Join us for two unforgettable weeks exploring Italy's northern regions, from the lofty peak of mighty Mont Blanc to the glittering canals of Venice. Savour the delights of truffle hunting and wine tasting in the glorious landscapes of Piedmont and Tuscany, take a private cruise on the elegant waters of Lake Como, and come face to face with Italy's immense, many-layered history in the great cities of the north.
From the charms of medieval Siena and Bologna to the remnants of the Venetian Empire and the unmissable legacy of Florence's Medici family, join us in Italy to learn why this inspirational country is known as "the school and playground of the world."
Our Flavours of Northern Italy tour will see you exploring the most iconic sites, delving into deep-rooted culture and dining on delicious cuisine.
Piedmont is famously home to some of the best truffle producers in the world. Visit a truffle showroom for a tour and tasting before stepping outside for a truffle hunting demonstration with a local truffle hunter and his dog
Sample Italy’s superb wines, from the juicy reds of Piedmont’s famed Barolo and Barbaresco villages, to the coveted reds and whites of Tuscany
Ascend Mont Blanc (Monte Bianco to the Italians) by cable car, and enjoy lunch at the highest point in the country, where Italy meets the sky
The former economic powerhouse of the Venetian Empire, Venice once shone out as one of the most powerful states in Europe. The city’s power peaked in the 15th century, yet its romance and intrigue have never faded. Explore the magnificent monuments and heritage crafts during your two-night stay on the island.
You can holiday to Italy without having to quarantine either on your arrival in the country or on your return to the UK. There are also no travel advisories in place against travel from the FCDO meaning you can book with complete peace of mind.
Venice has been famous for its glass and lace manufacturing for over a thousand years. Enjoy a glass-blowing demonstration by a Venetian artist on Murano and hear how this secretive island became the home of the most elite glass producers in medieval Europe.
To stand on the peak of Monte Bianco (Mont Blanc) is to stand at the roof of the Alps; the place where Italy meets the sky. Embark on an unforgettable cable car journey from Courmayeur to Punta Helbronner at 3,466m, where we take in spectacular 360? views from the viewing platform and cosy panoramic bistro.
When it comes to winemaking, Italy is the maestro. Join us as we explore its many secrets, from the juicy Nebbiolo wines of Barolo and Barbaresco to the wonderful Sangioveses and Trebbianos of Tuscany. Our final stop is Greve in Chianti, where we visit the vineyards of Castello Vicchiomaggio.
Arrive in Milan and transfer to your city centre hotel, where you will be met by your National Escort. This evening, meet your group for briefing and a welcome dinner.
Discover Milan's most iconic sights today. Begin at the colossal Milan Cathedral; with a height of 515 feet and a width of 302 feet, it is the largest cathedral in the world. Admire its many thousands of statues and dozens of gargoyles before lunch. Later, enjoy time at leisure to shop in the beautiful 19th-centurt Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, and take time to visit the Museo Teatro alla Scala, the impressive museum of Milan's world-famous opera house.
Today is dedicated to the delights of Piedmont, a hilly region known for its wonderful truffle and wine production. Head to Alba to visit a truffle showroom and enjoy a truffle hunting demonstration with a trifalau and his dog. Enjoy a tasting of some truffle specialities, paired with a glass of Nebbiolo d'Alba wine.
Drive north through the Aosta Valley to reach the famous skiing town of Courmayeur, the starting point of the Mont Blanc Skyway. Here, we board a revolving cable car to Punta Helbronner; the highest point in the country, and the place where Italy meets the sky. Take in the 360-degree panoramas of the Mont Blanc massif from the viewing platform before settling down to enjoy lunch in the panoramic bistro. Afterwards, explore the Mont Blanc crystals exhibition, showcasing the precious stones mined in this corner of the Alps. Finally, descend back to Courmayeur by cable car and drive on to Como, where we spend the night.
