You will arrive in Italy at Bari airport, and be privately transferred to your hotel in Alberobello, Apulia. There will be a welcome briefing from your local tour host at the hotel, followed by a delicious welcome dinner for your first night in the country.
Your first full day of this tour will start with breakfast at your hotel, after which you will be met by a private driver-guide who will take you around the Val d’Itria. This is a beautiful drive through woodlands and vineyards in the countryside, and your first stop will be in the village of Locorotondo.
Locorotondo is a beautiful, quiet hilltop town in Puglia, perfect for spending a morning people-watching from a shaded cafe. The historic town centre is famous for its circular shape and is a maze of whitewashed streets that are full of the interesting old buildings and baroque architecture, ideal for strolling around if you want to stretch your legs.
Next, you will visit Cisterno, which is thought to have been inhabited as early as the Middle Palaeolithic period. Now, the charming town maintains a historic atmosphere and is full of pretty white houses, beautiful churches and a central square that offers panoramic views of your surroundings.
Lunch will be served after a wine and cheese tasting session in Cisterno, sampling some of the area’s best produce. You will eat at a local Masseria; a farmhouse complex found across the Puglia area that has been fortified and was usually built in the 16th century. On your return to Alberobello, you will be given the rest of the afternoon to explore the town on your own.
Alberobello is a town that is best known for its streets of distinctive, whitewashed trulli huts with conical stone roofs, clustered together to create a truly unique settlement. The world trulli comes from the Greek ‘tholos’ which means dome, and many of the roofs are painted with symbols which just adds to their other-worldly effect. The Rione Monti quarter if the town has the best collection of the buildings and is an absolute must-see for your time in Alberobello.
You will spend the evening in Alberobello, and enjoy another night at your hotel.
Your third day of this tour includes more excursions from Alberobello to nearby towns in the Apulia area, again getting the chance to see more of the beautiful Italian countryside as you travel.
First visit Ostuni, which is nicknamed the ‘White Town’ because of the whitewashed houses that make up the town’s historic centre and is spread out across three hills that are over 200 metres above sea level. Ostuni’s architectural highlight is the Romanesque-Gothic cathedral from the 15th century, but there are also many elegant houses and churches are particularly lovely to look at in the old town as well, along with ancient town gates still allowing visitors in through the Aragonese walls that guard the settlement.
The next stop on the tour is Polignano; a town which is thought to be one of the oldest settlements in the Puglia area. Perched on the edge of a rocky gorge, Polignano is a lovely place to just sit and watch the waves from its popular Cala Porto beach, or to explore in the early afternoon and discover the snippets of poetry that adorn buildings around the town.
Your final stop will be Monopoli, home to the ‘paese vecchio’ in the centre of the town that features multiple churches lined up next to one another. The domestic buildings in this area are charming and have been inhabited by generations of the same families who still work in fishing, farming and winemaking.
Your driver will drop you back off in Alberobello at the end of the day for your final night there.
After breakfast this morning, your private driver will meet you at your hotel in Alberobello and transfer you to your accommodation in Sorrento. On the way, you will stop off in the historic location of Matera and have free time to explore the city.
Matera is the third oldest city in the world and is overflowing with stories and history, the most fascinating element of which are the man-made caves that have been carved into the area’s limestone. You can visit these underground homes that have contributed to Matera’s title of a World Heritage Site, and learn more about what life in these caves would have been like.
Matera was named the cultural capital of Europe in 2019, and along with the fascinating cave systems is also home to several beautiful churches, pedestrianised squares and streets of shops and cafes. You might also recognise its surrounding landscape from several films and television shows, as the area’s dramatic scenery makes it a very popular location for filming.
You will have time for lunch in Matera before returning to your driver and continuing to Sorrento, where you will spend the night.
Today your driver-guide will take you along the Amalfi Coast; one of Italy’s most popular destinations. Enjoy the dramatic cliffside landscape and seaside atmosphere as you travel, with miles of beautiful coastline, pretty villages and luxurious beach resorts to admire on the journey.
You will first visit the historic, cliffside town of Amalfi, with free time to discover some of its medieval architecture or walk along the seafront promenade and admire the boats tethered in the marina. After Amalfi, you will stop in Minori and experience a dessert tasting session that centres around lemons, one of the Amalfi Coast’s finest ingredients. This will take place at Sal de Riso, a restaurant owned by one of Italy’s most famous pastry chefs.
From Minori you will travel to the romantic location of Ravello; a town spread out across steep, terraced slopes cut into the cliffs. Ravello is one of the best spots on the Amalfi Coast to enjoy panoramic views of the ocean, and is filled with beautiful gardens and quiet corners to stop and catch your breath.
Your driver will drop you back in Sorrento in time for an evening meal of your choosing.
After breakfast at your hotel, today’s itinerary consists of a visit to Pompeii for a guided tour around one of the best-preserved ancient Roman settlements in Italy, thanks to the eruption of nearby Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. It is also one of the country’s most popular towns with tourists, and was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its historical value as an archaeological location.
Your private tour guide will tell you about Pompeii’s origins as a holiday resort for wealthy Romans and show you the remains of some of the civic buildings in the town that showcase some of the Roman Empire’s finest architecture. Amongst these iconic ruins is the House of Mysteries; a building named after the murals covering its interior that depict the initiation rites of a cult of the Greek god of wine and madness, Dionysus.
Pompeii is known for the historic graffiti that can still be found on the walls of the majority of its buildings, which historians have used to learn a lot about the lives and attitudes of Roman people. At the time of the eruption elections meant to be happening in the town, and so much of the graffiti is related to political figures and events, as well as some cruder writing!
