|Departing||April - November 2013|
* Price shown: 18 Oct 2014 from London Gatwick - LGW
Discover the delights of central Italy
Combine a three-night stay overlooking the glorious Bay of Naples with four nights in the sublime Tuscan countryside. Discover brooding Vesuvius, fabled Sorrento, ancient Pompeii and the exquisite Amalfi Drive. See historic Montecassino, and visit 'eternal' Rome and Renaissance Florence, as well as beautiful Assisi and extraordinary Orvieto with its great, golden-fronted cathedral.
Single rooms are available for a supplement
This holiday is based beside the beautiful Bay of Naples, and in the idyllic Tuscan countryside.
Beneath the slopes of Mount Faito, and with distant views of the Bay of Naples and Vesuvius, this traditional resort lies in Italy's Campania Region. An excellent base for exploring the area, it has a small selection of shops, bars, and cafes, and an atmosphere and style that are typically Southern Italian.
The spa-resort of Chianciano Terme, 60 miles from Florence, boasts a wonderful climate. It comprises two settlements: the old hill-town and the modern spa town below it, and offers some excellent shops as well as many small gelaterie, bars, cafes and restaurants.
Fly to Italy, meet our Tour Manager in the airport and transfer to your first hotel. You'll then have time to rest and relax before dinner is served.
In the morning we'll head to the Amalfi Drive. With its immense cliffs and dizzy bridges spanning deep gorges, this is among Europe's most scenic coast roads. Experience the unforgettable view above Positano's colourful Moorish-style houses, and visit beautiful Amalfi and Ravello, with its alleys, stairways and roofed passages clinging to the mountainside.
This afternoon's highlight is our half-day tour of Roman Pompeii. Buried by the eruption of Vesuvius in AD79 and forgotten for hundreds of years, Pompeii was rediscovered in the 18th Century. Since then, excavations have gradually revealed the city's magnificent villas, temples and frescoed houses.
Today you'll begin to explore the beautiful Bay of Naples, travelling first to the slopes of Mount Vesuvius, brooding over the blue waters below. The road leads to a height of 1000 metres, but you can take a guide (payable locally) and climb the further 500 metres or so to the rim of the volcano itself.
Descending Vesuvius's mighty slopes we'll then head to Sorrento. Here you'll be free to wander the maze of narrow alleyways crammed with small shops, bars and restaurants, and enjoy its two tiny ports, even tinier beach and blue waters dotted with colourful pedalos and sailboats.
Today we'll head north towards the rolling hill country of Lazio. En route, we'll call at the town of Cassino, scene of one of the fiercest battles of World War Two, and site of the Benedictine monastery of Montecassino. The town and hill-top monastery have been faithfully restored, but the museum and cemetery still contain poignant reminders of the turbulent past.
Later this afternoon you'll arrive in Chianciano Terme, your base for the next four nights.
Today we'll travel into Umbria, to Assisi, birthplace of Italy's patron Saint, and home to Umbria's greatest glory - the magnificent Basilica. After time to explore here, we'll head to the Tuscan hill-top settlement of Orvieto. Some 300 metres above the valley floor, the town stands on a volcanic bluff crowned by the great Gothic cathedral, one of the most ornate in Christendom.
Revel in the wonders of Florence, Italy's beautiful Renaissance capital. Join our optional city tour and you'll see the magnificent Florentine skyline, explore Santa Croce and cross the medieval Ponte Vecchio. For art lovers, the Accademia houses Michelangelo's peerless statue of David, and the Uffizi, Botticelli's exquisite 'Birth of Venus' (gallery entrances payable locally).
On our final included excursion we travel south to the Eternal City - Rome. Explore on your own, or enjoy our optional guided tour of the ancient Colosseum and Forum, the great basilicas and the Baroque fountains. In the Vatican City, the dome of St Peter's looks over the vast Square, while a visit to the nearby Sistine Chapel will reveal Michelangelo's fabled frescoes.
Transfer back to the airport for check-in and your flight home.
The transfer time from the airport to your hotel is approximately one hour from Naples, and three and a half hours from Rome. The transfer time back to the airport from your hotel is approximately three and a half hours to Naples and two hours to Rome.
We sometimes need to combine transfers to and from your hotel. We always try to keep any wait to a minimum, but you may be asked to wait at the airport for up to an hour, while other incoming flights arrive, before the transfer to your hotel. Similarly, we may need to transfer you back to the airport up to three hours before your flight home departs.
Guests on half-board arrangements will be served a three-course evening meal, and can expect a first course of traditional pasta or soup, a main meat or fish course accompanied by one or two types of vegetable, and a simple dessert of fruit, cake or Italian ice cream. Breakfasts will usually consist of bread rolls, jam, cereal, ham, cheese, fruit juice, tea and coffee. Menus will vary from hotel to hotel, but choice will be more limited than in a normal restaurant.
Since certain attractions visited offer free admission to visitors aged under 18 and over 65, we do not include entrance fees. These will be payable locally where applicable. This applies to excursions that are included in the price of your holiday and to excursions booked as optional extras.
If you have notified us of any special requirements, please check that they have been noted and acknowledged. This is especially important with any dietary needs you may have.
The majority of our tours involve a certain amount of walking, including a short walk from the coach stop to the town, attraction or venue you're visiting. If you are bringing a wheelchair or electric scooter, please let us know as soon as possible so that appropriate arrangements can be made.
Some regions of Italy have introduced a room tax of between 1 EURO and 3 EURO per person per night, payable directly by the guest to the hotel on check-out. You will be advised by your tour manager in resort if a particular hotel is implementing this charge.
An Airport Development Fee has been introduced at a few UK Airports. You will be required to pay this charge at the following airports prior to checking in for your flight: Blackpool, Durham Tees Valley, Newquay and Norwich. The amount varies from airport to airport, but it is generally between £5 and £10 per person. Please visit the airport's website for further information.
This holiday is very popular, and we have limited rooms in the hotels described. If demand is high on a particular date we may accommodate you in an alternative hotel, of a similar standard, in a convenient location for the tour. Full details of your hotel will be sent with your Joining Instructions.