Gardens and Landscapes of Italy
JUNE 19, 2017 -- JULY 2, 2017
DAY 1: FLIGHT TO ROME, ITALY
Board your overnight flight to Rome, Italy (not included)!
DAY 2: WELCOME TO ROME!
Welcome to Rome - one of the world’s most historic cities. Depart Rome’s Fiumicino airport and transfer to your hotel. Later, join your Tour Director for a Welcome reception and dinner. Visit Rome by night in coach bus.
DAY 3: VATICAN & IMPERIAL ROME
In the morning, you will start off in the Vatican State, the richest community in the world. Here, you will enter the Sistine Chapel and admire Michelangelo’s famous painted ceiling, including The Creation. Next door in St. Peter’s Basilica, see one of Michelangelo’s early works, the Pieta, and the dome completed after his death. Next, visit the Colosseum, the largest amphitheater ever built and considered one of the greatest works of engineering and architecture. Finally, look out over the site of the Roman Forum, for centuries the center of Roman public life. The afternoon is at leisure for you to rest or enjoy the city at your pace. In the evening, you will dine in one of the most famous squares in Rome: Piazza Navona. After dinner, let’s stroll together through the historic center to view the Pantheon and the Trevi Fountain.
DAY 4: VILLA D’ESTE AND VILLA ADRIANA
This morning, you will visit Villa d’Este, located in Tivoli, near Rome. This 16th century villa was commissioned by Cardinal Ippolito II d'Este, and houses some of the most spectacular frescoes and gardens in the world. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, it exemplifies the magnificence of Renaissance architecture and Italian Renaissance gardens. Wander down the many paths and steps toward breathtaking panoramas while being refreshed by the garden’s hundreds of fountains. Next, you will visit Villa Adriana, or Hadrian’s villa, built in the 2nd century AD by the Roman Emperor Hadrian as a retreat from his residence at the Palatine Hill in Rome. Now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, it is also an important archaeological and cultural site, housing many artifacts such as marble statues, mosaics, replicas of Greek statues, and other artworks. Dinner in the hotel.
DAY 5: ASSISI
Today, you will see the Garden of Bomarzo, also known as Sacro Bosco (Sacred Gardens), a 16th century garden with astonishing, large sculptures, some sculpted in bedrock. We will then make our way to the region of Umbria, toward the peaceful town of Assisi, where the beloved religious figure St. Francis was born and lived, founding the Franciscan Orders. Here, you will have a guided tour of the village and visit the Basilica of San Francesco d’Assisi—The Basilica of St. Francis — a 13th century basilica that is one of the most important landmarks for Christian pilgrimage in Italy. The basilica is a UNESCO Heritage Site and houses the tomb of St. Francis. Dinner in the hotel.
DAY 6: COUNTRYSIDE OF TUSCANY
Come with us for a wonderful day trip to Tuscany's most famous hilltop town! San Gimignano, a picturesque medieval village, is known for its towers and its Vernaccia wine, a white grape wine. Soak up the unique atmosphere of this ancient town and visit an ice cream shop made world famous by its unique flavors, made fresh from local herbs and fresh fruits. San Gimignano has remained intact since the 14th century and today is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. We will then make our way to the town of Siena, where the historic center is also declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. Siena, settled between 900 and 400 BC, is a medieval city known for its unique cuisine, museums, art, but namely the Palio, a dangerous, yet very festive, horse race held twice a year in the Piazza del Campo.In the evening, you will enjoy a typical Tuscan dining experience and learn to make pasta!
DAY 7: FLORENCE—THE CITY OF ART
After breakfast, we head to Florence: the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance. Join a local guide for a tour of the Academy Gallery to see Michelangelo's statue of David. Continue to Giotto's bell tower next to the cathedral and see the ‘Gates of Paradise' before visiting the Piazza della Signoria, to this day the political heart of Florence. Continue to Piazza Santa Croce, famous for its Basilica and luxury shops. Next, you will visit Palazzo Pitti, a current day museum housing over 250,000 works of art and splendid gardens. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure. Dinner in the hotel.
DAY 8: BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO & PIENZA
Today, you will visit the extraordinary countryside of Tuscany! We drive through rolling hills of sunflowers and vineyards as we make our way to a wine farm where the famous wine, Brunello di Montalcino, is made. You will have a relaxing lunch in the Tuscan hills before continuing on to Pienza, a characteristic Tuscan hilltop town. Stroll through the narrow streets of the historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage site, before going back to your hotel. Dinner in the hotel.
