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$12278

$11940

Premium Italy in Depth

15 Days Starting in Polignano a Mare and ending in Venice

Visiting: Polignano a Mare, Nardo, Matera, Naples, Rome, Siena / Monteriggioni / San Gimignano Region, San Gimignano Region, Pisa / Lucca / Florence, Florence, Venice

Tour operator:

Intrepid Travel

Tour code:

ZMPEC

Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

1 - 12

Physical rating:

Low

Age range:

15-99 years

Trip Styles:

Small Group

Activities:

Rail Excursion, Walking

From:
$12278
$11940 Exclusive Tourhub Discount: -$338

NB: Prices correct on 19-May-2024 but subject to change.

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Tour Overview

This is your ticket to explore the best of Italy in just 15 days. From wandering the crumbling ruins of Rome's iconic Colosseum by moonlight to staying amid the rolling vineyards of Tuscany to visiting the fascinating site of Pompeii with a local guide, this trip has wound up some of Italy's best experiences. From ancient monuments and lively cities to sprawling vineyards and traditional cuisine with some glistening Italian beaches thrown in for good measure – this adventure will provide unforgettable moments for both the Italian novice and maestro.

Highlights

  • Stay in spectacular places including a Feature Stay in an historic property in Nardo – that was once a Baronial Palace – as well as a countryside hotel nestled amid the rolling vineyards of Tuscany.

  • Explore Rome’s iconic Colosseum by moonlight during an Exclusive Experience evening tour. Walk in the footsteps of gladiators without the jostling daytime crowds.

  • Get a taste for Italy’s celebrated cuisine and viticulture during an olive oil tasting on a farm that’s been active since Roman times and a trip to the celebrated wine-growing region of San Gimignano to visit a family-run winery and sample their world-class drops.

  • Take a step back in time and explore the ancient ruins of Pompeii, destroyed and preserved by the eruption of Mt Vesuvius in 79 AD.

  • Join a group of like-minded travellers on a tour takes a deep dive into the history, culture and natural beauty of southern Italy with one of our most experienced locally based leaders (legends) guiding the way.

Itinerary

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Day 1: Polignano A Mare

Location: Polignano a Mare

Accommodation: San Lorenzo Boutique Hotel And Spa

Meals Included: dinner

Benvenuto! Welcome to Puglia, the heel of Italy’s boot. Your adventure kicks off in the coastal town of Polignano a Mare, where you’ll be collected from the Bari airport on arrival and transferred to your hotel. A welcome meeting will take place here at 6pm for you to meet your local leader and the fellow travellers joining you on your adventure. If you arrive with time to spare, Polignano a Mare is blessed with beautiful beaches, coves and caves to explore. Feeling peckish? Why not pop into a local cornetteria for a decadent Italian croissant. After your welcome meeting, get to know your group over an included dinner, where your local leader will introduce you to Puglia’s cuisine.

Included Activities:
-Polignano a Mare - Welcome Dinner

Day 2: Polignano A Mare

Location: Polignano a Mare

Accommodation: San Lorenzo Boutique Hotel And Spa

Meals Included: breaksfast

Leave the coastline behind as you travel inland by private vehicle to the little town of Alberobello. Set among a tranquil landscape of olive groves, the town is famed for its unique beehive-shaped trulli; dwellings built from limestone in the 14th century. While the origins of the buildings are unclear, one theory suggests the houses were created to be easily dismantled in a feudal tax-evasion scheme. Whatever their purpose, the buildings truly are a sight to behold and make the Apulia region unlike anywhere else in the world. Join a local guide for an insider’s look at the town, wandering through the old town quarter of Rione Monti, dotted with thousands of trulli, and Rione Aia Piccola, where trulli still serve as family homes. Your guide will point out the different shapes of spires and the religious and mystic symbols adorning the roofs. Finally, stand in awe of the Church de Sant’Antonio, a huge cathedral built in the trulli style. Return to Polignano a Mare for the afternoon at leisure – your leader will have tips on the best places to grab dinner tonight.

