Tuscany, the Cinque Terre & the Riviera of Flowers

Prices from £1,149

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16 May 2018 - 16 Sep 2018
Duration: 9 nights departing 16th May, 5th Jun or 7th Sep
Ref: RETRF1018
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Prices from £1,149
Single Supplement: £125
Deposit: £275

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Enjoy the simple pleasures of Italy on this classic tour, which combines the historic and scenic delights of Tuscany with a relaxing stay on the glorious Riviera of Flowers. We start with the city of Pisa and its legendary leaning tower, before finding sanctuary in the spa town of Montecatini Terme – a centre for wellbeing and relaxation. Here we discover the enchanting villages of the Cinque Terre on our included excursion, along with the flamboyance of Florence – an open air masterpiece of art and architecture, and the secret city of Lucca, returning to our spa retreat at the end of each day. We then take a scenic rail journey along the coast to our favourite seafront hotel in Diano Marina for the perfect end to our Italian experience.

DAY 1: LONDON – TURIN

We take the Eurostar service from London to Paris, where we change trains and join the TGV to Turin in northern Italy.

DAY 2: PISA

After a leisurely breakfast we take the train to Pisa, on a route that offers tantalizing views of the Mediterranean Sea while passing through lovely resorts scattered along the coast. Our coach takes us from the station into the historic centre of Pisa, known as the ‘Piazza dei Miracoli’ which translates to ‘Square of Miracles’, where you will find the Baptistery of St John, the cathedral and the famous Leaning Tower. After some free time to admire the surroundings, we travel by coach to Montecatini Terme for our four-night stay.

DAY 3: MONTECATINI TERME

Enjoy a day at leisure in Montecatini Terme – Italy’s most famous spa town, tucked away in the heart of Tuscany. It has a wonderful air of the belle époque period about it, with stunning architecture and a central park. The historic funicular railway takes you up to the hill town of Montecatini Alto for panoramic views of the area. There’s also a small castle, three churches and a large square with plenty of cafés.

DAY 4: THE CINQUE TERRE

Today we explore one of Italy’s most enchanting coastal regions, the Cinque Terre. These five villages perch on sheer cliffs which overlook the sea and are surrounded by hills and vineyards. We explore two of the villages. From La Spezia we are then taken by boat to the ancient fishing village of Monterosso, considered the pearl of the Cinque Terre. You can take a dip in the azure sea and enjoy a delicious Liguarian lunch (not included) in one of the restaurants, before we continue to Vernazza to explore the narrow lanes and steep stairways known as ‘carruggi’. We return by rail along the coast to La Spezia, before returning by coach to our hotel.

DAY 5: FLORENCE

The capital of Tuscany, Florence, is our destination by rail today. Regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in Italy, Florence is like an open air museum, so the best way to explore is by walking through the cobbled streets, freely admiring the piazzas and palazzos which were designed by illustrious artists such as Brunelleschi and Michelangelo. You can join our guided tour to get your bearings and see some of the main sights, before spending the afternoon at leisure.

DAY 6: LUCCA & THE ITALIAN COAST

Lucca is arguably one of Tuscany’s best-kept secrets, hidden by ancient ramparts and gardens that surround the old city. Explore Anfiteatro Square; climb the Guinigi Tower which has an ancient oak tree growing on top; wander along the typical antique dealers’ street; and remember to try the local Bucellato, a sweet bread filled with raisins and aniseed. In the afternoon we return to Pisa and take the train to Genoa and a coach transfers us to Diano Marina for a relaxing four-night stay in our seafront hotel.

DAY 7 TO 9: THE ITALIAN RIVIERA OF FLOWERS

For the next three days you can relax and soak up the sun in Diano Marina. Enjoy miles of sandy beach, coastal walks and the old town; you can even visit the nearby medieval village of Cervo – with its combination of cobbled alleys, terraces, arches and rooftops, it’s a delightful place to explore. We also offer an optional excursion to San Remo and Dolceacqua. San Remo is Italy’s answer to the French resort of Monte Carlo, where you can explore the atmospheric old town and the ports filled with luxurious yachts. The hilltop village of Dolceacqua enjoys a picture perfect setting, with the Nervia river running through its heart and the spectacular medieval bridge described by Claude Monet as “a jewel of lightness”.

DAY 10: DIANO MARINA – LONDON

After checking out of our hotel we are taken by coach to Nice and join the TGV to Paris or Lille for our Eurostar connection to London.

PRICES:

16th May 2018: £1149 per person
5th June 2018: £1209 per person
7th September 2018: £1209 per person

Single supplement: £125
Sea view upgrade: £20 per person
Deposit: £275 per person

INCLUDED IN THE PRICE:

  • Return Eurostar from London to Paris or Lille
  • TGV from Paris to Turin and Nice to Paris or Lille
  • One night’s bed and breakfast in Turin
  • Four nights’ half board accommodation in Montecatini Terme
  • Four nights’ half board accommodation in Diano Marina
  • Services of our Tour Manager

Plus the following excursions:

  • Visits to Pisa and Lucca
  • Free day in Montecatini Terme
  • Tour of the Cinque Terre
  • Florence by rail and guided walking tour
  • Scenic Italian coast train journey

Optional Excursion available:

  • San Remo and Dolceacqua: £30

HOTEL DOCK MILANO, TURIN OR SIMILAR

In Turin we stay at the Hotel Dock Milano or similar, which offers a warm welcome with comfortable facilities.

HOTEL REALE, MONTECATINI TERME

Hotel Reale is a family run hotel, set in beautiful gardens. It’s in the perfect location for our holiday, being only a short walk from the heart of Montecatini Terme, and has a outdoor swimming pool with a hot tub. Guestrooms have an en suite along with air conditioning, TV, safe and hairdryer. There’s also a bar, relax in the gardens and in the restaurant you can enjoy famous Tuscan and international dishes.

HOTEL PALACE, DIANO MARINA

This 3 star hotel is perfectly located in front of a sandy beach with the old town and the shopping centre easily reached along the seaside promenade. All of the bedrooms are well furnished and equipped with air conditioning, satellite TV, balcony, safe, hairdryer, magnifying mirror, telephone and Wi-Fi. Enjoy sea views from the restaurant, which serves a range of dishes using delicious local products along with a wide variety of selected wines. There is also a wellness room with a sauna and Jacuzzi, and a rooftop terrace where you can admire the views across the bay.