The Italian 'Grande' Tour
18 Glorious Days
- Leisurely 2, 3 and 5 night stays
- Small groups 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 4 nights beside Lake Maggiore in the magnificent Italian Lakes District
- Explore the magnificent gardens of Villa Carlotta and travel by boat across Lake Como to Bellagio
- Visit the ancient mountain village of Macugnaga set high in the stunning Alps
- Cruise on Lake Maggiore to Isola Bella and visit Isola Pescatori and visit the palatial Borromeo Villa and Gardens
- Stay 2 nights in either a centuries old Italian Castle or a grand Venetian Villa in Mira
- Enjoy lunchtime beside splendid Lake Garda, the largest Italian Lake
- Spend a day exploring the romantic canals and squares of Venice
- Stay 5 nights in the Tuscan spa town of Montecatini Terme
- Enjoy a day discovering the beautiful city of Florence
- Relax with an entire day at leisure in Tuscany
- Explore the scenic villages of the Cinque Terre and the medieval walled city of Lucca
- See the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa and Cathedral
- Sample the regional wines, olive oil and delightful local produce in a Tuscan farmhouse
- Stay 2 nights in the Umbrian Hills staying in medieval Spoleto
- Discover the fairytale ‘town of towers’San Gimignano and the beautifully preserved streets of medieval Siena
- Explore Assisi and visit the wonderfully restored cathedral with a local guide
- Relax with an afternoon at leisure in Spoleto
- Stay 3 wonderful nights on the Amalfi Coast
- Marvel at the ancient ruins of Pompeii
- Cruise across the Bay of Naples and explore the beautiful island of Capri
- Experience the world famous, cliff hanging ‘Amalfi Coast drive’
- Visit the picturesque towns of Amalfi and Ravello on the stunning Amalfi Coast
The Italian 'Grande' Tour is just one of many you can enjoy in Italy. Visit each destination page for more information for our other amazing tours!
Italy is very big. Very big!
Day 1: Stresa welcome
Commencing in central Milan at 2pm we will transfer you to Stresa on wonderful Lake Maggiore, where you will stay the next four nights. Join us tonight for a welcome drink before dinner. This is an ideal chance to meet, and get to know, your Tour Manager and fellow travellers.
Hand Selected Experience
Time to explore the majestic lakes
Day 2: Villa Carlotta and Lake Como cruise
Day 3: Macugnaga and lakeside Orta San Giulio
Day 4: Islands of Lake Maggiore
Day 5: Lake Garda and CastelBrando
Day 6: Venice sightseeing and ‘My Time’
Day 7: Montecatini Terme in Tuscany
Day 8: Florence sightseeing and ‘My Time’
Today is dedicated to nearby ‘Firenze’ (Florence). We are joined by a local guide who will bring to life this truly beautiful city, which is otherwise known as the ‘Cradle of the Renaissance’. Your tour starts with a visit to the famous Accademia Gallery, home to Michelangelo’s ‘David’ and numerous other extraordinary Italian, Florentine and Renaissance works of art. We see the Duomo and take in the magnificent statues in the Piazza della Signoria. Your afternoon is entirely free to enjoy Florence at your own pace. Espresso coffee on Piazza Santa Croce where Michelangelo is buried? A gelato whilst strolling across the Ponte Vecchio? Don’t forget the excellent shopping.
Day 9: Medieval Lucca, Pisa and Olive Oil tasting in a local farmhouse
Our first stop today is in one of the most typically ‘Tuscan’ towns in the area, Lucca – a medieval walled city, filled with palaces, churches, ancient houses and the former home of Puccini, where he wrote Turandot. Walk on top of the city walls for the very best city views, or visit Piazza San Michele and stroll along the shops of Borgo Giannotti. Later we visit Pisa with its famous Leaning Tower, Cathedral and Baptistery in the magnificent Piazza dei Miracoli. This afternoon we visit a local farmhouse to enjoy an olive oil tasting accompanied by Tuscan wines and a selection of antipasto including local meats, cheese and bread – all specialities of this region.
