Iconic architecture. Legendary cities. Cobbled streets and perfect piazzas. You’ll fall for Italy on this tour of Cinque Terre and Florence.
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
Pisa - A legendary city with the iconic architectural duo: the spectacular Romanesque Cathedral and the famous Leaning Tower
Florence - Marvel at the finest collection of Italian Renaissance art and architecture in this fine city
Bologna - A beautiful city famous for the Western world’s oldest university whose alumni have changed the world
Lucca - Explore the cobbled streets, picturesque piazzas, and shady promenades in this stunning walled city
Forget the modern world. Forget it. We don’t need it. Not right now. Because it’s time to step back into the past and see what Italy might have once been like.
From shimmering coastline villages to grand medieval cities unfolding like a fantasy world before your eyes, this journey will take you to some of the most iconic destinations in Italy... and some you may never have thought to visit too.
Those quiet spots that make you stop and blink several times before you finally accept that it's real. Those unfathomable moments that seem like a dream when you tell people back home about it later.
But it did happen. On this tour.
It’s time to say goodbye (for now) to major city life and embrace the beautiful coastline of Italy. We depart Milan and head to La Spezia, a port city known as the gateway to Cinque Terre. Whether you’re interested in its naval and maritime heritage or its strong art culture, La Spezia is a lively place you’ll be thrilled to explore. This will also be your first overnight stay but before we get too settled, we check in at our accommodation and head to the train station together.
Why? Because Cinque Terre awaits.
Cinque Terre. The name itself means ‘five lands’, and these five coastal villages have their own personality. Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso. It’s up to you which ones you want to visit. Nested against the rugged cliffs of the Italian Riviera, everywhere you look you’ll spot colourful houses, winding streets, stunning panoramas, hiking trails, local produce and specialities, vineyards and terraced landscapes, quaint fishing harbours, and too many opportunities for a killer photo.
From there, you jump back on the train and head to La Spezia for the evening.
CDH Hotel La Spezia or similar, La Spezia
We say farewell to La Spezia this morning and journey back in time to when narrow medieval streets, charming piazzas, and grand cathedrals were the norm. On the coast of northern Tuscany, you’ll find the sweet town of Pietrasanta, often referred to as the “City of Artists” thanks to its tradition as a hot spot of sculptors and artists. Perhaps that has something to do with the renowned Carrara marble quarries nearby, which have supplied marble for some of the world’s most iconic sculptures and buildings. This historically charming town is brimming with sculptures, an open-air gallery, and stunning buildings.
Next up is a place that needs little to no introduction. Many have journeyed to Pisa over the years to see the iconic Leaning Tower of Pisa. Now it’s your turn. You have time here to explore the other beauties of this wonderful city, including exploring the Piazza dei Miracoli (the Square of Miracles), take a jaunt along the Arno River, visit the Camposanto Monumentale, discover the many churches of Pisa, and simply enjoy the local cuisine.
Our final stop of the day is the charming walled city of Lucca. Here you’ll find a delightful blend of historical, cultural, and scenic attractions. Maybe you’ll walk along the city walls. Perhaps you’ll visit the Piazza dell’Anfiteatro. Or find yourself in one of Lucca’s beautiful churches – perhaps the Cathedral of St Martin.
We then head into the bustling city of Florence, your overnight stay for the next two nights.
Hotel Pitti Palace al Ponte Vecchio or similar, Florence
Ah, Florence. An artistic masterpiece. The city of Florence is a treasure trove of art, architectural wonders, culinary delights, historic charm, and cultural richness. After a guided city walk in the morning, you have the rest of the day to explore and, trust us, you’ll want to plan ahead to make the most of your time.
Perhaps you’ll go to the Uffizi Gallery or the Accademia Gallery to gaze upon some of the world’s most celebrated pieces of artwork, works by Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, and Michelangelo. Maybe you’ll grab your camera and wander the charming, cobbled streets, snapping shots of medieval buildings, hidden squares, and charming locals. You turn a corner and are dwarfed by the Florence Duomo, taken in by its grandeur. Time to wander up to the top for the ultimate view of Florence. One thing that’s been on your list is to explore local markets and restaurants, and stuff your face with local delights like bistecca alla fiorentina (Florentine Steak) and ribollita.
As the day comes to a close, you grab your favourite flavour of gelato and stroll across the Ponte Vecchio with a view of the lovely Arno River.
