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The Italian Grande

Number of days: 18 Days

Departs from: Milan

Tour departures: April to October

Tour ends: Rome

Avg distance travelled / day: 165 kms

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Beautiful Lake Como - image courtesy of J.Vernon

Beautiful Lake Como - image courtesy of J.Vernon

Tour Overview

Imagine… a more leisurely paced tour with two, three, four and even five night stays doing justice to Italy’s evocative regions. We stay four nights in the magnificent Italian Lakes District visiting Orte San Giulio, Macugnaga, Lake Maggiore and we cruise on Como to Bellagio. Following two nights in a dreamy Italian castle we enjoy five nights touring Tuscany visiting Florence, the Cinque Terre, Lucca, Pisa, Siena, and San Gimignano, two nights in the Umbrian Hills, and as a finale, three nights on the stunning Amalfi Coast visiting Capri, Amalfi and Ravello, and a last night in Rome.  Then there is the food, the wine, the ambience and the time to get “sotto la pelle”… under the skin.

Please note: In this tour we visit a number of medieval hilltop towns which may have some steep, uneven cobbled stone streets, and attractions with steep staircases and no lifts.  Additionally some larger cities only provide coach passenger drop off points 15 minutes or so walk from the old town centres. This need to walk from coach drop off points in some Italian towns and cities is common to ALL Tour Operators.  People with walking difficulties or limitations should consider this before booking. Additionally, local traffic by-laws and regulations on coach travel in Italian cities require a higher than usual number of earlier starts.

Tour Highlights

  • Spend 4 nights by Lake Maggiore in the magnificent Italian Lakes District, visit Villa Carlotta and the town of Bellagio on the shores of Lake Como plus cruise on Lake Maggiore to the Borromean Islands
  • Visit the traditional mountain village of Macugnaga set high in the stunning Alps and spend an evening lakeside in beautiful Orta San Giulio
  • Stay 2 nights in a centuries old Italian castle, visit Lake Garda and the romantic canals of Venice
  • Spend 5 nights in Tuscany in the spa town of Montecatini Terme, visit Florence and the Accademia Gallery, Pisa, the medieval cities of Lucca and Siena, the fairytale ‘town of towers’ San Gimignano, sample the regional wines, olive oil and delightful local produce in a Tuscan farmhouse
  • Savour traditional Tuscan cuisine at Fattoria il Poggio
  • Explore the scenic villages of the famous Cinque Terre 
  • Enjoy 2 nights in the Umbrian Hills staying in medieval Spoleto and visit Assisi
  • Relax over 3 nights on the stunning Amalfi Coast, visit Capri, Amalfi and picturesque Ravello
  • Marvel at the ancient ruins of Pompeii and eternal Rome

Tour Inclusions

  • All the sightseeing, scenic drives and excursions (as per the itinerary)
  • Fully escorted by our experienced Tour Manager
  • Travel in a first class air-conditioned touring coach
  • End of tour tips to Tour Manager and Driver, tips for local guides
  • 17 nights authentic, specially selected hotel accommodation
  • Hotel porterage (1 bag per person)
  • Breakfast daily
  • 12 dinners including welcome and farewell dinners, local restaurant dinner in Stresa, Tuscan dinner at Fattoria il Poggio and welcome drink in Stresa
  • Local guides – Isola Bella, CastelBrando, Venice, Florence, Assisi, Pompeii, Capri and Rome
  • Entrances: Borromea Villa and Gardens, Villa Carlotta, Accademia Gallery and Pompeii
  • Cinque Terre excursion, private boat for tour of Borromean Islands on Lake Maggiore, private boat for Lake Como cruise to Bellagio, private water transfers in Venice, return ferry to Capri, Amalfi Coast excursion to visit Amalfi and Ravello, food, wine and olive oil tasting in a Tuscan farmhouse
  • Personal audio system whilst on tour
  • Free WIFI available on most coaches and at hotels

Itinerary Outline

  • Day 1: Stresa on Lake Maggiore
  • Day 2: Stresa on Lake Maggiore
  • Day 3: Stresa on Lake Maggiore
  • Day 4: Stresa on Lake Maggiore
  • Day 5: CastelBrando
  • Day 6: CastelBrando
  • Day 7: Montecatini Terme in Tuscany
  • Day 8: Montecatini Terme in Tuscany
  • Day 9: Montecatini Terme in Tuscany
  • Day 10: Montecatini Terme in Tuscany
  • Day 11: Montecatini Terme in Tuscany
  • Day 12: Spoleto in Umbria
  • Day 13: Spoleto in Umbria
  • Day 14: Maiori on the Amalfi Coast
  • Day 15: Maiori on the Amalfi Coast
  • Day 16: Maiori on the Amalfi Coast
  • Day 17: Rome
  • Day 18: Rome

Authentic Albatross Experiences

World famous Bellagio epitomises the gorgeous towns lining the shores of the majestic Italian Lakes. That is why we charter a private cruise boat to admire the sumptuous villas and mansions adorning Lake Como before enjoying a relaxing lunchtime in beautiful Bellagio. Our leisurely 4 night stay in lakeside Stresa allows you the necessary time to do this, plus another cruise on Lake Maggiore and take in the Lakes of Garda and scenic Orta, and visit the mighty Alps. Absolutely Albatross! See Days 1 to 4.

Village of Bellagio on Lake Como - Courtesy of J Vernon

We used to spend 4 nights here in Montecatini Terme, but then many past clients commented on how lovely and typically Tuscan this elegant spa town is and suggested that adding an extra day here - completely free - would make the stay perfect. So we did. Yes, we fully explore this amazing region, but now, by staying 5 nights in this delightful town, we add a fabulous, authentic activity – a completely free day to ‘go native’  simply for the pleasure of it! See Day 9.

Relaxing in Italy
Message from the Mo

Italy is very big. Very big!

Did you know, with motorway service station stops for morning tea and lunch, taking into consideration tolls, traffic and entering and exiting major cities it takes over eight and a half hours to travel on a coach from Florence to Sorrento or Venice to Rome! Yet so many tours have these drives as a standard day in their itinerary. Even worse they often have just one or two night stops at either end. 

That is why Albatross Tours breaks these journeys with five nights in Tuscany and two nights in Spoleto, en route to the Amalfi Coast. That is also why when we travel between destinations our days are not endurance tests. We allow leisurely stops en route! For instance, between Tuscany and Umbria we enjoy visits to both Siena and delightful San Gimignano and between Stresa and CastelBrando we have lunchtime beside Lake Garda.  Aren’t these sorts of visits exactly why you want to travel to glorious Italy? By providing four nights in the glorious Lakes District, two in an ancient castle, five in Tuscany, two in Spoleto and three on the Amalfi Coast we perfectly complete your Italian experience! 

It’s all about a sensible touring style, a civilized pace, genuine inclusions and actually enjoying what you have come so far to see.