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Italy’s Hidden Culinary Treasures

Explore the roots of Italy’s treasures from culinary to historic and uncover the prismatic wonders of its regional gems.

Dates

Sun Aug 16 – Wed Aug 26, 2020

Location

Italy

Cost

$4199/Person

Deposit

$500/Person

Italy’s Hidden Culinary Treasures

Explore the roots of Italy’s treasures from culinary delights to historic artifacts and uncover the prismatic wonders of its regional gems.  Encounter Medieval masterpieces and Romanesque fortresses; a city that floats on water, and another that stands on centuries-old foundations. Stroll through wine vineyards and olive groves and poetic mountain villages, historic ruins and marbled landmarks. Surrender in the calm of the breathtaking Alpine Lakes region and marvel at the rose-hued Duomo of Siena.  Be seduced by the tempting Italian Riviera and watch the world go by along the scenic edge of the sea on a rail journey through the medieval villages of Cinque Terre, and luxuriate in a 4-night stay at a picturesque Tuscan villa. Be immersed in the art of the Tuscan cuisine at an authentic family-owned winery; roll up your sleeves in a traditional cooking class as you learn to pair wines the Italian way.  Find yourself in the birthplace of the Renaissance and get lost amongst the masterpieces of Florence and float the dreamy canals of the remarkable city of Venice. This is l’Italia at its most iconic, where history mingles seamlessly with the present and romance comes alive under all its painted glory.

Highlights

  • Experience one of Italy’s natural hidden treasures, Lake Orta.
  • Journey by boat to Isola dei Pescatori to experience an Italian style welcome dinner.
  • Discover magical Cinque Terre, a UNESCO World Heritage site, famous for its cliffside villages.
  • Enjoy a boat excursion to Murano Island for a unique glass-blowing demonstration.
  • Learn the art behind Tuscan cuisine during a cooking class with an expert local chef.
  • Indulge in local delicacies in Stresa during a special cocktail party for your private group.
  • Wander through the cobblestone streets on an immersive tour of Florence’s artistic wonders.
  • Stroll or bicycle through Lucca and visit other historic ancient Roman cites.

Group Size

This is a private THIRDHOME small-group tour itinerary with a maximum occupancy of 18 participants which provides our travelers access into Italy’s most appealing regions.   The group size is kept small, allowing this Adventure to be the most engaging and rewarding experience possible.  On this active, immersive journey, travelers will connect with the culture of Italy in a deeper more authentic way.

Who can Participate

Exchange Club & Adventure Club Members, family & friends; Age requirement 14+ 

Activity level

This tour includes moderate physical activity and walking on various terrains including steps; the journey blends some longer days with shorter days and more leisure time. 

Itinerary

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Tour Begins in Stresa

Begin on the arresting shores of Lake Maggiore, surrounded by the peaceful beauty of the Alpine lakes region. Visit a wine shop and enjoy a tasting of local specialty wines with some before dinner snacks. Embark on a short watercraft excursion to Isola dei Pescatori, the most picturesque of the Borromean Islands, where you’ll engage with new friends at a lovely dinner welcoming you to Italy. Overnight at Regina Palace Stresa. (D included)

Stresa

In an ancient village nestled in the mountains, a local family welcomes you to sample their very own artisanal cheeses, paired with the region’s best wines. The remainder of the day in Stresa is at your leisure. Explore the piazzas, flower-lined cobblestone streets, and lakeside promenades. Or, consider an optional cruise of this scenic lake region. Relax and enjoy dinner on your own this evening. Overnight at Regina Palace Stresa. (B included)

Stressa, Orta, Italian Riviera

This morning, after breakfast the group will depart the hotel. Witness picture-perfect views of the lakes region from Lake Orta, the ancient glacial lake in the Alpine foothills. Embark on a short boat journey to Isola di San Giulio to encounter its local charm. Journey next to discover the myriad glories of the Italian Riviera as the Liguria coast beckons you into the quaint town of Sestri Levante. Enjoy a group dinner this evening at a local favorite trattoria. Overnight at Grand Hotel Dei Castelli. (B, D included)

