|8 days and 7 nights|
Italy (Florence, Pisa, Lucca, Rapallo, Portovenere, Portofino, Lerici, Manarola, Riomaggiore)
Italy (Rome, Florence, Pisa)
Day 1 Montecatini Terme
Arrival in afternoon. Check-in at your hotel. Dinner and overnight stay in Montecatini Terme.
Day 2 Lucca, Historic Villas and Gardens of Lucca
Today we will visit the elegant city of Lucca completely enclosed by a massive well-preserved Renaissance wall, wide enough to hold small parks and a pedestrian path along the top. We will stroll through the medieval alleys to admire Lucca’s ancient and charming squares, elegant shops, Renaissance and Baroque palaces. Of course we will visit the Cathedral, the Piazza dell’Anfiteatro and the Piazza Napoleone. Don’t forget to try the local Bucellato – a sweet bread filled with raisins and aniseed. Along the valleys of Lucca we will admire beautiful country villas. Most of them were summer residences of noble Italian families and are real examples of different architectural stiles in Tuscany. We will visit the most famous: Villa Torrigiani and Villa Reale and their elegant gardens garnished by lovely sculptures. Return for dinner and overnight in Montecatini Terme.
Day 3 Pisa
In the morning we head to Pisa, former maritime republic, rivalling Genova, Amalfi and Venice, to visit the historic center. Most of the city’s buildings date from the 12th and 13th century, by which time Pisa controlled Corsica, Sardinia, and most of the mainland coast. Since the 15th century the city was governed by Florence, whose Medici rulers re-established the University of Pisa, where Galileo once taught. In the Piazza dei Miracoli we will find the most important monuments: the Cathedral, a masterpiece of Romanesque architecture, the Baptistery, the largest in Italy, and, of course, the world-famous Leaning Tower. It took 176 years to complete and began to lean shortly after construction. Return for dinner and overnight in Montecatini Terme.
Day 4 Firenze
Full day dedicated to the beautiful Florence. We will have a guided tour of Florence covering some of the city’s history as we pass famous landmarks like the beautiful Piazza della Signoria, the Duomo, Ponte Vecchio. The rest of the day is at your leisure. You can see other important sites like the Uffizi Gallery, the Accademia Gallery with some of Michelangelo’s works, the Bargello museum, the Pitti Palace and Boboli gardens. To ensure your return to Florence, rub the nose of ‘Il Porcellino’, the bronze boar in Mercato Nuovo and throw a few coins into the grating at his feet. Return for dinner and overnight in Montecatini Terme.
Day 5 Portovenere and the Poet’s Gulf
Departure to the Gulf of Spezia, called the Gulf of Poets because of its attraction to some of the world’s most celebrated poets who came and even died here. Our first stop is Portovenere, a picturesque seaside village dating back to Roman times, situated on a rocky promontory facing the sea and the islands of Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto. We will visit here the historical centre with the San Pietro Church and the Castle, then reach by boat the picturesque town of Tellaro lying on the other side of the gulf with its beautiful brightly painted houses cluster close to St George’s church, once the chosen destination of the British writer D. H. Lawrence. We will continue on to Lerici, romantic village rich in history which have inspired writers such as Byron, Shelley, Virginia Woolf, Gabriele d’Annunzio. You will have time to explore the myriad of twisting lanes of the old town strolling to the 12th century castle to discover a beautiful panorama with views towards Portovenere and the offshore islands. Alternatively, you can enjoy a delicious Italian coffee in one of the pleasant café or one of the famous local dishes such as the delicious fish Soup or Spaghetti alla lericina. Dinner and overnight stay in La Spezia.
Day 6 Cinque Terre
Full day dedicated to the Cinque Terre, almost all inaccessible by road, famous throughout the world for their breathtaking views. The individual names Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore mean little and are almost unknown, but as the Cinque Terre stretching along Liguria’s rocky coast they are celebrated as a unforgettable and charming region completely unspoilt by modern development: olive groves, vineyards, winding stone paths and enchanting small beaches wedged between cliffs, brightly coloured houses and rooftops. We will have a train ride to the Cinque Terre and the chance to take a stroll along the beautiful “Via dell‘Amore”, a breathtakingly beautiful footpath carved into the rocks between Riomaggiore and Manarola affording dramatic sea views. Return for dinner and overnight stay in La Spezia.
Day 7 Portofino, Rapallo
In the morning we visit Portofino, the jewel of the Italian Riviera, situated on a rocky headland beneath Monte Portofino, offering visitors landscapes of rare beauty. This old fishing village has become a prestigious rendezvous for the jet set and one of the world’s most exclusive resorts. Be sure to bring your camera and autograph book, as Portofino is a popular spot for celebrities and artists that ever year are attracted here. We continue on to Rapallo, the oldest town in the area, located in the most sheltered part of the Gulf. Though modern development is happening at the outskirts of the city, at its heart, Rapallo it is still the gracious seaside village that attracted artists and writers like Ezra Pound or D.H. Lawrence with its Baroque buildings and steeples reaching up to the sky, its castle, a seafront fortress built in the 16th century against Saracen invasions, or its Medieval bridge which, according to legend, Hannibal crossed during the 2nd Punic War. Return for dinner and overnight stay in La Spezia.
Day 8 La Spezia
Departure for return journey. End of our services.
Accommodation, depending on your option, in good 4* hotels centrally located or 3* not centrally located hotels, double occupancy rooms, as described:
4 night accommodation in hotel in Montecatini Terme on a half-board basis, drinks not included
4 night accommodation in La Spezia on a half-board basis, drinks not included
Local English speaking guides in Lucca, Pisa, Florence, Cinque Terre. Other languages are available on request.
Entrances to the Cathedral, Villa Torrigiani and Villa Reale in Lucca, Cathedral in Pisa
Transfer by boat from Portovenere to Tellaro
Transfer by train from La Spezia to Monterosso and Manarola to La Spezia
Bus GT for the entire tour with arrival and departure from Rome / Pisa / Florence airport, including all expenses (check point and parking fees, board and lodging for driver)