Included Activities:
-Alberobello - Half Day Trip

Day 3: Nardo

Location: Nardo

Accommodation: Relais Monastero Santa Teresa (Feature Stay) or similar

Meals Included: breaksfast, lunch

This morning, travel to the small city of Ostuni and explore its whitewashed streets flanked with Gothic, Romanesque and Byzantine buildings. Then, continue to a local olive oil producer on a farm that has been active since Roman times, with some trees thought to be close to 3000 years old. Here you’ll learn how production techniques have changed over the centuries, taste some of the olive oil for yourself, and enjoy an included lunch of regional favourites. From here, travel out to the quiet town of Nardo. Here you’ll settle into your Feature Stay accommodation, a 13th century Baronial Palace converted into a spectacular hotel by a local architect. Spend the evening exploring the hotel and grounds, featuring artwork and sculptures by local artists, as well as a citrus grove and excellent onsite restaurant.
This afternoon join an expert local guide for a walking tour through Nardo’s charming old town where there are more than a dozen grand palazzos, many of which were once home to the region’s nobility. Your guide will also point out the town’s many fine museums which you may like to visit this afternoon. And of course, you will stop at Piazza Salandra. Widely regarded as one of the most beautiful baroque squares in the whole of southern Italy, you may like to return here this evening to join the locals for passeggiata, an early evening stroll that’s a tradition throughout Italy.

Included Activities:
-Ostuni - Olive Oil Tasting
-Nardo - Walking Tour

Day 4: Nardo

Location: Nardo

Accommodation: Relais Monastero Santa Teresa (Feature Stay) or similar

Meals Included: breaksfast

Before breakfast, you may like to take a walk through your Feature Stay’s historic ‘secret garden’ where it seems as if figures from days gone by could walk around the corner at any minute. Today head to the beautiful city of Lecce. With its ornate baroque buildings, lively university and ancient Roman ruins, Lecce’s narrow streets are a delight to explore. Let a local guide show you hidden corners and share the city’s history with you this morning, You will also have some free time to explore this historic city on your own before heading back to Nardo. Later this afternoon, perhaps head to the beach, which is only 15 minutes away, or join a pasta making or wine tasting class at your hotel.

Included Activities:
-Lecce - Walking Tour

Day 5: Matera

Location: Matera

Accommodation: La Suite Hotel & Spa or similar

Meals Included: breaksfast, lunch

Enjoy a final morning at your Feature Stay hotel, sitting back with a coffee and soaking up the scenery. Then it’s time to say goodbye and travel on to Matera, an ancient city perched on a rocky outcrop. Along the way stop at a local winery for some wine tasting and lunch before continuing onto Matera. Matera is believed to be the third-longest continuously inhabited human settlement in the world. You’ll be exploring the city’s famous sassi houses in depth tomorrow, so this evening why not take a walk around Matera to discover its churches, traditional restaurants and thousands of years of human history.

Day 6: Matera

Location: Matera

Accommodation: La Suite Hotel & Spa or similar

Meals Included: breaksfast

Today you will dive into Matera’s incredible old town, made famous by sassi; more than 3000 stone houses formed from natural grottoes and tufo cliffs, some dating back as far as the 8th century. Join a local guide who will lead you through a labyrinth of staircases and alleyways that cut their way through limestone ravines, dipping in and out of ancient sassi houses as you go. Up until the late 1950s, the sassi were considered the ‘Shame of Italy’ due to the gruelling living conditions and poverty suffered by those who lived here – a result of the city’s rapid population growth. The Italian government intervened, and 15,000 inhabitants were forcibly relocated. Today, the sassi are undergoing extensive restoration, with some dwellings featuring exhibits that recreate inhabited caves. You’ll also pay a visit to an ancient underground neighbourhood, made up of houses, streets. cisterns, and churches.

Included Activities:
-Matera - Ipogeo Underground Cistern
-Matera - Guided Walking Tour

Day 7: Naples

Location: Naples

Accommodation: Palazzo Salgar or similar

Meals Included: breaksfast, dinner

Begin the day by driving to the storied town of Pompeii, home to one of Europe’s most well-known archaeological sites – the ruins of Pompeii, caused by the eruption of Mt Vesuvius in 79 AD. Today you will join a local guide to discover the remains of this once thriving Roman trading centre. After the eruption, the city was covered in a layer of ash and remained undisturbed until the 18th century, when the ruins were rediscovered. Walk among well-preserved villas, temples, theatres, markets and chariot-marked streets, and visit the magnificent amphitheatre and the ‘Villa of Mysteries’ as your expert guide helps you to imagine what life here once looked like. You can also visit the Roman Forum and basilica, temples, public baths, and the tiny Odeon created for music recitals. Later in the day, travel to the buzzing city of Naples where you will join your group for a final dinner and a chance to look back on all you’ve seen on your journey.