Italian Riviera & Cinque Terre

After breakfast, depart to spend an extraordinary day discovering the colorful Cinque Terre, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Travel by rail through the medieval villages of the Cinque Terre, perched on the edge of the sea. Traverse the rugged coastal area dotted with terraced vineyards, arriving at this nearly inaccessible string of fishing villages tucked between the mountains and the Mediterranean. Feel like you have stepped back in time. Spend an afternoon independently exploring this magical and colorful place. Return to Stresa, and enjoy the evening on your own. Overnight at Grand Hotel Dei Castelli (B included)

Italian Riviera, Lucca & Tuscany

After breakfast depart the Riviera and begin the journey towards Tuscany. Encircled by 16th-century Renaissance walls, visit the medieval city of Lucca and immerse yourself into its appealing old-world ambiance contained within its ramparts. Old storefronts offer a glimpse into the city’s elegant past, while Lucca’s cultural scene thrives in the busy piazzas – local gathering spots for more than 2,000 years. This afternoon, it’s your choice! Discover Lucca on foot -OR- pedal the city circuit via bicycle. Whatever you choose, you’ll see historic marvels including the Cathedral of San Martino and the Piazza dell’Anfiteatro. On a tour of Lucca’s specialty food shops, sample the region’s seasonal delicacies. Stop at a family-owned leather shop and learn the traditional Italian techniques of leather making. End the day in a historic Tuscan villa where you’ll begin a rejuvenating 4-night stay in the sunny landscapes filled with vineyards, historic picturesque villages and tempting culinary delights. Overnight at Hotel Villa Lecchi. (B, D included)

Florence Excursion

Depart the villa after breakfast to explore the Birthplace of the Renaissance – Florence, home of the Medici family, Galilei, Botticelli and da Vinci. Set out on a guided walking tour and see medieval Florence’s treasures and monuments, including the Piazza del Duomo, the center of religious life in medieval Florence, and the Piazza della Signoria. Visit the world-famous Academy Gallery to see Michelangelo’s incredible statue of David. The remaining of the late afternoon is yours to explore independently before returning to your villa; enjoy dinner as you wish. Overnight at Hotel Villa Lecchi. (B included)

Siena Excursion

After breakfast, depart the villa and journey on an excursion traveling south to Siena. Encounter the Romanesque and Gothic architecture along with a deep-rooted history that ignites the culture inside this UNESCO World Heritage site. Walk the medieval streets through narrow passageways on a guided tour and visit the Gothic cathedral, a dramatic architectural marvel rich in frescoes by Pinturicchio and masterpieces by Pisano, Donatello, and Michelangelo. Retreat back home to your Tuscan villa for a relaxing afternoon. This evening enjoy a group dinner, and overnight at Hotel Villa Lecchi. (B, D included)

Tuscan Countryside Excursion

Enjoy breakfast and depart for an immersive guided tour of Tuscany’s landscape – a magical color wheel, where the rays of its world-renowned sunlight infuses spectacular hues upon its vineyards, olive groves and hillsides. In the heart of the countryside, a family wine estate will welcome us. After a personal guided tour that showcases the wine cellar, the estate, vineyards and olive groves, engage in a special lunchtime cooking lesson with the estate’s own chef. Break bread during an authentic Tuscan lunch and toast with wines produced on-site. Return to our Tuscan villa for some leisure time this afternoon. Continue your culinary journey tonight at one of Tuscany’s traditional restaurants for a group dinner. Buona digestione! Overnight at Hotel Villa Lecchi. (B, L, D included)

Tuscany, Bologna, & Venice

After breakfast depart Tuscany for the onward journey to Venice. We will stop to discover the virtues of Bologna, a city barely changed since the Renaissance. Within this vivacious capital of the Emilia-Romagna region, be enthralled on a guided walking tour of its medieval grid. Browse the city’s specialty food shops, ripe with the smells and sights of epicurean fantasy, and sample local delicacies along the way. Arrive later in Venice, the “Queen of the Adriatic,” and settle in for a 2-night stay in one of the most romantic cities in the world. Evening on your own to relax and try one of the extraordinary local restaurants. Overnight at Ca’ Dei Conti Hotel. (B included)

