Italy’s Splendours from North to South

Highlights: Milan – Garda Lake – Verona – Venice – Bologna – Florence – Chianti Region – Viterbo’s surroundings - Rome – Caserta - Campania region’s backcountry - Salento – Matera – Naples  (at leisure extension to Sicily)

 

 

tour-detail

 

Description

This tour has more than you ever expected to see during a trip to Italy and it is has been developed for both those who have already been to Italy and for those who are visiting Italy for the first time. You start in the North and finish in the most Sothern part of the boot, mixing popular destinations with wonderful places you have never heard of before. Stay for whole days in Milan, Venice, Florence, Rome and Naples but while you admire Italy’s most famous architectural and artistic beauties you will experience unusual and hidden splendors away from the mass tourism tracks. Discover the elegant Palladian buildings in Vicenza and the red-brick city of Bologna in the North. Go farther to the fascinating Baroque masterpiece of Lecce and the spiritual Unesco World heritage site of Matera in the South. Taste the famous Chianti wine but do not miss the exquisite Aglianico and Falanghina in the Sannio region. Be enchanted by the stunning village on a pinnacle of Civita di Bagnoregio or by the picturesque Alberobello with its whimsical Trulli. From North to South with a different history, culture and traditions, from the lakes to the countryside and farther to the sea, experience Italy in all its variegated splendor.

itinerary

 

DAY 1: arrival in Milan
Arrive in Milan and meet your tour leader. Transfer to the hotel, check-in and join your fellow travelers for a tour briefing. (D)

DAY 2: Milan
The first day of your tour in Italy starts with the visit of Milan with a local guide. You will explore Italy’s financial capital from a monumental and cultural angle, partly on foot and partly by public transport. Discover the Castello Sforzesco, the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, which preserves Leonardo da Vinci’s “Last Supper”, the main square with its magnificent gothic Cathedral and at the end of the day have a walk in via Montenapoleone, Milan’s most important shopping street with the top names in designer fashion stores. (B, D)

DAY 3: MilanGarda LakeVerona
This morning you are headed to Verona and on the way you stop at Garda Lake, the biggest in Italy, which offers beautiful views. First you see the picturesque town of Sirmione with its beautiful Scaligero Castle surrounded by water. Then take a funny sightseeing train to the end of the peninsula of Sirmione and see “Le grotte di Catullo”, an archeological site that preserves the ruins of an Imperial Roman residence, the biggest in Northern Italy. Next, have a pleasant boat trip of about 90 minutes to Salò* where you stop for a nice walk in the medieval town centre. Once you are back in Sirmione, you leave for Verona. (B)
*si può arrivare anche all’isola del Garda con degustazione, ma solo dal 1° giugno al 28 settembre, il lunedì, mercoledì, venerdì, sabato e domenica

DAY 4: VeronaVicenzaVenice
Your day starts with a lovely walk in the historical streets of Verona where Shakespeare set the tragic love story “Romeo and Juliet”. Continue to travel to Vicenza. Here a local expert will welcome you and explain the story and growth of Palladio, the renowned Italian architect. While walking in the historical town centre, visiting the first settled European theatre “Teatro Olimpico” and the church of Santa Corona, you will admire the elegant Palladian buildings. The day ends in Venice. (B)

DAY 5: Venice
The whole day is dedicated to the charming Venice. A local expert will guide you on foot to the features of the Laguna: St. Mark’s Basilica, the Doge’s Palace, the Bridge of Sighs and the Clock Tower with its Moors. If the weather permits, you will have a short boat trip to the infamous Murano, where you can experience a glass-making demonstration. If there is time, you will visit one of the best examples of magnificent Italian gardening, that of the noble Giusti family. Here, after a short climb you will have the opportunity to take breathtaking photos of the splendid view of the city. (B)

DAY 6: VeniceBolognaFlorence
Day six takes you to explore the historical town centre of Bologna. Strolling from Piazza Indipendenza you will first arrive at Neptune’s Statue and then in Piazza Maggiore. Let yourself be seduced by the surrounding wide space and relax at one of the outdoors cafés. Continue on to Palazzo Archiginnasio, the University founded in 1088, and to Torre degli Asinelli, Bologna’s symbol. Before leaving, take the opportunity to bring home regional specialties: handmade tortellini, mortadella and Parmigiano Reggiano. The tour today ends with two nights in Florence. (B, D)

