DAY 1: UK - Rome.
Fly to Rome where you will be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel. Spend the rest of the day exploring this 2,000 year-old city on your own before meeting your Tour Director and fellow guests this afternoon.
DAY 2: Rome.
Steeped in history, the 'Eternal City' never fails to inspire. Today a guide will show you the landmarks of this captivating place. Get ready to see the massive, domed Basilica of St Peter's Square and ruined arches of the Roman Forum before imagining the epic fights of gladiators and the masses of cheering spectators at the epic Colosseum, commissioned by the Emperor Vespasian in 72AD. (B)
DAY 3: Rome - Siena.
Drive through scenic Umbria to Orvieto. Perched on a volcanic bluff, this delightful town is famed for its Gothic cathedral. Step inside to admire its glittering mosaics and 13th century frescoes. Later, carry on to Siena, one of Tuscany's hilltop jewels, where you can relax in one of the cafés on its red-bricked Piazza del Campo - one of Italy's finest squares and the stage for the Palio horse race. (B)
DAY 4: Siena - Montecatini.
This morning, visit San Gimignano, regarded as Tuscany's most beautiful town for it skyline of 13th century towers. One glimpse of its cobbled streets and squares and you'll immediately see why it's a UNESCO World Heritage site. Afterwards, journey through the vineyards of Chianti, passing wine towns like Badia and Castellina, where the 'Bordeaux of Italy' is grown. Sample some wine at Greve before arriving in the spa town of Montecatini in time to join our optional Tuscan dinner outing. (B)
DAY 5: Montecatini - Florence - Montecatini.
Sitting on the River Arno, Florence is the birthplace of the Renaissance and one of the world's most superbly preserved medieval cities. It is also perfect for exploring on foot, with much of its centre pedestrianised. Today discover treasures such as its Piazza della Signoria and fairytale town hall, the Palazzo Vecchio. Another highlight is the Piazza del Duomo, home to the brick-domed cathedral and Giotto campanile. Nearby is the Baptistry, with its gilded East Door known as the 'Gates of Paradise'. (B, D)
DAY 6: Montecatini - Pisa - Venice area.
Today to Pisa, originally an important Etruscan port. See its beautiful 'Square of Miracles', home to the 180-feet Leaning Tower, exquisite Baptistry and 13th century cathedral. Next continue through the Apennine hills and Po Valley for two nights in the Venice area. (B)
DAY 7: Venice.
Built on 118 islands and 177 canals, Venice was once Europe's most prosperous city. Marvel at the Palazzos, the Bridge of Sighs and St Mark's Square, on a boat ride along the Giudecca Canal. Later, watch a demonstration of glassblowing, a time-honoured Venetian craft, before enjoying time to explore independently. Why not take an optional gondola ride, floating along the romantic canals serenaded by a singing gondolier? (B, D)
DAY 8: Venice area - Assisi - Rome.
Enjoy the interesting scenery as we cross the Po delta and the gentle hills to Assisi. The birthplace of St Francis in 1182, this walled hill town is built in pink-grey stone and dominated by a huge Basilica. Comprising two churches, one housing St Francis' tomb, its centrepiece is a cycle of beautiful frescoes by Giotto depicting scenes from the saint's life. Afterwards, return to Rome. (B)
DAY 9: Rome - UK.
After breakfast transfer to the airport for your flight to the UK, or extend your stay in Sorrento. (B)
Tour hotels will be as specified or alternatives of a similar standard.
- Rome: Fleming
- Siena: Siena Degli Ulivi
- Montecatini: Settentrionale Esplanade
- Venice area: Poppi at Mira or Holiday Inn at Marghera
- Rome: Holiday Inn Parco Dei Medici or Holiday Inn Express San Giovanni