Italia Il Bel Paese Itinerary
(Naples, Sorrento, Amalfi coast, Rome, Florence, Venice)
DAY 1: ARRIVAL NAPLES (D)
Welcome to Italia!
Southern Italy is a fascinating area with its Roman and Greek temples, and extensive archaeological remains. Naples, founded by the Greeks is one of the oldest cities in the world. You will need to book your air travel so that you arrive into the Naples Airport (NAP) by noon for pickup and transfer to your Sorrento hotel, overlooking the beautiful bay of Naples and powerful Mount Vesuvius. The transfer will be by van and is included in the price. Sorrento lies in one of the most beautiful areas in Italy. Here mountains erupt from the Mediterranean and pastel-hued villages cling to their sides. This area is filled with dazzling antiquities like Herculaneum and Pompeii and breath taking natural wonders. You will spend the next few days in this picturesque region that has been a favorite vacation destination since Roman times.
Your Travels with Audrey tour starts at 3:00PM in the hotel lobby where we all meet for an orientation walk and an opportunity to meet your fellow travelers. You will have time to freshen up before your included dinner tonight.
INCLUDED WELCOME DINNER TONIGHT: Tonight you are in for a special treat for your Welcome Dinner at our unique authentic local restaurant
Overnight at Hotel Il Nido (or similar)
Your Unique Small Group Tour Vacation of Italy is underway!
DAY 2: PAESTUM AND MOZZARELLA DI BUFALA (B-L)
Today we have a full day of wonderful discoveries! Your professional Italian Driver will pick you up after breakfast for a day of unique discoveries with a visit of Paestum, some of the world’s best preserved Greek temples.
Paestum is situated along the central west coast of Italy, south of both Naples and Salerno. Once a time-honored Greek colony, Paestum remains off the beaten path yet there are few destinations in the country that are as rewarding as this ancient community. Another great reward for visitors who visit Paestum is the solitude throughout the area. Often, there is not a soul around. A far cry from its Italian counterparts such as Milan, Rome, and Florence, Paestum's combination of historic monuments, peaceful surroundings, and coastal location make it an ideal stop. The stately honey-colored temples were once part of the Greek colonies that once held sway over much of southern Italy. The Greeks capitulated to the Romans in 273BC and Poseidonia, as it was known, remained a thriving trading port until the fall of the Roman Empire.
After your visit, time to stop for a special treat! A visit of a farm that produces the superbly soft and creamy mozzarella made from the organic mild of water buffalo.
Late afternoon we return to Sorrento.
OPTIONAL DINNER- enjoy dinner at your leisure this evening A day on the Amalfi coast is incomplete without at least a taste of the limoncello, featuring the local citrus crop.
Overnight at Hotel Il Nido (or similar)
DAY 3: LA DOLCE FAR NIENTE (B)
Capri playground of roman emperors Today is a day you can spend as you like: You can spend time wondering the narrow alleys of Sorrento, with wonderful shops (linen clothing, crafts, jewelry, ceramics), known as the city of orange and lemon groves. Sample the local popular liqueur in a local shops, Limoncello, or quite simply sit by the pool (weather permitting) enjoying the sweetness of doing nothing.
For those wishing to visit Capri (weather permitting), your tour manager will accompany you after breakfast to the world’s most enchanting island. You can explore to your heart’s content on your own or with your tour manager (Includes taxi to ferry dock and your round trip ferry ticket).
You may choose to stay on the island all day or choose for the balance of the afternoon and evening to simply explore the sights and ambiance of Sorrento, a special Italian resort town. On the island we recommend sharing the cost of a convertible taxi cab for the time you need it and your tour manager can also show you some awesome simple hikes.
A vacation spot of Roman emperors and movie stars for centuries, you’ll be equally captivated by the charms of Capri. The jaw dropping and spectacular scenery is sure to impress any traveler and the colorful bougainvillea, fragrant lemon groves and grapevines are a delight for any photo-fanatic. Tiberius had his Villa Jovis built here, now an evocative cliff top ruin with breathtaking views, and his ruling seat in AD26 and Emperor Augustus made it his private playground.
The hallmarks of this 5 square mile getaways surrounded by emerald waters are the Faraglioni, three needle like rocks towering just off the rugged coast. It’s also a hugely popular day-trip destination and a summer favorite of holidaying VIPs.
