Treasures of Italy

Highlights

Connect with an ancient civilization in historic Roman cities, feel inspired by the Tuscan landscapes, ponder ash-covered Pompeii under the shadow of Mt Vesuvius, learn how limoncello is made before sneaking a taste, taste the difference at a local agriturismo in Amalfi

Tour description provided by G Adventures

Artists have always travelled to Italy to lift their spirits, and this 2-week adventure offers you the same opportunity. Connect with the ancients at the ruins of Pompeii and in Rome and marvel at the Renaissance in Venice and Florence. You’ll explore villages, boat off the coast of Cinque Terre, and walk with the gods in Amalfi. We’ve taken care of the planning so you’ll have plenty of time for solo exploring and optional activities. Connect with the culture—past and present—and discover what visitors have always known: the heart beats faster in Italy.

Itinerary

Day 1 Venice
Arrive at any time. As your fellow travellers are arriving throughout the day, there are no planned activities until your Group Meeting this evening, so check-in to the hotel (check-in time is approx 3pm) and enjoy the city. Check the notice boards or ask at reception for the exact time and location of the group meeting. After the meeting, you might like to take the option of heading out for a meal in a nearby local restaurant to further get to know your CEO and travelling companions. Please make every effort to arrive on time for this important welcome meeting. If you are delayed and will arrive late, please inform us - contact numbers are provided in these notes. Your Chief Experience Officer will then leave you a message at the front desk informing you of where and when to meet up.
Days 2 Venice (1B)
Enjoy an orientation walk through local markets and neighbourhoods of Venice. Option to visit museums, churches and the Doge's Palace, or take a gondola ride. Rise early for a walk through the local neighbourhoods of Venice, away from the tourists. Discover little known sights such as the only remaining traditional Gondola making workshop on Venice, gardens, and kids playing football in the Campo (children not actually guaranteed). Venice is one of the few cities in the world that can be truly described as unique. Over an extraordinarily long period, this "floating" city of water has been embellished with monuments of rare splendour that today make it a tourist attraction like none other in the world. Wonderful museums such as the Accademia or the Scuola di San Rocco give us the opportunity to enjoy great painters of the renaissance like Jacopo Tintoretto, Vittore Carpaccio or Tiziano. For a more contemporary take, why not visit the fabulous Peggy Guggenheim gallery, located inside her former home, right on the Grand Canal itself. While in the "city of canals", you can't miss out on a vaporetto (water-bus) ride along the Grand Canal. This is the best (and cheapest!) way to enjoy unparalleled views of the majestic palaces lining the water, the old-world shops of the Rialto Bridge, the Palace of the Doge (ruler of Venice), the Piazza and Basilica of San Marco and the romantic Bridge of Sighs. There will be plenty of time for you to wander the narrow, cobblestone streets and wide piazzas, crossing the hundreds of tiny bridges and of course, getting lost in Venice's labyrinth - by far the best way to discover this city's captivating magic.
Day 3 Cinque Terre Region (1B)
Head to Cinque Terre, one of the most beautiful areas of the Mediterranean. Overnight in a charming village perched on the rocky coast, and enjoy a boat ride on the crystal clear Ligurian Sea . Today we head west by private vehicle, towards the famous Cinque Terre National Park, one of the most beautiful and famous areas of the Mediterranean. Cinque terre [meaning five lands] is a Unesco World Heritage Site. They are car free and overwhelmingly charming despite the crowds. Human activity, in particular viticulture, has contributed to create a unique landscape, characterized by five charming villages perched on the rocky coast, the crystal clear Ligurian Sea lapping at their doorways, vineyards, olive groves and woodland towering up steeply from their backyards, and best of all, an extensive network of age-old footpaths and mule tracks awaiting your exploration. Also have the option to enjoy some truly amazing food. Eat a succulent starter of local anchovies marinated in lemon and locally produced olive oil, follow it with Trofie al Pesto (this is where it comes from!) and top the lot with the famous dessert wine schiattetra. Heaven. Estimated Travel Time: Private van - 5 hours