Hand Selected Experience
Ahhh…5 nights in Tuscany
Day 10: Cinque Terre sightseeing
Day 11: ‘My Time’ in Tuscany
Day 12: San Gimignano, Siena and Spoleto
Day 13: Assisi sightseeing and ‘My Time’ in Spoleto
Day 14: Ancient Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast
Day 15: Ferry ride along the Amalfi Coast to the island of Capri
Day 16: Amalfi Coast cruise to Amalfi and Ravello
Day 17: Rome & the mighty Colosseum
Day 18: 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
- 17 nights specially selected hotel accommodation
- Hotel porterage (1 bag per person)
- 27 Meals – including breakfast daily (B) and 10 dinners (D)
- Tea, coffee and a complimentary beverage with all included dinners
- Hand Selected Albatross Experiences - private boat Lake Maggiore, Lake Como and Venice, cruises Cinque Terre, Capri and olive oil tasting in a Tuscan farmhouse
- 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 at hotels
No additional 'on tour' costs!
La Palma Hotel, Stresa – 4 Nights
CastelBrando, Cison Di Valmarino – 2 Nights
Grand Hotel Francia & Quirinale, Montecatini Terme – 5 Nights
*28 April, 12 May, 19 May, 7 July, 18 August, 12 September, 22 September & 6 October departures stay at the Francia & Quirinale Hotel. All other departures stay at Ercolini & Savi Hotel.
Hotel Ercolini & Savi, Montecatini Terme – 5 Nights
Hotel Dei Duchi , Spoleto – 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.
Minori Palace Hotel, Minori - 3 Nights
This tour met all my expectations largely due to our exceptional Tour Manager. Her local knowlege, including historical knowledge of specific sites made each visit memorable. She would have a map ready for us each day we had a visit to a new town, a notice board in a prominent place in each hotel hightlighting times and activities for the days we were staying and helped with booking everything from trains to tours not included with Albatross.
I particularly liked the free time we had in most places to see and experience what interested us - shopping for some, museums or historical sites for others.
Each hotel was different, as were rooms, but I found all to be a good or excellent standard - exactly what was stated in the pre tour information.
Meals were also very good and there were also plenty of opportunities to sample local fare on your own or within the group if you wanted to.
This tour surpassed my expectations. I was able to relax with no worries about time and venues. Other travellers were friendly. I enjoyed spending several nights in the same hotel and gaining a more in depth appreciation of the beauty and wonder of scenery.
Our Tour Manager was enthusiastic, resourceful, showed tremendous attention to detail and went well beyong the call of duty.
The first organised tour we have experienced, and what a wonderful one it was. Small group of like minded Aussies who all took care of each other and most importantly the most fantastic and dedicated Tour Manager. Our welfare and comfort was her main concern. Every detail was taken care of and all the dinners both included and extras and hotels were excellent, as was our driver.
When I became ill, our Tour Manager took care of me by organising a Doctor to come to our hotel. This enabled me to continue on our further travels. All her recommendations about places to see and eat we're spot on.
We feel privileged to have done an Albatross tour and would be more than pleased to have our Tour Manager as our guide again.
Wouldn't hesitate doing another Albatross tour again in the future.
Robert and Maree
From when I was eight years old I dreamed of seeing Italy. It has taken a long time and I thank my Tour Manager and Albatross for bringing the dream to life.
Thoroughly enjoyed the whole tour with great inclusions and a knowledgable and friendly Tour Manager who made the tour fun. I would highly recommend this tour as good value for money, great inclusions and a good balance of activities. Love the complimentary photobook idea - previous memories!
Had a great time, saw amazing locations and we could not have done so much on our own. The driver of the coach was very competent on all roads especially the Amalfi Coast. Our Tour Manager was exceptional and helped make the whole trip memorable.
This was our first every organised tour. We cannot speak highly enough of our driver and our tour manager was exceptional. She was so well organised and enabled us to truly have a holiday. She was so sweet to always ask about our wellbeing and ensuring our dietary needs were met everywhere.
