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Hill Top Towns of Italy, plus Rome and Venice


Tour Highlights

Fall is the perfect time of year to enjoy this unique tour of Italy’s beautiful hilltop towns. 
We begin in the great Renaissance town of Perugia - an historic artistic centre, and visit the nearby rose-coloured medieval town of Assisi. Next is Rimini - a premier resort on the Adriatic, and from here we explore the world’s oldest independent republic - San Marino, and Ravenna, which has some of the world’s finest Byzantine mosaics. We then stay in Preganziol, near the historic centre of Venice, and explore the canal city’s many treasures. 

In Tuscany (a favourite region of Italy for visitors) we discover Pisa with its leaning tower, and Florence - the “Cradle of the Renaissance”.  We continue to the elegant spa town of Chianciano Terme - famous for its healing waters that have been curing the ailments of visitors for centuries. During our stay here our excursions will include medieval Cortona - built on the dramatic slopes once enclosed by vast Etruscan walls, and Montepulciano - one of the region’s loveliest villages.  We end our tour in Rome - the "Eternal City" of endless art, romance and monuments that testify to its ancient and imperial past.

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

Tour Highlights:

   • Umbrian capital of Perugia
   • St. Francis Basilica in Assisi
   • Cliffside town of Gubbio
   • The independent republic of San Marino
   • Adriatic coastal route to Ravenna
   • St. Mark’s square and the Bridge of Sighs in Venice
   • The university city of Padua
   • Charming medieval Lucca 
   • Pisa’s famous tower, Duomo and Baptistry
   • The elegant city of Florence
   • Siena and Montecatini
   • The Spa town of Chianciano and Cortona “Under the Tuscan Sun”
   • Montepulciano with its baroque, medieval and Renaissance architecture
   • Italy’s capital city Rome

Tentative Itinerary

We depart for Rome.
We arrive in Rome and proceed to Perugia, the Umbrian capital. After some time to rest we enjoy an afternoon city tour that takes us along the bustling Corso Vannucci. We visit the Duomo and the National Gallery with its 33 rooms of Umbrian art, including paintings by Perugino.
Our excursion to Assisi will include a visit to the Basilica of St. Francis. A short walk away is the 13th century church of Santa Chiara. There will be some free time for shopping (ceramics are a good buy!) before returning to our hotel in Perugia.
We travel to the atmospheric town of Gubbio, one of Italy's hidden gems. Gubbio clings to the side of Monte Ingino and its buildings just fit on the narrow terraces that step up the mountain side. We will visit the Ducal Palace to see the interesting architecture, then continue to the resort town of Rimini.
We tour the tiny, independent republic of San Marino. This hilltop town is the oldest and smallest republic in Europe. After our visit we return to Rimini for an afternoon at leisure.
Following the Adriatic coast we travel to Ravenna and tour this unique city. Dante (father of the Italian language) is buried here. We will visit the tomb of Galla Placidia with its fine Byzantine mosaics. Later we arrive at Mestre on the Venetian Riviera.
We cross the Venetian Lagoon by private boat for a full day in this magical city. We see St. Mark's Square, the Bridge of Sighs, Doge's Palace and more, followed by time at leisure.
We visit the university city of Padua where Dante and Galileo attended school. The walled city centre has tiny one-way streets and many piazzas and arcaded walkways. We see many Gothic buildings and the enormous and incredibly elaborate Basilica Del Santo. Afternoon at leisure.
We enter Tuscany and stop at Lucca, a charming town which looks like a movie set for a medieval epic. Most of Lucca is traffic free and therefore a pleasant place to stroll through the streets and see magnificent churches, squares and statues. Our guide will point out major sites of interest. We continue to the charming spa town of Montecatini for a 4-night stay.
We take an excursion to Pisa, and yes indeed the famous Tower is still leaning. We will spend our time here at the Campo dei Miracoli, which includes the Tower, the Duomo and the Baptistry. This evening we dine at a lovely local farm where we will tour the gardens and wine cellar before enjoying the local specialties.
Today we visit Florence, “Cradle of the Renaissance”. Our first stop will be to see Michelangelo’s David, and then our walking tour includes the Duomo, the Palazzo Vecchio dating from 1280 and Church of the Holy Cross. Afternoon at leisure - perhaps take an optional tour to Santa Croce.
This morning we enjoy a tour of medieval Siena, where we will see the fan-shaped Palazza Pubblico, Gothic Town Hall and the Piazza del Campo - site of the legendary annual Palio horse race. Those who wish may climb the Terre del Mangia - a 14th-century tower with sweeping views from its distinctive white crown.
We proceed to the scenic spa town of Chianciano, in the region of Tuscany and en route visit medieval Cortona, made popular by the book and movie “Under the Tuscan Sun”. Cortona has an unforgettable position sitting on the slopes once enclosed by vast Etruscan walls.
With a blend of renaissance, medieval and baroque architecture, Montepulciano is one of the loveliest hill towns and best preserved historic centres in the area. There are churches, palaces and great views of the valley below. Lunch today is at a farm and we will sample the "nobile wine" first mentioned in the 8th century.
We travel to Rome, and our touring this afternoon will take in the Coliseum, Circus Maximus, Roman Forum and more. After our tour we transfer to our hotel.
This morning we visit the impressive St. Peter's Basilica and Vatican City. Afternoon at leisure to explore Rome at your own pace. Our Farewell Dinner is tonight.
We fly back to Canada

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