The Best of Italy

October 7 - October 19, 2023

Itinerary

Day1 – 07 Oct Arrive Naples
Naples / Sorrento – drive
(flight (not included))

  • Arrive Naples airport. Clear immigration and customs. Proceed towards the exit gate and look for our representative holding a placard in your name to assist and transfer you to the hotel in Sorrento.
  • (hotel check in time 15:00 hrs)
  • Rest of the day at leisure
  • Welcome cocktails followed by Dinner.

Accommodation: Grand Hotel La Favorita – Standard Rooms
Meals: dinner


Day2 – 08 Oct  Sorrento

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Today you will discover the famous beauty of one of Italy’s most iconic shorelines Amalfi Coast by coach and our guide.  Along the way, stop to capture the beautiful landscapes on camera and admire sweeping views over the pretty coastline.
  • On arrival in Positano — your first stop of the day — enjoy an hour’s free time to explore the little town at your leisure. Discover colourful buildings cascading down to the sea, browse the traditional boutiques, take a stroll along the beach or perhaps visit the church of Santa Maria Assunta.
  • Then, head onward through the beautiful villages of Praiano, Furore and Conca dei Marini to Amalfi. During your 2-hour stop, admire the traditional Mediterranean architecture you find and soak up the atmosphere in one of Italy’s most famous coastal resort towns.
  • Stop for lunch at a nice local restaurant.
  • Continue on to Ravello, where unparalleled views over the shoreline to Minori and Maiori await. During your 1-hour visit, explore at your own pace and take in top local attractions such as Villa Rufolo — a 13th-century villa with beautiful cascading gardens and exquisite views.
  • After the visit, head back to your hotel in Sorrento in the afternoon.
  • Rest of the day at leisure.

Accommodation: Grand Hotel La Favorita – Standard Rooms
Meals: breakfast, lunch


Day3 – 09 Oct – Sorrento / Rome via Pompeii – drive

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Check out and proceed on your drive to Rome. Enroute, stop in Pompeii where your guide will meet up with your vehicle and show you around Pompeii for a 2 hour guided tour. Pompeii is an unforgettable complex of ruins famous around the world for its violent end, caused by the eruption of the Vesuvius. This day will be like a real jump into the past; we can walk on the net of streets and admire the perfect preservation of the Pompeii’s ruins, among the others the famous Antiquarium, the Amphitheatre, the Basilica and the Forum. We will be illustrated the fantastic mosaic in the fabulous Patrician Villas, and feel the atmosphere that just this place can have. Almost everything we know for sure concerning the daily life of the ancients was learned here. Walking down the old Roman high streets, you can peek into the shops, read the graffiti on the walls then wander of down the back streets to explore the homes of the inhabitants and appraise their taste in painting.
  • Lunch at a local restaurant.
  • After lunch, continue on your drive to Rome.
  • Arrive and check into the hotel.
  • Rest of the day at leisure.
  • Dinner at the hotel

Accommodation: NH Palazzo Cinquecento – standard room
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner


Day4 – 10 Oct   Rome

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Morning Seminar: In the Morning 4 hour seminar in your Hotel. Coffee break included.
  • Lunch on your own
  • In the afternoon, proceed on  your guided tour of Ancient Rome. We will do a jump over the centuries and we will begin with the discovery of one of the most famous monuments in the city, the Flavian amphitheatre, which is best known with the name of Colosseum. We will visit this magnificent amphitheatre (entrance included), where in the first century the famous gladiatorial combats or other naval battles took place. We will continue our visit through the Ancient Rome with the discovery of the Roman forum, centre of the political and religious life during the antiquity.
  • Evening at leisure.

