The Best of Northern Italy (Starts Rome) 2022

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13 Days / 12 Nights
Availability : May to October
Start: Rome, Italy
End: Rome, Italy

The Best of Northern Italy: 2 nts Bologna, 3 nts Padua, 2 nts Milan, 1 nt La Spezia, 2 nts Florence, 2 nts Montepulciano

On this trip, you enjoy the best of Northern Italy.

In Pisa, Florence, and Bologna, you gaze into the ornate facades, domes, columns, and details that define delightful Renaissance architecture.

You see how rustic village life and grand religious sites can blend with ocean views in Cinque Terra and Venice.

And throughout your journey, you can taste the wines of Tuscany, authentic ragu Bolognese and more of the inimitable local cuisine that Italy is famous for.

Join this tour for your ultimate experience of Northern Italy.

13 DAYS / 12 NIGHTS / MAX 16 GUESTS

Contact DHTour at 1-888-597-3519 or 905-639-9954 or dhtour@dhtour.ca to book this small group tour The Best of Northern Italy.

Tour Details
Places you explore

Bologna – A beautiful city boasting the western world’s oldest university whose alumni have changed the world

Venice – One of the great centres of the Italian Renaissance, the ‘City of Water’ will steal your heart

Lake Garda – Surrounded by mountains, this crystal blue lake sits in the scenic heart of Northern Italy

Verona – There’s a lot to love about Verona, the setting for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

Cinque Terre – Imagine five pastel-hued villages perched on the rugged coast surrounded by terraced cliffs and clear deep blue water. It’s Bella Italia at its finest

Florence – Marvel at the finest collection of Italian Renaissance art and architecture in this fine city

Pisa – A legendary city with the iconic architectural duo: the spectacular Romanesque Cathedral and the famous leaning tower

Val d’Orcia – Bucolic Tuscan hills dotted with cypress trees, olive groves and vineyards

Pick Up Location & TIme

Rome  (Google Map)
Check-in closes at 8:15am (tour departs at 8:30am) – Hotel American Palace, Via Laurentina, 554, 00143 Roma RM, Italy

Drop off Location & Time

Rome  (Google Map)
6:30pm – Hotel American Palace, Via Laurentina, 554, 00143 Roma RM, Italy

Price Includes

  • 12 nights 3/4 star hotel accommodation
  • Transport in a 16 seat Mercedes mini-coach
  • Air conditioning as standard
  • Daily breakfasts
  • The stories and services of an English-speaking driver-guide
  • Two-hour guided walking tour of Venice
  • Entrance to Villa Pisani
  • Train to Cinque Terre as part of the Cinque Terre Card
  • Wine tasting and tour of the Solaria Winery

Meals

  • 12 breakfasts
  • 0 lunches
  • 0 dinners
  • 0 teas

Price Excludes

  • Entry fees to visitor attractions/Optional Activities
  • Airfare
  • Transfers
  • Pre / Post hotel nights
  • Driver / Tour Leader gratuity is at your discretion
  • Travel Insurance
What to Expect

Explore in 16 seat mini-coaches, always taking the scenic route, you have great views through large windows, and you’re free to sample the local tipple without worrying about driving. Our driver-guides are famous for their knowledge, facts, quirky stories, history, and fairy-tales. They truly take you beyond the guidebooks and into your adventure. You make your trip your own. We provide the timetable; and you can choose where you want to eat and which attractions you pay to see. So, if you want to skip a castle and read your book by a mountain view, you can.

A good night’s sleep is often needed for a good day of travel. So we’ve hand-picked three-star to four-star hotels in remote coastal villages, bustling towns, and mountain valleys. Your accommodation is included in the tour price.

Most people can comfortably enjoy our tours, but it’s worth bearing in mind that we often include optional short walks in scenic locations. Please also be aware that many of the old European towns are built on steep hills with cobbled lanes, and you may have to carry your own luggage at times.

