The Italian 'Grande' Tour
18 days from $7,769 pp twin share
- Leisurely 2, 3 and 5 night stays
- Small group size with a maximum of 28 travellers
- Genuinely inclusive, no additional on tour costs
- Character hotels in superb locations
- Designed for Australians & New Zealanders
- Guaranteed group departures
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 Orta 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, four nights in Naples visiting Ischia Island, the Isle of Capri and of course, the Amalfi Coast and a visit to the picturesque town of Ravello. Then there is the food, the wine, the ambience and the time to get “sotto la pelle”… under the skin.
- 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 either a centuries old Italian castle or a grand Venetian Villa, 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 a local olive oil farmhouse estate
- 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 in wonderful Naples, visit the beautiful island of Capri and the picturesque towns of Amalfi and Ravello on the stunning Amalfi Coast.
- Marvel at the ancient ruins of Pompeii
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!
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.
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, enroute to the Neapolitan Riviera. 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 in Naples to explore the Amalfi Coast and nearby island of Capri, 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.
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
* 20 May, 6 June, 14 June, 17 July, 5 September & 21 September departures stay at Villa Margherita. All other departures stay at CastelBrando.
Day 6: Castelbrando
After a leisurely start we visit nearby ‘Venezia’ (Venice) – arguably one of the most romantic cities in the world. At Tronchetto we board a private boat to take us to St Mark’s Square, where we join our expert local guide for a walking tour. The rest of the day is free to meander through the myriad of narrow, water lined streets and alleys spanned by humped back bridges.
Day 7: Montecatini Terme in Tuscany
Day 8: Montecatini Terme in Tuscany
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: Montecatini Terme in Tuscany
Day 10: Montecatini Terme in Tuscany
A delightful day is planned as we explore the famous Cinque Terre. The name means ‘five lands’ and comes from the five unspoilt fishing villages that cling to the cliffs, overlooking the sea. We have arranged a coastal boat ride for you to admire the spectacular scenery and almost inaccessible fishing villages, and to visit Portovenere and Monterosso. Our return journey is by train through the tunnels and cliffs above.
Day 11: Montecatini Terme in Tuscany
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.
Day 12: Spoleto in Umbria
Day 13: Spoleto in Umbria
We spend this morning in the nearby beautiful Umbrian city of Assisi. Badly damaged by earthquakes in 1997 the city, dominated by two medieval castles, undertook a remarkable programme of restoration which soon brought it back to all its glory. On arrival in Assisi we are joined by a local guide for a tour of the Basilica of St Francis with its magnificent frescoes. Afterwards there is time for you to explore Assisi at your own pace. Returning to Spoleto, the rest of the afternoon is at leisure. Perhaps take a leisurely walk along the path around the castle and across the medieval viaduct in to the Umbrian countryside. This is the real Italy!
Day 14: Naples & the Amalfi Coast
Day 15: Naples & the Amalfi Coast
Day 16: Naples & the Amalfi Coast
Day 17: Rome
Day 18: Rome
Your tour ends today after breakfast.
Incredible Value Inclusions
- 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)
- Breakfast daily
- 12 dinners including welcome and farewell dinners, local restaurant dinner in Stresa & Naples, Tuscan dinner at a local olive oil farmhouse estate and welcome drink in Stresa
- All excursions, scenic drives, sightseeing and entrances as described
- Special Highlights - private boat Lake Maggiore, Lake Como and Venice, cruises Portofino and Cinque Terre, Capri and olive oil tasting in a Tuscan farmhouse
- Local guides as described in the itinerary
- Personal audio system whilst on tour
- Free WiFi available on most coaches and at hotels
- End of tour tips to Tour Manager and Driver, tips for local guides
La Palma Hotel, Stresa – 4 Nights
Regina Palace Hotel, Stresa – 4 Nights
The 4 star Regina Palace hotel is situated on the banks of Lake Maggiore, in the centre of Stresa and offers stunning view of the Borromean Islands. The century old hotel offers classic style interiors and is surrounded by large gardens and an open air pool.
*17 August departure stays at Regina Palace Hotel in Stresa
CastelBrando, Cison Di Valmarino – 2 Nights
Villa Margherita in 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 expected from a hotel situated near the world famous city of Venice, 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 with only a 10 minute walk from the town centre. Dinner is included both nights at your Villa hotel. See
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.
Palazzo Alabardieri, Naples – 3 Nights
Grand Hotel Santa Lucia, Naples - 3 nights
This elegant 4-star hotel offers old world charm combined with modern facilities. Overlooking the Bay of Naples, the hotel is superbly located in the heart of historic Naples. The comfortable rooms feature high quality furnishings & amenities.
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 timeand 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 compitent 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 oureslves to visit in the time we had spare.
This was a fantastic tour. Our tour manager was fabulous and she quickly knew everyones issues, health and otherwise, and was on top of everything almost before it became an issue. La Palma hotel almost brought tears to the eyes. We could fault our tour managers 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 etc. The hotels also were of a top quality so would be expensive. Even though our drivers english was not brilliant he made himself understood and was such a safe and thoughtful driver. 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.
Gloria, travelled April 2016
The trip was a special 80th 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 bus 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.
Dates and Prices
|Start Date||End Date||Price Per Person||Guaranteed to Depart||Availability|
|2 Oct 2016||19 Oct 2016||AUD $7,489||Space Limited - Call Now|
|27 Apr 2017||14 May 2017||AUD $7,769||Space Available|
|5 May 2017||22 May 2017||AUD $7,969||Space Available|
|13 May 2017||30 May 2017||AUD $7,769||Space Available|
|20 May 2017||6 Jun 2017||AUD $7,969||Space Available|
|29 May 2017||15 Jun 2017||AUD $7,969||Space Available|
|6 Jun 2017||23 Jun 2017||AUD $7,969||Space Available|
|14 Jun 2017||1 Jul 2017||AUD $7,769||Space Available|
|22 Jun 2017||9 Jul 2017||AUD $7,769||Space Available|
|30 Jun 2017||17 Jul 2017||AUD $7,769||Space Available|
|17 Jul 2017||3 Aug 2017||AUD $7,769||Space Available|
|17 Aug 2017||3 Sep 2017||AUD $7,769||Space Available|
|28 Aug 2017||14 Sep 2017||AUD $7,769||Space Limited - Call Now|
|5 Sep 2017||22 Sep 2017||AUD $7,969||Space Available|
|13 Sep 2017||30 Sep 2017||AUD $7,769||Space Available|
|21 Sep 2017||8 Oct 2017||AUD $7,969||Space Available|
|1 Oct 2017||18 Oct 2017||AUD $7,769||Space Available|
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Over $100 value of extras per day are already included. There are no additional ‘on tour’ costs—even your end of tour tips are included!