Accommodation: NH Palazzo Cinquecento – standard room
Meals: breakfast


Day5 – 11 Oct  Rome

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Meet your driver in the hotel lobby and proceed for a morning guided visit to “Vatican City”. You can visit the Vatican museums, a group of impressive buildings with hundreds of rooms, halls, galleries, libraries and chapels overflowing with art treasures. The “Sistine Chapel” world famous for Michelangelo’s ceiling paintings and “The last judgment.” Then the St. Peter’s Basilica, the largest church in the world built over the tomb of St. Peter. Upon entering the Basilica, one gets the feeling of majesty and grandeur associated with such and historical place in Christianity. Here we find Michelangelo’s “Pieta” and many works of art from Giotto and Bernini.
  • Return to the hotel.
  • Lunch on your own.
  • Afternoon 4 hours Seminar in your Hotel. Coffee break included.
  • Evening at leisure.

Optional tour: As an alternative to classic daily visit to Vatican Museums we suggest a private visit after opening hours (evening visit) This is an amazing opportunity to stroll around one of the most famous museums in the world, without having to share it with thousands of other tourists! ACQUAFORTE Travel can arrange a special opening after hours, just for you, with your private guide. The tour will start in the Pine-Cone Courtyard, named from the huge bronze pinecone at its centre. You will then pass through the Belvedere Octagonal Court and past the statues of Laocoon and Apollo as well as the Belvedere Torso and statues of Jupiter and Hercules and the sarcophagus of Constantine and that of Saint Helena. You will then enter the building and walk through the Galleries of the Candelabra, the Tapestries and Maps before entering the Raphael Rooms, where you will see the stunning frescoes commissioned by Pope Julius II. While Raphael was working on these rooms, Michelangelo was next door, painting the Sistine Chapel, which you will now enter and gaze with awe at the incredible Creation on the ceiling and the breath-taking Last Judgement on the wall.

  • Note: Visitors must wear appropriate attire.  Guided tour of the Museums and Sistine Chapel outside of opening hours, the visit lasts a maximum of two hours.
  • The visit includes: Upper Galleries (Candelabra, Tapestries, Maps), Raphael Rooms and Sistine Chapel.

Accommodation: NH Palazzo Cinquecento – standard room
Meals: breakfast


Day6 – 12 Oct   Rome / Umbria via Orvieto / Perugia – 210 km drive

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Check out of the hotel and depart towards Umbria by road.
  • Arrive Orvieto in the late morning.
  • Lunch in a typical restaurant.
  • In the afternoon enjoy a guided walking tour of ca. 3 hours of Orvieto, through the main streets of the city visiting the main attractions that make the city of Orvieto unique, among them, the Cathedral and the chapel of San Brizio, then the Palazzo del Popolo, the Torre del Moro and Palazzo dei Sette, the Church of St. Andrew. The visit continues to the old medieval quarter with a visit to the oldest part of the city well represented by the ancient churches of San Giovanni and San Giovenale.
  • After the visit, proceed on your drive to Umbria
  • Arrive and check into your hotel.
  • Dinner at the hotel.

Accommodation: Hotel UNA Alla Posta Donini – standard room
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner


Day7 – 13 Oct   Umbria / Montefalco – drive

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Check out of the hotel and proceed to visit the stunning Basilica di San Francesco, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and popular destination for religious pilgrims, which boasts paintings by Giotto and Lorenzetti. Stroll through the charming city, including top sites such as the Piazza del Comune and the Basilica of Santa Chiara.
  • Head for Monte Subasio on a 3-hour walking tour of Assisi and explore Italy’s famous pilgrimage site. Stroll the maze of medieval streets, and visit the Basilicas of Santa Chiara and St. Francis to see one of Italy’s largest collections of church art.
  • After the visit we move by bus to Montefalco (South of Assisi).
  • Enjoy a winery tour, tasting and lunch at one winery in Montefalco area, renowned for stellar Umbrian wines from the local Sagrantino and Grecchetto grapes.
  • Dinner at the hotel.

