Best of Italy 10 day coach tour

Trip Start Feb 23, 2010
1
10
26
Trip End Feb 22, 2012


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Where I stayed
Molino Stucky Hilton Hotel, Venice

Flag of Italy  , Lazio,
Saturday, August 28, 2010

Prepare for a 10 day tour of Italy! We had a really great time with Johan’s parents and enjoyed having them stay with us in London for a few days before and after the tour. The Insight Vacations itinerary was jam packed but included all the important things to do. We have included a brief overview of all the places we went to but there is so much more to say.

Our highlight? We would probably say Assisi - a small religious town - dedicated to St Francis. We loved the cobbled walkways, 'double-decker' church, quaint coffee shots and most of all the view from our hotel room. It was breath-taking! One can't describe how beautiful it was. We overlooked the valleys and could see the sunset and the rain in the distance. Ahhhh you could smell the wet earth.

We stayed over in 5 cities/towns: Rome, Assisi, Venice, Montecatini and Sorrento and enjoyed ice-cream in all of them!

Day 1 - ROME 
relaxed at the Crowne Plaza Rome-St Peter's pool, went for welcome drinks and then off to our first evening event. Dinner and a drive through the streets of Rome to enjoy the beautifully lit buildings. The restaurant was authentic and probably one of our most memorable! An Italian duet was the evening's entertainment. 

Day 2 - ROME SIGHTSEEING
We visited the Vatican Museums, admired Michelangelo's famous ceiling inside the Sistine Chapel (a masterpiece!) and visited St Peter's Basilica (huge). We then visited the Colosseum, and saw the Roman Forum. The paintings in the Sistine Chapel were unbelievable and we especially enjoyed seeing all the biblical stories represented on the walls.

Day 3 - ASSISI
As I mentioned, one of the highlights was the peaceful hill-top town of Assisi, the home of St Francis. We visited the huge 'double-decker' Basilica (two churches built on top of each other), built in the 13th century after St. Francis' death, where the frescoes (paintings) by Giotto heralded a new era in Italian art. Hotel Subasio was the name of the hotel.

Day 4 - VENICE
Magical Venice – very romantic at night! Upon arrival we were astounded by the huge Molino Stucky, Hilton Hotel which was to be our ‘pad’ for the night. At first we didn’t want to sleep in order to make the most of it, but after a day of walking the streets, a visit to see a master glass blower demonstration at a Venetian glass-blowing factor, a gondola cruise along the Venetian canals, three course dinner and a relaxed after-dinner drink in St Mark's Square, we were ready to sink into our beds.

Day 5 – TUSCANY - MONTECATINI
We visited Pisa to see the famous Leaning Tower and then stopped at the Tuscan town of Montecatini for a two-night stay at Grand Hotel Tamerici & Principe. We enjoyed a wine tasting experience in the vineyards – wine, olive oil, garlic bruschetta, sundried tomatoes, salami, DELICIOUS balsamic vinegar and cheese. Definitely more than just a tasting!

Day 6 - FLORENCE SIGHTSEEING
The highlight in the city of Florence was a guided walking tour which included a visit to the Academy Gallery to see Michelangelo's monumental figure of David. We were also given a presentation on leather goods. Michelangelo was a genius to get the figure so perfectly carved out of a marble block. The statue was bigger and better than we imagined. We learnt how the process worked and about Michelangelo’s life – he dedicated his life to his art and his diet consisted of bread and wine!

Day 7 - SORRENTO
After a long drive past Napels and we followed a winding clifftop road to our hotel in the picturesque town of Sorrento. We stayed at the lovely Grand Hotel La Pace. We unpacked and set off again for a nearby village, Positano, for some sightseeing, ice cream and YES a quick swim in the ocean.

Day 8 - ISLE OF CAPRI
We took a cruise to the island of dreams, Capri - a rock rising from the Mediterranean. We took the chair-lift to the highest point where we enjoyed the picturesque view and a cappuccino. After a guided tour around the town we spent some time exploring the narrow alleyways and Johan had a swim in the ocean while I enjoyed the fabulous views over the Mediterranean Sea from the rocks. Back in Sorrento we enjoyed a fantastic evening in a vibey beachfront restaurant with a delicious 4 or 5 course meal (we couldn’t keep count!).

Day 9 - POMPEII
On-route back to Rome we visited Pompeii, the opulent Roman town which was preserved by layers of ash from the disastrous eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD79. A walking tour with a local guide through the cobbled streets and extensive excavations reveals the daily life of ancient Roman civilisation. This was seriously amazing! When we got to Rome we stayed at theSheraton Roma and enjoyed an amazing dinner with our tour group.
Day 10 - ROME
Breakfast and back to London……. 3 days later we had to say a sad good-bye to family and get back to reality…….Until next time :)
 
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