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Duration: 21 days Visiting: Italy
This magnificent itinerary is a showcase of Italy’s grand past, romantic cities and exquisite natural wonders. Discover the gems of Venice and Northern Italy on your all-inclusive, luxury river cruise, before continuing in elegance by rail and road across the Italian peninsula. Personalise your trip with a selection of included experiences. Whether you prefer to admire the art scene in Ferrara, or try your hand at making pasta in Bologna, this journey brings la dolce vita to life for the ultimate Italian vacation. After your journey ends in Venice, why not choose to extend your luxurious travels there and step onboard the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express for an overnight journey to Paris?
On select Chairman’s Collection departure dates you’ll have the pleasure of meeting Marchese Francesco Mazzei at his centuries-old Tuscan estate, Castello di Fonterutoli. The grounds are home to the Mazzei family’s winery, which is the second oldest in Italy, and have been owned by the family since 1435. Join Francesco for an exclusive lunch in the osteria and enjoy a wine tasting with the Marchese in the winery.
Look for the CC icon on the Dates & Prices panel to see which departures feature the Chairman’s Collection.
Welcome to Milan.
Your complimentary, private transfer takes you to your local departure airport. On arrival at Milan Malpensa Airport, you will be met and transferred to your centrally-located hotel. Enjoy the rest of the day at your leisure.
Highlights of Milan.
Milan, known for its high-end fashion and artistic landmarks, provides the perfect starting point for your Italian adventure. Join your Local Expert for a walking tour of the city’s many highlights. Admire the grand Gothic Duomo in the urban heart and then come face-to-face with Leonardo da Vinci’s magnificent fresco, 'The Last Supper,' at the Santa Maria delle Grazie convent.
Verona, the City of Romeo and Juliet, and on to Venice.
En route to Venice, stop in Verona, home to Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet. Continue to the revered Serego Alighieri estate, which belongs to descendants of Dante Alighieri, one of Italy’s most famous poets, for an exclusive wine tasting and multi-course lunch. On arrival in Venice, step onboard Uniworld's River Countess where you’ll begin your exploration of the Queen of the Adriatic.
With your Local Expert, wind through Venice’s labyrinthine back lanes, as you appreciate the city’s residential heart and legendary locations, including the Doge’s Palace and the Rialto Bridge. In the evening prepare for a dazzling Captain’s Welcome Reception and Gala Dinner.
Admire the magnificent views of The Floating City’s greatest sights, as your ship sets sail. Experience Chioggia Your Way with a choice between a morning walk in Padua with your Local Expert or take an invigorating guided bicycle tour to Chioggia to explore the delights of this picturesque fishing village.
Art lovers will delight in a half-day visit to Ferrara. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a beautifully preserved Renaissance treasure, an ancient centre for the arts that once rivalled Medici Florence. Its long history of art was founded on the sponsorship of the noble Renaissance family of d’Este.
Chioggia and Venice.
There’s no better place to indulge in Italy’s famed frutti di mare than Chioggia, a colorful fishing village on the Venice Lagoon. Stroll through the town’s bustling fish market guided by your onboard chef and appreciate the enterprising atmosphere. End the day with an after-hours VIP lighting ceremony, hosted inside St. Mark’s Basilica, when available.
Venice Islands: Torcello, Burano and Mazzorbo.
Enjoy a full day on the The Magical Islands of Venice, showcasing Burano, Mazzorbo and Torcello. Wonder at Burano’s colourful homes and visit a lace-making atelier, then be treated to a very special wine tasting in Mazzorbo. Visit Torcello, home to Byzantine mosaics depicting the Last Judgment in the seventh-century Cathedral of Santa Maria Dell’Assunta.
Explore Venice Your Way and get a feel for daily life here with a guided stroll through the bustling Rialto Market, a tour through the renowned Accademia Gallery with a local art historian or a visit to the Fondaco dei Tedeschi. Celebrate your last evening onboard at the Captain’s Farewell Reception and Gala Dinner.
To Rome by Rail.
Transfer to the station to board your high-speed train to Rome. Enjoy the ever-changing scenery and business class comfort as you head south across the back-bone of Italy. On arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. At 18:00, meet your Travelling Concierge for a short stroll through the charming streets, enjoying the romance of the Eternal City as night falls, before an evening of culinary delights and wine.
Rome and the Vatican in VIP Style.
Our fast-track entry into the Vatican Museums is the best way to enjoy the timeless Papal art collection. Enter Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel for a private tour with a Local Expert before it opens to the public. Continue to St. Peter's Basilica, before seeing the Roman Forum and visiting the grand Colosseum. Enjoy time at leisure in the afternoon, perhaps relishing an espresso at a piazza cafe or walking along the romantic Tiber River. In the evening meet Debora, your local EatWith host, for a home-cooked Italian meal served at her wonderful flat. Located on Janiculum hill you'll have splendid views over the city.