Accommodation : Hotel Alla Posta dei Donini – standard room
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner


Day8 – 14 Oct   Montefalco / Lucca – drive

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Check out of the hotel and proceed on your drive to Lucca
  • Arrive Lucca in the late morning and check into the hotel.
  • Later, meet your local driver in the hotel lobby and proceed to explore the city on a 2-hours guided afternoon tour.
  • The medieval city is famous for its well-preserved Renaissance-era city walls, which have been converted to a walking promenade and are popular for walks around town. The city’s foundation goes back to Etruscan and Ancient Roman times, and the city’s vibrant history is reflected in its architecture.
  • Highlights of the city tour include a Roman amphitheatre, the 11th-century Diavolo Bridge (also known as Ponte della Maddalena), the medieval Torre Guinigi and Torre dell Ore (towers). Several famous churches, including the remarkable Church of San Michel which is mentioned first in 795 CE, the Byzantine-medieval Church of San Frediano, and the striking 11th-century Duomo di San Martino. The medieval Via Fillungo Street winds through the historic downtown, connecting ancient buildings and modern-day storefronts. Lucca is also famous as the birthplace of the renowned composer Giacomo Puccini, whose most well-known works include La bohème, Tosca, Madama Butterfly, and Turandot.
  • Dinner at the hotel.

Accommodation : Hotel Grand Universe Lucca – standard room
Meals: breakfast, dinner


Day9 – 15 Oct  Lucca / Florence via Storybook Cinque Terre – drive / train / boat / walk

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Check out of the hotel and proceed on your drive to the spectacular area of the Cinque Terre National Park. Drive along the coast towards the seaside resort of La Spezia.
  • We depart by train from la Spezia to the village of Riomaggiore.
  • After the visit and some free time, we will board a train that will take us to the small village of Varnazza, overlooking the sea and clinging to the mountainside, to then reach Monterosso, a picturesque medieval village.
  • By boat, we will then continue to the small port of Portovenere, a beautiful seaside resort.
  • At the end of the afternoon, we will reach La Spezia by boat
  • Arrive at the hotel and check in.
  • Dinner at the hotel
  • This tour takes place partly by train, partly by foot and partly by boat. Depending on the weather conditions, the itinerary may be subject to variations.

Accommodation : Sina Hotel Villa Medici – standard room
Meals: breakfast, dinner


Day 10 – 16  Oct   Florence
Best of Renaissance and Medieval Florence – HD Meeting (B, L)

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Meet your local guide in the hotel lobby and proceed on a guided walking tour from San Lorenzo square, where you can find the Medici Chapels and the Basilica of S. Lorenzo, the church of the Medici family, where we visit the elegant cloister, designed by Brunelleschi, the architect of the famous Dome, a green oasis of peace in the heart of the Medici district. Admire the beauty of the Palazzo Medici Riccardi and in no time, we reach Piazza del Duomo, where you can admire the impressive Cathedral with the Cupola del Brunelleschi, Giotto’s bell tower and the Baptistery of S. John with the Gates of Paradise. Then we proceed to the picturesque Mercato della Paglia (Straw Market), where is the famous Fontana del Porcellino. Not too far away, there is the elegant Piazza della Signoria, a great “outdoor sculpture museum”, dominated by the imposing Palazzo Vecchio. Next to it the Uffizi Gallery, one of the most important museums in the world.
  • All along the trail between Palazzo Vecchio, Uffizi Gallery and Pitti Palace you will follow from the outside the famous Vasari Corridor which was commissioned on the occasion of the wedding between Francis I and Joan of Austria and built in the record time of only 5 months by Giorgio Vasari, a precious jewel that serves the purpose of giving the ruling family of Florence a safe passage between the seat of government and their home.
  • Walking along the Arno River you will finally reach the Ponte Vecchio, the famous “jewels bridge”.
  • Lunch in a typical Trattoria in Florence.
  • Afternoon 4 hours Seminar in our Hotel in Florence, coffee break included
  • Rest of the afternoon at leisure.

