9 nights from £1,195pp.
Selected departures May to September 2012.
You'll love this tour if you like:
- Spectacular coastal scenery
- Elegant resorts and chic harbours
- Renaissance cathedrals
- Exploring local restaurants
- The real Italy - promenade with the Italians each evening in La Spezia
This wonderful new tour visits the spectacular Italian Riviera and Tuscany. The highlight will be the Cinque Terre, comprised of five charming villages; Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore - perched on the rugged cliffs overlooking the sea, which have retained their traditional Italian air.
Then, the tour turns away from the coast into deepest Tuscany - from the striking, mountainous Garfagnana to the wonderfully preserved medieval city of Postoia and historic Pisa.
This tour also includes a night in Paris on the outward journey and a night in Turin on the return journey.
ItineraryDay 1: Travel by Eurostar from St Pancras or Ebbsfleet to Paris.
On arrival transfer to 3-star hotel Mercure for overnight stay on bed and breakfast basis
Day 2: Travel by train from Paris to Milan and onwards to La Spezia. On arrival transfer on foot (less than 100m) to hotel for 7-night stay on bed and breakfast basis
Day 3: Full day tour by boat and train to the Cinque Terre
Day 4: Full day tour to Lucca and Pisa
Day 5: Full day free in La Spezia
Day 6: Full day tour to Pistoia and Carrara
Day 7: Full day tour to Lerici and Portovenere
Day 8: Full day tour to Portofino and Santa Margherita
Day 9: Morning free before transferring on foot to the station for train to Turin. On arrival transfer by coach to 4-star Hotel ATA Concord for overnight stay
Day 10: Transfer to the station for TGV to Paris and onwards to Ebbsfleet or St Pancras
NB: Exact order of itinerary may vary according tolocal conditions and tour manager’s discretion
- Return Eurostar and TGV from St Pancras or Ebbsfleet to La Spezia via Paris and Turin
- 1 night's accommodation on bed and breakfast basis at the 3-star Mercure Gare de Lyon hotel in Paris, based on shared occupancy of twin room
- 1 night's accommodation on bed and breakfast basis at the 4-star ATA Concord Hotel, Turin, based on occupancy of a twin room
- 7 nights' accommodation on bed and breakfast basis at the 3-star Firenze & Continentale Hotel, La Spezia, based on occupancy of a twin room
- Transfers and full touring itinerary as detailed including train/boat trip along the Cinque Terre
- Tour manager throughout
- Single room supplement
- Holiday insurance
- Standard Premier/1st Class upgrade on Eurostar/TGV. On the Eurostar this constitutes upgraded seating and light meal with complimentary drink with upgraded seating only on the French railway leg
- Meals other than those stated
- Items of a personal nature such as drinks, laundry, telephone calls etc
- Porterage and gratuities
Places of Interest
The base for this tour is the port of La Spezia which owes most of its development to the 1860s, when the Naval Arsenal was built here. It offers a real flavour of Italian life with relatively few tourists but plenty of good local restaurants to explore each evening, particularly in the pedestrianised city centre and an attractive seafront promenade lined with parks and cafes. Sights include the naval museum, the Museo Tecnico Navale, archaeological museum, which is housed in the Museo del Castello and Museo Civico, which contains works by Titian and Bellini.
The Cinque Terre
The rocky stretch of coastline from Monterosso al Mare to Riomaggiore is known as the Cinque Terre, referring to the five villages that cling to the cliffs and is one of the most beautiful and spectacular coastlines in Europe. The day trip to explore these villages goes by train directly from La Spezia in one direction that offers lovely views of the coast, stopping off en-route to explore the villages and the other by boat to offer the view of the picturesque villages (Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore) from the sea.
Pisa and Lucca
Pisa is famed for its Leaning Tower, which tilts at an alarming angle, forming part of the “Field of Miracles” that also includes the Duomo and Baptistery. Lucca is enclosed by tree-lined walls, offering lovely views of the town dotted with palaces, museums and Romanesque churches, of which the most beautiful are San Michele in Foroand the Duomo di San Martino.
Portofino Peninsula and Santa Margherita
Portofino is the most exclusive harbour and resort town in Italy, crammed with the yachts of the wealthy. It enjoys a spectacular setting and is exceptionally picturesque, lined with colourful houses, cafés and bars. Above the town lies the church of San Giorgio, containing relics said to be of the dragon-slayer and a castle. Santa Margherita is an elegant seaside resort with palatial villas lining the seafront and a lovely place for a gentle stroll and gelato!
Pistoia & Carrara
Pistoia’s citizens were once known for their violence and their favoured weapon was a tiny dagger known as a Pistoia, after which the city was named. Sights here include an impressive Duomo dating from the 12th century, hospital and orphanage del Ceppo, founded in 1277 and the 14th century Capella del Tau (Chapel of the T) so named after the monks who wore a “T” on their cloaks, signifying a crutch and the work they did with the sick and lame. Carrara is renowned forits marble quarries (it provided the stone for Michelangelo’s David), but is a handsome town in its own right with a marble-rich Duomo.
Lerici & Portovenere
A leisurely seaside day takes us to Portovenere, one of the most romantic villages on the Ligurian coast with a cluster of narrow streets lined with pastel-coloured houses. There are three sights of note – the 12th century church of San Lorenzo, 13th century church of San Pietro and clifftop castle. The day also takes you to the chic seaside resort of Lerici, near where Shelley spent the last 4 years of his life, boasting an impressive castle dating from the 13th century, which now houses a museum.