HOSTED TUSCANY & SORRENTO
Start to live your dream in Italy and spend 14 nights in your Tuscan apartment, peacefully set on the hillside, with wonderful views of olive groves, vineyards and the Tuscan countryside and only 33 km from Florence. Learn to cook amazing local dishes and discover the regional secrets from a professional chef, participate in a cooking class in San Gimignano and taste the local wine. Then spend three nights in Rome and visit the famous Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel. Finally discover Sorrento, a small enchanting town overlooking the island of Naples and perched on a cliff along a beautiful stretch of blue coastline. For a taste of traditional Italian life, head to the restaurants, museums and markets of the town centre.
• Tuscany: 14 nights at the Borgo Artimino with breakfast daily, welcome and farewell dinner
• five excursions to Florence, Pisa, Siena, wine tasting and lunch in Chianti, cooking class in San Gimignano
• Rome: three nights at the Visconti Palace Hotel with breakfast and lunch with Vatican tour plus Rome city tour
• Sorrento: seven nights accommodation at the Plaza Hotel with breakfast and dinner daily
• four excursions to Amalfi Coast, Capri, Pompei and Naples
• all transfers, service fees, and gratuities included
• local tourist tax in Italy and all taxes
• Merit Tour host
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Day 1 | March 1, 2017 | DEPART FROM TORONTO – FLORENCE, ITALY (VIA PARIS)
Air France Flight 351 departs Toronto at 6:45 p.m. arrives Paris Charles du Gaulle the following day March 2 at 8 a.m. Connecting with Air France Flight 1366 Departs Paris Charles du Gaulle at 10:15 a.m. arrives Florence at 12 p.m.
Day 2 | March 2, 2017 | FLORENCE – TUSCANY (D)
Upon arrival you will be met by your local representative and transfer to Tuscany. Tonight enjoy a welcome dinner at 7 p.m. with your group at the hotel restaurant.
The Borgo Artimino is only 26 kms from Florence, in a fabulous location overlooking the medieval hamlet of Artimino. These self catering apartments boast a hilltop location, surrounded by rolling hills, ancient olive groves and vineyards and a farm.
The Borgo was the original village that housed the artisans and the people that worked the land on this extensive estate and has now been transformed into apartments that have all been thoughtfully restored and elegantly furnished.
For a change of scenery, take a five minute stroll to the cobbled streets of Artimino and explore the artisan shops, ice cream parlour and superb restaurants. Guests of the Artimino Apartments may also use the facilities at the nearby Hotel Paggeria Medicea, which is a ten minute walk away. This hotel has an outdoor pool open in March (depending on the weather), tennis courts and bikes as well as free wifi. There is also a restaurant here serving local Tuscan cuisine.
Note: The Borgo Artimino is located in Artimino, a remote village in the countryside of Tuscany on a hilltop location with stunning views. For those wishing to explore the surrounding area in Artimino please be aware that there are some hills , cobblestones and uneven grounds so anyone with mobility issues is strongly advised to take a taxi or the small hotel shuttle to the nearest town as the area outside the property requires a lot of walking.
A free 6 passenger hotel mini shuttle is offered daily on a schedule to all guests (guests must sign up at front desk) from the Borgo to the nearest town of Signa where the train station, local supermarket and bank is located.
TRAIN TO FLORENCE: we suggest you take the free mini shuttle or a taxi to SIGNA train station (only a 10 min. ride) to catch a train to Florence. Then take a train to the Florence main station which is reachable in only 12 minutes. Signa is a train station also on the railway that goes to Pisa and Siena Florence (17 km).
PUBLIC BUS STOP: approx. 100-200 meters from the apartments near the tower. You can purchase a one-way ticket to Poggio Caiano for €1,10 per person or to Signa Train station for €1,70 one-way per person.
Relax at your Villa or explore the surrounding area of Tuscany and Florence. You will also have 5 excursions included to explore the local culture and the surrounding areas of Tuscany. Note: Your local Tour Manager Gianfranco, who is also a professional Chef, will confirm the local pick-up times for each excursion locally.
FLORENCE WALKING CITY TOUR FULL DAY EXCURSION: Today we are off to Florence for a guided walking tour of the city including Franciscan church of Santa Croce, known as the “Pantheon of the Italian Glories” where many illustrious Italians, such as Michelangelo, Galileo, Rossini and Machiavelli, are buried. We will also have the option to visit the Uffizi Gallery and the Accademia.
SIENA WALKING CITY TOUR FULL DAY EXCURSION: Enjoy a morning walking tour of Siena. Admire the Cathedral, the Piazza del Campo, the Town Hall, and San Domenico. At the end of the tour immerse yourself in the magical atmosphere of the Palio through the visit of one of the “ Contrada (District) Museum”.
PISA WALKING CITY TOUR FULL DAY EXCURSION: Enjoy a walking tour of Pisa, in northern Tuscany, famous for its leaning tower. Pisa has much more to offer travelers, including its medieval center, beautiful Duomo and Baptistery, parks, statues, the homes of Lord Byron and Shelley, and a walk along the river.
CHIANTI WINE TASTING EXCURSION ( L): Today meet at the hotel lobby and then depart for a unique wine tasting with a private tour of the famous cellar of “Chianti”. We will explore the Chianti area, the famous land of the vineyards and hilltop towns. This tour includes a three-course lunch.
SAN GIMIGNANO WINE TASTING WITH WALKING EXCURSION (L): Today we will explore the San Gimignano area, participate in a hands-on cooking class and enjoy a wine tasting and lunch.
