Simply Italy (Winter)
Check-in to your hotel, drop off your stuff, meet your Tour Manager and travel buddies at 4:00pm and head out into the streets of Italy to get a sneak peek at vibrant Rome.
Rome to Sorrento
Travel south towards the home of pizza, Naples. This morning there’s your chance to take a guided tour of ancient Pompeii. Later, we’ll reach Sorrento, where you’ll enjoy a sunset drink overlooking the stunning bay.
This morning, it’s a boat ride to the main marina of the island of Capri, famous for its stunning caves and surrounding rock formations. There's a chance to join a local guide for a tour of Capri and Anacapri before you have free time to explore Sorrento’s web of narrow streets or the Villa Communale Park, which has stunning views of Mt Vesuvius.
Sorrento to Florence
Wind through the Apennine Mountains and Tuscan countryside to the Renaissance city of Florence. Before arriving in Florence, we’ll stop off for a wine tasting in the rustic hills of the gorgeous Tuscan countryside, known for its iconic cypress trees and olive oil. In an historic villa, the group will see a working winery, complete with its old cellar and vats. Here you can learn more about the region’s wines as you taste a glass or two of the local wine. Then, it’s on to breathtaking Florence. The scene-stealing Duomo Cathedral rises above the city’s centre, which serves up frescoes, markets and priceless art. After dinner, walk along the River Arno with your Tour Manager, take in the atmosphere and head into the heart of Florence, where you can sit back and relax Tuscan style with a glass of Chianti wine.
Jump start the day uncovering this open-air museum. Our Local Guide gives you the inside track as the group learns about Florence’s cultural beginnings and explores streets crammed with artworks from masters like Michelangelo. Then take a look into a skillful demonstration of Florentine leather making and understand this region’s traditional art. With bargains and bustle, the city’s markets are a great place to hang out. Grab a gelato and enjoy this gorgeous city. Tonight, there’s a choice of a group dinner - an authentic Tuscan feast. Try regional dishes in the pretty Tuscan country setting. Then keep it moving with a night out and get your groove on at Florence’s biggest club.
Florence to Venice
This morning it’s your chance to splash some cash, with our stop at Barberino Designer Outlet mall for our exclusive Italian fashion experience. You can use this opportunity to get some gear to show off to your friends at home. This outlet mall is amazing, with your chance to pick up some designer fashion at incredible prices. With between 30%-70% off regular retail, the savings are epic, and because you’re with Contiki you’ll get up to an additional 10% off! From labels like Missoni, Bose, Dolce & Gabbana to name a few – there’s going to be plenty to tempt you today. With no doubt lots of bags in hand, we’ll hit the road, stopping in Romeo and Juliet’s Verona for dinner, en route to the “floating city” of Venice.
Known as the “floating city”, Venice is packed with character, crammed with hidden lanes and linked by a network of canals. The group travels on our private boat through the waters of the lagoon to visit the city’s historical heart. The limestone Bridge of Sighs, the Gothic arches of the Doge’s Palace and the expanse of St. Mark’s Square (pigeons and all!) show off Venice’s unique beauty and way of life. Take some time to explore the floating city and lose yourself in the backstreets. There’s an optional walking tour where you can discover the labyrinth of interweaving lanes, waterways, palaces, piazzi and markets with our Local Guide. You’ll see historic monuments, hidden treasures and the Rialto market – a local favourite for food shopping. Maybe grab a table on St. Mark’s Square and eat some delicious Italian food al fresco. Cap off the day with an optional gondola ride & share this amazing experience with your friends - seeing Venice from on the water is unforgettable!
Venice to Milan
Along the pretty shores of Lake Garda, we drop into the quintessential European lake town of Sirmione, complete with vine-covered villas, Roman ruins and a castle. Later, the energy levels turn up a notch as we head to Italy’s fashion capital and economic powerhouse, Milan. Your Tour Manager will show off Milan’s monuments and talk to you about the massive Duomo Cathedral, the elegant shopping arcade of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and the world-famous La Scala Opera House, where many singing greats have graced the stage. With a free afternoon, hit the streets of this cool capital and you’ll be rewarded with designer stores and funky little boutiques. Your Tour Manager, who knows Milan’s ins and outs, will be happy to point you in the right direction for the best buys before you flash the plastic. Click here for more information on entry to Santa Maria delle Grazie featuring Leonardo da Vinci's "The Last Supper".
Milan to La Spezia
Heading south, we hit the national park and UNESCO World Heritage site of the Cinque Terre, where colourful coastal villages dot 18 kilometres of ragged cliffs and old walled vineyards tumble down the hillside almost to the water’s edge. It's a great journey by train along the coast, giving you the chance to take in the unique atmosphere. Watch the locals fishing along the shore, rub shoulders with the rich in famous in Portovenere and check out picture-postcard town of Monterosso. Later chill out and get a slice of the good life, grab a table at a beachfront cafe and try some mouthwatering pesto with locally baked foccacia bread.
La Spezia to Rome
This morning, there’s free time in Pisa and some fun photo-ops of its most famous monument, the Leaning Tower. Later, we head back to the 'Eternal City' of Rome. This city oozes energy and overflows with relics from another age which you'll encounter at almost every corner. Our special access coach tour gets you right into the thriving atmosphere of this living timeline as your Tour Manager shows you the Colosseum and Piazza Venezia. Continue on foot to check out the Pantheon and Piazza Navona. Honour tradition at the Trevi Fountain and throw a coin in the fountain’s waters (it’s meant to improve your chances of returning to Rome!) or maybe hang out with your new friends at the Spanish Steps, sit back with a few slices of pizza and people watch.
This morning, check-out the smallest country in the world and home to the Pope, the Vatican City. There’s included entry and our Local Guide to show you St. Peter’s Basilica and Michelangelo’s masterpiece, the Sistine Chapel. Make the most of our Local Guide’s inside knowledge and uncover the remains of an ancient empire with a fantastic optional tour of the Roman Forum and Colosseum. Take off into the city and absorb the atmosphere, as Vespas flash past timeworn monuments that are surrounded by fountains, pizzerias, cafés and bars. In your free time, live the local lifestyle by indulging in a long lunch on a paved piazza or knock back a shot of espresso at the bar, like the Romans do. Before you hit the shops, let your Tour Manager point you in the right direction with some tips on the best buys. Make your last night on tour special by hooking up with your friends for an optional dinner. In a typical Roman restaurant, you’ll enjoy an authentic Italian experience, complete with an opera singer, live music and pasta. But don’t stop there – afterwards dive into Rome’s night action with your buddies and finish up your travels with a night to remember.
The tour ends after breakfast and it’s time to say “arrivederci” to your new friends.