We’ve arranged experiences for you on your tour. The ‘included activities’ are already booked and paid for as part of your trip, whereas you can purchase ‘optional activities’ while on your tour. You also have free time in many destinations to pick and choose which attractions you visit.

Pack comfortable shoes for walks up to beautiful views. Carry swimwear and a towel for swimming spots. Your holiday’s more fun when you protect yourself from the sun.

Itinerary
The Best of Northern Italy

Day 1Rome - Orvieto - Piantravigne - Bologna

  • Admire the sculptures, tunnels, and culture of Orvieto
  • Inspire your creativity at the landscape da Vinci loved, Le Balze Natural Park

You leave the hustle and bustle of the Eternal City and travel to Orvieto. Virtually traffic-free, perfectly preserved, and awash with delicious wine: it’s the idyllic Italian village. You can choose to visit the colourful cathedral here and explore at your own pace.

Your journey leads you through the Parco Naturale Le Balze, a landscape studded with balze rock peaks, sulphite streams, and gorgeous vistas that inspired Leonardo da Vinci.

Your lunch stop is in the tiny hamlet of Piantravigne, the perfect spot to sample some truly authentic Italian cuisine.

With your belly full and your senses satisfied, you travel to beautiful Bologna, your overnight destination.

Accommodation: NH Bologna de la Garde or similar, Bologna

Day 2Bologna - Ravenna - Bologna

  • Stroll through the endless porticos of Bologna
  • Gaze into the detailed mosaics of Ravenna

Today, you can join a half day trip to Ravenna in the morning. Ravenna is a maze of mosaic masterpieces, a unique blend of early Christian and Byzantine architecture with eight sites on the UNESCO list. This unforgettable North Italian destination is also the town where Dante Alighieri is buried.

After lunch, you return from your half-day trip and have the rest of the day to explore Bologna your way. During the Renaissance, this fascinating city was blooming with art and was a centre for intellectual innovation. Its famous university is the oldest in the western world and saw great minds like Petrarch, Dante Alighieri, and Copernicus.

There’s plenty to do here. You can stroll through the beautiful, kilometres-long UNESCO porticos, unravel the mysteries of the university, or tantalise your taste buds with Ragu alla Bolognese. (B)

Accommodation: NH Bologna de la Garde or similar, Bologna

Day 3Bologna - Gorino - Este - Padua

  • Discover the wonderful wildlife of the Po Delta
  • Take in the Gothic and Baroque architecture of Este

It’s time to slap on some sunscreen, charge up your camera, and head deep into nature. Your first stop is Gorino, where you can join an optional boat trip along the River Po. This is the longest river in Italy, and its wetlands give you a chance to spot rare migratory birds. There’s also a lunch box for you to enjoy.

Once you’re back on dry land, you travel to Este, a picture-perfect town with a history that spans over 3000 years. Here you have free time to amble along the city walls or visit the town’s moated Medieval castle.

You then venture to Padua, allegedly the oldest city in Italy and your home for the next three nights. This fascinating place sits at the crossroads of science and religion. This is where venerated St Anthony is buried, and where the ground-breaking scientific discoveries were made at the height of the Renaissance. (B)

Optional Activities: Boat trip with a lunch box along the Po Delta

Accommodation: Hotel Al Prato or similar – Padua

Day 4Padua - Venice - Padua

  • Lose yourself in the canal-lined vistas of Venice

177 canals, 350 gondoliers, and the most idiosyncratic cityscapes in the world: Venice, ‘the Floating City’, is your destination today.

With its wealth, trade, and power; Venice has always been bold.

It’s been built on over 118 islands, hosts one of the most famous festivals in the world. And its unique painting style and architecture classifies Venice as one of the great centres of the Renaissance, equal to Rome and Florence.

Once you arrive, you enjoy an included two-hour guided walking tour of the city. From people-watching in Piazza San Marco to frequenting the famous galleries, it’s up to you how you spend the rest of your day in Venice.