Included Activities:
-Pompeii - Walking Tour with Local Guide
-Pompeii - Archaeological Site

Day 8: Rome

Location: Rome

Accommodation: Romanico Palace Hotel or similar

Meals Included: dinner

Welcome to Rome! Enjoy a complimentary transfer to your hotel and settle in. If you arrive with time to spare, the city’s magnificent buildings are best appreciated on foot, so perhaps wander in search of an espresso. Your Italian adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm, where you will meet your local leader and fellow travellers. Once the formalities are out of the way, get your first taste of Italy over an included dinner with your group at an excellent local restaurant. Sitting down to dinner in Rome means experiencing generations of culinary know-how and timeless traditional recipes. Once your leader introduces you to some of Italy’s best dishes, you’ll understand why this country is so renowned for great food.

Included Activities:
-Rome - Welcome Dinner at Local Restaurant
-Complimentary Arrival Transfer

Day 9: Rome

Location: Rome

Accommodation: Romanico Palace Hotel or similar

Meals Included: breaksfast

From incredible ancient monuments to glamourous restaurants and boutiques, Rome is a city of great beauty and diversity. Today your leader will take you back in time as you learn about historical monuments during an orientation walk of the city. Marvel at the Roman Forum, the Victor Emmanuel Monument, the Pantheon, the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona and Venezia, the Spanish Steps and Via Dei Condotti. Stop in at a local bar for a quick coffee or gelato. The afternoon is free for you to explore as you please – perhaps take the chance to visit the majestic Vatican City and St Peter’s Basilica. Rome’s grandiose Colosseum is its most iconic site, and this evening you’ll have the opportunity to avoid the daytime crowds and explore the Colosseum by night. Follow the footsteps of gladiators and Roman emperors as your leader shares the unbelievable history of this great arena.

Included Activities:
-Rome – Coffee Granita (Coffee semi-frozen dessert)
-Rome – Guided walking tour
-Rome – Nobleman’s home visit and lunch (Exclusive Experience)

Optional Activities:
-Vatican City - Vatican Museum
-Vatican City - St Peter's Dome Climb & Elevator
-Rome - Venezia Palace
-Rome - Galleria Borghese
-Rome - Pantheon
-Rome - Castel Sant'Angelo
-Rome - Christian Catacombs
-Rome - Keats-Shelley Memorial House
-Rome – Colosseum

Day 10: Siena / Monteriggioni / San Gimignano Region

Location: Siena / Monteriggioni / San Gimignano Region

Accommodation: Terre Rosse or Villa San Giorgio (Feature Stay) or similar

Meals Included: breaksfast, dinner

Today you’ll take a private vehicle to the gorgeous city of Siena, where your leader will show you the most interesting sights on an orientation walk. At the city’s heart is Piazza del Campo – home to the biannual Palio horse race, and nearby is the stunning Siena Cathedral. Next you’ll visit Monteriggioni – a charming medieval walled town. Over a dozen towers are spread throughout the town, once used to defend Sienese territory from the Florentines. You will have time to explore this tiny hilltop spot before arriving at your Feature Stay accommodation near San Gimignano. This country hotel with cinematic views of a tree-studded landscape and a refreshing outdoor pool is a fine spot to unwind. Tonight, indulge in an included gourmet dinner at your hotel with your group – the food is made with local ingredients and pays homage to traditional Tuscan dishes, with a modern twist.

Included Activities:
-Siena - Orientation Walk
-Monteriggioni - Orientation Walk
-Chianti Region - Gourmet Dinner

Day 11: San Gimignano Region

Location: San Gimignano Region

Accommodation: Terre Rosse or Villa San Giorgio (Feature Stay) or similar

Meals Included: breaksfast, dinner

Start the day with a visit to San Gimignano – the 'Town of Fine Towers'. Explore the medieval Old Town centre and its fine Gothic and Romanesque architecture, with your leader on hand to answer any questions inspired by your explorations. This region is also renowned for its ancient Vernaccia grapes, which are the basis for one of Tuscany's finest white wines. Your group will visit a local agriturismo, where you’ll explore the vineyards and sample some of their celebrated wine, before enjoying an included lunch featuring regional cheese, fine olive oil and bruschetta. Return to your Feature Stay accommodation for another delicious dinner.