Pompeii and The Isle of Capri.
Journey to the ill-fated town of Pompeii, frozen in time since A.D. 79 when it was violently engulfed by a volcanic eruption from Mount Vesuvius. Join your Local Expert to learn about the lifestyles of the people who once lived here and explore the remnants of ancient shops, baths and patrician villas. Journey on to the Bay of Naples where you’ll board your hydrofoil bound for the sun-drenched Isle of Capri. On arrival, enjoy an escorted ride in an open-top taxi to your exclusive hotel. Settle in and appreciate the splendours of Capri at your leisure, long after the day-trippers have returned to the mainland.
Explore the Isle of Dreams.
Embark on a dazzling cruise to see the white grotto and spectacular cliffs of the island, before arriving in Capri town to cool off with a refreshing lemon granita. Walk with your Local Expert to the gardens of Caesar Augustus to view the legendary Faraglioni Rocks, jutting out of the water. Prepare for a Highlight Lunch at the incredible Michelin-starred Mammà. Enjoy exclusive views over the Gulf of Naples whilst savouring Mediterranean flavours created with passion from fresh, local produce by chef Salvatore La Ragione. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure, perhaps treating yourself to a pampering massage at your hotel’s day spa?
Lush Umbria and on to Assisi and Perugia.
Return to the mainland and travel north along the Highway of the Sun to the winding, cobbled streets of Assisi for a guided visit to the imposing Basilica of St. Francis with your Local Expert. Continue on to the Umbrian capital of Perugia. Ascend from the lower town, through the maze of medieval streets, to your five-star deluxe hotel. In the afternoon, meet your Local Expert for a walk along Perugia's Corso Vannucci to the main square where you’ll see the Great Fountain, Collegio del Cambio and the splendid Prior's Palace. Spend the evening at your leisure; perhaps soaking up the vibrancy of this historic university town from a local cafe?
San Gimignano and Tuscany.
Discover the preserved heritage of textile loom-weaving at the Laboratorio Giuditta Brozzetti, a weaver’s workshop situated inside a 13th century Franciscan church. Meet Marta, the workshop director and recipient of a TreadRight Foundation grant, and learn how this medieval craft has been kept alive over the generations. Continue your journey north through glorious Tuscan landscapes to hilltop San Gimignano and stroll through its serpentine alleyways to taste the award-winning gelato of Sergio Dondoli. Travel to the Chianti region to meet your Local Expert for a guided tour through the former house and Mediterranean gardens of the Italian Renaissance diplomat and writer, Nicolo Machiavelli. You’re invited to join a special opening of his private ofﬁce where he famously wrote 'The Prince' and then to enjoy an exclusive wine tasting in his original cellar. Taste a variety of wines from his cellar including a rare Super Tuscan, one of the world’s most renowned wines. Conclude your visit with a light lunch of Farm-to-Table Tuscan snacks.
If you are travelling on a Chairman's Collection departure, you are invited to an exclusive lunch and wine tasting with Marchese Mazzei at his centuries-old Tuscan estate. This experience will replace the lunch and wine tasting at the home of Nicolo Machiavelli.
For a relatively small city, Florence boasts an abundance of art and architectural masterpieces, chic boutiques and fabulous restaurants. Explore Florence Your Way with a choice to join an art historian for an insider's guide to this romantic city. Admire Michelangelo's original statue of David in the Accademia Museum, before strolling to the cathedral, baptistery and open-air gallery of Piazza della Signoria. Alternatively, join a local foodie on a walking tour of the best gastronomic treats in this Tuscan town. Enjoy Florence in the afternoon at your own pace or return to your renaissance hotel for a relaxing afternoon spent in its tranquil Tuscan gardens. In the evening, gather for a delicious dinner with wine, served at Rivasud, a local restaurant in delightful Barberino Di Mugello
Tuscan Cooking Class and Pisa.
Join a professional chef and uncover the secrets of Tuscan cooking during an authentic culinary masterclass set in a historic villa. Complete your cooking experience by savouring the fruits of your labour with a lovely lunch. In the afternoon, travel to Pisa and meet your Local Expert to view the splendid Duomo, baptistery and, of course, the famous gravity-defying Leaning Tower of Pisa!
Exploring The Cinque Terre and The Italian Riviera.
Journey northwest towards the Cinque Terre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Join your Local Expert in the picturesque fishing village of Manarola, then cruise along the rugged coast to explore Monterosso's medieval quarter and popular sandy beach. Enjoy lunch at leisure, then journey by train to the resort town of Rapallo. Your prestigious hotel offers striking views.