Accommodation : Sina Hotel Villa Medici – standard room
Meals: breakfast, lunch


Day11 – 17 Oct  Florence / Venice

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • This morning meet your local guide in the hotel lobby and proceed to visit the most beautiful museums in the world, the Uffizi Gallery, enjoy the paintings of the Italian Renaissance from the Masters Giotto, Botticelli, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Caravaggio and many others. You will have the opportunity to discover the secrets of the greatest paintings from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance It is possible to remain into the museum until closing time (ca. 2 hrs visit)
  • Free time for lunch.
  • In the afternoon transfer to Venice by coach.
  • Arrive Venice in the late afternoon.
  • Rest of the day at leisure.
  • Optional: Evening Gondola ride (ca. 30 min – max. 5 people per Gondola)
  • A gondola ride isn’t just a couple’s kind-of-thing, but an experience to visit the city differently.
  • In the past, Venetians used to get on a gondola to go everywhere in the city, because the real soul of Venice is between canals and not on its streets where just the people from the lowest classes used to walk.
  • Dinner at the hotel

Accommodation : Hotel Monaco & Grand Canal – standard room
Meals: breakfast, dinner


Day12 – 18 Oct   Venice

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Walk on your own to the meeting point with your guide at Saint Marks Square. This morning you will explore the area of Piazza San Marco and Rialto, to have a first introduction to the magnificence of Venice (3 hrs walking tour).  Your guide will explain to you all the landmarks of the famous Piazza San MarcoSt. Mark’s Square, the former political centre of the Venetian Republic. Then we enter the Gothic Doge’s Palace, once the seat of the government, where the Doge, the ‘leader’ lived and together with his advisors and politicians decided the fate of Europe in the 15th and 16th C. We admire in the courtyard the impressive Giants’ Staircase, we ascend the magnificent Renaissance Golden Staircase and reach the amazing rooms decorated with paintings by Veronese, Tintoretto and Titian. We cross the well-known Bridge of Sighs to walk through the empty cells of the former prison building (approx. 1 hour 15 min).
  • Then you admire St. Mark’s Church with its breath-taking glittering mosaics and visit the spectacular Pala d’Oro (approx. 30 -40 min).  Through narrow quiet backstreets we spot in the distance a slightly leaning bell-tower and we stop by a fascinating early Renaissance hidden spiral staircase.
  • Lunch in a typical Trattoria in Venice.
  • In the afternoon enjoy a relaxing excursion in the lagoon by private boat. Departing from San Marco with our guide you reach Murano, from the Middle Ages the home of glassmakers. In a factory you are introduced to the secrets of glass blowing, vivid colours and ancient techniques will be explained. From there we head over to Burano, the island where the rainbow fell in the lagoon; the simple houses of former fishermen are brightly coloured; curtains and hanging laundry often match the colours of the houses and are all photographers can ask for…  while taking pictures taste the typical ring-shaped biscuit Bussolai and listen to the history of lace-making.
  • Return to Venice around 5 pm.
  • Evening at leisure.
  • Optional: exclusive visit to San Marco Basilica by Night
  • Get exclusive access to the basilica. Experience a magical light show which brings to life the ceiling mosaics
  • See the pala d’oro altar and crypt up close and – no crowds! Enjoy a once in a lifetime experience in one of Italy’s most renowned landmarks.  There is nowhere like Venice which means, by definition, there is nowhere like San Marco – the very heart of the city of canals. St. Mark’s Square is easily the most visited part of the city so you will be in A LOT of company if visit. However, visiting St. Marks at night is an even more special experience because the once-packed piazza is quiet. And stepping inside St. Mark’s Basilica at night is the kind of thing you remember for a lifetime.
  • The crown gem of the piazza, St. Mark’s Square has sat at the very entrance to Venice for more than 1,000 years. The five-domed Basilica is attached to the Doge’s Palace and is normally only open to the public during the day. However, for a select few, it is possible to visit the basilica after dark, long after the crowds have been ushered away. As the lights of the square twinkled in the water, you will learn about the history of the basilica from our expert local guide: with its five domes and extensive Byzantine-style mosaics, the Catholic Church is one of the most beautiful and most unique places of worship in Italy. Then you will slowly enter the basilica through a hidden door. Once inside, we had an hour to explore the basilica in complete solitude.
  • Farewell Cocktails followed by Dinner in Venice in an Historical and Elegant Restaurant

Accommodation : Hotel Monaco & Grand Canal – standard room
Meals: breakfast, dinner


Day13 – 19 Oct – Depart Venice flight (not included)

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • 12:00 noon, check out of the hotel and transfer to the airport to board your onward flight.
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