In the early evening, you head back to Padua in time for dinner. (B)

Included Activities: Two hour guided walking tour of Venice

Optional Activities: Gondola ride

Accommodation: Hotel Al Prato or similar – Padua

Day 5Padua - Villa Pisani - Valdobbiadene - Bassano del Grappa - Padua

  • Explore Villa Pisani, an exuberant 18th-century palazzo
  • Sip on Prosecco and Grappa at the foothills of the Dolomites

The traditional flavours of Italy are yours to explore today.

First, you go to Villa Pisani. This included attraction boasts awesome art exhibitions and is the epitome of late baroque architecture. Napoleon once owned this huge holiday home and presented it to his stepson as a gift.

You say bye to the excesses of the aristocracy and venture to Valdobbiadene for a chance to indulge in something a little sweeter. This rolling landscape is home to the best prosecco, and you have the option to enjoy an exclusive tasting. We promise it’ll be the freshest prosecco you’ve ever tasted.

The indulgence continues as you travel to Bassano del Grappa, where you have the chance to sample sweet and intoxicating Grappa. If you’ve had enough tipple for the day, you can spend your time admiring the castle and the town’s famous old bridge instead.

You then travel to Padua for your final evening in the historic town. (B)

Included Activities: Entrance to Villa Pisani

Optional Activities: Prosecco tasting at Valdobbiadene and Grappa tasting in Bassano del Grappa

Accommodation: Hotel Al Prato or similar – Padua

Day 6Padua - Verona - Lake Garda - Erbusco - Milan

  • Weep for the romance of Romeo and Juliet in the play’s setting, Verona
  • Get inspired by the fresh views of Lake Garda
  • Sample excellent Franciacorta wines

Say ‘ciao!’ to the romance of Italy, because your first stop today is the setting of Romeo and Juliet, Verona. You have time here to reminisce about past lovers at the famous balcony, admire a grand Roman Colosseum, and amble through the ancient piazzas at your own pace.

You then travel to Lake Garda. This lake’s crystal-clear waters and views of the Dolomites have made the place a favourite destination for artists, poets, and travellers since the Roman ages.

Your journey west takes you to the vineyards around Erbusco; also known as that place in your imagination you’ve always dreamed of. Here you have the option to indulge in one more authentic wine tasting.

You arrive in Milan in the evening. (B)

Optional Activities: Wine tasting at an Ebrusco winery

Accommodation: Business Palace Milan or similar, Milan

Day 7Milan

  • Stand face to face with Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper
  • Get your fashion fix in one of many designer shops

In Milan, life revolves around art, fashion, and delicious cuisine, so make sure to indulge in them on your free day.

When it comes to art, seeing da Vinci’s Last Supper is a must. This enigmatic piece of work attracts many visitors, so book your tickets in advance.

Next, there’s the Duomo, the Cathedral of Milan. This tremendous tribute to Gothic architecture is one of the biggest churches in Italy and will mesmerize you with its intricate design.

In a city obsessed with fashion, even window shopping feels like a unique experience. Visit the flamboyant Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II or Quadrilatero della Moda, the home of the most luxurious brands.

Then, follow in the footsteps of Milanese and partake in aperitivo, the pre-dinner ritual. Savour that moment of relaxation after the day and get ready for the next stage of your journey. (B)

Optional Activities: Ticket for a hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus

Accommodation: Business Palace Milan or similar, Milan

Day 8Milan - Parma - Cinque Terre villages - La Spezia

  • Savour local Italian specialities
  • Spend the afternoon and evening in the stunning pastel-hued villages of Cinque Terre

We leave Milan and head for Parma in the Po Valley. You have time here to delve into the town’s prosperous past and plentiful palazzo’s dating back to the Middle Ages. It’s also a perfect opportunity to try Parma ham and Parmesan cheese in their place of origin.

We leave around midday and head for La Spezia, port town and gateway to the beautiful Cinque Terre. After checking in to your hotel for the night, your guide accompanies you on the short train journey to the first of the seaside towns. From there, you can roam free for the remainder of the afternoon and evening.