Day 16 | March 16, 2017 | TUSCANY — ROME (B)
Today check out of your apartment and be ready in the hotel lobby at 9 a.m. for your coach transfer to Rome. Arrive in Rome and transfer to the Visconti Palace hotel. The remainder of the afternoon is at leisure.
Day 17 | March 17, 2017 | ROME (B)
ROME CITY TOUR: Depart from your hotel at 9 a.m. by coach for your half day Rome City tour Crossing Piazza della Republica with the fountain of the Nayads, you will stroll through the historical centre where you can admire the Trevi Fountain, La colonna di Marco Aurelio, the Palazzo di Montecitorio designed by Bernini, the Pantheon, Palazzo Madama (seat of the Senato) and Piazza Navona.The rest of your afternoon will be at leisure in Rome for shopping or exploring.
Day 18 | March 18, 2017 | ROME (B)
VATICAN EXCURSION: After breakfast, depart by coach from your hotel arriving near the Vatican City. Your guide will lead you into the Vatican Museums taking the beautiful Spiral staircase and continuing through the Gallery of the Tapestries and the Gallery of Geographic Maps, before arriving to the Sistine Chapel with its magnificent fresco of the last Judgement by Michelangelo. Afterwards visit St Peter’s Basilica. The rest of your afternoon is free for shopping or exploring.
Day 19 | March 19, 2017 | ROME — SORRENTO (B, D)
After breakfast check out of the hotel and be ready in the hotel lobby at 9 a.m. for your coach transfer to Sorrento. Upon arrival in Sorrento check into the Plaza hotel. Enjoy a welcome dinner at your hotel this evening.
Day 19-25 | March 19-25, 2017 | SORRENTO (B, D)
Enjoy your days at leisure in Sorrento. Your dinners (3 course menu with beverages included) from Mar 20-24 will be served at a local restaurant “Ristorante Tasso” approx. 200 meters. from the hotel.
Explore Sorrento, the gateway to the Amalfi Coast and a great base to explore the region’s highlights including: the Amalfi coast to the east, Pompei to the north and the fabled island of Capri. You will have four cultural excursions included during your stay in Sorrento.
CAPRI WALKING EXCURSION: Discover the beautiful island of Capri, famous worldwide for its timeless wonders and one of the most fascinating places in Italy! Transfer from your hotel to Castellammare pier where you will transfer by hydrofoil to Capri. Explore the island with your local guide and the magical, and relaxed atmosphere and the narrow streets, The tour will include a visit to the famous Piazzetta. Then stroll down Via Camerelle, famous for the luxury shops and designer fashion boutiques which line the street. Continue along Via Tragara until reaching the breathtaking scenic overlook facing the Faraglioni rock formations. Return back to your hotel in Sorrento in the afternoon.
FULL DAY AMALFI COAST & RAVELLO EXCURSION: The Amalfi coast provides has fascinating landscapes and breathtaking views protected by UNESCO. You will stop above Positano where you will have the opportunity to take a beautiful picture of this amazing village from the top. Next stop will be Amalfi coast, a very unique town where the 11th century cathedral of St. Andrew is located right in the main square, said to hold the remains of the apostle. Here you will have some time to stroll through the town. Continue to Ravello, that has long been a retreat for artists and writers! Return back to your hotel in Sorrento in the afternoon.
FULL DAY POMPEI & VESUVIO EXCURSION: Departure from your hotel via motorcoach to Pompeii, the roman city buried by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 A.D. Enjoy a visit to the archaeological site with its excavated area extending approximately 44 ha. The preservation state of its buildings, due to the particular burial (under a blanket of 6 m. of ash and rock) caused by the eruption is why Pompeii can be considered the only archaeological site which gives the real image of a Roman city. Continue by coach to Mount Vesuvius up to 1000 m. then walk to the summit along with your local guide. Mt. Vesuvius is the best known volcano on earth and dominates the Bay of Naples. Proceeding along the rim of the crater, you can observe the whole extent of the southern part of the volcano. During days with good visibility it is possible to see the entire gulf of Naples, from the Sorrento peninsula to Cape Miseno, Procida and Ischia. On the journey back visit to one of the most prestigious cameo and coral factories, to see the typical lavoration of cameos. Return back to your hotel in Sorrento in the afternoon.
NAPLES CITY TOUR AND PIZZA MAKING LESSON (L): Enter into one of the pizzerias in the historical center of Naples where a professional pizza maker will show you all the steps to prepare pizza according to the traditional recipe. After lunch continue with a tour of this beautiful city, with several photo stops in the most strategic points of the city such as the Posillipo hill with stunning views of the Bay of Naples, the Vomero hill with the Castel St.Elmo, the monumental area with the Castel Nuovo, Piazza del Plebiscito, the Royal Palace, the Galleria Umberto I, with its impressive glass dome, and finally the old town with its narrow streets and the Cathedral of St. Gennaro 13th century.
Tonight enjoy a farewell dinner with your group at the Plaza
Day 26 | March 26, 2017 | SORRENTO — NAPLES — TORONTO (VIA PARIS) (B) After breakfast transfer to the Naples airport for your flight home. Air France Flight 1579 departs Naples at 6:10 a.m. Arrives Paris Charles du Gaulle at 9:05 a.m. Connecting with Air France Flight 356 departs Paris Charles du Gaulle at 1:55 p.m. arrives Toronto at 4:10 p.m.
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*Prices are in CDN$ per person, double occupancy. Single Supplement: $2495. Subject to availability. Upgrade to a two bedroom in Tuscany for only $150 per person, double occupancy.