Days 4-6 Florence (3B)
Travel to Florence, the capital of the Tuscany region, by train. Take an orientation walk with the CEO through the lively and ancient streets and enjoy an included aperitivo experience at a local bar. On Day 5, excursion to the beautiful Tuscan town of Lucca. Here the day is free to discover the the many cobbled piazzas, cafes, palazzos, churches and towers. Day 6 is at leisure in Florence with option to visit the Duomo, the Uffizi Gallery, the medieval Ponte Vecchio, the Medici Chapels or take an excursion to Pisa. Florence personifies all that is beautiful in Italian civilization. It is the capital of the Tuscany region with a population of approximately half a million people. The fathers of Italian painting, Cimabue and Giotto lived here, along with many other prominent artists. It is the birthplace of the Italian language (Dante Alighieri) and Europe’s richest cultural period, The Italian Renaissance. Florence’s cultural and historical impact attracts thousands of international travellers each year. In the summer, life in Florence can be found in the streets and squares. Outdoor cinemas, music, dance and theatre enliven most squares every evening. Fill your free day with a visit to the marvellous multi-coloured Duomo, the Uffizi Gallery, the medieval Ponte Vecchio or the Medici Chapels. Take a break at Piazza della Signoria with a gelato or an espresso before hitting the vivacious Piazza San Lorenzo to bargain for discounted woollen and leather goods. No visit to Florence would be complete without tasting the mouthwatering foods from this region: Bistecca alla fiorentina, ribollita, fagioli al uccelletta, stewed wild boar, pici cacio e pepe are all classics that make any Tuscan proud. Do we really need to mention the wines? You will leave this region with enhanced taste buds, a longing to return for more and a lifelong search for the same flavours upon your return home. One one of the evenings in Florence, we will walk up to Piazzale Michelangelo in the evening for the famous view over the River Arno and the city. Please note that it is very advisable to book tickets in advance for both the Uffizi and Accademia Galleries. The line-ups at these museums are always long and the time to visit them is limited. You can book online from home before you leave at www.weekendafirenze.com or by phone (+39) 055 294883 from Monday to Friday 8.30am-6.30pm, Saturday 8.30am-12.30pm. If you are interested in purchasing tickets we recommend that you do so once your G Adventure trip is confirmed (up to 2 months before if possible), especially for the ever-popular Uffizi, and for any time after 11am on Day 4 or at any time on Day 6 of your trip. For additional museum resources you might want to refer to this website, www.firenzemusei.it, for more information to plan your day in Florence. We take a day trip by local train to the beautiful little Tuscan town of Lucca where we take a walk along the historic walls. There is plenty of free time to get out and discover the city and its history. The best way to do this is to hire one of the hundreds of bikes for rent around the town and take to two wheels. Spin your way along the top of the stunning medieval city walls, zoom down into one of the many cobbled piazzas for an espresso and a revitalizing slice of pizza before setting off to take in some real culture at some of this little city's many palazzos, churches and towers. Lucca is a magical place surrounded by Renaissance walls and set in beautiful countryside. This classic medieval city has been well preserved over the centuries, and contained within the 16th Century walls you will find piazzas, towers, and copious marble-decorated churches. Today, Lucca is one of the wealthiest cities in Tuscany, a prosperity gained mostly through wine and olive oil production. This tranquil town is a fantastic place to take a gentle stroll, promenade atop the tree-lined walls or enjoy the gastronomic delights distinguished by the use of local aromatic herbs. Day 4 Estimated Travel Time: Train - 3 hours
Day 7 Pompeii (1B)
Catch the train to Pompeii and then option to head to Naples in the afternoon to visit the National Archaeological Museum, gape at the Veiled Christ, stroll through the chilled tunnels of underground Naples or just sit in a plaza with a cocktail and soak up this wonderful animated city so different from anywhere else in Italy where superstition blends with religion and Pizza reigns supreme! You can't say you went to Naples - the birthplace of pizza- until you have eaten its pizza so that is exactly what should be done before heading back to Pompeii for the night. Estimated Travel Time: Train - 4.5 hours