Inevitably, the two main centers, Capri Town and its uphill rival Anacapri, are almost entirely given over to tourism, with the high prices that predictably follow. But explore beyond the swish cafes and designer boutiques and you’ll find that Capri retains an unspoiled charm. All of this overlooks the deep blue water that laps into secluded coves and mysterious grottoes.
Take a chairlift to the top of Monte Solaro and take in the views of the cliffs and sea so dramatic that the hair will stand up on the back of your neck.
Visit the church of St Michael, known for its 18th century majolica floor depicting the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. You’ll be as captivated by Capri as Emperor Tiberius who used the Blue Grotto as his personal swimming pool.
In Anacapri, we also highly recommend visiting Villa San Michele: is a magical place that must be experienced. Some speak of Feng shui perfection, about a node for magnetic flows, and others about its enchanting beauty. Villa San Michele is undoubtedly unique and a living example of the dream that became reality with its lush Mediterranean gardens that offer a chance to escape the day tripping crowds. “The soul needs more space than the body”
For lunch why not try “La Fontelina”where the sun, the sea, good wine and great food comes together simply but gloriously on a sun-dappled seaside terrace with the Faraglioni in sight. Diners can sunbathe and swim before and after a lunch that is likely to include the restaurant’s signature fruit filled sangria and simple “insalata caprese”, the islands specialty of super fresh mozzarella and just picked tomatoes.
Optional tours and activities:
A day in Pompeii: Pompeii is the most famous and visited archaeological site in the world (Includes round trip transfer and private tour)
Cooking lesson: please inquire with us about the various types of cooking lessons and cost available in Sorrento
OPTIONAL DINNER-Enjoy dinner at your leisure
Overnight at Hotel Il Nido (or similar)
DAY 4: DIVINE AMALFI COAST ESCAPE and HERCULANEUM (B)
“Italy’s Dream Drive” Today is a full day of discovery, leaving at 08:30, for a guided tour of Herculaneum and a drive along the famous and spectacular Amalfi Coast, one of Europe’s most dramatic shorelines and a Unesco World Heritage site.
Herculaneum: The eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79 completely engulfed the towns of Pompeii and the wealthy Roman seaside resort of Herculaneum with debris. Herculaneum was covered with a thick layer of lava and mud - this layer preserved it almost perfectly, whilst Pompeii was covered in cinders and volcanic ash. Archaeological excavations have uncovered private villas, shops, bathhouses, and a fascinating range of everyday objects. The small town of Herculaneum offers the most concise and moving monument to the great eruption. Its ruins might be less extensive than those of Pompeii, but they are far better preserved. Many of the buildings have weathered the centuries so well that they look virtually the same as they would have done millennia ago.
After your visit of Herculaneum, our scenic drive will take us over the Monti Lattari (Lattari Mountains) over to our first stop on the Amalfi Coast, the charming town of Ravello. Perched 1100 feet above Amalfi, on towering cliffs above the sea is aptly described as “the place where poets go to die”. From your included visit of the romantic gardens of Villa Rufolo, enjoy the never ending views of the turquoise blue sea. After lunch, continue to Amalfi, once a mighty maritime republic; enjoy a walk through town and a chance to visit the Duomo di Sant’Andrea which glitters when the sun strikes the 12th century gold mosaics on its façade. On our way back toward Sorrento, we stop in Positano, the pearl of the Amalfi coast, with its colorful houses clinging to the hillside overlooking the sea.
On Italy’s most scenic stretch of coastline, famously steep and narrow and kinked with hairpin turns, it winds up cliffs and down into deep gorges, the colors thrill, a living kaleidoscope that swirls and changes with every turn: pastel hued villages terraced into the hillside, deep green gardens blanketed with brilliant blooms, sunny yellow of the local lemons, and the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean. The towns have inspired writers and artists for centuries from 14th century writer Giovanni Boccaccio to 19th century composer Richard Wagner and 20th century playwright Tennessee Williams. John Steinbeck described it as “a dream place that is not quite real when you are there and beckoningly real after you have gone”.
