Tailormade tour Romantic Interludes Italian fly-drive tour Italy

9 nights/10 days

Portofino • Chianti • Tuscan coast

Italy is probably the most romantic country in Europe, a country where romance is not only in the beautiful landscapes, buildings, and atmosphere, but a way of life. This touring holiday includes a stay at three very romantic and yet very places, two on the dramatic Italian coastline, and one amid the grey-green hills and vineyards of Chianti country in Tuscany, from where you can see the towers of Siena in the distance. This itinerary is ideal as honeymoon or special occasion, or just a marvellous holiday. You can use this luxury fly-drive touring holiday exactly as it is or let us help you to adapt it to suit your own tastes and budget.
Holiday price guide

Available year-round subject to the opening period of the hotels, from about £2,430 per person.

Luxury fly-drive tailormade touring holiday Italy's Romantic Interludes

Highlights

Portofino • Chianti • Visit wineries • Visit Siena • Visit San Gimignano • Drive across the Maremma • Argentario peninsula • Porto Ercole

Day by day

You arrive at either Milan Malpensa or Genoa airport and collect your hire-car. Spend three nights on the romantic coast of the Ligurian Riviera. Visit nearby Portofino and walk along Portofino’s streets to discover the small boutique shops, some selling the famous Genoa lace, or drop in to the Church of Sant Giorgio to view the relics of Portofino’s past. Castello Brown has some of the best views across the port, and from here you can walk to the Faro lighthouse, with its magnificent views over the Gulf of Tigullio and the pine forest.

After breakfast begin your journey south along the coast and then inland to Chianti country. This fly-drive tailormade tour, placing you so conveniently between the two cities of Florence and Siena, will let you make up your own mind about which is the most charming. In Siena, the old city walls contain a town that is half taken up by olive groves and gardens. The part of the town occupied by buildings, however, truly is an architectural and historical delight. Home to the tallest secular tower of mediaeval Italy, the Palazzo Pubblico is home to the seat of the city council, as well as a vast collection of beautiful Sienese art. The original weathered mythological relief panels from the Fonte Gaia can also be found here, while the fountain itself is now adorned with faithful copies. The Piazzo del Duomo, however, tells the most interesting story. Its free-standing marble arch is all that remains of Siena’s plan to extend the original Duomo di Siena; the square itself, paved with red and white tiles, was intended to be the cathedral’s interior. The baptistery of the original cathedral lies underground, while the crypts are on ground level. The baptismal font is said to be one of Siena’s finest spectacles, with relief panels carved by the likes of Donatello, Ghiberti, and Jacopo della Quercia. The semi-circular Piazza del Campo exudes the laid-back Tuscan lifestyle, lined as it is with pavement cafés. On the 2nd July and 16th August of every year, the square plays host to the Palio horse race, still carried out as it was in mediaeval times, with one member of each of Siena’s 17 districts competing. The square itself comes alive with enthusiasm and age-old tradition. For an experience of rural Tuscany, drive across the grey-green forested hills into San Gimignano, another small town that once had ideas of greatness. All that remains of its plans seem to be the rising peaks of its square towers, while the rest of its buildings have remained in the mediaeval form.

Your next stop on this romantic touring holiday of Italy is on the Tuscan coast of the Maremma within reach of coastal towns such as Castiglione della Pescaia and Punta Ala. The coastline here is renowned for its natural, sandy beaches flanked by umbrella pines and dunes. Inland there are hill-top villages perched amid rolling hills and fields. The wine area of both Bolgheri and Brunello are a short drive away and to the south you'll find the mineral springs at Saturnia and the Argentario peninsula. Marinas and nature reserves complete the range of scenery you can visit.

Leave Porto Ercole today for your return flight from Rome Fiumicino to London.

Holiday price guide Prices from about £2,430 per person based on two people sharing a double or twin room. Price for Luxury hotel option from £4,775 per person.