 

DAY 7: Florence
Today is spent entirely dedicated to Florence. A local expert will guide you through the highlights of Florence: Piazza del Duomo and its Cathedral, the Baptistery of St. John, Michelangelo’s nude David Statue in Piazza della Signoria. At the end of the day do not miss the opportunity to see the sunset in Piazzale Michelangelo. (B, D)

DAY 8: FlorenceChianti RegionSienaChianciano Terme
Today is spent entirely dedicated to Florence. A local expert will guide you through the highlights of Florence: Piazza del Duomo and its Cathedral, the Baptistery of St. John, Michelangelo’s nude David Statue in Piazza della Signoria. At the end of the day do not miss the opportunity to see the sunset in Piazzale Michelangelo. (B, D)

DAY 9: Chianciano TermeOrvietoCivita di BagnoregioViterboVilla LanteRome
Your day will embrace the majesty of a gothic Cathedral, the features of a picturesque hill town and the beauty of an Italian Renaissance garden. From Chianciano Terme you head to Orvieto and on the way you can already see its Cathedral that rises up out of the mountain. You will visit the old town centre and admire the masterpiece of Gothic architecture that dates back to the 14th Century. After a short trip you will get to Civita di Bagnoregio a traffic free village with 300 inhabitants, teetering atop a pinnacle in a canyon and which you can reach on foot only, by crossing a bridge. You will discover a real gem that will touch your emotions. Next, you will continue to Viterbo for a delicious 4 course lunch in a typical Italian “taverna” with genuine regional products. After lunch you will not move far away to visit Villa Lante, a breathtaking garden considered the most perfect example of garden design in history! It dates back to the Mannerist period of Italian Renaissance. This day will end in Rome. (B, L, D)

DAY 10: Rome
A local guide highlights Rome’s great monuments: Piazza Venezia, the Roman Forum, the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain and its rite to toss a coin over your shoulder so that one day you will return to Rome. In the afternoon, it is the turn of the Vatican with St. Peter’s square, the Vatican Gardens and Castel Sant’Angelo. (B, D)

DAY 11: RomeCasertaTelese Terme
Today the tour starts heading towards Southern Italy. The first attraction you will visit is the 18th Century Royal Palace of Caserta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It offers a Renaissance facade outside and a sumptuous Baroque decor inside. The palace was the Bourbon Kings response to the Chateau in Versailles and that is why it has 1200 royal rooms and a long park with fountains, a waterfall and a hidden away English style garden. Not far from Caserta is the medieval village of Casertavecchia where you can have a walk and enjoy an exquisite regional lunch. In the afternoon you will have the opportunity to visit the king’s hunting residence named “Belvedere” (literally “beautiful view”) in San Leucio as it has a magnificent panorama over the town of Caserta which reaches Vesuvius and the sea. This residence was transformed during the age of Enlightenment into a silk factory. You will visit some royal rooms, old functioning machines and a welcoming Italian garden. Today the silk of San Leucio is very precious and you can even find it at Buckingham Palace and in the White House. The overnight stay will be in the Telesina Valley in the province of Benevento. (B, L, D)

DAY 12: Telese TermeAlberobello OstuniLecce
Although you have travelled a long way, almost to the end of Italy’s heel, you will forget it as soon as you enter the Region of Puglia and in particular the Salento. Wide landscapes of ancient olive groves and wild lands overlooking the sea will welcome you. A walk into the centre of Alberobello, a Unesco World Heritage Site, will astonish you. The “Trulli” are clustered one next to the other, white cone-roofed houses built with a technique that survives from prehistoric times, remarkable examples of drywall construction. Have a cheerful walk in the lanes of Alberobello and enter the small souvenir shops where you can also taste local flavoured liquors. Visit an example of an inhabited Trullo or even the cone-roofed church. On the way to the next town, Ostuni, you can see a hint of the Adriatic Sea. Ostuni is named “the white city” as it is composed of white-washed buildings on a hill, at the top of which stands the magnificent Cathedral. Spend some time wandering in the narrow back streets and arrive at the highest part of the town. Here you can visit the Archbishops palace and 15th Century Concattedrale with a rose window. Then sit in Piazza della Libertà and enjoy a fresh drink at an outdoor café in the company of Saint Oronzo, standing on a column. Finally, head towards Lecce and stay for two nights in a charming rural house in the surroundings of Lecce. (B, D)