Each town has a unique character, so you decide what you’re in a mood for. If you want to see beaches and a seafront promenade, head to Monterosso. Wine lovers should explore Manarola and savour its local wine. And if you want to visit a hamlet with great views, choose one of this fantastic trio: Riomaggiore, Vernazza or Corniglia.

After exploring the Cinque Terre villages, you get on the train back to La Spezia, your base for the night.

Included Activities: Train to Cinque Terre as part of the Cinque Terre Card

Accommodation: Hotel CDH La Spezia or similar, La Spezia

Day 9La Spezia - Pietrasanta - Pisa - Lucca - Florence

  • Pose for that classic photo with the iconic Leaning Tower of Pisa
  • Be impressed with Lucca’s impeccably preserved city walls

Buongiorno! Today is all about discovering the architectural wonders of Northern Italy.

You leave La Spezia in the morning and stop in Pietrasanta where Michelangelo picked out the best marble for his sculptures.

We then travel to Pisa where you can explore the city for a couple of hours. Once a maritime power competing with Genoa and Venice, this city is now famous worldwide for an architectural project which went horribly wrong. Tilting or not, the Leaning Tower of Pisa has beautiful, elaborate Romanesque architecture and fascinating history. Grab your lunch and take in the views of other architectural highlights at Campo dei Miracoli (Field of Miracles).

Next on the list of our Italian delights is Lucca, famous for its completely preserved city walls. Originally founded by the Etruscans, then a Roman colony, the city has gained its wealth through the silk trade. You can see this prosperity in the abundance of graceful buildings and pretty piazzas. With a couple of hours of free time, you can wander along the city walls before you continue your journey further.

All these impressive architectural gems of the day were just a warm-up. Prepare yourself for a real feast for the eyes as you travel to Florence, your base for the next two nights. (B)

Accommodation: Hotel Monna Lisa or similar, Florence

Day 10Florence

  • Marvel at Florence’s Renaissance masterpieces in the city’s grand galleries
  • Stare in awe at the ornate details of Florence Cathedral

You have a free day in the ‘Birthplace of the Renaissance’ and can decide how you want to spend it.

You can start by following the paths of Leonardo, Michelangelo, Dante and Galileo – stare in awe at the Duomo, the city’s majestic Cathedral that dominates the skyline; see The Birth of Venus and some of the most celebrated treasures at the Uffizi Gallery; and visit Galleria dell’Accademia, to admire Michelangelo’s masterpiece, David.

Man does not live by art alone, so don’t forget to try some of the local specialities. The culinary delights like handmade pasta, pizza, pastries, wine and gelato will help you to regain your strength.

In the afternoon, you could ponder over the Medici’s power and secrets and explore Palazzo Pitti. The grand palace of this influential family is home to some of the greatest treasures of the Renaissance.

For a perfect end to the day, you can visit Boboli Gardens peppered with statues, fountains, ponds and hidden mazes. It’s your second night in Florence so spend the evening soaking up the atmosphere as you explore the bustling squares or excellent restaurants and bars. (B)

* As this is a free day, we would recommend that you book any attractions you are interested in visiting before you depart, to save time and avoid queues

Accommodation: Hotel Monna Lisa or similar, Florence

Day 11Florence - San Gimignano - Siena - Montepulciano

  • Explore San Gimignano, the city of soaring towers in Tuscany
  • Enjoy your lunch at Siena’s unique Piazza del Campo

It’s time to wave Florence goodbye to go discover the spectacular medieval hill-towns of Tuscany.

As you travel over the green hills of the famous Chianti wine region, you notice the 14 towers of San Gimignano soaring like a medieval Manhattan. Listen to the story of the noble families who got caught up in a race to build the highest tower house. Then enjoy a walk around the well-preserved fortified old centre and sample some of the local delicacies for lunch.

You continue south to Siena, the highlight of the day. This gorgeous red-brick city celebrates Gothic architecture like no one else. The place’s essence centres around the unique shell-shaped Piazza del Campo. It’s here where the bi-annual horse race ‘Palio di Siena’ is hosted. And it’s also where James Bond madly chases his enemy in ‘Quantum of Solace’.