DAY 9: PISA & LA SPEZIA
After breakfast, we make our way to Pisa, where you will visit the Square of Miracles and the bell tower of the cathedral, also known as “the leaning Tower of Pisa.” Marvel at the Cathedral and Baptistry, decorated with mosaics and designs in solid marble. Sit in the square and admire these architectural wonders before enjoying lunch at a wine farm and olive grove. Now, we continue on to La Spezia, a city in the region of Liguria, Northern Italy. Relax and enjoy an evening at leisure. Dinner this evening will be in the hotel.
DAY 10: CINQUE TERRE
Get ready to explore the ‘Cinque Terre', or ‘five lands,’ which were for years in complete isolation, only accessible by donkey or boat. You will join a local guide in the town of Manarola, admiring the brightly colored houses perched atop a cliff overlooking the sea, before taking a train to one of the scenic fishing villages, Monterosso. Explore the old medieval quarter and popular sandy beach before boarding a boat to cruise the rugged coastline while viewing all five towns of the Cinque Terre from the sea. Dinner in the hotel.
DAY 11: LAKE MAGGIORE
This morning, we will drive north toward Italy’s lake district. We stop at Lake Maggiore, where you will relax for the evening, enjoying the stunning beauty of the lake and the town. Dinner will be in the hotel.
DAY 12: ISOLA BELLA & ISOLA DELLA MADRE
Board a private boat across Lake Maggiore to the beautiful Borromean Islands. You will visit Isola Bella, renowned for its incredible Borromean palace and remarkable botanical gardens. Next, let’s go on a scenic drive along the shores of the lake, past luxurious villas set in spectacular gardens while admiring the Swiss Alps in the distance. Evening at leisure to enjoy the scenery. Dinner in the hotel.
DAY 13: LAKE COMO & VILLA CARLOTTA
Spend the morning visiting Villa Carlotta, built at the end of the 17th century and famous for its art and romantic gardens. From Villa Carlotta, board a private vessel to view some of the lake’s most luxurious villas, only visible by boat. Marvel at the glorious crystal waters as we make our way to the town of Bellagio — called the pearl of Lake Como. Spend the morning in Bellagio – the pearl of Lake Como. Explore the narrow cobblestone alleyways and shop in the elegant boutiques before our tour finale dinner on the Isola dei Pescatori (Fishermen’s Island), a picturesque island next to Isola Bella.
DAY 14: DEPARTURE FROM LAKE COMO
Transfer to Milan Malpensa airport available.
Included in the price your tour:
- All breakfasts
- 2 lunches
- All dinners
- Full-time services of a professional Azzurro Dream Travel licensed Tour Director and local experts who will make the fascinating history, art, and culture of your destination come alive
- If group larger than 20, each person will be provided tour headphones for local guides
- Private motorcoach
- Private boat fees
- All group transportation does not include optional activities or independent travel during the tour)
- All 4 star hotel accommodations from start date to end date of tour
- Entrance fees to museums, wineries, gardens, and villas
- Optional single supplements — this tour has a limited number of private rooms for solo travelers for an additional fee
- Transfers from airport on start date of tour (choose from 2 different times)
- Transfers to airport on end date of tour (choose from 2 different times)
- A lot of fun meeting new people and experiencing a new culture!
Not included in the price of your tour:
- All airfares and air-related charges between your gateway city and your destination
- Additional fees charged by airlines such as checked and/or excess baggage, seat selections and any other services
- Cost of drinks
- Free time sightseeing
- Passport and visa fees
- Personal insurance coverage, including but not limited to health insurance, trip cancellation insurance, flight insurance, luggage insurance, etc.
- Tips/gratuities to Tour Directors, motorcoach drivers, and local guides
- Phone calls
- Internet access/ wi-fi
- Beverages and meals not detailed in the itinerary
- Optional experiences/ excursions
- Any and all items of a personal nature
- Additional taxes and surcharges may be collected by foreign governmental and non-governmental entities
- The price does not cover costs and expenses, including your return home, if you leave the tour whether at your own volition, due to illness, action by any government or other reason
PLEASE NOTE: This list is illustrative and not a complete list of every item included/ not included. For more information, please refer to the Terms and Conditions on the Azzurro Dream Travel website or contact us.