Explore the small town of Como before embarking on a private cruise to the centre of the lake, where the three 'fingers' meet. Visit the village of Bellagio, often called the 'most beautiful town in Italy', for a scenic walking tour and lunch. Later, take the public ferry to the town of Varenna, where we meet our coach for the transfer to Verona.
Begin the day with a walking tour of Verona, passing by the magnificent and well preserved Roman amphitheatre (now used as an opera theatre). Pause outside the Cappaletti house, popularly known as that of Shakespeare's Juliet; a medieval house with a charming balcony. This afternoon, travel to Venice, with a stop en route to visit Villa Rotonda. Built by 16th century Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio, this four-porticoed villa swiftly became one of the most influential buildings in Western architectural history and sparking a rush of imitations across England and North America. Our hotel tonight is on the island of Venice itself.
Venice's magnificent reputation precedes it, and deservedly so – there is nowhere quite like this floating city. Embark on a private boat transfer to St Mark's Square, where we enjoy an orientation walk before a skip-the-line visit to St Mark's Basilica. Visit the Doge's Palace and the Bridge of Sighs before lunch. This afternoon, explore Murano and Burano, famous for their craftmanship in glass and lace.
Depart Venice for Bologna, stopping en route to see the magnificent mosaics of Ravenna's 6th century San Vitale Church. These golden artworks are considered some of the finest Byzantine mosaics outside Istanbul. Enjoy lunch in Ravenna before continuing to nearby Bologna, capital of the Emilia-Romagna region. Enjoy a walking tour of this fascinating city, known for its fantastic food heritage and medieval architecture, and stop at Majani chocolate boutique to sample some of the treats that have been produced here since 1766.
Though every region of Italy is known for its food, there is something special about Emilia-Romagna. This fertile region is Italy's gastronomic capital, home to a number of 'protected designation' foods. Learn all about it on a visit to local food factories, including a visit to a Parma ham factory, followed by the sharp, salty flavours of Parmesan at a cheese producer. Finally, head to to Villa San Donnino, a historic producer of Modena's world-famous balsamic vinegar, for a tour and tasting.
Depart Bologna and head southwest to Florence, one of the most intimate and charming cities in Italy. Florence wears its Renaissance history on its sleeve; see some of its great works on a visit to the Uffizi, one of the greatest art galleries in Italy and housing the collections of the historic Medici family. Afterwards, continue to the nearby Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, often simply known as the Duomo. Admire the soft pink and green hues of the marbled exterior before stepping inside to admire the impressive dome, designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, and learn why this feat of engineering was centuries ahead of its time.
This morning, visit the wonderful Galleria dell'Accademia. Much smaller and more specialised than the Uffizi, this art museum is famously the home of Michelangelo's David, as well as a number of his unfinished works such as the Prisoners. Enjoy a relaxing lunch before heading to Florence's beautiful Boboli Gardens. This lavish park was originally laid out for the Medici family in the 16th century, and bestowed upon the citizens of Florence in 1766, and is beloved by visitors for its breathtaking pools and fountains. Enjoy some time at leisure before this evening's dinner.
Today is a chance to explore further afield in the beautiful Tuscany region. Begin with a walking tour of medieval Siena, followed by a visit to San Gimignano to admire the many medieval towers that still stand tall against its skyline. Your guide will treat you to a gelato from the world-famous Gelateria Dondoli, where the gelato is still handmade and there are a wonderful range of flavours. Continue to the town of Greve in Chianti, where we enjoy a farewell dinner at the hilltop Castello Vicchiomaggio; a sixteenth century castle which is now a winery. Visit the vineyards and wine cellar before sitting down to a farewell dinner in one of the castle's Renaissance dining rooms.
Alla prossima; 'until we meet again'! Transfer to Florence airport for your onward flight.
Places Visited: Milan (2N) – Turin (1N) – Mont Blanc – Lake Como (1N) – Verona (1N) - Venice (2N) – Bologna (2N) – Florence (3N)
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