Next, you travel along the country roads, past cypress trees and olive groves to arrive in Montepulciano in the early evening. This hilltop town in rural Tuscany is your home for two nights. (B)

Accommodation: Albergo San Biagio or similar, Montepulciano

Day 12Montepulciano - Pienza - Solaria Winery - Bagno Vignoni - Montepulciano

  • Stare in wonder at the revolutionary vision of urban space in Pienza
  • Savour Brunello, the famous red wine, in the place it’s bottled

Today you explore the dreamy Tuscan region of Val d’Orcia where time seems to slow down. This area boasts unspoiled beauty and is steeped in history and culture. No wonder it has been declared a UNESCO heritage site.

Start the day exploring Montepulciano on your own before travelling to Pienza. This jewel of urban planning is known as the ‘Ideal City’ and is the fruit of Pope Pius II‘s Renaissance vision. Call it vain or forward-thinking, but in the 15th century the Pope set about transforming his birthplace. And the results are so stunning that UNESCO designated Pienza as a world heritage site.

Then it’s time to try some of the best wines in the world on an included visit to Solaria Winery in Montalcino. This is the home of Brunello, the famous red wine made of a special grape variety with protected status.

We finish today’s exploration of the Val d’Orcia with a visit to Bagno Vignoni, a village renowned for its curative waters. The Etruscans, Romans, pilgrims of the Via Francigena, and the Medici appreciated the hot sulphurous waters here in the past. Today, you can admire this ancient spa and follow the flow of the spring waters across the archaeological park.

After experiencing and savouring the best of rural Tuscany, you arrive in Montepulciano in the early evening for your second night. (B)

Included Activities: Wine tasting and tour of the Solaria Winery

Accommodation: Albergo San Biagio or similar, Montepulciano

Day 13Montepulciano - Sorano - Sovana - Capodimonte - Rome

  • Travel through the marvelous Maremma region, the home to the mysterious Etruscans
  • Visit the Etruscan Necropolis of Sovana and the Vie Cave

You leave Tuscany in the morning and travel south to the Maremma region. The adventure takes you to Sorano, where you can grab an espresso and take in the dramatic views across the valley.

Later on, you can choose to get up close with the Etruscan civilisation at the Sovana Necropolis and the Vie Cave. These form an impressive road network carved out of tuff during the Bronze Age. Then, you visit Sovana, where you can grab something to eat and absorb the atmosphere of this medieval town before you continue your adventure.

In the afternoon, you continue your journey towards Rome with a photo stop to admire another dramatic hilltop city, Pitigliano, and then on to Capodimonte. This small town is situated on the bank of Bolsena Lake, the largest volcanic lake in Italy. It’s your final comfort stop, so enjoy the charms of this little hamlet before your journey to Rome. (B)

Optional Activities: Entrance to the Etruscan Necropolis & Vie Cave

Dates and Prices - Hotel accommodation
Departure Dates and Days Double/Twin (pp) Single Rate
2022: May 23 $5,320 $6,350
2022: June 20 $5,090 $5,970
2022: July 18 $5,020 $5,880
2022: August 15 $5,020 $5,880
2022: September 12 $5,730 $7,150
2022: October 10 $5,280 $6,310

All guaranteed departures.

Pricing

Pricing is per person (pp) based on twin/ double occupancy.
Rates are in $ CAD.

 


Contact DHTour at 1-888-597-3519 or 905-639-9954 or dhtour@dhtour.ca  to book.

Ask us for the best available pricing for your dates & choice of airline.

 

Notes
Mobility: All of our tours involve walking and require our guests to board and disembark our vehicles several times a day making this tour unsuitable for those with reduced mobility.

Luggage: You’re restricted to 20kg (44lbs) of luggage per person. This should be one piece of luggage similar to an airline carry-on bag (approximately 55cm x 45cm x 25cm / 22in x 17in x 10in) and a small bag for onboard personal items.

Want to extend your stay in Rome?  Ask us for a hotel package. 

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