Included Activities:
-San Gimignano - Agriturismo Winery Tour & Tasting

Day 12: Pisa / Lucca / Florence

Location: Pisa / Lucca / Florence

Accommodation: Hotel Laurus al Duomo or similar

Meals Included: breaksfast

Today you’ll visit Pisa. It’s not always possible to climb the Leaning Tower of Pisa due to its precarious state, but as your leader shares the history of this legendary building, you will have the opportunity to photograph it from the ground. Your next stop is Lucca, where you’ll take a short walk along the city’s beautifully preserved Renaissance walls.

Next up, depart to Florence where you’ll discover the city on an orientation walk with your leader. Marvel at the Duomo cathedral, visit St. John's Baptistery and hear stories of the Medici family who ruled over the city during the Renaissance. Cross the iconic Ponte Vecchio bridge and stop by the Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy. Established in 1221, this is believed to be the oldest operating pharmacy in the world. You’ll visit the Giardino delle Rose for a sweet-scented walk among 400 rose species before heading to Piazzale Michelangelo for sweeping views of Florence’s timeless skyline.

Included Activities:
-Florence - Orientation Walk
-Pisa - Pisa Visit & Orientation walk
-Lucca - City Walls & Orientation Walk

Optional Activities:
-Pisa - Leaning Tower of Pisa

Day 13: Florence

Location: Florence

Accommodation: Hotel Leonardo da Vinci or similar

Meals Included: breaksfast

This morning join a private guided walk of Florence you will earn about its Glorious past and the notable families that made Florence an important centre for culture, economy and politics.
Your tour includes a visit of the Galleria dell ‘Accademia, an art museum renowned for its collection of sculptures, including the iconic statue of David by Michelangelo.

Enjoy a free afternoon at your own pace – ask your leader for some local tips on the best way to spend the day. Visiting the Uffizi while you are here is highly recommended – it is one of the oldest galleries in the world, and a building of great beauty. And be sure to head to Piazzale Michelangelo for sweeping views of Florence’s timeless skyline. Sample some of the culinary delicacies on offer from across Tuscany, with dishes known for their freshness, simplicity and quality. Olive oil, beans and herbs are a feature here. Two standout dishes of the region are bistecca alla fiorentina, a large steak sliced on the bone and shared between multiple diners, and ribollita, a simple, hearty soup of bread, vegetables, and beans. Panforte is the signature sweet treat.

Included Activities:
-Florence - Galleria dell ’Accademia admission
-Florence – Highlights of Florence Guided walk

Optional Activities:
-Florence - Museo dell'Opera di S.Maria del Fiore
-Florence - Pitti Palace (Boboli Gardens, Museo Argenti, Costume Gallery, Porcellain Museum)
-Florence - Bargello Museum
-Florence - Palazzo Vecchio
-Florence - Uffizi Gallery
-Florence - Medici Chapels
-Florence - Baptistry
-Florence - Duomo & Campanile
-Florence - Accademia

Day 14: Venice

Location: Venice

Accommodation: Hotel Eurostars Residenza Cannaregio or similar

Meals Included: breaksfast, lunch

In the morning, head to the railway station and take a high-speed train to Venice. Upon arrival your leader will take you on an orientation walk so you can get acquainted with the city’s maze of canals and learn about its unique history. Lunch today is a tasting of cicchetti – Venice’s version of tapas. Enjoy a delicious array of small dishes such as black ink calamari, polenta with seafood and seasonal vegetables. The rest of the afternoon is yours to explore. The Grand Canal, the quaint shopfronts that line the Rialto Bridge and the Piazza and Basilica di San Marco are all worthy sights to visit, or simply meander around the tiny cobbled streets and discover the beautiful markets, cafes, galleries and churches. A Venetian gondola ride down the canals is a must, as is a taste of the region’s dessert speciality, tiramisu.

Included Activities:
-Venice - Orientation Walk including Fondaco Terrace Rooftop
-Venice – Traghetto boat ride
-Venice - Farewell Dinner at Local Restaurant

Day 15: Venice

Location: Venice

Meals Included: breaksfast

With no activities planned for today, your trip comes to an end after breakfast. Those looking to extend their stay can arrange additional nights' accommodation at the time of booking the trip (subject to availability).

