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Paris To Rome

22 June – 13 July, 2015
22 Days

Group Size –Maximum- 12 Guests

Price: € 4699  per person double

Day 1
Transfer from Charles De Gaulle airport to your accommodation in central Paris. Independent private transfers have been arranged to meet your travel needs. Welcome to Paris for your three nights in the “City of Lights”.  This evening is free for you to explore with the assistance of your Tour Manager. Perhaps you will join him for a visit to the famed Left Bank.

Day 2
Today is a free day. There are many diverse attractions to visit today. Your tour manager will recommend and join you in an open air sightseeing “Hop on Hop Off” bus tour with a visit to the Musée d’Orsay, the premier gallery in the world of Impressionist Paintings.  Advance ticket reservations can be made and are highly recommended for the Musée d’Orsay.  This evening you are free to explore and discover Paris at Night. (B)

Day 3
Paris. The Palaces of Versailles is on the itinerary today with a special guided visit to the apartments of Louis XV & Louis XVI plus the Royal Opera and Chapel.  You will have time to explore the gardens and other rooms open to the general public.  Returning to Paris, dinner is included at a restaurant close to the hotel. (B,D)

Day 4
Departing Paris for the Loire Valley but first a stop at one of the most romantic and recognizable gardens in the world. Through his many paintings, impressionist artist Claude Monet has made his gardens at Giverney a mecca for both gardeners and art lovers alike.  This is a garden to wonder and enjoy, soak up the atmosphere and dream of all things beautiful.
We continue with our drive through France and arrive at our accommodation late afternoon. Les Roches Saint-Paul is a small village a few kilometers from the city of Chinon. Your accommodation for the next five nights is a small boutique style country home, La Closerie Saint Martin.  Dinner this evening is served at the accommodation and prepared by the owner of this unique property.  This is the ideal spot for touring the Loire Valley and the perfect venue to soak up the ambiance of the French countryside.  (B, D)

Day 5
Villandry. Since the construction of the Chateau of Villandry in 1532, their outstanding gardens have embellished the grounds and façade of the building. The passage of time is witness to the many changes the property has undergone. Archeological findings tell us how, in the Renaissance, there was a decorative kitchen garden at close proximity to the chateau. To recreate the ornamental salons on their original terraces, the painter Lozano and Spanish artist and landscape architect Javier de Winthuysen, came to design the Salon of the Crosses and The Salon of Love. For the ‘classical’ water garden, typical of the 18th century, the Marquis of Castellane’s plans, preserved in the Napoleonic land register, were used. Far from being a mere replica of gardens reproduced in architectural treatises, the gardens of Villandry are a reinvention. From their layout to the choice of vegetables, everything was conceived in terms of a return to the origins of the Renaissance formal garden.  A return to La Closerie Saint Martin and into Chinon for a free evening to explore this beautiful medieval city. Dinner is on your own; a time to explore and enjoy. (B)

Day 6
Château de Chenonceau. Upon entering the forecourt, which features splendid climber rose-trees and a majestic alley of 16 orange trees, the visitor discovers the Building of the Domes, which previously contained the Royal stables and the silk farm. Silk farming was introduced in France by Catherine de Medici. The visitor then enters the courtyard of the 16th century farm, and lastly the Flower Garden, where countless flowers for cutting are exclusively produced. A visit of the castle will always remain a memorable experience for visitors. The vast ‘Domain of Chenonceau’ offers the possibility of freely discovering the two renowned and magnificent gardens of Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de Medici. They are ornamented with a myriad of shrubs, hundreds of climbing and stemmed roses. The 40,000 flowers grown in the Domain are planted twice a year in spring and summer. (B)

Day 7
Today two delightful and beautiful Chateaus will be visited.  The Château
d ‘Azay-le-Rideau is located in the town of Azay-le-Rideau. Built between 1518 and 1527, this château is considered one of the foremost examples of early French renaissance architecture. Set on an island in the middle of the Indre River, this picturesque château has become one of the most popular of the châteaux of the Loire valley. Our second visit is to the much larger and grander Chateau Usse. Famed for its picturesque aspect, Usse inspired Walt Disney in the creation of many of the Disney Castles. This Chateau has been nicked name “Sleeping Beauty’s Castle” and is home to a outstanding collection of period costumes.
As in all days the pace is relaxed and there is always time to enjoy your lunch and try the local wines. This evening you will have opportunity to explore and dine in Chinon on your own time. (B) 

Day 8
Today is market day in Bourgueil.  This traditional French street market with its bakeries, restaurants, cafes you will have plenty of opportunities to sample the delights of the 'garden of France' that is the Loire Valley. A walk through town to the village centre, you will find the covered medieval market, in full of chatter, laughter and the colourful merchants and vendors displaying their wares.  Our resident chef will join us in the market to collect and gather the fresh foods for our dinner this evening which you will help plan and prepare (if you wish to!)   We will visit the unique Troglodyte cave dwelling known as Cave Touristique du Pays de Bourgueil.  There is an artisan village set within a section of this cave where you can visit several studios of local artistes. Tonight you prepare your dinner at La Closerie Saint Martin.  (B, D)

