Northern Italy and Tuscany

Starting at PER PERSON for all of the below, based on 2 participants: $4,647.00

Day 1:  Lake Como for 4 nights

Pick up car in Milan Malpensa airport

VW Passat Wagon or similar Standard Class – Automatic Transmission unlimited mileage CDW & theft included

1 double deluxe room , breakfast & taxes included at Hotel Albergo Terminus****

Dating back to the 19th century, Albergo Terminus has both a great view across Lake Como and a central location in the historic centre, next to Como Nord Lago Station.

Rooms are located in the main building or the hotel’s new wing, built in 2007. Each room has an individual design, and air conditioning, satellite TV, and a minibar come as standard.

The Terminus Hotel includes a grand lobby with Wi-Fi point, as well as a gym and sauna. The restaurant serves traditional Italian dishes, with meals served out in the garden overlooking the lake.

Staff provide an attentive service, tourist information, and recommendations on what to do in Como and beyond. Como Cathedral is just 985 feet away, while the museum and gardens of Tempio Voltiano are 5 minutes away on foot.

Day 2:

1 day biking tour with a guide

Cernobbio, loop ride. Mostly flat ride. Some rolling hills. Tour of the three lakes: lake Como, lake Lugano (Switzerland), lake Maggiore. Today’s ride will take you into Switzerland, cycling along lake Lugano’s most quiet roads crossing the Italian and Swiss border many times. Riding along lake Lugano’s side roads, you can enjoy the atmosphere of quaint Swiss little towns. Stopping for coffee in Pontetresa (almost half way into today’s ride), you then carry on back into Italy, looping back from the border station of Pontecremenaga to Cernobbio.

Day 3:  Venice for 3 nights

On the way stop in Verona and explore the town

The city of Verona, protected by the UNESCO as a World Heritage, has much to offer. See the famous Juliet’s House, where the inside courtyard with the famous balcony and the statue can be seen.

Drop off car in Venice Piazzale Roma

1 superior double room, breakfast & taxes included at Hotel Kette****

Set in a 16th-century building, Hotel Kette is just 329 feet from the Fenice Theatre. It offers Venetian-style rooms with large windows and LCD TVs with satellite channels.

Rooms at the Kette are decorated with traditional wallpaper and fine fabrics. Each comes with air conditioning and a minibar.

A buffet breakfast is served daily, including ham, cheese, and fresh fruit salad.

Piazza San Marco is just 1,477 feet from the hotel. The Accademia and the Rialto Bridge are both a 10-minute walk away, and shuttles can be arranged from/to Venice and Treviso Airports.

San Marco is a great choice for travellers interested in Shopping, History and Museums.

Day 4:

Skip the Line Doge’s Palace Secret Itineraries

Duration of tour: 1 hr 25 mins

The Doges palace features the very best and the very worst of Venice history : from vast paintings by Tintoretto and Veronese to the wooden slot where accusations of treason where slipped to the fearsome Secret Police. Our tour of the palace visit all the best sights open to the public Marvel over ceilings frescoed by Tintoretto to show Justice presenting her self to the Doge, then there is the numerous flattering works produced on the demand by the masters of the time: Virtues of the Republic in the Council room was Veronese’s rosy outlook on the state of his nation while The Triumph of Venice in the Senate hall was where Tintoretto paid his dues on a high ceiling. For all the splendor that its corridors hold, you would never guess what is hidden in the attic upstairs in the Palazzo Ducale. Follow your guide to the attic prison where Venice famous writer and lover Casanova was kept for month before he miraculously managed a successful escape. We will visit the the spectacular Bridge of Sighs, so named for the prisoners that walked its length on their way to cells across the Canal. As they took their last look at beautiful Venice they couldn’t help but sigh. Across the Bridge of Sighs we will see the New Prisons, although the 16th century monstrosities could hardly be accused of fitting the name these days. A visit to the Doges Palace is a roller coaster experience, taking you from the artistic highs of Renaissance Venice to its grim bottom.

Includes:  English speaking guide, skip the line access and entrance ticket to the Doges Palace, entrance into the Doges Palace Secret Itinerary.

Private Gondola Ride at 7 pm with serenade

Duration of tour: 30 mins

We join a flotilla of Gondolas gathered around a barge containing the Musicians and Singer to float along the fascinating Grand Canal, glittering in the reflection of the illuminated facades of the sumptuous Palazzos. Return in the dark stillness of some of Venice’s interior canals.