This has been our first Albatross tour and we will certainly be looking to travel with you again. Our tour manager was absolute gold.
The tour was all we had hoped for. All the places we wished to visit, we could not have organised it ourselves to visit in the time we had spare.
This was a fantastic tour. Our tour manager was fabulous. The La Palma hotel almost brought tears to the eyes. We could not fault our tour manager's knowledge of all things Italian. Value for money we weren't sure about until we saw the costs involved e.g. fees into the cities and road tolls etc. The hotels were top quality so would be expensive. I would recommend this tour to everyone. I do believe having all Australians added to the trip as we all understood each other and became firm friends.
Aided by beautiful spring weather and no rain our tour was terrific. As we stayed in some more out of the way towns we were able to relax, especially staying in one hotel for several nights. Our tour manager was excellent - so organised, competent and cheerful. His positive outlook was infectious and he looked after all members of the group, took care of any medical emergencies discreetly and nable all of the group to have a fabulous time. This is my fourth time in Italy and was a wonderful experience bathed in laughter, sunshine, good food and wine!
We cannot fault the organistion of this tour - no stone unturned and everything went like clockwork. Hotels, meals, tours all terrific! Special commendation to group leader Vanessa Nicol - she is an outstanding employee for you.
Can't wait to do another trip with Albatross!
Keith and Cheryl
The tour guide Antonio was excellent, she made our tour effortless with her management of every aspect. I know so much more thanks to her excellent commentary on difference areas visited.
The trip was a special birthday splurge for my mother. She hasn't stopped talking about her adventure since our return and has been asked to give a talk to a local group about her experience.
We felt well cared for by our tour guide who was not only knowledgeable but also thoughtful and well organised. The coach drivers took their job seriously so we never felt unsafe on the journey.
It was then a very relaxed tour through wonderfully diverse landscapes and cultural sites. We especially liked the visit to local artisans to sample their produce, olive oil, wine and food. There were many surprising treats too like the visit to the La Montella gardens Ischia and the Roman ruins next to our hotel in Spoleto.
So many enjoyable memories!
Loved the locations and the hotels we stayed at, especially Castelbrando and Spoleto. Also liked staying in the same place for several days.
I thought the tour to be well organised and planned, a little more special than many other tours.
Our tour leader Prisca is very knowledgable and handled any problems in a professional and diplomatic manner. Our driver Carmine was excellent with his ability in driving the coach.
Very happy with Albatross and am now thinking about my next tour.
I liked everything about my tour. The pace was fantastic, with enough time to explore on our own. Staying several nights in each stop was great as it meant we didn't have to pack every day. Group size was terrific and Tour Manager and Drivers were exceptional. Difficult to pick any standout highlight although staying in a castle was special. The Amalfi Coast, Stresa and Macugnaga were especially wonderful. Food and wine featured so much local specialities and was varied and fantastic. Highly recommend this tour :)
All great. The organisation, the excellent Tour Manager and drivers, comfortable coaches made for a smooth trouble free trip. The choice of accommodation, the meals, the wine all terrific. Staying in a castle, the trip to Macugnaga and the Amalfi Coast were highlights. I would highly recommend this tour.
Our tour guide and coach driver were amazing, the whole tour was wonderful the places we saw we would never do ourselves.
I really enjoyed the different places we went to, the historical notes that our tour guide gave us, the beautiful and convenient locations of the hotels we stayed in and the company of my fellow travellers.
Our tour guide was fantastic and did the most marvellous job.
The tour was led very competently by an experienced tour director whose cheerful manner and can do attitude made a great feeling of security. The group was good at time keeping which made things run smoothly for everyone, and thanks to two excellent drivers, most destinations were reached more or less on time giving a free hour or so before dinner or the next step of the tour. I am delighted to have achieved so much and with a wonderful set of photos and memories of a comprehensive and visually astounding tour.
This was the trip of a life time.
Every aspect of the trip was great even though by the time I got to Rome I did not need to see anymore churches or very small towns. In saying that small towns and churches are what Italy is about in some respects.