OPTIONAL DINNER-Enjoy dinner at your leisure this evening
Overnight at Hotel Il Nido (or similar)
DAY 5: NAPLES, PIZZA (B-D)
Twenty five centuries of culture, Neapolitan style
When most visitors think of Italian food, they are usually thinking of the dishes of Naples and Sorrento, spaghetti with tomato and basil, mozzarella and pizza, which are from this area. After breakfast, our private transportation and driver will pick you up for a private guided tour of Naples, seeing Piazza del Gesù, Gesu Nuovo Church, the Monastery of Santa Chiara, the church of San Domenico Maggiore, the Chapel of San Severo (with the Veiled Christ), and time permitting the Cathedral of Naples. Let’s not forget to have lunch at a local historical Pizza place, in the city that created Pizza!
Naples: Naples is Italy’s most misunderstood city and is also one of its finest. The Unesco listed “centro storico” (historical center) is an intoxicating warren of streets packed with ancient churches, citrus filled cloisters and first rate pizzerias. It is here, under the washing lines, that you will find classic Neapolitan street life, overloaded Vespas hurtling through cobbled alleyways and bullying market vendors. Move towards the sea and the cityscape opens up. Imperious palaces flank beautiful squares where Gucci clad shoppers strut their stuff, then lunch in chandeliered cafes. This is Royal Naples, the Naples of the Bourbons, that so impressed the 18th century grand tour visitors. More than two millennia of history stokes the vitality and energy of this modern day port city famous for its high spirited, chaotic, everyday life, Naples was the seat of a powerful, independent kingdom for more than 500 years and drew Europe’s finest architects and artists. Explore its many historic overlays in the colorful Spaccanapoli, at the heart of the old city. The bay fronting Castel Nuovo, a massive fortification dating back to the 13th century, holds the civic museum; Palazzo Reale, the art jammed 17th century palace that was home to the Naples monarchs and the famed Teatro di San Carlo opera house, one of Europe’s largest and most splendid.
Then it is time for your high speed train to take you up to Rome.
“If there was no Rome, I would dream of her”, Sir Laurence Olivier in Spartacus
Romans call Rome, “Roma Caput Mundi”, Rome Capital of the world. Start the trip of a lifetime in one of the world’s most fascinating cities! Your hotel is located right in the historical heart of the city, steps away from the major historical sites. An epic, monumental metropolis, Italy’s capital is a city of thrilling beauty and high drama. Its historic center, which according to Unesco, boasts some of the major monuments of antiquity, has been a world heritage site since 1980.
After checking in to your hotel in Rome located in the historical heart of the city walking distance to all major sites, you will have time to freshen up before meeting your tour manager for an orientation walk through the streets of this fascinating city, Rome. On your walk with your tour manager you will have a chance to see some amazing sites, Santa Maria sopra Minerva (a must see Gothic church), Pantheon (the best preserved of Rome’s ancient monuments and one of the most influential buildings in the world), Piazza Navona, Spanish Steps, Trevi fountain to throw in your coin!
INCLUDED WELCOME DINNER TONIGHT: In the evening enjoy of a Welcome Dinner in an authentic local Roman trattoria
Overnight at Hotel Aberdeen (or similar)
DAY 6: ROME OF THE CAESARS (B)
After breakfast, your sightseeing today is with a local expert guide on your private walking tour of ancient Rome; visit with skip the line access (no waiting in line) the Roman Forum, once the beating heart of the ancient city, followed by the most iconic ancient monument, the Colosseum. Travel back in time in the Roman Forum where you will be walking through the site along the Via Sacra (Sacred Way), seeing the Temple of the Vestal Virgins, Arch of Titus, Arch of Constantine, the temple of Caesar where he was burned, Curia or Senate House, Palatine Hill and Capitoline Hill. The Colosseum was officially designated as one of the New 7 Wonders of the World in 2007. The towering 1st century AD amphitheater where gladiators met in mortal combat and condemned criminals fought off wild beasts.
After your guided tour (approximately 3 hours), spend lunch and the afternoon pursuing your own passions. Here are just a few of our recommendations:
- No visit to Rome would be complete without visiting a few of the many churches and basilicas: the basilica of St John Lateran, the medieval basilica of San Clemente, Santa Maria Maggiore, all repositories of relics and magnificent art.
- Borghese gallery, with a rich collection of the finest artists, like Bernini, Casanova, Caravaggio and other treasures to fill several rooms in this wonderful 17th century villa (We can arrange admission tickets, please check with us at time of booking for pricing).
- For a touch of mystery explore the ancient Christian burial sites tunneled under the old Apian way. The murky catacombs of St. Callistus hold some 170.000 graves (now empty), the crypt of St Cecilia, and paintings from the second and third century’s AD.
