: R27390
"Open my heart & you will see, engraved inside of it, "Italy!" To achieve the same cardio-enscripted level of devotion as poet Robert Browning, spend quality time in the medieval hill towns & evocative landscapes of these two famous regions. Drink the wine, meet the people around plate-laden tables & share in their life stories.
Starting fromR27 390
Package ValiditySet departure dates: AUG 2016 - JAN 2017  *** Book & pay by 27 SEP 2016 ***
Duration9 days
Starts inRome
Ends inVenice

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- Return airport/hotel transfers
- 1 night accommodation at the Romanico Palace in Rome
- 3 nights accommodation at the Sangallo Palace Hotel in Perugia
- 3 nights accommodation at the Villa San Paolo Hotel in San Gimignano
- 1 night accommodation at the Best Western Premier Hotel Sant'Elena in Venice
- Breakfast daily
- Selected lunch & dinners
- Touring by luxury coach
- Services of a Tour Director
- Highlights: Rome, Perugia, Assisi, Todi, Siena, San Gimignano, Florence, Chianti Classico Region & Venice

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Welcome to Rome
Transfers to your exquisite hotel in the heart of the 'Eternal City' depart from Rome's Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport at 09:30, 12:30 & 15:30. Relax & settle in before the evening's Welcome Reception. Meet your Tour Director & fellow guests over a pleasant evening of dinner & wine.

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The Vatican, cooking in Orvieto & on to Perugia
Explore the Vatican Museums in the morning, where the hidden gems of the vast Papal art collection are unveiled by a local historian. Your special VIP visit includes fast-track entry & the Bramante Staircase, a part of the Vatican closed to the general public. View the imposing St. Peter's Basilica, the largest in the world. Next, head north to the Umbrian hilltop town of Orvieto; its Cathedral is one of Italy's most celebrated buildings. You're welcomed into the kitchens of zesty ‘Etruscan chef' Lorenzo Polegri, who shares with you his virtuoso cooking skills & love of Italian food. Delicious pasta fresca, combined with the local staples of olive oil, cheese, prosciutto & focaccia, make for a memorable lunch, all washed down with a chilled glass of Orvieto Classico wine. Continue to Perugia, one of the most beautiful centres of art in the whole of Italy. The evening is at leisure to dine or explore as you please.

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Perugia Sightseeing & Free Time
In the morning, join a Local Expert to navigate the underground labyrinth of little streets, alleys & arches. Promenade the wide Corso Vannucci, resplendent in pale-pink stone, past the princely Priors' Palace, Cathedral & finely sculptured Great Fountain in the main square. Then, visit a workshop to see how the fascinating art of hand-weaving textiles has been passed down through the generations. Afterwards, you will be free to enjoy the many delights of Umbria's capital city. For dinner, choose your ideal ambience & palate-pleasing menu from a handpicked selection of Perugian restaurants. Buon appetito!

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Assisi, in Search of St. Francis
(Relaxed Start) Journey on to the medieval walled town of Assisi. With a Local Expert, visit the imposing Basilica of St. Francis - its early frescoes served as an inspiration to Renaissance artists. Move on through the twisted groves that carpet the side of Mt Subasio. At a family-run mill, meet a third generation specialist to follow the evolution of the olive, from tree to table & relish the intense flavours drizzled over crusty bread with a splash of salt – delizioso!

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Tuscany to Cortona, Siena & San Gimignano
Follow the shores of Lake Trasimeno to Cortona, one of the oldest hill towns in Tuscany. After time to explore, move on to the narrow cobbled streets of Siena. Standing in the shell-shaped Campo Square, imagine the frenzied atmosphere of the biannual Palio horse race & see the superb 14th century Town Hall. Then, with your Local Expert there is time to climb up to the black & white striped marble Cathedral. Your home for the next three nights is a delightful villa near the medieval town of San Gimignano.

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San Gimignano sightseeing & Free Time
Sightseeing in the morning shows you San Gimignano's medieval skyscrapers, serpentine streets & hidden squares. It also boasts the World Champion gelato Maestro Sergio Dondoli. At his artisan ice-cream parlour on the cobbled Piazza della Cisterna, the jaunty gelataio doles out his silky frozen treats in a range of mind-boggling flavours. The rest of the day is at leisure; you could take an optional trip to Pisa & Lucca.

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Florence & Chianti Countryside Experience
(Relaxed Start) The morning is devoted to the Renaissance city of Florence. A fascinating walking tour with a Local Expert takes you to the marble-clad Cathedral crowned by Brunelleschi's dome. See the Baptistry with its beautiful 'Gates of Paradise' & Giotto's splendid bell tower. Walk on to Signoria Square with its open-air gallery of Renaissance sculpture, followed by free time to shop for top-quality Florentine leather or seek bargains in the gold workshops. A delightful drive through the cypress and olive groves of Tuscany will bring you to Greve in Chianti, where you can taste the local produce & explore the artisan shops beneath the arched loggias of the triangular Piazza Matteotti. We stop along the winding Via Chinatigiana is Panzano in Chianti - originally a medieval castle, with its beautiful stone houses & Church of Santa Maria Assunta built into the remains of the fortifications. On our return, we visit a wine cellar for an exploration into their wine making process & enjoy a tasting.

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Venice & the Magic of ‘La Serenissima’
Descend from the Apennines before crossing the fertile valley of the River Po & continue to magical Venice, where the city seems to float on the lagoon. Wonder at the marbled expanse of St. Marks Square – the Byzantine Basilica, Doges' Palace & lofty bell tower. Later, embark on a romantic gondola ride through the charismatic canals while musicians serenade you with some of Italy's best loved songs. In the evening, enjoy a farewell Celebration dinner ‘alla Veneziana' with good food, wine & company in the most magical of settings.

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Arrivederci Venezia
Delight in your final views of this sea-lapped city in the morning. Transfers arrive at Venice Airport at 08:00 & 09:30.

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