Hotel Pitti Palace al Ponte Vecchio or similar, Florence
Our final day but there’s still so much to get through. We first head to the city of Bologna, where you have plenty of time to explore and grab a bite to eat for lunch. We know what you’re thinking... Bologna... as in Bolognese? Yes, as in rich, delicious Bolognese sauce. Where better to grab a pasta Bolognese than in the place where it was invented?
Bologna is a feast for the palette. Wander the winding market streets, pick out some fresh produce from cheese to cured meats, perfectly ripe fruit to a packet of handmade pasta to take home with you. Grab a snack and head to the Piazza Maggiore. Take a seat on the steps of impressive buildings like the Basilica di San Petronio and Palazzo Comunale. This city has a wealth of medieval and Renaissance architecture, not to mention museums and art galleries.
After a lively morning and delicious lunch in Bologna, we head to Grazzano Visconti. This picturesque medieval village was designed by Giuseppe Visconti in the 20th century as a way to glimpse into medieval Italian life. The architecture and layout of the village reflect the charm of the past, from cobblestoned streets to stone buildings, and Visconti Castle at its centre.
Time to say goodbye to the past and re-enter the present as we head back to Milan. But worry not, those memories and souvenirs and photos can take you back there any time.
You stay one night in La Spezia and two nights in Florence. For examples of the accommodation, please see the tour itinerary.
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; and when you book your trip, you can choose whether you want a double room, a twin room, or a single room.
The price you see is for all your tour accommodation and for the tour itself. It also includes a tourist tax. This figure is based on shared accommodation. When you're booking your tour and select a single room, an additional single room supplement will be added to the price.
You may need a Schengen Visa to travel throughout Europe. Check the official tourism website of the country you’re visiting for up-to-date and reliable information. Travel between countries is easy because there are no passport checks at the borders.
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.
So that we can ensure you're comfortable travelling with us, please let us know about any special requirements or needs at the time of booking. If you have any more questions, simply email firstname.lastname@example.org .
Europe's historic city centres are full of narrow streets and winding roads. So, to speed up your departure and avoid contributing to congestion issues, we start our trip from hotels located conveniently on the edge of cities. We choose hotels with good public transport connections to the city centre, so you can enjoy your evening explorations.
To make your tour more convenient, you can add an optional pre and post-departure accommodation in the hotel we use as a pick up or a drop off point.
Arrive at the hotel lobby 15 minutes before your departure time. Unfortunately, we’re unable to wait for you if you’re late due to vehicle restrictions. But depending on your situation, we may be able to help you catch up with your tour.
We have a cancellation period of 42 days for our Europe tours. If you cancel your trip before this period, we give you a full refund minus a 10% admin charge. If you cancel inside this time frame, you’re liable for the cost of the tour package.
We understand how disappointing it is when you have to cancel a trip with us, so please contact our friendly team who will try their best to resell your ticket and refund you.
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It's simple: you book, you go. This means we'll never cancel your tour because of a minimum numbers policy.
Your friendly driver and guide are passionate about the places they visit and know all the local gossip. This means your tour itinerary can change a little due to festivities, attraction opening hour changes, and spontaneous photo opportunities.
Due to logistical reasons, we're unable to let you pre-book a seat on the bus. But our comfortable mini-coaches offer a good view.
We like to keep our coaches small, nimble, and odour free. This means we have no on-board toilet facilities, but you frequently stop in local towns and villages for comfort breaks.
We're unable to permit children under 15 years old on our Europe tours due to the nature of the activities that are included.
We want you to enjoy your trip to Europe. And we believe the best way to do this is to get you off the mini-coach and out exploring. So, we give you plenty of stops to take photos, go walking, and explore ancient ruins.
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.
You don't need to pack or bring along food on the mini-coach. We stop in small European towns, villages, and rural eateries where you can choose whatever meal pleases both your taste buds and your budget.
It’s more enjoyable to travel with light luggage. You can take less by cleaning clothes along the way. Most hotels provide affordable laundry service.
But if you're travelling with more than 20kg, don't worry! There are left luggage facilities close to the majority of our departure points, and courier companies who could ship your excess luggage on to your chosen destination. Our team are happy to help if you need any suggestions or recommendations.
Let's be honest, our drivers and guides would never refuse a cheeky bonus. But it's up to you, and the amount is entirely at your discretion.
We highly recommend you take out travel insurance, so you can enjoy a stress-free journey.
You're protected by ABTOT when you book a tour with us. This means you can claim back anything you've paid us if we run into any issues. Read our terms and conditions for more information.
Our packages are covered by the Package Travel Regulations. For full details of your key rights please click here.