Amazing places and information, this tour was very well thought out. The guides were great. I will travel with Albatross Tours again!
This was our first group tour and it was exceptional from start to finish. We saw so much of beautiful Italy and everything went without a hitch. I cannot praise this tour highly enough and our Tour Manager has been a delight for the entire 18 days.
Amanda & Stephen
We are usually independent travellers; this was our first organised tour. It was a fabulous experience with everyday a well-planned adventure. Our Tour Manager was amazing and we were part of a very congenial group of travellers. Couldn't speak highly enough of Albatross Tours.
Collette & Chris
The tour was a very pleasing package and we would recommend it to anybody wanting something in the region. The tour manager was very informative, bright, happy person who presented the tour extremely well. The coach driver was the best we have ever had the privilege to travel with and this is our 7th tour.
Don and Lynne
The tour itself was a trip of a lifetime, covering so many highlights of Italy and including many hidden gems such as Montecatini Terme and Spoleto. Our tour manager, Antonio, made every day an outstanding success. Her attention to detail, 24/7 availability, knowledge and passion for the culture and history of Italy enhanced our experience 1000 times! Our coach driver was also outstanding. The coach was always spotless, as were the windows, and we felt safe when he was driving. We missed him on the days he didn't drive!
As a tour, I also think Albatross have it right. No one night stays is great. The hotels were excellent and staying in different regions really gave us a taste of all that Italy has to offer. I will definitely be looking at another Albatross tour. The inclusions were extensive and much appreciated.
Another highlight was the use of local guides. I loved listening to the lady in Macugnaga explaining the way of life and the use of wood for everything and was amazed to hear she was in her eighties. She was so full of life and enthusiasm.
Our guide in Assisi was also excellent. She was so knowledgeable and made the Bascilica a fascinating tour stop.
This trip has been a highlight of my life. Thank you Albatross, and our tour manager Antonia, our coach driver, and everyone who works so hard to make it successful and easy for us.
The Italian Grande tour lived up to our expectations and more. I cannot speak highly enough of our tour manager, Antonia. Her knowledge is exceptional, and she made Italy come alive for us. Many times she went the extra mile and certainly looked after us extremely well. Our coach driver was an extremely safe driver, and was always friendly and helpful. A great team.
We have always enjoyed your tours - that is why we keep on coming back. We love the later starts, pro-longed stays, smaller groups and the interesting places we stay at and visit.
This particular tour was extremely well organised, and ran like clockwork. So many highlights! Thank you Albatross!
I really appreciated the small group (21) and the large coach. Also appreciated the 'private' transport, i.e. boats, which somehow Prisca managed to organise every time just for us.
The little extras, e.g. local fare - delicious chocolates etc. were a lovely touch. When you thought you had the best day, the next one had something else that blew us away.
The entire trip was a blast from the first day. Prisca, was a fabulous tour manager with a fountain of information and handy hints. The entire group got on so well, the weather was perfect every day and our coach driver was a very safe driver! What more could we have asked for???
This tour was exceptional and certainly lived up to its name. Our tour manager, Antonia was brilliant, probably the best I have experienced in all of our travels. Her knowledge, enthusiasm and interaction with the group made this tour extra special.
The sights and attractions on this tour were particularly stunning; the best for me were:
- The mountain village - Macugnaga and the chairlift to the ski area
- Tuscan farmhouse dinner
- Olive oil tasting
- Isle of Capri and the drive up the mountain
- Amalfi Coast drive was spectacular
I hadn't done any formal touring since childhood. Then did a Sicily tour with Insight, followed by a week in Rome with family, then joined the Albatross tour. Your tour, therefore, manages to be directly compared to the Insight tour, and I can assure you that the Albatross tour has stood head and shoulders above the Insight tour! I have had a fabulous time! Thank you!
I have been on Scenic, APT and Insight tours over the past 10 years and I can truthfully say this has been the most enjoyable. The itinerary was well planned and thought out.
The tour manager, Antonia, was just amazing, so well organised, knowledgeable and nothing was ever too much trouble for her.
