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An Italian Autumn

 23 September - 08 October 2018

 € 3599 - per person double
This small group (maximum 12 people), focuses on the wines and cuisine of 8 wine regions of Italy:
Brunello, Chianti (Classico & Montespertoli), Montefelco,
Montepulciano, Valpolicella (Amarone) and Soave.

Experience Italy with art, culture, wines and food.

Visit: Rome, Tuscany, Umbria, Lake Como, Venice, Veneto


Saturday, Day 1: Arrive Rome and transfer to your centrally located hotel in the heart of Trastevere, Rome.  Meet with your tour manager and this evening join other group members for a welcome cocktail in the courtyard of your hotel, Santa Maria Trastevere. The converted convent is a green oasis in the very center of the old city.  Join your tour manager for a walking tour to the most famous piazza’s in Rome: The Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere, Compo dei Fiori, Piazza Navona and The Pantheon.  The remainder of the evening is free.  Your tour manager is always available for suggestions or to help you make the most of your time..

"Benvenuti a Roma. Benvenuti al dolce della vita."

Sunday, Day 2: After your included breakfast and morning coffee, join your experienced Rome guide for a walking tour to discover Underground Rome: There is another Rome underneath the known and loved Rome, there is another silent and humble city under the grandiose Renaissance and Baroque architecture. There are centuries of history buried in the subterranean layers beneath the city.  We begin with a visit to the Church of San Clemente to visit with us in a fascinating voyage into the bowels of the earth.  We then continue on to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. After a lunch break (not included) we continue on to the Colosseum for an exclusive tour which will take you behind locked doors to exclusive underground locations, on to the Gladiators Floor and to the Third Tier of seating for breathtaking vistas of the Colosseum and surrounding areas. The remainder of the afternoon is free joining your tour manager in the early evening with a visit to Giovanni’s Wine Bar and tasting of a variety of Italian Wines in the early evening.

Lesson One in la dolcezza di fare niente 
(the sweetness of doing nothing). 

The Italians have perfected it. You are going to learn it.

Monday, Day 3: After breakfast and your morning coffee, we will walk to the Vatican City and the Vatican Museums.  An impassioned voyage into history and art, religion and politics; an intense experience of a careful selection of artworks that will help you comprehend the events and the ideas of the time, and meet the popes who commissioned them along with the artists who created them. There are also surprising details to discover behind the progress as well as scandals of the time and these too are part of the artworks. Optimizing the time with a well-planned itinerary, this visit will be one to enjoy and remember.  After this 5 hour tour with planned lunch break (meal not included). The remainder of the day is free.  Several optional tours are available with advanced booking.  Your tour manager will offer an included walk to the Trevi Fountain, Via Conditi and Spanish Steps. 

“A beautiful thing never gives so much pain as does failing to hear and see it.”

Tuesday, Day 4: This morning we depart “The Eternal City” for your home in Umbria. En-route we will stop in the Civita di Bagnoregio a precious chip of Italy, a traffic-free community that has so far escaped the ravages of modernity. Please approach it with the same respect and sensitivity you would a dying relative, because — in a sense — that is Civita. We continue on Orvieto sitting high on a plateau overlooking the Umbrian countryside.  Famous for the fruity and crisp white wines “Orvieto Classico” and it’s perfect Renaissance Cathedral. This is a lovey spot to stop for lunch and explore the many shops.  We continue on to your accommodation overlooking Lago Trasimino.  This evening dinner is included at a family Trattoria in Passignano sul Trasimeno. (D)

“This truly arrests and hurls me into times past with a fast sequence of thoughts; 
my  moods change as if in front of changing landscapes while travelling ….”

Wednesday, Day 5: Our day begins with a drive through the Tuscan countryside towards Montalcino home of the famed Brunello wines.  We visit the Cantina d’ Camigliano for a tour of the cellars and a tasting of four of their exceptional wines, included their famous Brunello.  A light lunch of local cheeses, meats and their own olive oil accompanies the tasting. This afternoon we stop to visit first Pienza and the stunning views of the Val d’ Orcia and home to the region’s most famous cheese; Pecorino.  We continue on to Montepulciano home the Vino Rosso d’  Montepulciano a less formal tasting is made at a local Fattoria where you also have the opportunity to sample other local specialties including cinghiale  (wild boar) salami.  We return to your accommodation to freshen up and relax before heading to Cortona there is plenty of time to explore the galleries and shops of this town made famous by Frances May in her novel “Under the Tuscan Sun”.  The time spent in Cortona is free time and dinner is on your own.  Your tour manager will be happy to suggest an appropriate restaurant or Pizzeria.  (B, L)

“Drink wine, and you will sleep well. Sleep and you will not sin. 
Avoid sin, and you will be saved, ergo, drink wine and be saved.”