On your return to Sorrento, you will be treated to a wonderful candlelit dinner on a terrace with a sea view, and enjoy some of the area’s best food and drink for your final night in the area.
At the end of your first week in Italy, you have a day of free time to allow for rest and relaxation, or for the chance to visit different parts of the area.
If you do decide to spend the day exploring, we recommend an afternoon visit to the Pompeii Archeological Park, a boat excursion in Capri or along the Amalfi Coast, or a combination of visiting Pompeii again with Vesuvio.
After breakfast in Sorrento, you will be transferred to Naples Railway Station and catch the high-speed train to Rome, taking you to Italy’s capital city in under two hours.
On arrival in Rome, you will be met at the station by private transportation and dropped off at your hotel in the city centre. Your group will walk to a nearby restaurant in the evening and enjoy a special welcome meal.
On your first full day in Rome, you will be met by a private guide and join a small group tour of the Vatican Museums within the Vatican City; an independent city-state in the centre of Italy’s capital. Your guide will give you unique insight into the collections and masterpieces of the Vatican Museums such as the Raphael Rooms, Belvedere Courtyard, the Galleries of the Candelabra, the Maps and the Tapestries, and then lead you through the famous Sistine Chapel, home to some of Michelangelo’s finest frescos.
The last stop on this morning tour is St Peter’s Basilica, considered by many to be one of the most magnificent churches in the world. After an independent lunch in Rome, your afternoon will be spent on a guided walking tour of the city’s Baroque Town, including visits to the Spanish Steps, Piazza Navona, the Italian Parliament, the Pantheon and the Piazza’s Navona and Spagna.
After the walking tour, you have the rest of the afternoon to either return to your hotel or continue exploring Rome into the evening.
This tour has been designed to combine days of guided sightseeing with leisure time, ensuring that you enjoy the best elements of both a touring holiday and an independent trip. Today has been left free to allow you to set the pace of your itinerary so that you can either relax in one of Italy’s greatest cities or choose your own activities to fill the day.
If you do decide you want to take a day trip, you can take an excursion to Capri or Pompeii for views of the coast, or travel by high-speed train back to Naples and explore this famous area. The nearby Viterbo area also offers wine tasting and vineyard tours, or you can stay in Rome and visit popular spots such as the Colosseum and Roman Forum.
On your final night in Rome, you can choose where to eat dinner, and then stroll back to your hotel through the darkening streets and admire some of the city’s famous monuments as they are lit up.
Today you will meet your tour host at your hotel and depart Rome for Florence, travelling on a coach into Tuscany. This journey allows you to admire the famous Tuscan hills from the comfort of your seat as they pass by, spotting hilltop medieval villages and passing through the region’s finest vineyards.
This transfer to Florence includes a stop in Siena, which centuries ago was said to be the only rival to Florence in terms of wealth, power and culture. Today Siena is one of Tuscany’s oldest and most beautiful cities, full of medieval and Renaissance architecture that will fascinate fans of history and design.
Your guide will take you on a walking tour of the city, where you will visit the Piazza del Campo that is used as the venue for the city’s famous annual Palio horse race. From here you will then walk around some of the seventeen city districts that compete in this tournament each year, exploring Siena’s quieter back streets.
In the afternoon you may get that chance to stop off in Monteriggioni if there is time, which is a small and very interesting walled town in the Chianti region. You will arrive in Florence in the early evening, and spend the night in the city.
Today you will enjoy a guided tour of some of Florence’s best areas, beginning after breakfast by exploring back streets, visiting some of the city’s quieter areas, and experiencing the San Lorenzo market. Fresh local produce arrives here each morning from the countryside, and it’s a great place to sample new flavours and pick up something for lunch.
In the afternoon your guide will take you into the city centre, and you will learn how the ancient statesman Lorenzo de Medici brought writers, artists and architects to Florence in the 15th century, securing its reputation as the birthplace of the Renaissance. Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Botticelli are just some of the famous names whose work is now on display in Florence, all of which contribute to its incredible artistic heritage.
Your tour will take you past the Palazzo Vecchio, over the Ponte Vecchio, through the Piazza della Signoria and end with a visit to the Accademia gallery. Here, your tickets will allow you to skip the queues and see Michelangelo’s influential statue of David, as well as other classic artworks.
You will return to your hotel after this full day of sightseeing, and spend another night in Florence.
Today gives you another chance to decide on your own itinerary for the day, with the option to join a small-group excursion to the coastal region of Cinque Terre. This will take you to a few locations by boat, allowing incredible views of the cliffside villages from the water.
Cinque Terre translates to ‘five lands’, referring to the five small villages and towns that are linked along the cliffs by a railway and popular hiking trails. You can escape from the city crowds you have been a part of the last few days, and enjoy the area’s incredible seafood, lemon-inspired dishes, and wine.
After your final breakfast in Florence, you will be picked up from your hotel and transferred to the city’s train station. Here, you will board another high-speed train, this time to the floating city of Venice for your final three days of the tour.
On arrival in Venice, you will be met and transferred to your hotel in the city. You will have the rest of the day to get your bearings and explore the area you are staying in, before sending your first night in your hotel.
After enjoying the morning at your leisure, your guide will meet you in the afternoon for a guided tour of Venice. Most tourists have left the city by the afternoon, making it a brilliant time for a walking tour around the narrow, twisting streets and beautiful squares, churches and towers.
Your guide will not only lead you to some of the main attractions in Venice, but also take you to some of the less-visited areas so that you get a real feel for the city’s authentic atmosphere. The tour will end with a gondola ride; a classic activity for those visiting Venice who want to enjoy admiring the city from the water.
In the evening, you will be treated to a traditional Venetian dinner as your farewell to Italy and this tour.