1 Welcome to Rome.
Your complimentary, private transfer takes you to your local departure airport. On arrival at Rome's Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport, you will be met and transferred to your hotel, designed with the perfect mix of elegance and rich history. Built in the heart of the eternal city, Hotel Palazzo Montemartini is ideally located to begin your Italian journey. At 18:00, meet your Travelling Concierge and fellow travellers for a short stroll through the charming streets, enjoying the romance of the Eternal City as night falls, before gathering for a spectacular Welcome Dinner in an elegant restaurant just off Piazza Navona where you'll have time to admire the wonderful Bernini fountains and watch the world go by. (DW) Stay Two Nights: Hotel Palazzo Montemartini, Rome.
2 Rome and the Vatican.
Our VIP entry into the Vatican Museums is the best way to enjoy the timeless Papal art collection. Enter Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel for a private tour with a Local Expert before it opens to the public. Continue to St. Peter's Basilica, before seeing the Roman Forum and visiting the grand Colosseum. Enjoy time at leisure in the afternoon, perhaps relishing an espresso at a piazza cafe or walking along the romantic Tiber River. (B)
3 Pompeii and The Isle of Capri.
Journey to the ill-fated town of Pompeii, frozen in time since A.D. 79 when it was violently engulfed by a volcanic eruption from Mount Vesuvius. Join your Local Expert to learn about the lifestyles of the people who once lived here and explore the remnants of ancient shops, baths and patrician villas. Journey on to the Bay of Naples where you'll board your hydrofoil bound for the sun-drenched Isle of Capri. On arrival, enjoy an escorted ride in an open-top taxi to your exclusive hotel. Settle in and appreciate the splendours of Capri at your leisure, long after the day-trippers have returned to the mainland. (B/DW) Stay Two Nights: Quisisana Hotel, Capri.
4 Explore the Isle of Dreams.
Embark on a dazzling cruise to see the white grotto and spectacular cliffs of the island, before arriving in Capri town to cool off with a refreshing lemon granita. Walk with your Local Expert to the gardens of Caesar Augustus to view the legendary Faraglioni Rocks, jutting out of the water. Prepare for a Highlight Lunch at the incredible Michelin-starred Mammà. Enjoy exclusive views over the Gulf of Naples whilst savouring Mediterranean flavours created with passion from fresh, local produce by chef Salvatore La Ragione. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure, perhaps treating yourself to a pampering massage at your hotel's day spa? (B/LW)
5 Lush Umbria and on to Assisi and Perugia.
Return to the mainland and travel north along the Highway of the Sun to the winding, cobbled streets of Assisi for a guided visit to the imposing Basilica of St. Francis with your Local Expert. Continue on to the Umbrian capital of Perugia. Ascend from the lower town, through the maze of medieval streets, to your five-star deluxe hotel. In the afternoon, meet your Local Expert for a walk along Perugia's Corso Vannucci to the main square where you'll see the Great Fountain, Collegio del Cambio and the splendid Prior's Palace. Spend the evening at your leisure; perhaps soaking up the vibrancy of this historic university town from a local cafe? (B) Stay: Brufani, Perugia.
6 San Gimignano and Tuscany.
Meet Marta, the director of Laboratorio Giuditta Borzetti and the recipient of a TreadRight grant, to learn how the workshop's artisans are preserving the heritage craft of textile loom-weaving. Journey to the 15th century wine domain of 'Guardastelle', with its spectacular views over the rolling vineyards and the 'medieval Manhattan' which is San Gimignano. Explore the vineyard estate with a wine expert to learn about the various grape varieties and visit the ancient cellars, where you will enjoy a wine tasting. Afterwards indulge in a lunch of Tuscan specialties and beautiful views of the countryside. Chairman's Collection - If you are travelling on a Chairman's Collection departure, you are invited to an exclusive lunch and wine tasting with Marchese Mazzei at his centuries-old Tuscan estate. This experience will replace the lunch and wine tasting at the 'Guardastelle' estate. (B/LW) Stay Three Nights: Ville sull'Arno, Florence.
7 Renaissance Florence.
For a relatively small city, Florence boasts an abundance of art and architectural masterpieces, chic boutiques and fabulous restaurants. Explore Florence Your Way with a choice to join an art historian for an insider's guide to this romantic city. Admire Michelangelo's original statue of David in the Accademia Museum, before strolling to the cathedral, baptistery and open-air gallery of Piazza della Signoria. Alternatively, join a local foodie on a walking tour of the best gastronomic treats in this Tuscan town. This evening, forage for the region's famous aromatic truffles guided by an expert truffle dog. Enjoy a tasting of these precious 'diamonds' followed by dinner in an elegant villa which will include a choice of dishes including the famous 'Fiorentina' (mouth-watering grilled Tuscan beefsteak). (B/DW)
8 Tuscan Cooking Class and Pisa.
Join a professional chef and uncover the secrets of Tuscan cooking during an authentic culinary masterclass set in a historic villa. Complete your cooking experience by savouring the fruits of your labour with a lovely lunch. In the afternoon, travel to Pisa and meet your Local Expert to view the splendid Duomo, baptistery and the famous, gravity-defying Leaning Tower of Pisa. (B/LW)
9 Exploring The Cinque Terre.
Journey northwest towards the Cinque Terre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Join your Local Expert in the picturesque fishing village of Manarola, then cruise along the rugged coast to explore Monterosso's medieval quarter and popular sandy beach. Enjoy lunch at leisure, then journey by train to the resort town of Rapallo. (B/DW) Stay: Grand Hotel Bristol Resort & Spa, Rapallo.
10 Theatrical Venice and the Doge's Palace.
Cross the fertile Po Valley to Venice and take a water taxi to your five-star hotel. In the evening, you are invited to an after-hours private visit of the magniﬁcent Doge's Palace. As all crowds disappear, discover the history, art and culture of the Venetian Republic with your Local Expert. (B) Stay Two Nights: Bauer Palazzo, Venice.
11 The Magic of Venice.
Spend the day exploring the beauty and culture of Venice. Venture to a craftsman's workshop to witness the age-old skill of glassblowing and admire the famous St. Mark's Basilica and the Bridge of Sighs. Later, take your seat in a traditional gondola for a serenade through the romantic canals. At our final dinner this evening, you will learn how to make Venice's celebrated cocktail, the 'Bellini' - your aperitif tonight at dinner in the atmospheric Taverna La Fenice. Savour a dish that keeps with tradition and is enriched with seasonal ingredients. (B/DW)
12 Arrivederci Venice.
After breakfast, bid farewell to your travel companions and transfer by private boat to Venice Marco Polo Airport for your onward journey. On arrival at your home airport, your driver will greet and escort you to your waiting car for your private transfer home. (B)