Day 9
We depart from the Loire Valley and travel south-west through France. Tonight we stop in Macon for the evening. Overnight in Macon. (B)

Day 10
After breakfast we depart for Italy and Lake Como.  Our journey will wind us through the spectacle of the French Alps and into Italy.  We will stop in Chamonix, France, where the highest cable car in Europe, the Aiguille du Midi Cable Car, will take you 3842 meters above sea level where awe inspiring views of the Swiss, French and Italian Alps will surely take your breath away. We arrive at Lake Como and your accommodation for 3 nights Villa Torretta.  This evening, a short walk to Varenna Bay is recommended, to enjoy a tranquil evening in one of the many lakeside restaurants and enjoy the spectacular panorama that is Lake Como.

Day 11
After enjoying breakfast we take the ferry to visit the Villa Carlotta, constructed in the period between 1690-1743. In 1801 Gian Battista Sommariva (a famous politician, businessman and patron of arts) bought the villa. It is home to his private collection of art works including:  Canova, Thorvaldsen and Hayez; Palamedes, Eros and Psyche, Terpsichore, ‘The Last Kiss of Romeo and Juliet’.  The magnificent gardens of Villa Carlotta are renowned with over 150 varieties of rhododendrons and azaleas which will be in spring flowering. Relax and explore the bamboo garden, garden of succulents which include a vast array of cactus; the camellias and the cedars. Your central lake day pass on the Como Lake ferry allows you time to shop and explore the small towns dotting the lakeshore. This includes Bellagio, Lake Como’s most popular and well known tourist destination. This evening we journey north of the lake and into the hills and forest above the local town of Colico for a unique and rustic dining experience.  (B, D) 

Day 12 
A free day to explore Lake Como at your own pace.  One of the most famous and spectacular properties on Lake Como is Villa Balbianello. This villa, built in the 1500's, is situated in the town of Lenno on the west side of the lake. The spectacular terraced gardens with magnolias, azaleas, cypresses and so much more, provide an extraordinary panoramic view of the lake and mountains. The villa was used as a set in the James Bond film “Casino Royale” and is best known as a set for  "Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones". You may wish to take a Como Lake Cruise on the eclectic antique steamer or join your tour manager for a casual visit to Bellano to walk the medieval streets and explore the alleyways and back streets to peruse a number of the local merchants; linens and homemade pastries are a must. A visit to the fascinating Orrido to witness the gorge that was formed 15 million years ago, due to erosion of the waters of the river Pioverna is fascinating. This evening, by private boat, we have a short lake tour while travelling to Locanda dell ‘Isola Comacina.   The only island on the lake is home to a unique dining experience.  The five course set menu followed by a unique and traditional “special brandy coffee ritual” has been the host to royalty, politicians and celebrities since opening in 1946. (B, D)

Day 13
Today we depart for Umbria for the 5 hour drive from Lake Como.  Today we depart Umbria northward for our drive to Lake Como.  On route we visit Parma, renowned for its Parma Ham and Parmesan Cheese; an ideal stop for lunch and an opportunity to explore this beautiful city.  We will arrive in Umbria and your country home for the next six nights in Il Borgo Torale. This evening dinner is included at a local Trattoria located in the lakeside town of Passignano. Your apartment is styled in a traditional Umbria décor and with all modern conveniences. **Please note that breakfast and daily housekeeping are not included during your stay at Torale; however, daily housekeeping and breakfast packages available. Please enquire for pricing. (D)

Day 14
Departing Il Borgo Torale we travel to Assisi.  You will have time to explore this historic and beautiful city and discover many of its hidden treasures.  Our walking tour through this medieval town will bring you first to the Church of Saint Clare and then further on to the Basilica of Saint Frances, the patron saint of Italy.  Our lunch experience will take us out of Assisi and into the peaceful serenity of the remote hills behind the city.  The roads gently wind through spectacular country scenery where we arrive to the tranquil setting of La Tavola dei Cavalieri, where a truly unique lunch will be served.  Simple and tasteful recipes using only organically grown vegetables, and herbs are traditionally prepared by the onsite chef Alessandro; all meals are prepared with the finest natural ingredients, from cakes and bread to pasta.  Domestic animals are all free range. The award winning, signature beers of the property, San Biagio, are paired with each course of your luncheon experience. (L)

Day 15
This morning there is an option of a spectacular Hot Air Balloon ride over the Tuscan countryside. For those who chose a quiet morning in Torale, we will join our Ballooners’ after their experience and continue on with a drive through the beautiful Tuscan countryside to taste the world famous wines of Chianti.  Travelling to Radda in Chianti, there are a number of photo opportunities for you to capture the true essence of the Tuscan countryside. We continue on to the vineyard of the Caparsa family.  Wine maker Paulo, will enchant you with stories of a typical day in his hillside country farm and embrace with you his philosophy of Chianti and share with you his excellent vintages. Your wine tasting complete, a short drive to the delightful town of Radda in Chianti for lunch; (meal cost not included).  An afternoon visit to the medieval city of Siena will round out and complete your day.

