Today fly from Sydney, Melbourne, *Brisbane, *Adelaide, Perth or *Auckland to Rome, Italy. You will fly on reputable airlines such as Etihad Airways, Emirates, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa, Swiss Airways, Austrian Airlines, Finnair or Cathay Pacific to name a few (subject to availability). Due to flight time and schedule, you will arrive in Rome on Day 2.
Benvenuto, nella bella Roma! (welcome to beautiful Rome!) Upon arrival at Rome airport you will receive a meet & greet by your tour manager and transfer to your hotel in the centre of Rome. Enjoy the rest of the day at your leisure.Overnight: NH Roma Vittorio Veneto or similar
Today after breakfast you will embark on a morning panoramic tour of the city, beginning with the Trevi Fountain, which has become an iconic spot thanks to the movie ‘La Dolce Vita’, directed by Federico Fellini.
The tour will take you through the streets of the old town, you will see famous sites such as the Pantheon, the spectacular Colosseum; the Palazzo Madama, which houses the Senate of the Italian Republic; and Navona Square, which was built on the ruins of the Domitian Circus (entrances not included). Enjoy the remainder of today at your leisure to visit any of the multitude of Rome’s amazing cultural sites like the Forum, Vatican City or perhaps enjoy an afternoon gelato on the iconic Spanish steps (additional tours not included)
PRO TIP: In the evening, make your own way to Testaccio, one of the city’s many delightful food districts filled with delightful outdoor cafes and trattorias for an aperitivo and evening meal you will never forget!
Today you will depart Rome for the beautiful rolling hills of Tuscany. After breakfast you will head northbound toward the region of Umbria known as the green heart of Italy. A two hour drive past stunning medieval towns, wonderful undulating countryside and endless grape vines will bring you to the memorable hill town of Orvieto. Perched atop an impenetrable rocky outcrop it is famous for its beautiful marble cathedral and its Orvieto Classico wine. Here you will have the chance to visit a traditional Umbrian winery and sample some of the most iconic local wines. Continue further north and into the heart of Tuscany where you will reach the small medieval city of Siena. The beauty of which is best experienced by walking through its historic streets and relaxing at the outdoor cafes in the Piazza Del Campo, site of the Palio Horses Races. See also the Piazza del Duomo, Santa Maria della Scala & Torre del Mangia. A short one hour drive and you will find yourself in your final destination for the day, the radiant Tuscan capital of Florence where you will have the remainder of the evening at your leisure.Overnight: Mercure Firenze Centro or similar
Waking up in this most awe inspiring renaissance city is a true bucket-list must. The smells of strong espresso and freshly baked brioche permeate the spring air. After a coffee and breakfast you will embark on your morning tour of the Tuscan countryside and the beguiling hilltop village of San Gimignano. Be amazed by the labyrinth of winding cobblestone streets and elegant piazzas hidden inside these wonderfully preserved ancient walls. Admire the distinctive skyline boasting 13 medieval towers and home of the renowned wine called Vernaccia. Here you will have the chance to enjoy a local wine tasting at one of the best wineries of the region, the Tenuta Torciano winery.
Upon your return into Florence, it is now time for an enjoyable walking tour of this captivating city with your tour manager. Here you will view the main sites like Santa Maria Novella, Ponte Vecchio, the iconic Duomo and the Piazza della Signoria. With the rest of your afternoon and evening at your leisure, take the time to explore this magnificent ancient walled city which is a true treasure trove of renaissance architecture. Behold sculptures by Michaelangelo and Giambologna, breathtaking artworks by Boticelli and Giotto. You can also choose to explore the world-famous Uffizi museum (Not included. Must be booked and paid prior to arrival to ensure space) Or perhaps while away the afternoon along the famed Via del Parione, shopping in the countless artisanal stores and Florentine leather boutiques.
Sta sera (this evening) be sure to reserve yourself a table in one of the many fantastic traditional restaurants tonight where the brave at heart can take the bull by the horns and order the iconic surfboard sized “Bistecca Fiorentina”, a real T-bone steak to remember. PRO TIP: The Palazzo Vecchio, viewed in the crisp morning air, is truly a beauty to behold and well worth an early wake up.
Today enjoy a complimentary wine tasting.
After breakfast, bid farewell to Florence until ‘la prossima volta’ (the next time) The journey continues as you head southbound on your way back to Rome to the beautiful renaissance hill town of Montepulciano.
A timeless medieval village nestled above the stunning Val d’Orcia surrounded by rambling vines of the local vino rosso of the same name, Montepulciano enjoys fantastic views of the countryside below. Stroll along quintessential cobblestone streets past epochal churches admiring the picture-postcard landscape. Every way you turn, you are confronted with the bella vistas of the captivating Tuscan countryside, where waves of hills and golden fields, dotted with cypresses merge together and all roads lead to the magnificent central piazzas and historic churches.
With the noble Tuscan hills trailing behind you in the distance, you will now be transferred to Civitavecchia cruise terminal to embark your exciting 7 night Western Mediterranean cruise onboard Holland America’s newest Pinnacle Class ship the ‘Neuw Statendam’.
Today enjoy a complimentary wine tasting.
