Grand Tour of Italy

Including Sicily

Tour Highlights

Italy - one of the most visited countries in the world, is the ultimate destination to experience beauty, history, art, culture, food and wines, and so much more!
On this exciting and energetic tour we travel from the breathtaking alpine region of northern Italy all the way south to the dramatic Mediterranean island of Sicily.

We will discover the elegant city of Milan, the scenic beauty of the Lake Garda area, the cypress hills of Verona, the enchanting canals and architecture of romantic Venice, Tuscan Siena distinguished by its medieval   buildings, the impressive cathedral and monastery in Assisi and the historic treasures of Florence.  

Travelling south we explore magnificent Rome - the “Eternal City”, the dramatic Amalfi Coast, wondrous  Pompeii and the old city of Naples. An overnight ferry then takes us across the Strait of Messina to Sicily - the largest island in the Mediterranean with splendid green valleys, magnificent Greek temples, the still-active  volcano of Mount Etna and the delightful resort town of Taormina.

*** Those joining any of our tours to Europe must be able to walk fairly long distances and climb stairs easily.

Tentative Itinerary

We depart for Milan, non-stop from Toronto.
We arrive in Milan and transfer to our hotel. This evening is our Welcome Dinner.
We have a brief tour of Milan before departing for Lake Garda, where we will take in the magnificent scenery with views of the Alps and picture-book villages along the shore. We will enjoy a lovely boat trip on the lake and visit medieval Sirmione - known as the “Jewel of the Lake”. A spa town since Roman times, we will stroll the narrow, cobbled lanes and see the 13th century castle and well-preserved Roman ruins.
We proceed through the cypress clad hills to Verona, where we see the Roman Arena and Juliet's famous balcony. A short drive brings us to the university town of Padua, home of many great Italians (Dante, Galileo, etc.) and numerous art treasures. We visit the famous Basilica of St. Anthony and then continue to the Venice area.
We cross the Venetian lagoon by boat and spend a full day in the magical city of Venice. We see St. Mark’s Square, the Bridge of Sighs and the Doge’s Palace.
We leave Venice and drive through the picturesque hills to Pisa and the famous Leaning Tower. We will also see the Duomo and the Baptistry. We continue on to the charming village of San Giuliano Terme, famous for its Spa Centre.
We depart for Florence, Cradle of the Renaissance. Our walking tour will take in the multi-coloured marble cathedral, Signoria Square, Santa Croce Basilica and more. We then head south for our overnight near Siena.
After a walking tour of medieval Siena, site of the famous horse race, we continue on to the pink stone city of Assisi, which is under the protection of St. Francis. The city is still enclosed by medieval ramparts. Our tour includes St. Francis Basilica, well known for its Fresco paintings. After our visit we continue on to Rome.
Our touring in Rome begins in Vatican City including the Sistine Chapel - official residence of the Pope, as well as St. Peter’s Basilica - one of the holiest Catholic sites, and the Vatican Museum. The afternoon is free to explore Rome’s many museums, shops and cafes.
Our touring of Rome continues with the Roman Forum; the Arch of Constantine; Circus Maximus; Spanish Steps and an opportunity to visit the Coliseum. We then proceed to Sorrento on the beautiful Amalfi Coast, which is characterized by majestic cliffs, terraced vineyards, orange groves and a striking rocky shoreline. We stay in Sorrento for 2 nights.
A day at leisure to explore this beautiful city on the Amalfi Coast. Your Tour Manager will be on hand with suggestions.
Today we visit fascinating Pompeii, the imperial city engulfed by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD. We then proceed to Naples for a panoramic tour of the old city with its Gothic and Baroque churches. Later we board our ferry bound for Sicily. As we depart the Bay of Naples be on deck for the breathtaking views of Naples and Mount Vesuvius.
We arrive in Palermo, a fascinating city with a mix of Latin, Byzantine and Islamic buildings. We may have an opportunity to visit one of the huge and colourful markets with its riveting display of fruits, vegetables and other goods. We then drive through the scenic hills to Agrigento with it's magnificent works of Doric architecture dating from the 6th century BC. In the evening the site is beautifully illuminated.
This morning we visit the famed Valley of the Temples (formerly a Greek stronghold) and visit the temples of Juno, Concord and Hercules - very well-preserved Greek ruins. Then it’s on to the Taormina area with stunning views of the sea and Mt. Etna - Europe's tallest volcano.
This charming town has long been a favourite international resort and has wonderful parks, gardens and an ancient Greek theatre. We enjoy a morning orientation tour, and an afternoon at leisure. From Piazza Garibaldi one can enjoy the best views of Mt. Etna and the beautiful Ionian coastline. Our Farewell Dinner tonight will be at a local restaurant featuring Sicilian foods and wine.
We fly home via Frankfurt.

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