Optional Activities:
-Venice - Museum of St Mark's Basilica
-Venice - Gondola Ride
-Venice - St Mark's Campanile
-Venice - Glass Museum Murano
-Venice - Ca' Rezzonico Museum of Eighteenth Century Art
-Venice - Scuola Grande di San Rocco
-Peggy Guggenheim Collection
-Venice - Doge's Palace & Bridge of Sighs
-Ca’ D’Oro - Galería Franchetti
-Venice - St Mark's Basilica Treasury
-Venice - Accademia Gallery

What's Included

  • Accommodation
    Comfortable Hotel (10 nights), Feature Stay (4 night)

  • Meals
    13 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 5 dinners

  • Alberobello - Day Trip

  • Polignano a Mare - Welcome Dinner

  • Ostuni - Olive Oil Tasting

  • Lecce - Walking Tour

  • Nardo - Walking Tour

  • Matera - Ipogeo Underground Cistern

  • Matera - Guided Walking Tour

  • Pompeii - Walking Tour with Local Guide

  • Pompeii - Archaeological Site

  • Rome - Welcome Dinner at Local Restaurant

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Transport

  • TRAINS
  • The main mode of transportation on this trip is by train. Italian long-distance and inter-regional trains are comfortable and often decked out with air-conditioning. Toilets are always available. Some of the trains have snack bars (or vending machines) and power points next to the seats but that cannot be guaranteed on every journey. Regional and metropolitan trains are usually a bit more basic and can be quite busy, but this just adds to the experience. Train travel is a fast way to traverse long (and short) distances, allowing you to avoid traffic jams and arrive right into the city centre of your next destination.

Accommodation

  • The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline only and may change. On some occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our preferred accommodation. In these cases, we will use a similar standard of accommodation.
  • Throughout the trip, we request that our properties prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However, this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination or on some trips, have use of shared day rooms until all rooms are available.
  • OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION
  • The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.
  • TWIN SHARE BASIS
  • Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. We pair up solo travellers with another traveller of the same gender as per the gender marker on each of their passports. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on different Intrepid trips than your own.
  • CHECK-IN TIME
  • Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.
  • PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION
  • If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.
  • FACILITIES
  • Your accommodation may not always have private en suite facilities or air-conditioning. European hotels generally don't provide kettles or fridges.

Important Information

  • 1. A complimentary airport arrival transfer is included; valid if you are arriving on Day 1 or if you have booked pre-tour accommodation through us. You must provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel.
  • 2. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room?on this trip. The single supplement applies to all nights of your trip?and is subject to availability. There are a limited number of single supplements available per trip departure. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.

Check out our Q&As

  • Is this trip right for you

    Summer temperatures can be extreme in this region (over 40°C), which can be uncomfortable. It’s important to use sun protection, wear layers to combat the heat and drink plenty of water. Please carefully consider the time of the year you wish to travel and your suitability to that season.

    During your trip you will visit numerous religious sites. You will need to bring clothes that cover the shoulders and knees. A light scarf is a good idea for covering shoulders and arms when it’s hot. Your leader will be able to advise when such clothing is necessary.

  • What policies are in place for Covid-19?

    Please contact us for latest COVID-19 policies

  • How long has the tour company been trading?

    Intrepid Travel has been taking travellers around the world for over 30 years

  • Will the accommodation included meet local health and safety regulations?

    Yes

  • What Ethical Travel credentials does the tour company have?

    Since 2002, The Intrepid Foundation has supported over 130 organisations across the world. We’re creating positive impact through the joy of travel, community and connection.

  • Do you operate a “single share” option and how does it work?

    Over 50% of traveller travel solo with Intrepid. You can choose to share a room with another solo travelle of the same sex for no additional charge, or choose to pay a single supplement if you’d like your own room. Please request this when booking, and we will secure you a single supplement wherever possible. Please note, if you are booking a last-minute trip, it may be harder for us to secure a single room

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Book with Confidence

  • Free Date Changes

    Intrepid Travel allows you to make 10 free date changes, as long as the change is made at least 56 days before the start of the tour.

  • Transfer as credit to Future Tours

    Intrepid Travel allows you to transfer existing payments to a future tour to avoid cancellation fees if you can't travel and inform intrepid travel, 56 days before departure.

  • Low Deposit

    Intrepid Travel requires a minimum deposit of 400 USD per person or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 56 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of intrepid travel charges.

    Up to 56 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 55 days before tour starts: Forfeit 30% of booking price.

    At 30 days before tour starts: Forfeit 60% of booking price.

    At 14 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

  • COVID Protection

    Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards
    From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travellers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19.

    However, we continue to strongly recommend that all travellers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and other Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.

    This policy excludes all Polar trips and select adventure cruises, where testing and vaccination remains a requirement. Please refer to the Essential Trip Information of your chosen tour for more details.

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