Venice & Murano Island Excursion

Following breakfast you will be properly welcomed to Venezia, the floating city that’s home to magnificent art collections, wonders of architecture, and where marbled palaces belonging to the Gothic and Renaissance periods tower over gondola-laden canals. Embark on a boat journey to Murano island for an expert glass-blowing demonstration on an island that’s renowned for its long tradition of glass making. Journey back to Venice’s St. Mark’s Square, where a local guide takes you on a tour of its incredible sites, from the Bridge of Sighs and the Clock Tower, to St. Mark’s Basilica. Addio, Italia! Join friends tonight for a spectacular farewell dinner that will be memorable. Overnight at Ca’ Dei Conti Hotel (B,D included)

Return Home

After breakfast, group will depart the hotel for transfers to the Venice airport and your return flights home.

Premium Experiences

Lake Maggiore Scenic Cruise

Cost – $75 per person; Duration –2 hours

Surround yourself in the beauty and grandeur found on the lakes of Northern Italy. Cruise along scenic Lago Maggiore passing the Borromean Islands sprinkled throughout this stunning lake. Glide past Isola del Pescatore viewing the gulf of Baveno before making a stop at Isola Bella. Then we make our way along the cobblestone streets of the quaint town to the impressive Baroque Borromean Palace and gardens. Get a glimpse inside life as a royal in the 17th century as you stroll through the opulent halls superbly decorated with rare artwork and tapestries. Return to the boat for a cruise back to Stresa.

Please note a minimum of 12 passengers is required. Transfers to/from the pier are not provided (short cab ride from hotel).

Venetian Serenaded Gondola Ride 

Cost- $85 per person; Duration: 1 hour

Experience the romance that can only be found in Venice – La Serenìssima – while traveling on its famous waterways. Partake in one of Venice’s most famous pastimes – a gondola cruise. Take a pleasant stroll toward the Grand Canal to board your gondola. As you relax in your elegant watercraft, your gondolier will navigate the Grand Canal as well as smaller side canals. Admire the scenery as you listen to the melodic voice serenading you in true Italian style – just like in those romantic Italian movies!

This option operates weather permitting.  Please note a minimum of 12 passengers is required.   Transfers to/from the gondola pier are not provided (short cab ride from hotel or can walk)

Accommodations

  • 2 nights stay at Regina Palace Hotel in Stresa
  • 2 nights stay at Grand Hotel Dei Castelli in Italian Riviera
  • 4 nights stay at Hotel Villa Lecchi in Tuscany
  • 2 nights stay at Ca’ Dei Conti Hotel in Venice

All accommodations are 4-star deluxe hotel properties

What’s Included

  • 10 nights in deluxe 4-star accommodations throughout group itinerary
  • Arrival & departure airport transfers
  • Small-group deluxe bus transportation where applicable in each destination
  • 17 group meals – 10 breakfasts, 1 lunch & 6 dinners
  • In-destination itinerary tour transportation
  • Insider expert guides

What’s not Included

  • International airfare
  • Meals “on your own” when not provided in the scheduled group itinerary
  • Optional activities and/or Premium Experiences
  • Any extensions pre or post of this group tour
  • Cancel for Any Reason Travel Insurance – $295 per person (subject to insurance purchase requirements below in Adventure Pricing)

Adventure Pricing

$4199 per person (based on Double Occupancy)*

$4799 based on Single Occupancy*

DEPOSIT required at time of booking: $500 per person

(Deposit is Non-Refundable)

FINAL PAYMENT due:  APR 20, 2020

Adventure is non-refundable after final payment. This Adventure requires 18 people to operate at the price quoted. An increase can occur if trip operates with less participants.

Cancel For Any Reason Travel Insurance: $295 per person

Insurance is required to be purchased at time of deposit.  Collette Tours is partnered with TripMate Travel Insurance for this Adventure. Collette Tours reserves the right to modify or change itinerary accommodations and/or tour routing if conditions beyond their control require such alterations thereof due to unforeseen circumstances.

To learn more about what’s covered:  http://www.tripmate.com/wpF430C

Please refer to THIRDHOME Adventures Terms & Conditions for more details.

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