Days 8 Pompeii/Sorrento (1B)
This morning, explore the ruins of ancient Pompeii with option to visit the ruins of Herculaneum or the summit of Mt Vesuvius. This evening, take the train to Sorrento. We are welcomed to the south with a visit to a local limoncello producer to learn about this delicious liqueur and enjoy a tasting. Estimated Travel Time: Train - 1 hours
Day 9 Sorrento (1B)
Enjoy the day at leisure from our boutique hotel, just steps from the central Piazza. With options of visiting the islands of Capri or Ischia, or visit one of the many traditional limoncello producers to learn their secrets and sample some of this delicious liqueur. Sorrento is a small town in southern Italy, overlooking the Bay of Naples. A popular place for holiday already since the Ancient Romans, its climate is mild, and the scenic landscapes and sea views are stunning.
Day 10-11 Amalfi (2B,1L)
Take a private transfer to the stunning Amalfi coast with lunch at a local agriturismo that specializes in home grown, delicious produce. Continue to the hotel which offers spectacular views of the coastline. On Day 11, hike the famous 'Walk of the Gods' following ancient paths and trails linking isolated farms, villages, churches and monasteries. Probably the most famous walk of the Amalfi region, the trail climbs along ridges high above the coastal towns of Positano and Praiano, we hike the ancient trails, once the only road connecting these two villages. The path can be rough underfoot and a little exposed, but well worth it for the spectacular scenery and the chance to be so close to nature and "the Gods". The outstanding beauty of the Amalfi Coast can only be fully appreciated on foot. Follow ancient paths and trails linking isolated farms, villages, churches and monasteries. Most of the walking offers amazing views to the rugged coastline below with wonderful vistas from village to village. There are plenty of opportunities to visit ancient villages and exquisite churches. We take a morning bus to the small town of Bomerano, perched in the hills high above the sparkling sea. Then we follow a delightful path, narrow and with sensational views down to the sea far below, on our walk to the village of Montepertuso and down to Positano. We will walk past abandoned farmhouses and lemon groves, across high mountain pastures and through woodland, and finally down to hilltop villages and then steeply down to the coast again. The walk finishes in Positano, from where we catch a bus (public service) back to Amalfi. You will have time if you wish to explore the bustling resort town of Positano before heading back to our base in Amalfi. Estimated Travel Time: Day 11: transfer from Sorrento to Amalfi: 1 hour by private minivan Estimated Walking Time (Day 12): 5-6 hours
Day 12-13 Rome (2B)
Travel to Rome by private transfer and take an orientation walk with the CEO. On Day 13, option to visit the Colosseum and Roman Forum, the Vatican or just wander the streets and palazzos, taking time for a café or gelato. Unquestionably Rome exudes history: from its Catacombs that entombed early Christians, to the Colosseum where gladiators battled to the death and on up to the Palatine Hill, the traditional site of Rome’s founding. It is also home to the Vatican City, the home of the Pope, and St Peter's Basilica The city is enthralling, with perhaps more to see than any other place in the world. Eating in Italy is deeply embedded in the country’s culture, and dining in Rome can seem to last forever and consist of many courses. The city offers a vibrant cafe culture and nightlife, as well as the many iconic sights. Please note that if you wish to visit popular museums such as the Vatican Museums (Sistine Chapel) and Villa Borghese in Rome, to avoid waiting in line for a long time (especially in high season May-September when it could be a question of hours!), it is advisable to reserve tickets in advance. Tickets can be reserved online at various websites including www.florenceart.it or www.virtualuffizi.com for Florence and www.tickititaly.com for all. Please make your reservations for Day 13 of your tour, when you will have a free day. ). There may be the possibility of arranging tickets on arrival on Day 1, with the help of your CEO, but availability cannot be guaranteed at such short notice. Day 12 - Estimated Travel Time: 1 hour by private minivan / 2 hours by train
Day 14 Rome (1B)
Depart at any time.