Thursday, Day 6: Today we visit the Umbrian countryside in the hills above Assisi. At unique cooking class, Floured Hands, you will prepare pasta, bread and sweet pastry to enjoy at your lunch. After lunch, we visit Assisi starting with a walking tour through the mediaeval town center towards the Basilica of St Frances.  Assisi is full of hidden treasures and every side street and view is breathtaking.  We arrive at the Basilica and, on your own time, you have the opportunity to enjoy the frescos by Giotto telling the story of the patron Saint of Children and Animals. Your visit to the Basilica, on three levels, ends with a visit to the tomb of St Frances on the lowest level.  We continue on to Montefelco where we have an appointment at a local vineyard for a wine tasting of the regions finest wines.  We visit the picturesque town center and the local museum.  We return to your accommodation to freshen up and tonight it is Pizza Night at, what we consider the best pizzeria in the area. (B, L, D)

“Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.”

Friday, Day 7: A full day to enjoy the Renaissance City of Florence. Your day of art, history and shopping begins with a ½ day guided tour with a local guide. On this introduction to Florence will visit the most famous sights in central Florence. The tour ends at the Accademia and you have reservations to view the art treasures inside including Michelangelo’s “David”. You have free time this afternoon to discover more of Florence and, if you wish, visit the Uffizi Gallery (we highly recommend you contact us in advance to make entrance reservations). Your Love To Travel In Italy Tour Manager will help with any requests. 
We depart Florence at 6 pm and travel on to Rigutino and dinner at a La Tabaccaia, a family country restaurant serving traditional country cuisine

“Traveling is the ruin of all happiness! 
There's no looking at a building after seeing Italy.”

Saturday, Day 8: Today we explore the sites and wines of Southern Chianti.  Your day starts in San Gusme, the perfect Tuscan Village where everyday life continues as it has for centuries. We continue on through the vineyards and landscapes of Chianti to the town of Radda in Chianti.  This is a delightful town to visit and wander enjoying the very picturesque vistas over the countryside.  We visit a family run vineyard to taste the wines from the region. After your tasting and tour we make a lunch stop (lunch cost not included) in the delightful walled village of Monterggioni. Our next stop is Siena and an introductory tour to this mediaeval city.  The famous Piazza il Compo, famous as the setting of the Palio of Siena, greets you with its fan shape brick work pavement.  We carry on to the Duomo and visit the interior of this most beautiful Cathedral. The construction of this masterpiece started in 1198 and took 300 years to complete. There is free time for shopping or simply “people watch” from a café. We return to our accommodation and this evening dinner is included at nearby villa of Capricci di Marion. This fine dining restaurant offers exceptional dining in a beautiful location.    (B, D)

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Behold Italy.”

Sunday, Day 9: This morning we say goodbye to central Italy and travel north to the town of Varenna resting on the shores of Lake Como.  En-route we stop in the historic and the well-known town of Parma.  After an introduction, walking tour of the city center there is free time for lunch and exploring the many shops of this “city of food”.  We continue on to Lake Como following the shoreline of this beautiful lake to our destination of Villa Toretta.  This beautiful villa is your home for three nights and the views over the Lake are breathtaking.  For dinner this evening, we travel a little north along the shores of this famous lake to Colico and a unique dining experience in the hills above.  The “Forest Menu” this evening is typical and unique to the region. (B, D)

”A tavola non si invecchia.”
At the table with good friends and family, you do not become old.

