“North to South”

Three weeks of discovering Italy (2 people in double accommodations) May to September ITINERARY
Day 1 – Arrival in Milan Upon arrival at Malpensa Airport in Milan, you will be met by your driver for your transfer to Milan train station. Here, you will board your train to Bolzano, (Bozen). Bolzano, the Gateway to the Dolomites lies in a broad valley basin at an altitude of 265 metres (870 ft.), with three beautiful Alpine high plateaus of rolling hills encircling it from north-east to north-west. The breathtaking rocks are now a UNESCO World Natural Heritage. In spring the contrast between lush Mediterranean vegetation beside the town’s panoramic sundrenched promenades and the snow-mantled Dolomites with skiing season still in full swing, is especially striking. Take a taxi to your nicely appointed 3-star Bed and Breakfast. The rest of the day is at your leisure. Day 2 – Mountain hiking This morning you will be met by your private guide, who will take you on a hiking tour in one of the many paths of the Dolomites. The Dolomites are one-of-a-kind spectacular mountain range of steep limestone cliffs, peaks, spires and gorges, situated in north-eastern Italy and centered just south of the Austrian/Swiss/Italian borders. Do not worry about your fitness. Our guide designs hike with you in mind, and can adjust the itinerary to your liking. After a stop for lunch in one of the wonderful restaurants, you will come back to the car for your return to your B&B. Day 3 – Peschiera (Lake Garda) Having found your way to Bolzano’s train station, you will ride to Peschiera del Garda, on the homonymous lake and then get to your 3-star hotel. Peschiera del Garda lies at the confluence of the Mincio River that is the lake's only stream flow. The prominent situation as geographic and cultural

crossing point made Peschiera, inhabited since the prehistory by the pile dwellers, one of the most important towns of the lake. The rest of the day is at your leisure. Day 4 – Verona & Amarone – Full Day Discover the magic of the wonderful city of Verona and the regions of Amarone and Valpolicella. You will be driven and arrive in the centre of Verona at Piazza Bra where the world famous 1st century outdoor arena is located (third largest in Italy). You will have three hours of free time to visit the house of Juliet (as in Romeo and Juliet), the historical Piazza delle Erbe and some of the exclusive shops around the city. After Verona, you will head on over to the medieval towns of the Valpolicella region for a delicious lunch in a typical local restaurant. If time permits, you will have a chance to visit the 13th Century church of San Giorgio with its splendid altar dating back to 712 A.D. where there are some of the most beautiful, panoramic views of Sirmione and Lake Garda. From here, you will be driven to a vineyard to have a guided visit and learn more about the famous ‘Amarone’ wine of the region. You will enjoy tasting some of the different wines they produce and have a chance to purchase a few bottles to take with you, such as Amarone and Recioto della Valpolicella. Then just sit back and enjoy the views as you return to Peschiera. Day 5 - Venice Take your train to Venice and check into your 3-star hotel. Venice does not need any introductions: known throughout the world as a magnificent city, it is a tourism mecca. Even so, it still maintains an aura unlike any other city in the world. The rest of the day is at your leisure. Day 6 – Venice Tour To fully appreciate the splendours of Venetian art and history a guided visit to the Doge's Palace is a must! You will start from the heart of Venice, St. Mark's Square. After a brief visit to St. Mark's Basilica you will visit the Doge's palace, which was for centuries the official residence of the Doge and of various political institutions. It is decorated with splendid carved gilded ceilings and with breathtaking paintings by Titian, Veronese and Tintoretto. You will then cross the famous Bridge of Sighs and visit the Venetians' old Prison! Day 7 – Florence Today, your train ride will take to the wonderful Renaissance city of Florence. Florence offers a bit of everything to all: art, food, wines, and fashion. Here, you will stay at your centrally-located 3-star hotel. The rest of the day is at your leisure. Day 8 – Florence Tour This morning, after breakfast, you will be met at your hotel for the transfer to the meeting point and to embark on your tour coach. The tour starts on Piazzale Michelangelo, from where you have a complete view of what is considered one of the most beautiful and romantic cities in the world. The