- Take in the swirling traffic and exuberance of life in the Italian capital and it is easy to believe that all roads lead to Rome. The city can overwhelm its visitors with millennia of history, unrivaled art collections, neighborhoods that feel like small villages and an enviable marriage of carpe diem and la dolce vita. See the sights, embrace the vitality, and do as the Romans do: linger awhile with an espresso or aperitivo while watching the amazing spectacle that is Rome unfold.
Lucian, the second century Greek rhetorician, described Rome as “a bit of paradise” and 15th century Tuscan scholar Gian Francesco Poggio Bracciolini praised the city as “the most beautiful and magnificent of all those that either have been or shall be”. These opinions about the eternal city survive and why not? Almost 3000 years of history, layer upon layer of it, testify not only to the genius, perseverance and adaptability to the people who founded Rome and developed it through the ages, but also to that of those who followed.
OPTIONAL DINNER- Enjoy dinner at your leisure tonight You may opt to join your Tour Manager tonight for dinner or opt to explore on your own
Overnight at Hotel Aberdeen (or similar)
DAY 7: TREASURES OF VATICAN CITY (B)
This morning meet your tour manager and your professional private expert guide in the lobby of your hotel and board your vehicle for a quick transfer to another country, separate and distinct from Italy! The Vatican: the smallest state in the world, one eight the size of Central Park in New York City. With your local expert guide and skip the line entrance tickets, you will tour the Vatican museums (including the Hall of Maps, Gallery of Tapestries), Sistine chapel (a very impressive head tilting chapel where you see The Last Judgment, painting by Michelangelo, during the years 1535 to 1541) and St Peter’s Basilica, the largest and grandest church in Christendom. See Michelangelo’s Pieta, sculpted when he was only 24, as well as Bernini’s seven story bronze canopy located above the main altar; and as the tour draws to a close, you can admire the magnificent St Peter’s Square where you can see the balcony from which the Pope delivers his public addresses. For many visitors, a guided tour of Vatican City is a dream come true experience. With us you save yourself a very long 2 to 3 hour line (Visit approximately 3 hours and return to hotel via private transfer in time for lunch) Usually we enjoy early admission around 08:15/08:30 AM to avoid large cruise groups, but please note that the visit of St Peter’s Basilica is subject to availability based on the events planned for the Jubilee 2016
For your afternoon at leisure today, we recommend the following options:
- Castel Sant' Angelo: The Mausoleum of Hadrian has served a variety of uses throughout history. It was initially commissioned by the Roman Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum for himself and his family. In front runs the Tiber river and the one of the many bridges of Rome, the Ponte Sant' Angelo with its beautiful statues of angels by Bernini.
- Shop on Via Condotti, close to the Spanish steps, the top fashion street in Rome, with Italian upscale fashion shops.
OPTIONAL DINNER TONIGHT-Enjoy dinner at your leisure tonight
Overnight at Hotel Aberdeen (or similar)
DAY 8: CIVITA DI BAGNOREGIO/ORVIETO (B-D)
This morning we say "arrivederci" to Roma and head into the Italian countryside.
Today’s first visit is to the unique charming medieval hamlet of Civita di Bagnoregio in the region of Lazio, isolated by earthquakes and erosion creating an inland island of only a few inhabitants, accessible now only on foot across a 300 meter bridge! It is a true marvel and one of the most spectacular sights in all of Italy. Then we are off to spectacular Umbrian hilltop town of Orvieto, famous for its Duomo and its white wine, Orvieto classic. The town sits on an outcrop of volcanic tufa rock, with thousands of caves underneath the city, dug out during Etruscan, Medieval and Renaissance times. You will have a chance to explore the town with your tour manager after lunch (free for you to enjoy at your own leisure) including one of Italy’s most famous Gothic Cathedrals. Just before traveling up to Florence, passing beautiful rolling hills of Umbria and Tuscany, you will get a chance to visit a family owned winery and taste the local famous wine, Orvieto Classico.
