Day 1 London - Venice
Titan’s VIP door-to-door travel service collects you from home, for your journey to London Gatwick Airport for a direct, scheduled British Airways flight to Venice. On arrival, we transfer to the Villa Pace Park Hotel Bolognese (4T), where we stay for three nights.
Day 2 Venice
Today we enjoy an included excursion into Venice, where our guided walk takes us to the main sights, including the Piazza San Marco and the Bridge of Sighs. Afterwards, you are free to explore independently and a return coach transfer to your hotel will be provided for convenience. Or join an optional afternoon excursion to the Doge’s Palace.
Day 3 Venice
Spend today at leisure or join an optional excursion to Padua and Vicenza, including entrance to the Olympic Theatre in Vicenza. Designed by Andrea Palladio in the 16th century, it is the oldest surviving indoor theatre in Europe. The old university town of Padua, in the Veneto region, is rich in art and architecture. Perhaps visit the Basilica di Sant’Antonio to see the wonderful artwork, including the reliefs by Donatello, or have a morning coffee in the historic Caffe Pedrocchi. In Vicenza, join a guided walk to see the highlights of this great Palladian city, one of the wealthiest in Veneto.
Day 4 Venice - Ferrara - Bologna - Montecatini Terme
Leave the Veneto region and travel into Emilia Romagna, en route to Tuscany, visiting Ferrara and Bologna along the way. Ferrara is one of the greatest walled cities in Italy and the medieval ruling D’Este family left a beautiful legacy in its Renaissance buildings - the D’Este court once hosted artists such as Titian and Bellini, and writers, including Petrarch. Bologna is renowned for its food and fine dining; and there are impressive red-brick buildings and the ancient university in the medieval centre. Later, we transfer to Montecatini Terme for a three-night stay at the Grand Hotel Francia & Quirinale (4T) or Grand Hotel Tettuccio (4T), with dinner included on two nights.
Day 5 Florence
We have a full-day included excursion to Florence today, travelling by train from Montecatini to this beautiful art city. A guided walking tour will show you the highlights and includes entrance to the Basilica di Santa Croce, the burial place of some of the most eminent Italians, including Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, and Rossini. Brunelleschi and Vasari were involved in the architectural design of the basilica.
Day 6 Pisa - Lucca
Another great full-day included excursion awaits you today, to Pisa and Lucca, where we have included entrances to some of the monuments in Miracle Square, Pisa - a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Leaning Tower of Pisa is considered to be the bell tower of the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta. In the walled medieval town of Lucca, we take a guided walk to the Piazza del Mercato, an area once occupied by a Roman amphitheatre. Today’s archways around the square are where the Romans drove the gladiators and beasts into the ancient arena.
Day 7 Montecatini Terme - Siena - Wine Tasting - Rome
Spend the morning exploring Siena independently. Red-gold terracotta buildings are grouped into the 17 ‘contrade’ or parishes, whose intense historic rivalry culminates in the bi-annual ‘palio’ horserace, around the stunning fan-shaped Piazza del Campo. We continue towards Rome, stopping on the way in one of the best wine-growing areas of Tuscany. We enjoy an included wine tasting and in the late afternoon we arrive in Rome and check in at the Hotel Londra & Cargill (4T) or similar for a three-night stay, with dinner included tonight.
Day 8 Rome
A superb excursion to Rome today, which includes a guided walk and entrance to the Colosseum; Rome’s magnificent icon and venue of brutal gladiatorial games.
Day 9 Rome
Spend today at leisure or join an optional morning excursion to Tivoli, for entrance to Villa d’Este, a remarkable, UNESCO-listed Italian garden of fountains, nymphs and grottoes which has inspired Europe since the 16th century.
Day 10 Rome - Caserta - Naples
We check out of our hotel and journey to Naples. One of the oldest continuously-inhabited cities in the world, it can be traced back to the Bronze Age and is home to a wealth of churches, castles and museums. At Caserta we have an included tour of the Royal Palace - the Reggia - an 18th century Baroque palace, which is now UNESCO World Heritage-listed. On arrival in Naples, we check in at the UNA Hotel Napoli (4T) or Hotel Terminus (4T), for a two-night stay, with dinner included tonight.
Day 11 Pompeii - Sorrento
Today, we have included a guided tour of Pompeii. This wealthy town was buried in AD 79 by a massive eruption of Mount Vesuvius and frozen in time. In the afternoon enjoy some free time in Sorrento - a small and pretty town on the Gulf of Naples.
Day 12 Naples - Paestum - Giardini Naxos, Sicily
Today we transfer to Sicily. This is a long, but rewarding, travelling day which takes us from Naples, the capital of Campania, through Calabria - the ‘toe’ of Italy - right down to Sicily (part of Italy but with a great history and culture, all of its own). After leaving Naples, enjoy a stop at the wonderful Greek temples in Paestum, which are perhaps the best preserved of their kind outside Greece. Next, there will be a visit to a mozzarella producer, for a tasting of this delicious buffalo milk cheese. You may see some of the buffalo herds along the way, before reaching Reggio di Calabria for the short sea crossing to Messina. From here we transfer to Giardini Naxos and the Hotel Sant’Alphio Garden (4T), for a three-night stay. Dinner is included here each night.
Day 13 Giardini Naxos
After your long transfer day, relax and spend today at leisure.
Day 14 Giardini Naxos
Spend another day enjoying your surroundings or join a full-day optional excursion to Mount Etna and then Taormina, where there will be a guided walk and entrance to the ancient Greek theatre, which sits in its splendid elevated position with glorious views.
Day 15 Giardini Naxos - Acireale - Catania - London
After free time this morning, we depart for our journey home, stopping en route in the coastal Baroque town of Acireale. There will be some time to independently explore; perhaps visit the basilica of St Peter or St Sebastian. We continue to Catania Airport for a direct, scheduled British Airways flight to London Gatwick. On arrival you will be met and guided to your Titan vehicle, for the journey home.