its hilltop setting, towers, medieval walls and cathedral.
You'll leave Chianciano Terme and head south into the Apennine hills for a two-night stay at the spa town of Fiuggi. En route, visit Orvieto, which rises out of the Umbrian countryside, crowned by its great Gothic cathedral. Dinner will be served in the hotel this evening.
Spend an unforgettable day discovering Rome, the 'Eternal City', where over two thousand years of history come alive. A guided tour takes in the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Trevi Fountain, and St Peter's in the Vatican City. Window shop along the Via Condotti and enjoy 'la dolce vita'.
Head to the Bay of Naples, beneath Vesuvius' brooding cone, to spend three nights close to idyllic Sorrento. En route you'll call at the haunting ruins of Roman Pompeii, one of the Mediterranean's most extraordinary sites, where excavations have rediscovered this ancient city that was buried by a volcanic eruption in AD79.
Today, experience the breathtaking Amalfi Drive, which winds its way around the cliffs above the blue Bay of Salerno. It passes high above Positano's Moorish-style pink and white houses heading to beautiful Amalfi, at the foot of Monte Cerreto, and its equally beautiful cathedral.
Rest and relax in Sorrento - perhaps exploring its two tiny ports, taking a seat in a Piazza Tasso cafe or strolling stylish Corso Italia. Alternatively join today's optional excursion to the glorious Isle of Capri, and explore picturesque Anacapri, beautiful Villa San Michele and chic Capri Town. While there, why not take a boat trip to the famous Blue Grotto?
After a restful few days, you'll have an early start, today, as you begin the 'final leg' of your Italian odyssey. Make the long journey down to Italy's 'toe' in the province of Calabria, then cross to the island of Sicily. Dinner will be served on arrival at the hotel, in the shadow of Mount Etna.
Spend today relaxing in your hotel or exploring the surrounding area.
See Mount Etna, Europe's highest active volcano, with its strange landscape of petrified lava and old craters dotted across its slopes. The hill town of Taormina is no less stunning, with its stupendous Greek Theatre and peerless views of distant Etna and the sea.
Transfer to the airport for the return flight to the UK, at the end of a truly Grand Tour.
The transfer time from the airport to your hotel is approximately 30 minutes.
Hotel transfer times
Since some attractions visited offer free admission to visitors at certain times of year, we do not include entrance fees. These will be payable locally where applicable. This applies to excursions that are included in the price of your holiday and to excursions booked as optional extras.
Guests on half-board arrangements will be served a three-course evening meal, and can expect a first course of traditional pasta or soup, a main meat or fish course accompanied by one or two types of vegetable, and a simple dessert of fruit, cake or Italian ice cream. Breakfasts will usually consist of bread rolls, jam, cereal, ham, cheese, fruit juice, tea and coffee. Menus will vary from hotel to hotel, but choice will be more limited than in a normal restaurant. In some instances, individual guests who have booked with the hotel independently may be offered a different menu from those who are staying at the hotel as part of a package tour.
Meals in Italy
If you have notified us of any special requirements, please check that they have been noted and acknowledged. This is especially important with any dietary needs you may have.
We sometimes need to combine transfers to and from your hotel. We always try to keep any wait to a minimum, but you may be asked to wait at the airport for up to an hour, while other incoming flights arrive, before the transfer to your hotel. Similarly, we may need to transfer you back to the airport up to three hours before your flight home departs.
Combining hotel transfers
The majority of our tours involve a certain amount of walking, including a short walk from the coach stop to the town, attraction or venue you're visiting. If you are bringing a wheelchair, please let us know at the time of booking so that appropriate arrangements can be made.
Some regions of Italy have introduced a room tax of between 1 € and 3 € per person per night, payable directly by the guest to the hotel on check-out. You will be advised by your tour manager in resort if a particular hotel is implementing this charge.
Italian hotel room tax
An Airport Development Fee has been introduced at a few UK Airports. You will be required to pay this charge at the following airports prior to checking in for your flight: Blackpool, Durham Tees Valley, Newquay and Norwich. The amount varies from airport to airport, but it is generally between £5 and £10 per person. Please visit the airport's website for further information.
Airport development fees
Occasionally, for operational reasons, we may have to change the order of the excursions on your holiday. The final day-by-day itinerary will be confirmed on your Final Travel Documents, which you will receive approximately three weeks prior to your departure.
*Low deposit of £50 applies to new bookings made between 1st and 30th September 2016 (inclusive) only. This offer only applies to all 2016 to 2018 air breaks excluding the American Queen - Mississippi River Cruise; Deep South Rhythms, New Orleans and Caribbean Cruise; Five-Star Alaska Cruise and the Canadian Rockies; Highlights of China and Yangtze Cruise; Any world cruises or sectors aboard Magellan that include flights; Cruises aboard Norwegian Star that include flights; Cruises aboard Mendula that include flights; Cruises aboard Astoria that include flights; Cruises aboard Olympia that include flights; Cruises aboard Sound of Music that include flights and Daniel O'Donnell in Dublin by Air. This offer is subject to availability and may be withdrawn at any time.