Day 5:

Day at leisure

Take vaporetto no. 1 for a leisurely descent of the Canal Grande. Admire the gorgeous architecture of the palazzi along the way and stop at Piazza San Marco.

Visit the Basilica di San Marco

From Piazza San Marco, take an adventurous walk toward the Ponte di Rialto and lunch on your way.

At the bridge, take vaporetto no. 1 or 82 heading south and get off at the Accademia. Spend the afternoon visiting the splendid Gallerie dell’Accademia.

The Jewish Ghetto, Dorsoduro:  Set it a quiet corner of Venice, the Jewish Ghetto offers a moving opportunity to understand the Venetian Republic’s tolerance and exploitation of foreign peoples. Discover this tranquil area of town, known for its long, wide canals draped with the linens of the day’s wash.

Don’t leave Venice without a visit to the famous islands, known throughout the world for picturesque scenery, handicraft and history.

Head to the vaporetto for the islands.

Murano, where you can eat and see the glassmaking (alternatively, visit the Scuola Grande di San Rocco and the Basilica dei Frari to round out your knowledge of Venetian Renaissance painting).

Burano is famous not only for its lace but it is also a pretty fishing village – its streets lined with bright coloured houses.

Take vaporetto no. 12 to Torcello, visit the Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta, and eat lunch at the Locanda Cipriani or one of the other trattorie.

Torcello is a delightful little island, the earliest centre of civilisations in the estuary. A trip not to be missed!

In the evening, see the colorful neighborhoods of San Polo and Dorsoduro or have dinner on the island of Lido — and maybe, if it’s summer, indulge in a game at the casino.

Day 6:  Florence for 3 nights

1st class train from Venice to Florence with seat reservations

Departure at 10:25 am, arrival at 12:30 pm

1 double comfort room, breakfast & taxes included at Hotel Spadai****

Set in the heart of Florence, 2 minutes’ walk from Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral, Hotel Spadai is housed in a historic building next to the Palazzo Medici Riccardi.

Each room features soundproofing, a smart TV and free drinks from the minibar. The private bathroom comes with a rainfall shower, free toiletries and a hairdryer.

When booked for your stay, you will enjoy an extensive American buffet breakfast.

The Spadai is 657 feet from the Basilica of San Lorenzo. Piazza della Signoria square is 5 minutes’ walk away.

Duomo is a great choice for travellers interested in Shopping, History and Fine Art Museums.

The Original David and Accademia tour at 5 pm

Duration of tour: 1 hr

Enjoy learning about the most famous sculpture in the world, the David with the original and best Artviva guides who are notable for outstanding expertise in making history and art come alive. This is the only small group tour that focus’s solely on Michelangelo and the David. Hear all about the miserly genius that was one of the greatest masters of the Renaissance. Exclusive small-group only tour. Sound systems included if group consists of more than 6 people.

Includes:  Mother tongue English speaking guide, reservation and entrance ticket to Accademia Gallery, sound system if group consists of more than 6 people.

Day 7:

Day at leisure

Day 8:

Day at leisure

Day 9:  Cortona for 3 nights

Pick up car in BMW 1 Series or similar Midsize Class – Automatic unlimited mileage CDW & theft included

1 superior double room, breakfast & taxes included at Hotel Villa di Piazzano****

Located just 3.7 miles from Cortona, Villa di Piazzano is an elegant historical villa. Its landscaped gardens include a terrace for al fresco dining, a pool and panoramic countryside views.

This family-run hotel still includes a number of the villa’s original features and a selection of antique furniture. All rooms are air conditioned and feature free Wi-Fi and Sky TV. Free Wi-Fi is also available in all areas, including the terrace and pool area.

L’Antica Casina di Caccia restaurant applies a 0 miles philosophy, which means it uses only the freshest local ingredients. It specialises in Tuscan cuisine and homemade pasta. Meals are served out on the terrace overlooking the surrounding countryside.

3 hour private wine and olive tasting at Badia A Coltibuono

A journey through the Chianti countryside, one of the most suggestive areas of Tuscany, famous the world over for its wines.

We visit the magnificent Abbey of Badia A Coltibuono where you will have a wine and olive oil tasting

It’s not hard to see why the storied Badia a Coltibuono Winery – with its 11th-century Romanesque monastery, exclusive on-site restaurant and immaculately lush botanical garden – is a highlight of any Chianti wine tour. But this proud family winery is famed for more than its history and romantic atmosphere. Badia a Coltibuono make premium wines with estate-grown, organically produced grapes. Their wines are considered to be some of the most iconic Chianti Classico wines.