After checking in to your hotel in Florence located in the historical heart of the city, within walking distance to all major sites, you will have time to freshen up before meeting your tour manager for a short orientation walk through the cobblestone streets on your way to your included dinner. Your tour manager would love to show you one of the most spectacular settings, magical location before going for dinner, but it will require taking taxis at your own cost. But well worth it! (Dependent on sunset time and weather)
INCLUDED DINNER: Tonight, we’ll bring you to our favorite local restaurant or a typical Tuscan dinner
Overnight at Hotel Rivoli (or similar)
DAY 9: RENAISSANCE DISCOVERIES (B)
Florence, the cradle of the renaissance and home of Michelangelo, Machiavelli and Medici, Florence is magnetic, romantic, unique and busy. A couple of days is not long enough here but is enough for a breathless introduction to the city’s top sights. Today start the day with a private walking tour in the heart of Florence, the birthplace of Renaissance, visiting some of Florence’s most important sights. Included on the tour are the Galleria dell’Accademia (first art school in Europe) to see Michelangelo’s masterpiece, David, up close and personal, with your skip the line tickets (no waiting in line), Duomo Santa Maria del Fiore, Dante’s house, Orsanmichele church, Piazza della Signoria, finishing at the Ponte Vecchio. The capital of Tuscany, Firenze (Florence) is, most famously, the cradle of the Renaissance, epitomized by the cupola that Filippo Brunelleschi designed for the Duomo more than 600 years ago. Michelangelo’s David and countless other treasures fill the city’s museums and churches.
The Florentine lifestyle is a work of art in itself, to be savored in historic cafes, welcoming trattorias, trendy boutiques and the city’s medieval streets and piazzas rimmed with fortress like palazzos.
Your tour manager can walk you to the Mercato Centrale (market) after your tour, a great place for lunch and shopping for typical Tuscan delicacies. Your tour manager can also show you the best place in town to buy excellent quality leather!
For the afternoon you are free to explore this magnificent city, and there are so many choices: The first fashion city of Italy has great shoe and clothing stores; spend time in the Uffizi gallery which houses one of the world’s great art collections including works by Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and many other Renaissance maestros; Palazzo Vecchio; Pitti Palace and the Boboli gardens; Medici Chapel; Galileo museum or climb the Duomo for an awe inspiring view of the city, to name a few. Or quite simply stroll through the medieval streets taking in the sculptures, art and architecture that surround you. Though Florence’s’ top tourist sites are popular for a reason, take a local’s advice to escape the crowds, and see things everybody else misses. “While the tourist hordes flock to Michelangelo’s David and the Uffizi”, says medieval historian Gloria Papaccio, “we Florentines come to the peaceful chapel of the Palazzo Medici Riccardi to revel in the ideal vision of the Renaissance. A three fresco cycle painted in 1460 and tucked away in the depths of a palace that belonged to the Medici, the powerful banking dynasty that dominated Florence for almost four centuries. Museo Nazionale del Bargello is to renaissance sculpture what the Uffizi is to paining. A gothic fortress from 1255 is houses Italy’s greatest collection of renaissance sculpture. Basilica di Santa Maria Novella, with its original 13th century facade, with some of Florence’s greatest treasures: frescoes by Domenico Ghirlandaio, Filippino Lippi, Nardo di Gione. Two famous crosses, one by Giotto and one by Brunelleschi; Masaccio’s Trinita and the pulpit from which Galileo was denounced for saying the earth orbits the sun. Visit the famous Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria just around the corner on Via Della Scala. Since 1221 monks have formulated balms and ointments from herbs still used today for soaps and scents (great for purchasing unique gifts) Medici chapels: Michelangelo’s first architectural project, to house the remains of Lorenzo the Magnificent and other members of the ruling clan.
OPTIONAL DINNER: Tonight enjoy dinner on your own at a local Florentine restaurant. Be sure to try “Ribollita,” one of Florence’s most popular specialties. This hearty soup is made from cannellini beans, vegetables, red cabbage and chunks of bread
Overnight at Hotel Rivoli (or similar)
DAY 10: FULL FREE DAY IN FLORENCE (B)
Most tour operators do not offer a free day in Florence, and there are so many options available for travelers on their independent free day for each guest to decide what to see and do.
Optional tours for today are:
- You could choose a guided tour to Pisa to view the Leaning Tower of Pisa, among the most instantly recognizable structures on earth along with the Cathedral and Baptistery. Architects say it would be world famous even if it were perfectly straight.
- One of Italy's most popular activities for locals is shopping, which abounds in Florence where you will find many of the famous designer shops. There are several leather markets and the Ponte Vecchio is known for its many gold and silver shops. You can find delicious treats and some unusual gifts. You can even visit the Shoe Museum in the Ferragamo shop. You might want to stop into my favorite chocolate shop,Rivoire, located right on Piazza Signoria. You can find delicious treats and some unusual gifts.
