Italian Alternativo Tour
15 Fascinating Days
- Leisurely 2 and 3 night stays
- Small group size from just 10 to 28
- Genuinely inclusive, no additional on tour costs
- Character hotels in superb locations
- Designed for Australians & New Zealanders
- 'My Time' guaranteed
- Stay 2 nights in the delightful Venetian Villa Margherita, dine in your Villa restaurant
- Be guided through Palladio’s historical Vicenza - and see the incredible Basilica Palladiana
- Spend 3 nights in the heart of Italy’s culinary capital – Bologna
- Enjoy a walking tour of Padua, see Giotto’s masterpiece frescoes in Capella degli Scrovegni
- Stay 3 nights in a 17th century Villa Hotel, near the Adriatic beach resort town of Pesaro
- Ride a cable car up to the tiny country of San Marino and enjoy a special Pecorino cheese tasting and see mosaic art created in Mondaino
- Visit the incredible Ducal Palace in Urbino and relax in Mussolini’s favourite bar by the Passo del Furlo
- Stay 3 nights in a charming 16th century Palace in Ascoli Piceno, enjoy a full day exploring this remarkable Roman and Renaissance city
- Spend 2 nights relaxing in the heart of delightful Spoleto and enjoy a guided tour of Assisi
- Enjoy lunch in the crumbling ruins of a deserted village in Abruzzo
The Italian 'Alternativo' Tour is just one of many you can enjoy in Italy. Visit the destination page for more information for our other amazing tours!
‘Under Italy’s Skin’
I was originally going to name this tour ‘Sotto la Pelle’, which is Italian for ‘Under the Skin’. Instead I decided to call it the ‘Alternativo,’ because we really are showing the other side of Italy. A wonderful side, and one so far virtually ignored by mass tourism and bustling crowds.
How is that so? Looking at a map of Italy you will see the Italian Apennines runs down the centre of the land like the ridged spine of an animal. But in the middle section, the Le Marche region, it actually looms really close to the Adriatic coast. Sometimes it’s barely 10 kilometres from the sea to the rocky summits. Because of that geography there is just one major highway heading straight up the east coast. And, because there is little that is noteworthy on that highway, tourists thunder by desperately trying to reach their next ‘high profile’ destination. They have no time, patience or knowledge that there is a gorgeous, richly historical, beautiful world just up and over the hills. I have made absolutely sure we discover and explore this beautiful world.
Let me give you just one example - the UNESCO Heritage listed city of Urbino. Urbino is home to the master artist Raphael and Donato Bramante who designed St Peter’s Basilica in Rome. It is also home to one of the most powerful men in early Renaissance times – Duke Federico da Montefeltro. His wealth and influence spread right across Europe, and he built a monumental Ducal Palace to exhibit that power. The man not only had military might and tactical skill, he was also a patron of the arts and sciences - something you clearly see when you stroll through his hometown! It is quite extraordinary that this whole region is so readily missed. Actually I am so pleased with that, because otherwise there would be nothing ‘alternative’ about this tour. But I can assure you there is!
Day 1: Mira welcome
Day 2: Beautiful Vicenza and the Palladian Villas, ‘My Time’ in Venice
Day 3: Padua and its magnificent frescoes
Day 4: Bologna guided tour and ‘My Time’
Day 5: Renaissance Ferrara and a relaxing Italian lunch
Day 6: Ravenna and Pesaro on the Adriatic Coast
Day 7: San Marino and Mondaino Pecorino
Day 8: Raphael’s Urbino and Mussolini’s Bar Furlo
First stop of the day will be in lovely UNESCO Heritage listed city of Urbino. The artist Raffaello (Raphael) was born here and we are joined by a local guide for a walking tour of the old town and through the impressive Ducal Palace. The Duke was incredibly rich and powerful, and the inlaid wood artistry in his small private study is simply unbelievable. After a relaxing lunchtime, we visit Mussolini’s favourite café, Bar Furlo. This was Mussolini’s favourite tea room and you will discover historic memorabilia and photos of visits. Time to relax as we have included an enjoyable afternoon coffee or aperitif. For the more active, take an easy stroll through the dramatic Passo del Furlo, along a scenic walking path.
Hand Selected Experience
Mussolini’s favourite stopping point
Before WWII Mussolini would take the Furlo Pass on his way to and from Rome. At one end of the pass, set in a small and pretty tree lined village, flanked by the steep walls of the gorge, is Bar del Furlo which has an incredible history. It was Mussolini and his entourage's favourite stopping point. The original tea room he would sit in has been perfectly preserved, along with the memorabilia, photos of his visit, and post war political graffiti on the walls. It is like stepping back in time. The furniture is exactly as it was, and you get an uneasy feeling sitting on the same wooden seat that ‘Il Duce’ would have sat on!
Day 9: ‘Le Marche’, Jesi and Macerata
Day 10: Ascoli Piceno sightseeing and ‘My Time’
Day 11: Lovely Offida and the Adriatic coast
Hand Selected Experience
Offida, a magical timepiece
Day 12: Santo Stefano and Spoleto
Day 13: Explore Assisi and ‘My Time’ in Spoleto
Day 14: Tivoli, Villa D’Este and ‘Musica’
Day 15: To Rome
Incredible Value Inclusions
- ALL excursions, scenic drives, sightseeing and entrances as described
- Fully escorted by our experienced Tour Manager
- Travel in a first class air-conditioned touring coach
- 14 nights specially selected hotel accommodation
- Hotel porterage (1 bag per person)
- 24 Meals – including breakfast daily (B), 2 lunches (L) and 8 dinners (D)
- Tea, coffee and a complimentary beverage with all included dinners
- Hand Selected Albatross Experiences - Dine in unique locations, scenic drives through stunning landscapes
- Local guides as described in the itinerary
- ALL tips to your Tour Manager, Driver and Local Guides
- Personal audio system whilst on tour
- Free WiFi on most coaches and at hotels
NO additional ‘on tour’ costs!
Villa Margherita, Mira - 2 nights
Once a grand noble residence, this elegant 17th century villa has now been sensitively restored into an excellent, meticulously maintained 4-star hotel. The traditionally styled, elegant guest rooms offer all the modern conveniences you would expect, and provide the experience of residing in an authentic Palladian style villa. Villa Margherita is surrounded by large private gardens and overlooks the Brenta River. Situated just 25 minutes from the centre of Venice, this villa is perfectly located 10 minutes walk from the town centre.
Hotel Internazionale, Bologna - 3 nights
First class, set in an elegant building, located in the historic centre of town, within easy walking distance to all the major sites and the best restaurants. A perfect place to stay.
Palazzo Guiderocchi, Ascoli Piceno - 3 nights
Your hotel is a magnificent converted 16th century residence, a former merchant’s palace, located just 100 metres from the main Piazza del Popolo. Oozing character, your beautifully maintained rooms have that old-world charm, plus modern conveniences.
Hotel Dei Duchi, Umbria - 2 nights
This unpretentious, family run hotel is located just outside the old city walls and is known locally for its cuisine. The dining area offers wide panoramic views of the stunning Umbrian countryside. The hotel has the dual benefit of being a ‘town’ hotel but at the same time giving the feeling as if you are in the middle of the countryside.
Villa Cattani Stuart - 3 nights
Dating back to the 17th century, your Villa hotel is surrounded by 3 sets of Italian gardens, shaded pathways and a grand pool terrace.