Liguria and Le Cinque Terre

Prices from £2,965


3 May 2020 - 9 May 2020
Duration: 6 nights
Ref: 20LIGU
With: Anthony Majanlahti


Prices from £2,965
Single Supplement: £390
Deposit: £200

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Liguria has the shape of an arch placed between the Alps and the Mediterranean Sea and it is known as “la Riviera dei Fiori”, for its variety of flowers and numerous natural parks.

Genoa, the capital city of the Region, grew up around its port, which in the Middle Ages made it the most powerful of the four Maritime Republics. The church of San Donato and the church of Santa Maria di Castello are only some of the many testimonies to its glorious mediaeval past.

After the decline of the Republic, in the 16th and 17th C. Genova remade itself as the financial capital of Europe, with its banks serving the Spanish crown.

The Genoese had a saying: "Gold is born in the New World, dies in Madrid, and is buried in Genoa". We can still see it everywhere, in the city's magnificent Baroque churches and its dazzling palaces. Further riches are to be found eastward along the Ligurian Riviera, where we will see the beautiful Unesco site of Le Cinque Terre and the breathtaking scenery of the Ligurian coast, with its picturesque towns clinging to the cliffs. The area also contains many splendid architectural monuments from the Middle Ages and offers opportunities to sample the distinctive cuisine of the region, rich in seafood.


"The Genoese, once bankers to the Spanish crown, had a saying: "Gold is born in the New World, dies in Madrid, and is buried in Genova". We can still see it everywhere, in the city's magnificent churches and its dazzling palaces, and even eastward along the Ligurian Riviera, where we will see the beautiful Cinque Terre and the breathtaking scenery of the Ligurian coast. The towns clinging to the cliffs are a haven for lovers of art and of the distinctive cuisine of the region, rich in seafood."

Anthony Majanlahti is a historian and writer specialising in Rome and other Italian subjects. He has taught for the University of Toronto, the Università di Roma "Sapienza", and various American universities, as well as publishing three books, the first one, The Families who Made Rome, a bestseller in Canada and translated into Italian and Portuguese. He is currently writing a single-volume history of the city of Rome for the Oxford University Press. He has reported on papal elections for National Public Radio and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and has participated in several documentaries.

DAY 1:

Morning flight with BA from London Heathrow to Milano Linate airport. Transfer by coach to the centre of Genova to the hotel for the first of three nights. After refreshments and a welcome drink, take an introductory walk through the historic centre of Genova followed by dinner in a local restaurant.

DAY 2:

In the morning explore the “Roman district” and visit the Romanesque church of San Donato housing the outstanding tryptic by Joos van Cleve. Santa Maria del Castello is another remarkable example of Mediaeval architecture; in the adjecent convent an outstanding fresco of the Annunciation by Giusto of Ravensburg is depicted while the small Museum contains a large collection of “ex Voto” from the 16th century. In the afternoon walk to Palazzo Rosso, the former residence of the Brignole-Sale family, now a fine museum containing in the Quadreria paintings by major artists such as Veronese, Guercino and Guido Reni.

DAY 3:

The majestic Palazzo del Principe built for the admiral Andrea Doria was frescoed inside by Perin del Vega. Among many remarkable paintings, particularly famous is the portrait of Andrea Doria by Sebastiano del Piombo. Continue along via Balbi, a street lined with fine palaces, such as Palazzo Durazzo Pallavicini, Palazzo Balbi Senarega, now part of the University, and most importantly Palazzo Reale. Built in the 17th century by the Balbi family, it became the Royal residence when acquired by the Savoy family in the 19th century. The Galleria degli Specchi, inspired by the Mirror Gallery at Versailles, is one of the main attractions of this palace. In the afternoon visit Palazzo Spinola, now the National Gallery, containing paintings by major artists such as Rubens, Il Grechetto and Antonello da Messina.

DAY 4:

Coach to Santa Margherita Ligure. In the afternoon boat excursion to the Abbey of San Fruttoso, dating from the 13th century. First of three nights at Santa Margherita.

DAY 5:

Train to the Cinque Terre, a coastal region of small “borghi” of spectacular beauty. After a short walk with breath-taking views along the coast, group lunch at Vernazza, possibly the most fascinating Borgo of the area. Return to Santa Margherita by train. Some of the afternoon is free.

DAY 6:

Morning visit to the former Abbey of San Girolamo, called “La Cervara”, from where we can enjoy a splendid view of the bay of Portofino. After lunch, continue inland to Cogorno to visit the 13th-century Basilica of San Salvatore dei Fieschi.

DAY 7:

Visit Villa Serrago di Comago, a 19th century Tudor-Style Villa with the largest collection of hydrangeas in Italy. After a light lunch in the Villa continue to Milano Linate airport for a BA flight.


Twin/double share: £2965 per person
Double room for sole use supplement: £390
Price of the tour without flights: £2765 per person
Deposit: £300 per person


  • Scheduled return flights with British Airways (economy class) to Milan Linate
  • Transfers and excursions in Italy by private coach
  • Three nights B&B in a charming 4-star Hotel Bristol Palace in Genova and Three nights B&B in the 4-star Hotel Continental in Santa Margherita
  • Four dinners and two lunches
  • Guided visits to monuments and museums listed in the programme
  • Services of the lecturer and a tour manager
  • Detailed programme and study notes
  • All entrance fees, taxes, and gratuities for coach drivers and waiters

Hotel Bristol Palace, Genova ★★★★

The Bristol Palace is an elegant, 4-star hotel in the heart of Genoa, not far from the Ducal Palace, the Carlo Felice Theatre and the most significant museums and historical buildings. It is perfectly positioned for anyone wishing to get to the Old Port where the convention centres, the Genoa Aquarium, the Galata museum and the children's city are located.


  • Soundproofed
  • Bar / fridge with large selection of drinks and snacks
  • Free WiFi internet connection
  • Wall safe
  • Satellite Led 26 'TV
  • Mediaset Premium film and football channels for free
  • Phone
  • Air conditioning
  • Bathroom with tub or shower

The Continental Hotel, Santa Margherita ★★★★

The Continental Hotel in Santa Margherita Ligure is nestled amidst grand evergreen oaks, leafy palms, and centuries-old pine trees. From atop a verdant promontory, the Continental placidly overlooks the sea, the picturesque harbour, and the old town. Built in the early twentieth century in the exquisite Art Nouveau style, the hotel's fortunes were tied to the history of Santa Margherita Ligure: the town, on a natural harbour near Monte di Portofino, has become a renowned, exclusive and elegant tourist destination over the years.


  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Air conditioning
  • TV
  • Private bathroom
  • Minibar