- Tuscany's cuisine is world famous. Today could be the day you give yourself that opportunity to learn how to prepare a Tuscan meal yourself with great cooking class options. (please check with us for options and prices)
You will cross the Arno River to the Oltrarno district where you will find the kitchen of InTavola cooking courses. Here, with the guidance of a professional chef, you will prepare several courses from starters like bruschetta, homemade pasta and sauce, a main course and finally dessert. You will then sit down to enjoy the fruits of your labor with a little vino in a beautiful setting that you will never forget. This experience is always a highlight for many travelers
- Or you could choose a guided tour of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, one of the largest, oldest, and most outstanding art museums in the world, if you wish to dig deeper into the vast riches of Florence's art heritage. We can arrange admission tickets and private guide for you in advance.
OPTIONAL DINNER- Enjoy dinner at your leisure tonight You may opt to join your Tour Manager tonight for dinner or opt to explore on your own.
Overnight at Hotel Rivoli (or similar)
DAY 11: ROMANTIC VENICE (B)
“Your visit to Venice becomes a perpetual love affair”, Henry James
Your tour continues today with a journey aboard the sleek high speed train from Florence to Venice, known as La Serenissima (the most serene). Transfer by canal boat to your hotel, conveniently located in the historical heart of the city, near St Mark’s square.
Welcome to Venice! The Queen of the Adriatic, an elegant and magical floating city! A magnificent, unforgettable, hauntingly beautiful city and one of the world’s most enchanting. For 1000 years it was one of Europe’s great sea powers. No matter how many times you visit this floating city, there is always something new to discover.
Many first-time visitors are often stirred deeply by this almost fantasy world unlike anything they have ever seen before.
Visiting Venice without an experienced tour manager or guide can be difficult, as most visitors do not know where to go or what to look for. After lunch, embark on an orientation walk with your tour manager who will show you some of the back streets of Venice leading to St Mark’s square. Napoleon referred to this square as “the most beautiful drawing room in Europe”. Enjoy a skip the line entrance to the Basilica, including the balcony which provides amazing views over Piazza San Marco, a balcony few visitors take the time to see. For sheer wow factor little can compare with the Basilica di San Marco and its 24 carat gold mosaics. Learn from your experienced and knowledgeable tour manager all about Venice, and some of the important sights on this orientation walk. This evening before dinner, enjoy your included once in a lifetime gondola ride with private serenade with professional musicians (weather permitting).
OPTIONAL DINNER- In the evening let’s enjoy a special activity together, cicchetti crawl (Venice’s version of tapas), and a unique Venetian tradition. This is optional, but what great way to discover another side of Venice, with good wine and new friends. Now that is Italian!
Overnight at Hotel Ala (or similar)
DAY 12: EXPLORE VENICE (B)
After breakfast, you will meet your local expert guide for a private walking tour of this fascinating city that for centuries was Europe’s top superpower. But what will be unique is that she will lead you along its intricate alleyways, to lesser known gems that few tourists see, where locals carry on their daily life, finishing at the famous Piazza San Marco and a tour of the sumptuous Doge Palace (once the official residence of the elected officials of the Venetian Republic) and the Bridge of Sighs.
After lunch, your own private boat will take you over to the Murano islands for a visit to a traditional glass factory and demonstration where glass masters have been creating the most intricate designs for chandeliers, vases, jewelry for over five centuries. Yes, you may purchase glass but this is not required or the intent of our visit.
For the remainder of the afternoon enjoy Venice with your tour manager, off the beaten path. Enjoy your private boat ride over to the lesser traveled to islands of the lagoon. Visit these unique islands, that unfortunately many travelers to Venice miss visiting. Get to enjoy Venice from the sea, as it was intended to. Check out the precious and historical island of Burano, a colorful quaint fishing village with brightly colored homes of the “buranesi” fishermen that appears worlds away from Venice. Burano is best known for its exquisitely hand embroidered linens. It is still a small community where time stands still. After a lunch break, visit the island of Torcello, perhaps the most charming of the islands. It was the first of the lagoon islands to be called home by the mainland population fleeing Attila and his Huns, but today consists of little more than one long canal leading to vineyards and the oldest Venetian monument the Cattedrale di Torcello (Santa Maria Assunta) whose foundations date from the 7th century. “Venice’s lagoon islands-give Venice the time it deserves. Enjoy the lesser known islands in its lagoon as well as the world famous sites. Most of the 3 million people that visit Venice each year trudge around on foot and spend less than a day in the city, sticking to the central islands that are home to St Mark’s square the Doge Palace and the Rialto Bridge. But la Serenessima, as Venice is k known, has a lot more to discover. Take to the water like Venetians do and visit scarcely populated islands like Torcello one of the most magical with its cathedral Santa Maria Assunta with 12th century mosaics. Nearby island of Burano with its pastel painted houses has been famous for lace making since the 15th century.”