The smaller group size and a full size coach with 2 doors worked well.
Antonia, our tour manager was extremely organised and gracious. Her extensive knowledge of Italy came across every day. She went to exhaustible trouble to make sure everyone was well cared for and comfortable. I thoroughly recommend her as a valuable asset to Albatross Tours.
Our driver Ermano, was a very, very competent driver in all circumstances and a really lovely gentleman. Nothing was too much trouble and his cheery personality was well received by all. His coach was his pride and joy and was alway immaculate. He is also a fantastic asset to Albatross!
Our tour manager, Antonia, was excellent. Her knowledge boundless, great sense of humour and fun loving. Our coach driver was great.
Great organisation by Albatross, by staying several nights in one place makes it more of a holiday and not so tiring, even though we are going home 'tired' but truly satisfied - we have tasted 'Dolce Vita'.
Thank you we will be 'Albatrossing' again!
An outstanding trip with a superb tour guide. Starting in Stresa worked well. Every region had its attractions. Naples was a highlight for me. Throughout the whole trip our driver navigated our way with due care and attention. The members of the group also made the holiday a great success. Thank you.
Overall, I was very satisfied with the quality of the tour. Accommodation was excellent and I thoroughly enjoyed all the places visited. Our tour manager was excellent. She was a nice balance of organised and relaxed in her style.
We booked this tour and were not sure how much we would enjoy being on a coach tour. It was a wonderful way to see so much of Italy and with a small group of only 17 we found it great.
Our tour guide Helen and coach driver Marco were excellent and looked after us well.
My favourite highlight of the tour was the Lakes area. It was absolutely beautiful and I thoroughly enjoyed our time there, the hotel was wonderful.
I would have no hesitation recommending Albatross to anyone looking to tour Italy!
We had a fabulous honeymoon and would like to give special thanks to our tour manager, Helen, for the little extras that she did to make us feel special.
I would also like to mention our lovely coach driver, Marco, who made us feel safe while on the coach.
This was an excellent tour, at the right pace. I would highly recommend to family and friends.
Vanessa is an exceptional tour guide. She is incredible, knowledgeable and heaps of fun. Vanessa sang to us, danced with us, taught us Italian and helped us in very many ways. She was very caring and considerate when my husband became unwell. She is a huge asset to your company. I would love to tour somewhere with her again. Vanessa and Germano worked incredibly well together. The whole trip for me was seamless. This tour visited all the places I wanted to see. Fabulous!!
One of the highlights was the trip up to the Alps when we were staying in Stresa. I would especially like to compliment our tour manager Vanessa Nicol who was very informative, went out of her way to be helpful, friendly, charming, very organised. I would say, the best tour manager I have come across in my travels. Also our bus driver, Ermand who was an excellent driver, very courteous, friendly and helpful. These two made the experience so enjoyable. I understand you especially wanted comment on the tour of Royal Palace of Caserta – yes it was worthwhile as a very good example of the opulence of the period. You should include it in the future.
The tour manger was magnificent, enjoyable and knowledgeable. Great sense of humour. Great organising skills. I have come away with a greater understanding of the Italian culture. Ermannos’ driving is simply very skilful and smooth driver in difficult conditions, well done!! If the staff associated with this tour are as good as other tours, we will certainly do another Europe tour with Albatross. I will take away great memories and I will certainly read up more on the commentary provided by Antonia.
You have some very dedicated, happy employees. Antonia was very special with her caring ways and also special little treats from her ‘Special Bakery’ trying new tastes. She has a very good sense of humour too. Have to take my hat off, so to speak, with Ermanno’s driving – WOW! Will take away many, many beautiful memories. Thank you.
We are also so glad we booked with Albatross. The Italian Grande certainly gave us a wonderful overall tour of Italy. We had an expert guide with Antonia and her knowledge was outstanding. Ermannos, our coach driver was fantastic and we loved watching his expert driving around Amalfi and other tight roads. We saw places we never expected to see, particularly Montarossa. We had all the hard work of organised tours off our hands as we let Antonia amaze us everyday. We ticked off many bucket list items and many not even on the list. We learnt the history, culture, language and its nuances and found out about regional food and tasted it too. Loved the tour and would definitely recommend it.