tour will then resume by going down to the heart of the city and to the Accademia Gallery, where it will be possible to admire the original version of David by Michelangelo, the unfinished I Prigioni, San Matteo, Pieta’ di Palestrina and other masterpieces. The tour will continue through the historical streets of Florence, and will lead you in front of the Duomo, where the guide will explain from the outside Giotto’s Bell Tower, the Baptistery with its golden bronze doors, including the famous Porta del Paradiso, and, lastly, the Cathedral. The balance of the day is at your leisure Day 9 – Rome Early in the morning, board your train at Santa Maria Novella station for your train ride to Rome. Once in Rome, you might want to take a taxi to your 3star hotel in the city. The Eternal City offers so much to the visitor that it is impossible to do it justice in one day. However, walk through her streets and become enveloped by her atmosphere. Rome is a city for all the 5 senses and you will use all to capture a unique experience. Day 10 – Rome Tour. This morning you will meet your English-speaking guide for your half-day, private tour of the Vatican, which includes the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums. Our guide is a Roman-born expert in all things Roman, and you will appreciate her vast knowledge. After lunch, a half-day excursion will allow you to walk the roads once traveled by the old Romans. You will visit parts of Ancient Rome such as the Coliseum and the Pantheon. Day 11 – Tour of Frascati and the Castelli Romani. Your private driver will meet you at your hotel for your full-day trip. First stop is Frascati, the week-end getaway for many Romans, who escape the scorching heat of the city, for this corner of paradise. After a visit to the centre of the city, a quick lunch will be followed by a tour of Castelgandolfo, where the Pope has his summer residence, and a visit to Villa d’Este, followed by your ride back to your hotel. Day 12 - Naples Arrive at your 3-star hotel in Naples, after a train ride from Rome. Naples is the third most-populated city in Italy and the biggest city in Southern Italy. Its name comes from the Greek Neapolis meaning new city. Its close proximity to many interesting sites, such as Pompeii and the Bay of Naples, makes it a good base for exploring the area. Naples is a lively and vibrant city, full of wonderful historical and artistic treasures and narrow, winding streets with small shops, making it worth at least a few days visit. Enjoy you day at leisure. Day 13 – Pompeii Tour and Matera This morning you will be met at the hotel by your driver for your tour of the ancient city of Pompeii. In Pompeii your guide will take you on a private, twohour tour of this Roman city, destroyed by ashes and lava in 79 A.D. Check out the amazing buildings and the Amphitheatre.

This afternoon, your private driver will transfer you to the town of Matera, in the southern region of Basilicata. This is one of the most extraordinary spots on earth, which is why UNESCO has listed it among its 365 official World Heritage List locations. Its cave churches (155 of these astounding structures) are just beyond the southeastern edge of town. Much like the Etruscan tombs of Latium and Tuscany, they range from the primitive to the exquisite. Many are decorated with world-class Byzantine decorations and frescoes in varying stages of decay. The crypt of the Original Sin contains what is probably the most important 10th-century fresco cycle. Sant'Eustachio is reminiscent of the Native Americans' cliff-side cave villages in Arizona. The outside of the 11th-century Madonna della Croce, in the socalled Saracen style, looks like a prehistoric rock mound, but there are more exquisite frescoes inside. Santa Maria della Valle, the largest cave church, is fronted by a private garden. In Matera, you will be hosted by a local family. Day 14 – Matera Spend the day with the hosts visiting this wonderful town. Day 15 – Acquappesa Your train will take you to Paola, in the region of Calabria. A 20-minute ride will transfer you to your 3-star hotel in Acquappesa. Acquappesa or "heavy water" as the town's name would literally be translated is of relatively recent origin in comparison to some of the other surrounding villages, dating only to 1700, historians first believed. However, like many of the surrounding towns, recent discoveries have proven that the Greeks occupied Acquappesa for centuries before Roman occupation and hundreds of vases and artifacts have recently been discovered in the hills surrounding the small village. Tourists throughout Italy come to Acquappesa for the Terme Luigiane - a natural spring - thought to have curing properties. The town of Guardia Piemontese and Acquappesa have been bickering over who the divine water really belongs to, for centuries. In Acquappesa itself however, you'll find distinct, the lovely beaches, a unique culinary tradition and one of the Riviera dei Cedri’s most distinguished coral craftsmen. Day 16 – Acquappesa Spend a day at the thermal bath, to relax and refresh after over two weeks of travelling. Day 17 – Taormina This morning, you will engage in a fairly strenuous transfer to Taormina. A train ride will take you to Reggio Calabria, where you will board the ferry to Messina. Once there, a train ride will take you to Taormina, where you will check into your 3-star hotel. As soon as you arrive in Taormina, you will feel the magical, mythical atmosphere spread all around which has enchanted visitors from all over the world for years and years. Settled on a hill of the Monte Tauro, Taormina dominates two grand, sweeping bays below and on the southern side, the top of Mount Etna, Europe’s highest active volcano,

often capped with snow, offering to the visitors a breathtaking, dramatic and memorable view over almost one hundred miles of Mediterranean Sea. Rest of the day at your leisure. Day 18 – Taormina Tour Today, you will enjoy a full-day, private tour of Taormina and vicinity. You will be taken to Mount Etna, Sicily's tallest peak and Europe's most famous active volcano. Upon arrival you will visit the area at a height of 2.000 meters (6.000 ft.) and specifically the Crateri Silvestri. Time to explore at leisure, Then, you will move back to Taormina. Here, you'll visit the most impressive monument of the city: the Greco-Roman Theatre. It has the finest site of any theatre in the world and one of the most striking monuments of antiquity. Then, walk on to the Villa Comunale: the public gardens which are planted with a huge variety of flowering plants and shrubs ranging from the most common to the exotic. Time at leisure in the Corso before returning to your hotel. Day 19 – Taormina You will enjoy your day at leisure. Day 20 – Lamezia Terme After returning from Taormina, via Messina and Reggio Calabria, you will spend the rest of today in Lamezia Terme, where your 3-star hotel is waiting for you. Spend the night here before your return home. Day 21 – Departure Your private driver will meet you at your hotel and transfer you to the Lamezia Terme airport, for your flight back home.

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