The first stop on your Western Mediterranean cruise is the legendary seaside city of Napoli. Sitting in the shadow of the foreboding Mt Vesuvius and known for its vibrancy and indulgent cuisine, Naples is a bustling port town with a colourful past. The celebrated Roman ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum, both victims of Vesuvius’ devastating 79 C.E. eruption, lie just south of the city.
The delightful towns of Sorrento and Positano and the magnificent scenery of the Amalfi Coast are within easy reach too. The dolce vita glamour of Capri is just a stone’s throw away and the healing thermal waters of Ischia are only a short hydrofoil hop from the mainland. (shore excursions are not included and can be booked direct with the cruise line).
Sicily's capital is a marvellously jumbled, crumbling blend of old and new. A canvas upon which the region's complex and ever-shifting history has been painted. Over the centuries, the Phoenicians, Greeks and Romans have all laid claim to the island. The Arabs of North Africa, and then Normans from France oversaw a renaissance during which many of Palermo's iconic landmarks and modern tourist attractions were built.
To see some of the vestiges of ancient empires, take a day trip from Palermo to the Valley of the Temples at Agrigento, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its Greek and Roman ruins, including the Temple of Concordia remain wonderfully intact (shore excursions are not included and can be booked direct with the cruise line).
Just a stone’s throw from Sicily across the Mediterranean is the North African capital of Tunis. This vibrant metropolis offers a bustling medley of trade,conquest and independence. In days gone by, this was home to a crucial trading post servicing the ancient Mediterranean and capital of the Carthaginian empire, once the glorious rival of Rome. Nowadays Carthage is a patchwork of beguiling seaside ruins, the last vestige of one of the most affluent cities of the classical world. Well worth the visit are the Bardo Museum, famed for its collection of mosaics and major finds from Carthage. The Medina Quarter of Tunis developed in the middle ages and now a UNESCO world heritage site is a labyrinth of some 700 monuments, palaces, mosques and fountains (shore excursions are not included and can be booked direct with the cruise line).Overnight: Holland America Cruise Line “Nieuw Statendam” ship
Today you will be transiting through the Mediterranean Sea between Algeria in Northern Africa and Sardegna in Italy.Overnight: Holland America Cruise Line “Nieuw Statendam” ship
One of Spain’s most delightful towns, Palma is the largest city and capital of both the island of Mallorca and the entire Balearic archipelago. She hums with the traditional rhythm of a lively Mediterranean island city. Busy food markets, open-air terrazas for lazing and grazing. The charming Passeig del Born is perfect for an evening paseo (stroll) under its entrancing canopy of trees. The city is also becoming a hub of contemporary culture and cuisine. Witness the old town’s buzzing gallery scene, and cutting-edge restaurants. Palma’s location is truly peerless, at the centre of a glorious sweeping bay, the city has its own beautiful beaches and a new state-of-the-art marina that brings in both tourists and locals alike to stroll and take in the giant luxury yachts. Crowned by the magnificence of Palma’s 14th-century cathedral in a commanding position on the old sea wall, its soaring beauty makes it one of Europe’s most spectacular buildings.Overnight: Holland America Cruise Line “Nieuw Statendam” ship
Now the third-largest city in Spain, this bustling port city was once the capital of the Kingdom of Valencia which during its golden age in the 14th and 15th centuries eclipsed Barcelona in importance. A civilized town with a rich artistic past and charismatic present, Valencia has a fabulous Mediterranean climate, relaxed beaches, wonderful examples of Rococo, Roman, Moorish and art nouveau architecture and an intriguing medieval Centro Histórico with its maze-like cobblestone alleyways. Among Spaniards, 2000-year-old Valencia has a reputation for exuberance and sensuality, as well as an inordinate fondness for staying up late. It’s also emerging as one of the country's most forward-thinking food cities.Overnight: Holland America Line “Nieuw Statendam” ship
After enjoying your final breakfast onboard and disembarking the Nieuw Statendam, you will be met by your driver & guide. Set off for a half day tour of this eclectic Spanish city. You will admire the exceptional architectural heritage of the city that owes much to the sculptor and architect Gaudi. Specifically, among his other original works you will see Sagrada Familia. The Sagrada Família is famous for being one of the most iconic examples of Antoni Gaudí's unique style, combining elements of Art Nouveau, Catalan Modernism and Spanish Late Gothic design. Continue to the Gothic Quarter with the cathedral, the old town hall, and the magnificent palace of the Archbishopric. Continue up to Montjuic Hill to enjoy a panoramic view of this beautiful city before heading to your hotel.
With the afternoon at your leisure, you can choose to explore this vibrant seaside port city, packed with centuries of iconic art, architecture and lined with sunny white-sand beaches. Explore the Catalan capital's tourist attractions and historic neighbourhoods, Modernism and world-renowned art museums, galleries and local crafts shops, some of which are centuries old and stock a wealth of traditional Catalan wares.
After you see the sights, there are lively tapas bars around every corner where you can stop for a drink or a snack, no matter the hour. There's Gaudí's mosaic-decorated park, a neoclassical maze at the Laberint d'Horta, as well as plenty of elevated perches where sightseeing visitors can take in the magnificent views.
After breakfast, it is time to prepare for your journey home. Enjoy a convenient transfer from your Barcelona hotel to the airport. Now just sit back, relax and enjoy your journey home.
Today you will arrive home. Make your own onward travel arrangements.