Trip reference number: 145441
Trip Operator: Wexas Travel
From the Savoy palaces of Turin and Leonardo's Last Supper to the dubious drinking dens of Genoa and the pleasure palaces of Rome, the Grand Tour is part scholar's pilgrimage and part rite of passage. Offering a chance to view some of the world's greatest masterpieces and hear Vivaldi played on 18th century cellos, the trip is filled with the sights, sounds and tastes that have shaped European society for centuries, and all linked together by one of Italy's modern masterpieces - its railways.
Day 1: UK/Turin
Begin your trip with airport lounge access before your flight to Turin. Your hotel located in the heart of Risorgimento Turin, just off the Piazza San Carlo, take time to explore Turin and its extravagant architecture created by the Savoy princes, like the Medicis in Florence and Borghese in Rome, visit the Palazzo Reale designed by the landscaper of the Versailles gardens in Paris
Stay: Grand Hotel Sitea, Turin (Deluxe)
Day 2: Turin to Genoa
On arrival, enjoy a private transfer to your hotel, the Grand Hotel Savoia. This opulent 19th-century building is just moments from Genoa's historic downtown – or perhaps choose to relax in the fabulous spa before a pre-dinner drink on the rooftop terrace. It's the perfect prelude to a gourmet meal in the stunning al-fresco restaurant where you can indulge in everything from ultra-fresh seafood to traditional Italian fare.
Stay: Grand Hotel Savoia, Genoa (Deluxe)
Day 3: Genoa to Milan
On arrival, you'll be met by a private driver who'll bring you to your central accommodation; an early 20th-century gem, its rooms are all mahogany furniture and white Carrara marble bathrooms. You’ll also be perfectly situated for the city’s attractions, explored on your second day’s private walking tour. You’ll centre on the Duomo’s golden statues, spectacular marble façade and over 100 spindling spires before a stop at the 18th-century Royal Opera House – one of the world’s finest theatres. There’s also time to visit the Galleria Umberto, the city’s premier shopping centre.
Day 4: Milan to Verona
Today, you’ll get your bearings with a walking tour, ambling along twisting laneways to stop at pretty piazzas. The Verona Arena is a special highlight. An astonishingly well-preserved Roman amphitheatre, it dates back to the 1st century and is still used as an opera venue to this day. There are plenty more Roman ruins to take in as well, along with a full spread of medieval churches and bridges. Of course, no trip to Verona would be complete with a visit to Juliet’s balcony.
Day 5: Verona to Venice
Strike east with a First Class train ride to Venice. Though your route is flat – testified by the Roman-straight railroad – you’ll take in snow-capped glimpses of the Alps to the north. And, with your hotel idyllically set at the mouth of the Grand Canal, you'll be met on arrival and transferred via water taxi, a perfectly evocative introduction to this floating city. You’ll then have some free time to lose yourself among Venice’s rabbit warren of historic streets and twisting waterways.
Day 6: Venice
Today you’ll be met in your hotel lobby by an expert guide who’ll take you on a private tour of Venice’s sights. The city centres around its Piazza San Marco – the principal public square. Highlights include its basilica’s 4,240 square metres of luminous gold mosaics, the Campanile brick bell tower and the soft arches of the Doge’s Palace. You'll even enjoy priority entry to the latter, beating the crowds to its artistic treasure trove. Your tour will end with a private gondola ride through labyrinthine canals, ducking under bridges, sidling past historic buildings and watching as floating traders ply their wares.
Day 7: Venice to Bologna
Today you'll head out on two city tours of Bologna, perhaps most famous, though, are Bologna’s food markets, from Via Rizzoli’s cheese to Osteria del Sole's excellent wines, you will enjoy a food tour and tastings. In the afternoon a city tour will unveil medieval colonnades, theatres, and endless porticoes. Head to the Towers of Bologna, indulge at the cafes of the Piazza Maggiore, and explore the Gothic church and Neptune’s famous fountain. Then, return for an evening of culinary delights; we particularly like Trattoria Anna Maria for home-made pastas and Ristorante Pappagallo for creative takes on classic Italian dishes.
Stay: Hotel Corona d'Oro, Bologna (Deluxe)
Day 8: Bologna to Florence
Your last atmospheric water transfer will bring you back to the city’s station. Travelling First Class, you’ll speed south through the Italian countryside to Florence. A private transfer will then see you to the excellent Hotel degli Orafi; set right on the River Arno, you’ll overlook the famous Ponte Vecchio bridge. As such, you'll be perfectly positioned to explore the city’s heritage; we highly recommend the short walk to the Piazzale Michelangelo. Passing through verdant gardens and historic streets, you’ll arrive at an open square on Florence’s southern hills, affording the best views of the city.
Day 9: Florence
Compact and packed full of sights, Florence is best explored on a private guided walk. Yours will begin with the city’s cathedral. Completed in 1436, it’s an awe-inspiring example of Gothic architecture, resplendent in polychromatic shades of green and pink. Its brick dome – the largest every constructed – still dominates the city’s skyline to this day. And, between the Repubblica and Signoria squares, you’ll be introduced to Florence’s historic meeting points, complete with palaces, sculptures and grand archways. However, your tour highlight will be included priority entry into the Uffizi Gallery. Skip the queues to marvel at Italy’s premier collection of Renaissance artwork....
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
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