I can not fault anything about this tour. This is my third Albatross tour and first time in Italy. My highlights are the organised tour guides. Their knowledge and passion are amazing. I cannot wait till my next trip with Albatross. Thank you for having me!
I would recommend Albatross to anyone I was very happy with everything, from driver, guide, tour, food and hotels and the small groups.
We are not experienced travellers but this was a comfortable and organised way for us to experience Italy.
Our first ever tour – we loved it – the little extra touches and love the fact you stay multiple nights in one place.
I have thoroughly enjoyed this tour of Italy. All new to me as this was my first trip to Italy. A well organised trip. All accommodation very good. The bonus was having such an excellent tour manager; Antonia. Always so helpful and feel she did far more for our group than what was in her contract. Our driver was very skilled and was always there to help. The drive around Rome was excellent.
Overall this tour was wonderful. It complimented the Deep South and Sicily tour well. Both tours had many highlights (everyday). But my favourites were the lakes district in the Grande Tour and Taormina in the South. We found Italy a wonderful place to tour because everyday has something special to offer. Thank you Albatross.
Really enjoyed the tour, Helen was a charming and caring tour director, Enrico was an outstanding driver. The tour highlights were the 4 nights spent on the Maggiore Lakes, The Amalfi Coast will never be forgotten for its dramatic scenery. I enjoyed the smaller group of travellers as opposed to 42 that I have often travelled with. Longer stays in each place was also good. Certainly will recommend Albatross Tours to my friends – a great itinerary.
2nd tour to Europe in 7 months, both with Albatross. The third will be with Albatross as well. Brilliantly constructed tour, seamless transition between bus, boat and trains. The little things that are included which aren’t in the book are wonderful (like the stop in Bologna). Gianfranco personifies the style and class of local cuisine, customs, history and sights is so vast that he made the tour so much more enjoyable and valuable. So many magical moments that have been experienced.
This, my first trip to Italy, has been fantastic. I have never done an organised tour but I will definitely choose to travel this way in the future – looking forward to researching other Albatross Tours! Our tour guide, Gianfranco, was sensational – nothing was a problem, he was so informative and was genuinely concerned that we all enjoyed everyday and every excursion – he will be a hard act to follow and we are very grateful for everything he did for us. Our driver, Andrea, was so professional. I was always comfortable whilst travelling even during our trip along the Amalfi Coast! I thought this tour was absolutely fantastic – we saw so much of Italy – contrasting regions and I wouldn’t change any of it. Loved how everything was included. Congratulations Gianfranco and Albatross – thank you for a fabulous holiday!
I loved staying in the castle, next to the Roman ruins in Spoleto and in front of the lake at Stressa. The food and wine and olive oil tasting were highlights. I have had a wonderful holiday and would love to do another Albatross Tour in the future. Prisca has been an outstanding tour guide and it was wonderful to have a small group of people.
Dates and Prices
|Start Date||End Date||Price Per Person||Availability|
|28 Apr 2021||15 May 2021||Not Yet Open For Sale|
|12 May 2021||29 May 2021||Not Yet Open For Sale|
|19 May 2021||5 Jun 2021||Not Yet Open For Sale|
|16 Jun 2021||3 Jul 2021||Not Yet Open For Sale|
|7 Jul 2021||24 Jul 2021||Not Yet Open For Sale|
|18 Aug 2021||4 Sep 2021||Not Yet Open For Sale|
|1 Sep 2021||18 Sep 2021||Not Yet Open For Sale|
|8 Sep 2021||25 Sep 2021||Not Yet Open For Sale|
|12 Sep 2021||29 Sep 2021||Not Yet Open For Sale|
|22 Sep 2021||9 Oct 2021||Not Yet Open For Sale|
|6 Oct 2021||23 Oct 2021||Not Yet Open For Sale|