Holiday Code ITFD07

Luxury fly-drive tailormade touring holiday Italy's Romantic Interludes

Holiday price guide Prices from about £2,430 per person based on two people sharing a double or twin room. Price for Luxury hotel option from £4,775 per person.

Holiday Code ITFD07

Our prices include ● Scheduled flight with British Airways from London to Genoa or Milan, returning from Rome to London
● Hire of a Group B car for the duration of the holiday
● Three nights’ bed and breakfast in a Deluxe queen room with sea view at the Grand Hotel Miramare at Santa Margherita
● Three nights’ bed and breakfast in a Classic room at the Villa le Barone in Tuscany
● Three nights’ bed and breakfast in a Superior room at L'Andana on the Tuscan Coast
● Concierge service and Expressions Holidays regional helpful hints

Our prices do not include ● Early check-in or late check-out at any hotels (although we can arrange this on request at additional cost)
● Any other services not mentioned above, such as transfers and meals except breakfast at hotels
● Personal holiday insurance. This is essential and cover should be in place from when you book the holiday.
● Local tourist tax, usually between Euros 1 and 3 per person per night, and payable locally to the hotel

Additional information Driving times for this touring holiday
Milan to Santa Margherita 4 hours 50 minutes or Genoa to Santa Margherita 60 minutes
Portofino to Chianti 3 hours 20 minutes
Chianti to Tuscan Coast 1 hour 55 minutes
Tuscan Coast to Rome 2 hours 10 minutes

Expressions Holidays includes these hotels in this touring holiday as suggestions, but they can be substituted by others in the same region, if you have a preference to stay elsewhere.
Hotels included in this tour
Santa Margherita
Grand Hotel Miramare Value option

Grand Hotel Miramare is a traditional and charming 5-star hotel. Dining terraces boast enviable views of the Portofino Gulf and a luxurious wellness centre afford guests a truly tranquil and indulgent retreat.

Deluxe queen room with sea view

Belmond Hotel Splendido Luxury option

Belmond Hotel Splendido and Belmond Splendido Mare are boutique 5-star properties in a beautiful coastal location. Delicious cuisine and excellent spa facilities offered in a stunning location make this hotel a relaxing and restorative retreat.

Classic double room

Panzano in Chianti
Villa Le Barone Value option

Villa le Barone is an enchanting 4-star hotel in a beautiful rural location in the Chianti countryside. Exquisite gardens, delicious cuisine and excellent wine, alongside authentic, comfortable accommodation, afford guests an intimate, relaxing taste of Tuscany.

Classic double

Borgo San Felice Luxury option

The Borgo San Felice is a boutique 5-star hotel in Chianti country, ideal for exploring Italian vineyards and authentic Tuscan cuisine. Excellent spa facilities and fine dining restaurants afford guests a truly indulgent experience.

Classic double room

Castiglione della Pescaia
L'Andana Value option

L'Andana is an exclusive 5-star hotel in a magnificent natural location. This luxurious hotel offers the ultimate in relaxation with excellent local cuisine, superb spa facilities and stylish accommodation in the Tuscan countryside.

Superior room

Il Pellicano Luxury option

Il Pellicano is a 5-star, exclusive haven of seclusion and luxury with stunning coastal views. Excellent spa facilities and delicious cuisine alongside exemplary service and luxurious accommodation afford guests a truly relaxing and indulgent experience.

Garden view room

Holiday price guide Prices from about £2,430 per person based on two people sharing a double or twin room. Price for Luxury hotel option from £4,775 per person.

Holiday Code ITFD07

Luxury fly-drive tailormade touring holiday Italy's Romantic Interludes

Highlights of Tuscany

Famous vineyards producing wines of Chianti Classico, Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. Alabaster is produced in Volterra. Gold and silver are worked in Florence and the Ponte Vecchio is lined with jewellery shops. Marbled paper and stationery is a speciality of Florence. Ceramics and hand-painted majolica from raw terracotta from Impruneta to the glazed pottery of Siena are to be found throughout Tuscany. Lucca has traditionally produced silk and hand-woven fabrics. Leather goods including shoes, handbags and belts are to be found from market stalls to designer shops such as Gucci and Ferragamo. Interesting markets include the Mercato dell' Antiquariato which sells furniture from antiques to bric-a-brac in Arezzo on the first weekend of every month, in Pisa on the second weekend and in Lucca on the third weekend. The 'wild' Maremma is known for its long-horned white cattle and cowboys (butteri) and natural springs including Saturnia.

