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.
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 gondola workshops, 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 Jacoppo Tintoretto, Vittore Carpacio 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.
Take the train to Lucca, our base in Tuscany, and take a walk around the historic city walls. Option to attend a Puccini concert, visit the Guinigi Tower and Museum and Palazzo Pffaner. We take a 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. In the evening, you might choose to take in a classical music concert in one of the historic churches - don't forget that this is the birthplace of the maestro Puccini. 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. Estimated Travel Time: Venice to Lucca - 4 hours by train
Today we head west again by local train, towards the famous Cinque Terre National Park, one of the most beautiful and famous areas of the Mediterranean. 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. Walking the entire coastal path (approximately 6 hours) gives you the best taste of the villages and countryside, terraced hills and vineyards sloping steeply down to the sea. Set out early with your CEO to Riomaggiore and walk the whole coastal trail to Monterosso, or jump on the local train that links the villages for a less strenuous way of enjoying the area. There will be plenty of time for swimming, tasting the local wine and grappa, sampling some fresh seafood and watching amazing Mediterranean sunsets along the way. On Day 5, option to visit Pisa and Florence or just relax and enjoy Lucca at your leisure.
Catch our train to Rome where we have two days to explore the ancient city. 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 7 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. Estimated Travel Time: Lucca to Rome - 4 hours by train
Train to Pompeii. Option to visit Naples and the magnificent National Archaeological Museum. Estimated Travel Time: Rome to Pompeii 2.5 hours by train
Visit the ruins of ancient Pompeii. Option to visit the ruins of Herculaneum or the summit of Mt Vesuvius. This evening, take the train to Sorrento. Estimated Travel Time: Pompeii to Sorrento 40 minutes by train.
Enjoy the day at leisure. With options of visiting the islands of Capri, Anacapri or Ischia, head inland to the magnificent temples of ancient Paestum, 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.
Take a private transfer to the stunning Amalfi coast. On Day 12 hike the famous 'Walk of the Gods' down to the resort town of Positano. 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 holltop 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
Back to Rome by private transfer and train for our last evening. Estimated Travel Time: 1 hour by private minivan / 3 hours by train
Depart at any time.