Monday, Day 10: Today is a day to explore and visit the towns and sites of the Central Lake.  With your unlimited day pass you will be able to visit the famous towns that grace the shores of the central region of Lago d Como.  Your tour manager will take you on an introduction tour of the lake with a visit to the Villa Carlotta and Bellagio.  There will be free time to explore on your own.  This evening, after returning to Villa Toretta, we continue with a private boat tour of the southern portion of the lake and dinner on the only island on the lake, Isloa Comacina.  This restaurant has played host to Royalty, well know personalities for many years, and has been serving the same menu since 1946.  This memorable experience will stay with you for years to come.  We return by private boat to Villa Toretta and enjoy the evening air before retiring for the evening. (B, D)

“Where is your favorite place? Wherever I am and I can say: 
I would not be anywhere else but right, here right now.”

Tuesday, Day 11: The morning is free to relax and enjoy the Villa Toretta or walk the short distance into the town of Varrena. After lunch on your own we visit  the historic center of the town of Bellano,  home to two wonderful churches, and the 15 million year old Orrido which takes you on a spectacular walk past the waterfalls enjoying breathtaking views of the sparkling running water, rich vegetation and caves spread throughout the gorge. We continue on to Colico where you have free time to walk the promenade and enjoy the early evening of this Lakeside town.  Tonight dinner is included at a local Trattoria. (B, D)

"Life is too short, and I'm Italian. I'd much rather eat pasta 
and drink wine than be a size 0." Sophia Loren

Wednesday, Day 12: We depart the shores of Lago d Como for the Veneto and the wine regions of Valpolicella and Soave.  Your accommodation is nestled between two vineyard-covered hills with wonderful view of the surrounding countryside.  En-route we stop to visit the historic town of Sirmione on the shores of Lake Garda. There is free time to visit the sites and enjoy lunch in one of the many restaurants overlooking the lake or the castellated walls protecting the town.  Before arriving at Corte dei Soavi, your home for the next two nights, we stop for a tour and wind tasting at the Cantina d’ Soave.  There is time to relax and freshen up before departing for dinner at Le Cedrare located within the grounds of Villa Perez-Pompei. This is a five star-rated dining experience in a five star setting.   (B, D)

“Where there is hatred, let me sow love.”

Thursday, Day 13: The wines of Valpolicella are on the agenda today with a visit to the Cantina of Musella.  After touring the cantina and visiting the vineyards of this extraordinary winery, we enjoy a tasting of the wineries wines including their famed Amarone.  A light lunch of local meats and cheese accompanies the tasting.  This after noon we visit the historic city of Verona where you will find a perfect Roman Arena, a Roman Theatre and the Casa d Juliette.  There is an introductory walk through the city and free time for you to shop, visit the sites or just enjoy this spectacular city.  Late this afternoon we visit Malcesine a picture perfect mediaeval lakeside town. There is free time to explore the town and enjoy dinner in one of the many restaurants. (B,L,)

  “Le uova non hanno ballare affari con le pietre”
“Eggs have no business dancing with stones”- Italian Proverb

Friday, Day 14: We depart today for magical Venice.  Upon arrival, we will store our luggage at the conveniently located Hotel, we check in later in the day. Your tour host will take you on an orientation tour of this fascinating city.  Your walk will take you to the best-known sites of Venice but as well as the back street where you will find the true magic of this city.  You will become familiar with the local transportation, Vaperetto, and the tips to make the most of your time in this one of a kind city.  A guided tour late in the afternoon will provide you with the history and stories that will make this visit an unforgettable memory.   Your time this evening is free and your tour manager is always available to assist with dinner suggestions or special events in the city.

“A realist, in Venice, would become a romantic by 
mere faithfulness to what he saw before him.”

Saturday, Day 15: Today is your day to explore and experience Venice.  Your Tour Host will conduct a walking tour through the back streets of Venice showing you some of the hidden treasure he has found over his many visits to the city. Perhaps you choose a Vaperetto tour to Murano, the island of glass making, around the islands of Venice, across the Lagoon and returning to San Marco.  The total perspective and layout of Venice will now be clear.  Your Tour Manager is always available for assistance and advice.  Remember you have your “stay in contact” Italian Mobile phone that brings a level of comfort to your visit to a city where it is fun to get lost. Tonight join your tour manager for a farewell dinner in beautiful Venice. (B,D) 

                     “Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened.”

Sunday, Day 16: Today you depart from your Harvest of Wines Vacation and your onward journey.  Transfers are available to Marco Polo Airport or the Train Station is very close.


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