OPTIONAL DINNER: Enjoy dinner at your leisure tonight or join your tour manager at one of their local favorites.
Overnight at Hotel Ala (or similar)
DAY 13: VENICE AT YOUR LEISURE (B-D)
Today is your day to explore this city on water to discover its magic, its mystic, feel a sense of freedom and peace from lack of traffic noise and indulge in all things Venetian. You will have a chance to “get lost” in the city’s labyrinth of canals, bridges and small campos. Venice confuses and enchants, so toss the map and let yourself wander. Give in to this fragile, watery world built on over 100 small islands and lose yourself among byzantine domes and palazzos. Step back in time to when Venezia, the queen of the Adriatic, ruled much of the Mediterranean world. Meander through neighborhoods where not much has changed since native son Marco Polo set sail for the distant corners of the world, courtesans and doges passed in the shadows in the narrow alleyways, and Casanova glided down the Grand Canal on his way to a nocturnal rendez-vous. It won’t hurt to master the phrase “Dov’e’ Piazza San Marco?”
Choices are endless!
You could enjoy the included admission to Museo Correr, Museo Archeologico Nazionale and Monumental Rooms of the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana at your leisure. Other options we recommend are Gallerie dell’Accademia with the most extensive collection of venetian masters in the world, Chiesa dei Frari an immense Franciscan bastion build in 13th century which stands out as a showcase for titian, Ca’Rezzonico dedicated to 18th century Venice, to name a few. A whole city floating on a lagoon, Venice is a magical combination of grand palazzos, magnificent churches and ordinary houses amid a network of age old alleyways and canals. Museums and art galleries attest to the city’s glorious past, when it was a wealthy superpower. A stroll through some of the quieter sestrieri (districts) is the best way to gauge the pulse of this unique city.
FAREWELL DINNER EXPERIENCE: We will toast the success of your adventures through Italy with your last night of the tour of Italy in Venice. It will be hard to say arrivederci, but I know you will take home great memories of your time spent with friends, new friends and family on your trip of a lifetime experiencing “Italia, Il bel Paese”! Following dinner, I always like to take my guests for one last look at Piazza San Marco (weather permitting), to enjoy one last moment in Venice, one of the greatest, most beloved, and most beautiful cities in all of Italy.
Overnight at Hotel Ala (or similar)
DAY 14: DEPARTURE DAY (B)
For your transfer to Marco Polo airport or if you choose to extend your vacation in Italy, contact us for details
If you are not traveling to Italy during the dates of our tours but would like to travel to Italy with your own private group of friends or family, please contact us.
Travels with Audrey has hand-picked an extensive list of quality properties across France and Italy and to ensure the very best experience on each of Audrey’s tours hotels may vary to those listed in this itinerary.
The earlier a tour is reserved the better the chances of having the ones listed.
Audrey specializes in small group tours for mature travelers, providing guests with delights that excite the senses and that are genuine, intimate and unique experiences of France and Italy. With a balance of culture, food, wine and stunning natural and man-made landscapes, tours capture everything that a guest would be looking for in an Italian or French experience. Audrey warmly invites you to come along and experience la Belle France, Bell’Italia, together with like-minded travelers.
“I look forward to meeting you and traveling with you”
Mobility: All Travels with Audrey’s tours involve lots of walking, standing for longer periods of time and require guests to board and disembark vans/mini coaches several times a day making this tour not suitable for those with reduced mobility. You will also have to handle your own luggage especially on the trains. We walk on our tours because we feel this is the best way to experience a place but our pace is usually unhurried.
Please Note: Any optional tours, experiences, and/or entrance fees which are not already included in this tour, are at an added cost, which will be indicated on your invoice and any that you choose to book independently upon arrival are at your own expense.
- Italia Il Bel Paese Itinerary and Tour Details
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