|Departing||September 2012 - October 2013|
* Price shown: 25 May 2014 from Exeter - EXT
Discover this magical country
Join us to explore some of the finest cities in Europe. Marvel at exquisite Venice and romantic Verona; discover the treasures of Florence and 'eternal' Rome; and wander the shrine at Assisi and the Tuscan gems Siena and San Gimignano.
Single rooms are available for a supplement
This escorted holiday sees us based in two resorts; the first on the shores of beautiful Lake Garda, and the second high in the Tuscan hills.
Famous Riva, at the lake's north-western tip, has a busy historic centre surrounded by elegant, pastel-painted buildings. A good selection of cafes, gelaterie, bars, restaurants and shops make it one of the lake's most popular spots.
The spa-resort of Chianciano Terme lies about 60 miles south of Florence. Boasting a wonderful climate, Chianciano comprises two settlements: the old hill-town and the modern spa town below it. The resort offers some excellent shops, and many small bars, cafes and restaurants serving local food and wine.
This small village, just a few miles to the west of Verona is ideally situated for a relaxing final day and transfer to the airport.
Fly to Italy and transfer to Riva del Garda and your hotel. After a chance to relax and familiarise yourself with your surroundings, enjoy dinner in the hotel.
Today we explore "fair Verona", the historic backdrop for the tragic tale of "Juliet and her Romeo" and home to the famous opera season held yearly in its Roman amphitheatre. Explore this fascinating place, then take a seat in an open-air cafe in Piazza Bra to watch the world go by.
Venice is one of the world's most beautiful cities, and you can explore alone or join our optional guided tour, which includes a gondola ride through the winding waterways. With its mysterious labyrinth of alleys and waterways, spectacular St Mark's Square and Cathedral, the clock tower, the Doge's Palace, the Rialto Bridge and the mystique of the Palace of Prisons and the Bridge of Sighs, Venice has to be seen to be believed.
Bidding farewell to Garda's shores, we travel south to Florence. See the magnificent Florentine skyline, explore Santa Croce and cross the medieval Ponte Vecchio. Art lovers can visit the Accademia to marvel at Michelangelo's peerless statue of David, or wander the Uffizi and admire Botticelli's 'Birth of Venus' (payable locally).
In the afternoon we'll head further into Tuscany to our second base - Chianciano Terme.
Our fifth day's touring takes us into the rolling Tuscan hills to Siena. See the magnificent Piazza il Campo, home of the traditional Palio horse race, before heading to see the exquisite, Tuscan, hill-top fortress of San Gimignano and its beautiful towers, medieval walls and cathedral.
Today we travel south to Rome. Enjoy our optional guided tour of the ancient Colosseum and Forum, the great basilicas and the Baroque fountains. In the Vatican City, the dome of St Peter's looks over the vast Square, while a visit to the nearby Sistine Chapel will reveal Michelangelo's fabled frescoes.
Join us as we head through Umbria to Assisi, birthplace of Italy's patron St Francis, and home to the magnificent Basilica with its frescoes celebrating the life of that "most saintly of all the saints".
After our visit we'll head to our final hotel, in Lugagnano, just outside Verona.
Transfer back to the airport for check-in and your flight home.
The transfer time to your hotel is approximately one hour from Verona, and three hours from Milan and Venice. The transfer time back to the airport from your hotel is approximately 10 minutes from Verona Airport and three hours from Milan.
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.
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.
Since certain attractions visited offer free admission to visitors aged under 18 and over 65, 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.
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.
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 or electric scooter, please let us know as soon as possible so that appropriate arrangements can be made.
This holiday is very popular, and we have limited rooms in the hotels described. If demand is high on a particular date we may accommodate you in an alternative hotel, of a similar standard, in a convenient location for the tour. Full details of your hotel will be sent with your Joining Instructions.
Some regions of Italy have introduced a room tax of between 1 EURO and 3 EURO 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.
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.