Explore Cortona:  An encounter with Cortona is an encounter with art, with history and with spirituality. Getting to know this timeless city is a real rediscovery of our past. Cortona offers testimony to its history as well as an enchanting view of the landscape enclosed by Lake Trasimeno and the Appenines.  “Under the Tuscan Sun”

Day 10

Day at leisure

Built on three hills in the middle of the Via Francigena (pilgrimage road), Siena is one of Tuscany’s crown jewels. It has an outstanding Gothic Duomo and another important church, San Domenico, which claims the skull of St. Catherine. Siena also has one of the most beautiful squares in Italy, il Campo, where the famous Palio horse race is held twice a year.

You may want to skip the sightseeing and head straight for the shops — Siena has many acclaimed specialty stores around the main square and its main street, Via Banchi di Sopra. Local delicacies include Panforte, a cake with dried fruits and sugar; Sapori, marzipan almond pastries; and Pici, a typical pasta from the area.

Later in the day, make a stop in  the medieval walled city of San Gimignano, less than an hour away. You’ll have the first sight of the famous towers of San Gimignano from afar.

There were originally 72 towers, but only 15 remain today. You will explore San Gimignano on your own.  Great shopping opportunities await, as San Gimignano is well known for Zafferano (saffron), its great white wine called Vernaccia, among other gourmet treats. Make a point to stop for gelato at one of Italy’s best gelaterias in Piazza della Cisterna.

Cooking class at 4 pm at Locanda del Molino (10 minutes away from hotel)

Locanda del Molino is located in the charming town of Cortona and is very famous for its traditional Tuscan cuisine. The hands-on lessons are about three hours long and include the preparation of an appetizer, pasta, sauces, main course and dessert. Some of the dishes you may create are crostini neri, panzanella, sfoglia and ravioli, tagliatelle, papardelle, tagliolini, a variety of sauces, wild boar salami, roasted duck, zuppa inglese, castagnaccio and tiramisu. The menu, of course, will depend on the season, and there is a large fireplace in the kitchen, so often the main course will be roasted in the fire!

One of the wonderful cooks of the Locanda will lead you on this culinary adventure. Note that while some of the chefs do not speak English, their warmth and enthusiasm will clearly transmit their love of cooking and teaching. (There will always be a translator for the class.) The class will culminate with a meal based on your efforts. And, as the Locanda is owned by the Baracchi family who produce wonderful wines at the famed Il Falconiere, you will have a fine wine to accompany your meal!

Day 11:

Biking Tour Bagno Vignoni & Cortona

Meet in Pienza, then set out through the countryside. We across the green pastures where many cheese factories produce pecorino, the delicious pungent cheese made using milk from the sheep we’ll see grazing alongside the road. Pienza is one of the most perfect Renaissance towns in Italy. We’ll take a good look around at its surprising lovely churches, palazzi e la piazza. After our visit we coast downhill to the enchanting spa town of Bagno Vignoni, a minuscule village whose ancient stone buildings cluster around a 150-by-90-foot pool of warm thermal waters.

The effect is magical! Back in the saddle to ride back to Pienza.

Day 12:  Milan airport for 1 night

Drop off car in Florence

1st class train from Florence to Milan with seat reservations

Departure at 3 pm, arrival at 4:40 pm

Meet & greet private transfer from train station to hotel

1 double king, breakfast & taxes included at Hotel Sheraton Milan airport****

Sheraton Milan Malpensa Hotel is located inside Malpensa Airport’s Terminal 1. It offers air-conditioned rooms with minibar and flat-screen TV. A fitness centre is also available.

Rooms at Sheraton Milano Malpensa Airport Hotel and Conference Centre are soundproofed and feature Sheraton Sweet Sleeper beds.

Other hotel facilities include business meeting rooms, a spa and beauty centre and indoor swimming pool.

Guests can sip a cocktail at the on-site bar and have dinner at the restaurant, which specialises in Italian cuisine.

The hotel is a 40-minute drive from Milan centre, and 24.9 miles from Rho Fiera Milano Exhibition Centre. You can also use public and private shuttles to Milan Central Railway Station.


Operations & Reservations

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Phone: 1-514-285-8758

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