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Grand Italian Cities

Immerse yourself in the wonders of Italy on this extended version of one of our most popular holidays. Experience the magic of some of Europe's finest cities on a delightful two-centre tour that combines leisurely days and balmy evenings with unforgettable tours of seven must-see Italian locations. From Romeo and Juliet's "fair Verona" to exquisite Mantova, from incomparable Venice to timeless Florence, and from the Tuscan gems of Siena and San Gimignano to the Eternal City of Rome, this is Italy at its best, full of warmth, charm, fine food and wine – La Dolce Vita indeed.

What does this price include?

  • Nine nights' dinner, bed and breakfast accommodation at the four-star Hotel Riva del Sole, Moniga del Garda, and the four-star Hotel President, Chianciano Terme
  • Return flights to Italy
  • Coach travel and transfers throughout
  • Fully escorted by a friendly, experienced tour manager

Your Itinerary

  • Upon arrival, meet your tour manager and transfer to the hotel in Moniga del Garda. Settle into your surroundings, and, depending on the time of your arrival, perhaps explore before dinner.

  • Our first excursion takes you to charming Verona, its historic centre fashioned in pink marble. Take a seat in one of the numerous pavement cafés that line the Piazza Bra, opposite the vast Roman amphitheatre, or wander the maze of 13th-century streets that Shakespeare brought to life in his timeless tale of doomed love.

    From Verona, you'll head south to Mantova (Mantua), described as "the most romantic city in the world" by Aldous Huxley. Surrounded by beautiful lakes, and with a skyline of turrets and towers that Huxley felt was straight out of an "Arabian Nights" fantasy, Mantova is a delightful city of ancient streets and squares lined with ornate palazzi.

    You'll return to Moniga in time for dinner.

  • Spend a day relaxing in the hotel and its surroundings. Take in the wonderful views from the terrace, wander down to the lakeshore or perhaps even head up to the 10th-century castle above the village.

    Moniga is surrounded by vineyards famous for their rosé and olive groves, and boasts a medieval heart of narrow streets and alleyways. The major towns of Desenzano and Sirmione are a short distance away by bus, taxi or lake steamer, should you wish to head elsewhere for a lunch in the sunshine.

  • Today you'll travel to Venice, for a walking tour of this breathtakingly beautiful city. Discover its famous bridges, and see gondolas and water taxis plying their trades on the Grand Canal. Vast St Mark’s Square - with its cathedral, clock tower and Doges' Palace - is one of the world’s great sights. And, close by, joining the palace to the prisons, stands the Bridge of Sighs - which allegedly afforded condemned men a last view of the beauty of Venice.

    Take a seat in a St Mark's café to watch the world go by, or perhaps simply wander through the narrow streets that radiate away from the heart of this endlessly fascinating city.

  • Bidding farewell to Garda's shores, today you'll travel south to Florence, to see for yourself the magnificent Florentine skyline, dominated by the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, and to experience the splendour of Santa Croce and the beautiful Ponte Vecchio bridge. Florence is home to the Accademia, which houses Michelangelo's astonishing sculpture of David, and to the Uffizi, where Botticelli's famous Birth of Venus can be seen. (Gallery entries payable locally.)

    From Florence, you'll continue to Chianciano Terme, your second holiday base, arriving in time to enjoy dinner in the hotel.

  • Head through the Tuscan hills to Siena, one of Europe’s most perfectly preserved medieval cities, where the shell-shaped piazza il Campo is still home each year to the traditional Palio horse race. After the opportunity for lunch, you'll journey to San Gimignano, a glorious hill town of beautiful towers, medieval walls and a cathedral filled with fabulous frescoes, before returning to Chianciano for dinner.

  • The delights of Chianciano and your hotel are yours to savour today. This pretty spa town has wonderful climate and thermal springs that have drawn visitors from far and wide for centuries. Book a spa treatment, explore the old hill town or relax in one of the resort's many small bars, cafés and restaurants.

  • Your last excursion sees you spend a day in glorious Rome, one of the most fascinating cities on Earth. Upon arrival, a guided tour will reveal the Colosseum and the Forum (the centre of Ancient Rome), the great basilicas of the early Christian Church, and the Baroque fountains into which many a coin has been thrown. In the Vatican City, across the Tiber, great St Peter’s looks over the vast Square, while the nearby Sistine Chapel houses Michelangelo's fabled frescoes.

    Wander through elegant piazzas, delightful gardens and sophisticated shopping streets like the Via Condotti, relax in a pavement café and watch the world go by, and soak up the atmosphere of the city that some say invented La Dolce Vita, before returning to Chianciano.

  • Make the most of a last, restful day in Chianciano, and later look back over the past wonderful few days with your fellow travellers over a final dinner.

  • Bid "Arrivederci" to your Tuscan hosts, and transfer to the airport to catch your flight home.

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Hotels

The Best of Italy Touring Hotels

You will be staying in a series of comfortable hotels that are conveniently located for your tour itinerary.

Further Information

  • On arrival the transfer time from the airport to your hotel is approximately 45 minutes from Verona, one hour and 30 minutes from Bergamo and two hours and 30 minutes from Venice. On departure the transfer time from the hotel to Rome is approximately two hours and 30 minutes.

  • 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.

  • 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, please let us know at the time of booking so that appropriate arrangements can be made.

  • 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.

  • Should circumstances require, we reserve the right to accommodate you in alternative hotels, of a similar standard, nearby. Full details of your hotels will be sent with your Final Travel Documents.

  • Visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice to find out the latest Foreign And Commonwealth Office travel advice for your holiday destination, as well as information about passports and visas.

  • Please note: Since some attractions visited offer free admission to visitors at certain times of the year, we do not include entrance fees. These will be payable locally where applicable.

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