Day 16
A relaxing morning at Torale or perhaps a trip into Passignano to enjoy a morning coffee on the square.  We have organized a pizza lunch instructed by our professional pizza master, Andrea. You create your own pizza, and Andrea will demonstrate and cook it in the traditional, ancient wood-burning Forno oven at Torale. 
This afternoon we visit Perugia, the regional capital of Umbria.  The hilltop city of Perugia provides breath-taking panoramic views of the Umbrian countryside. Bustling with medieval streets, Etruscan Gates, fine shopping and chocolate, you will enjoy a captivating afternoon. For your free time in Perugia, dinner is not included. We suggest the Ristorante: La Taverna. Alternatively you may find your own “hidden gem” in the medieval back streets of Perugia. (L)

Day 17
Your day begins with a panoramic drive through the Tuscan Countryside to Camigliano in the heart of the Brunello wine region. A tour of the Camigliano cantina is followed by a tasting of the wines and olive oil of this traditional, family-run winery.  A light lunch of local meats and cheeses accompanies the tasting. We continue our day to the hillside town of Montepulciano. There is a vast array of local merchants to entice you with their fine linens, leathers, clothing and jewelers unique to this elegant mountain town. Take time to enjoy an afternoon aperitivo or enjoy espresso and ‘dolce’ from one of pastry shops dotting the avenues and alleyways. An adventurous stroll to the top of the village opens to the Piazza Grande and the Duomo of Montepulciano. The area in and around the Piazza Grande was used to film sequences from the “Twilight” movie series.  On your way up or way down, there are a wide variety of local Fattoria where you can freely taste the foods, wines and products from local producers. This is the perfect opportunity to purchase local products for a homemade Italian dinner under the chestnut trees of Torale. (L, D)

Day 18
We visit Florence, home of the Renaissance and City of Art. You will experience the energy of the Accademia to view Michelangelo’s David and as well wander through the various galleries. You may also consider an optional tour of the Uffizi Gallery with special access to the Vasari corridor in the late afternoon. Exploring the city of the Renaissance is remarkable, with multitudes of shops and stores: eclectic to market square. The Ponte Vecchio abounds with jewelers and artisans.  We depart  Florence for a short ride to visit Castello Sonnino located in the mountain town of Montespertoli;  home to the Baron Alessandro and Baroness Caterina de Renizis Sonnino. A Wine tour is followed by a private tour of the 16th century Castello with the Baroness; “Drinks and Dinner with Family & Friends” to follow, joining the Sonnino family at their home Castello Sonnino. We return to Torale after dinner. (D)

Day 19
We depart for Rome this morning and on-route stop to visit the amazing town of Orvieto, home to a dazzling gothic Duomo (Cathedral).  Our next stop is Civita di Bagnoregio. A unique town perched high on a hill and only accessible by a footbridge. There are no lists of attractions, orientation tours, or museum hours. It's just Italy. It is where the visitor can enjoy la dolcezza di fare niente (the sweetness of doing nothing). 
We continue on to arrive in Rome and transfer to your apartment accommodation in the heart of Rome’s historic residential area, Trastevere.  A delightful roof top terrace awaits you to enjoy the view and evening air.  *Note: Breakfast and daily housekeeping are not included.   All the famous monuments of this historic city are within a 30 minute walk.  After settling into your room, meet with your tour host for a walk through the most famous piazzas in the city: Campo de' Fiori, Piazza Navona and the Pantheon.  Enjoy an aperitif or wine at a local wine bar before you decide on one of the many restaurants in the area for dinner.  

Day 20
A tour of the Vatican museums including The Sistine Chapel and the Basilica of St. Peters will start your day. The extensive collection of art and sculptures would take years to explore; your host and professional guide will provide you with the highlights and an art history lesson over a 3-hour guided tour. You will end your experience in the Basilica of St. Peters and the remainder of the day is free to enjoy the Eternal City. Your LoveToTravel tour manager is always available for suggestions or direction to make the most of your time in Rome. 

Day 21
Our day begins with a guided tour of the Colosseum, Roman Forum and a look at what secrets lay below the streets of Rome.  This is Imperial Rome, an outdoor living museum.  Following a walk through 17th century Rome, past the Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps and Via Conditi we arrive on the Via Veneto.  A stroll down the famous Via Veneto will bring you back to the centre of Rome. This evening join your tour host at a local Trattoria in Trastevere. (D)

Day 22
Your tour ends today with your onward journey or private transfers to Fumicino Airport. Transfers are private and set to your departure flight schedule.

 

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