DAY 13: Lecce
Most of today will be spent in Lecce, the main town of the Salento peninsula. It is with no doubt a unique 18th Century Baroque jewel. In every street, square or corner you find a baroque monument. Enjoy a guided tour of the historic centre, discovering its most beautiful buildings: Saint Oronzo’s statue in the middle of the square gazing at the Roman amphitheatre, the Basilica of Santa Croce with a sumptuous and stunning Baroque style all over the facades, Piazza del Duomo with a Gothic Cathedral partly modified into Baroque in 17th Century, the church of Saints Niccolò and Cataldo which features a mix of Norman elements with a Baroque style. Not to miss is a recent discovery in a private building which turned out to be a Knights Templar house. In the afternoon you have the opportunity to visit Otranto, a picturesque seaside resort. Admire a 12th Century mosaic in the Romanesque Cathedral, search amongst the hidden alley the little Byzantine Church of Saint Peter and finally continue on to the “Castello Aragonese”. Although Otranto’s beaches are small they are still very pleasant. Relax on the beach and simply enjoy the view of the blue water, the white buildings and the rocks diving in the sea. (B, D)

DAY 14: LecceCastellana CavesMatera
Today you will leave the Region of Puglia and head toward the Region of Basilicata. On the way you will stop at the Castellana Caves. The guided walk in a stunning underground world of stalactites, stalagmites and precious crystals will astonish you. At the end of the tour you will have some time to visit the village before continuing to Matera. Here a local expert will guide you to the Sassi, a district of calcareous rocks (known as tufa stones) carved during the centuries since the Paleolithic period. You will walk in the heart of an ancient dwelling system and see how the peasant life and culture developed. You will then have dinner in a typical tavern and in the evening light you will experience a magic and evocative view over all the Sassi district. (B, D)

DAY 15: MateraAmalfi CoastPompeiNaples
From Matera the tour is going to end at the Amalfi Coast and Naples. You will first enjoy a walking tour in Amalfi with its dominant Cathedral of St Andrew. Next you stop in Positano, another pearl of the Amalfi coast with its coloured houses rising up out of the hillside. The day continues in Pompeii, the Roman city destroyed by Vesuvius in 79 AD. A guided walking tour leads you to the sights of the Basilica, the Forum, the Amphiteatre and gives you an idea of everyday Roman life. You will spend the night in Naples. (B, D)

DAY 16: Naples
This morning a local expert guides you on a walking tour and by bus to the Old City of Naples and highlights its most important monuments: Piazza Plebiscito, the Royal Palace, the Cathedral, Church of Santa Chiara and Cappella Sansevero with an impressive marble Veiled Christ. Spend some of your leisure time for shopping or exploring the lively Neapolitan way of life. (B, D)

DAY 17: departure
After breakfast, transfer to the airport and departure. (B)

 

At choice: Optional visit to Sicily. On day 16 you can fly or travel with an overnight ferry to Sicily and spend 3 nights on the sunny island. Visit Palermo’s Cathedral with its Arabic influence, the Temples of Greek heritage in Agrigento and finish in Catania with an excursion to Taormina and on the Volcano Etna.

 

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Duration:

16 Nights/17 Days

 

Hotel Category:

3* or 4* in comfortable rooms with private bathroom, tv, hairdryer

 

Meals:

16 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 14 dinners

 

Tour Leader:

English speaking leader (also other language available)

 

Local Guides:

Half day guides in: Milan, Venice, Lecce, Castellana Caves, Matera, Pompeii, Naples Full day guides in: Florence, Rome

 

Means of transportation:

Comfortable luxury bus with air conditioning and tv

 

Periods:

Mid March - mid October

 

 

 

contact

 For information contact macondotour

www.macondotour.it/contact

Phone: +39 0824 941385

Ultima modifica il Mercoledì, 05 Marzo 2014 10:19