Theatrical Venice and the Doge's Palace.
Cross the fertile Po Valley to Verona, home of Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers. Stroll past the well-preserved Roman arena and through a maze of elegant squares to stand beneath the balcony said to have belonged to the Capulet family. Continue on to your five-star luxury hotel in Venice. In the evening, you are invited to an after-hours private visit of the magniﬁcent Doge's Palace. As all crowds disappear, discover the history, art and culture of the Venetian Republic with your Local Expert.
Venice and the Magic of La Serenissima.
In the morning, cruise to the idyllic fisherman’s island of Burano. On return, stop to witness the age-old skill of glassblowing, admire St. Mark's Basilica and see the Bridge of Sighs. Later, take your seat in a traditional gondola for a serenade through the romantic canals. In the evening, raise a glass of local Italian wine during your delicious Celebration dinner of refined Venetian cuisine at a local restaurant. Savour a dish that keeps with tradition and is enriched with seasonal ingredients."
After breakfast, bid farewell to your travel companions and transfer by private boat to Venice Marco Polo Airport for your onward journey. On arrival at your home airport, your driver will greet and escort you to your waiting car for your private transfer home.
Milan (Contemporary) - Italy
UW (Cruise) - Italy
The recently remodeled, 130-passenger River Countess is filled with light and color. Muted shades of turquoise complimented by soothing cream, taupe, and white accents create a luxurious and sophisticated environment for your northern Italian adventure. The River Countess was the top-rated cruise ship (river or ocean) in Travel + Leisure’s prestigious 2013 World’s Best Awards. It offers lavishly appointed riverview staterooms and suites with handcrafted Savoir® of England beds, high-thread count 100% Egyptian cotton sheets and European duvets, with a menu of pillow options.
Rome (Contemporary) - Italy
Centrally located at the Palazzo Montemartini Rome, you’ll be close to the Baths of Diocletian, the Church of Diocletian and Church of Saint Maria deli Angeli. Built in 1881, this historic building is an agreeable mix of rich history and contemporary design.
Anacapri (Boutique) - Italy
The five-star luxury boutique hotel, Capri Palace Hotel & Spa, is furnished with Mediterranean elegance and offers panoramic views of the Gulf of Naples.
Perugia (Heritage) - Italy
Since 1884, this exclusive hotel has housed royalty and celebrities. It is situated in the historic heart of Perugia and the only five-star hotel in the city. Fine Umbrian dining and a luxurious wellness spa are some of the highlights that make the Brufani extra special.
Barberino di Mugello, Tuscany (Historic) - Italy
A short drive from Florence, the grand Villa Le Maschere is a late Renaissance country mansion, built in the 16th century.
Rapallo (Historic) - Italy
The Grand Hotel Bristol & Spa is regarded as one of the most prestigious properties on the eastern Ligurian Riviera, this elegant hotel overlooks the Portofino Promontory and is housed in an Art Nouveau-style residence dating back to 1908. It boasts a sea-facing restaurant terrace and a pool.
Venice (Heritage) - Italy
The Palazzo is divinely located on the Grand Canal, just off St Mark's Square, and offers spacious and elegant guest rooms.
Our guests rate us
1011 independent user reviews received during the past year.
20 September, 2018
Trip: Enjoyed the experience but felt that some of the free time was too long. Eg. In Cinque Terra, Padua and Pisa we were given hours of free time when you ran out of things to do and see after a short time. Probably needs some more structured options. I enjoyed the quiet locations probably more than the main tourist areas. Just too many people whereas the winery and pasta making visits were in beautiful locations away from the hussle and bustle.
Service: Friendly and professional. Always ready to assist.
24 August, 2018
Trip: It was a wonderful experience. But what of the promotion of the whole trip. The Uniworld segment seem somewhat unrelated to the rest of the trip. We related it but did the participating services. It seemed like different trips whereas it was promoted as one Luxury Gold trip.
Service: Service on River Countess was excellent. Most day trips well organized. The guides were exceptional and very passionate about their topics. The hot day at Brunano -- one lady suffered heat stress. Perhaps there should have been better first aid resources available, e.g. ice packs. The bus trip around italy -- rated good. But very little agricultural information as we travelled along. Food is important yes, so why not learn where it is grown, etc. When there is free time, more assistance with options rather than shopping. Be careful with programme changes so that clients do not arrange options in free time only to discover, not so free time, and oh well! . . . . . .
23 August, 2018
Trip: Great itinerary and expert guides.
Service: Great balance in itinerary with excellent expert guides, great service on cruise component and exceptional menus.