Cultural highlights of Tuscany

As birthplace of the Renaissance, Tuscany contains a wealth of treasures: Giotto`s Campanile and Brunelleschi`s Dome in Florence, the Tombs of Galileo and Michelangelo in Florence`s Santa Croce, Botticelli`s `Birth of Venus` and `Primavera` and the portraits of the Duke and Duchess of Urbino by Piero della Francesca in the Uffizi, Michelangelo`s `David` in the Accademia, the architecture of the Piazza della Signoria in Florence, `The Tuscan Maremma` painting by Giovanni Fattori in the Palazzo Pitti in Florence, the Piazza del Campo in Siena, `The Legend of the Cross` frescoes by Piero della Francesco in Arezzo, `The Creation` fresco by Bartolo di Fredi in the Collegiata in San Gimignano, Romanesque church of the Collegiata in San Quirico d`Orcia, 14th Century Fortezza of Montalcino, Renaissance masterpiece of the church of Madonna di San Biagio at Montepulciano, the abbey-church of Sant`Antimo, mediaeval Lucignano and the towers of San Gimignano, the Etruscan Museum in Cortona.  

Festivals in Tuscany

Many of Tuscany`s festivals resound with the flamboyance of the Renaissance and keep Tuscans and visitors alike in touch with the region`s rich history. Others are linked to Tuscany`s hearty traditions of eating and drinking. The most famous is Siena`s Palio which takes place on 2 July and 16 August each year. Others include the Sagra del Tordo (Festival of the Thrush) in Montalcino on the last Sunday in October when there is an archery contest and charcoal-grilled thrush are a delicacy. In Florence, Calcio in Costume (a football match played in mediaeval costume) takes place in June. Pisa has the Giocco del Ponte (Game of the Bridge), a mock battle in Renaissance dress also held in June. Viareggio celebrates Carnival on Shrove Tuesday with a huge display of flamboyant floats. In May and August Massa Marittima holds the Falcon Contest.  

Gastronomy in Tuscany

Simple country food is at the heart of Tuscan cooking. Regional dishes include Bruschetta (bread or ciabatta toasted and rubbed with garlic, olive oil and salt), Ribollita (bean, cabbage and bread soup), Pasta with hare or wild boar sauce, Porcini mushroom and truffle dishes, Bistecca all Fiorentina (thick cut of sirloin and fillet beef), Cantucci (almond and honey biscuits) served dipped in Vin Santo, Panforte (chocolate, nut and spice cake). Pecorino cheese made from sheep's milk. Local wines include the white Vernaccia di San Gimignano and the Bianco di Pitigliano. Famous reds include Chanti Classico, Brunello di Montalcino and the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. Vin Santo made from semi-crushed grapes left for several months is an excellent dessert wine.

Luxury fly-drive tailormade touring holiday Italy's Romantic Interludes

Highlights of the Ligurian Riviera

There are numerous places of interest on and around the Ligurian Riviera. Visit the resort of Nervi with the collection of clocks, fabrics, furniture and lace in the Villa Luxoro and its Galleria d'Arte Moderna. Genoa, a busy port and bustling city, also has fine palaces such as the Palazzo Reale and the Palazzo Bianco and the fascinating Steglieno Cemetery, full of elaborate tombs. The wild beauty of the Cinqueterre should be seen from the ancient footpath, the Sentiere Azzurro, which links the coastal villages. The Abbbazia di San Fruttuoso on the Portofino Peninsula can be reached by boat or on foot. In Camogli sea shells adorn the house walls and the castle contains a display of sea creatures. Flower market in Sanremo early mornings. Giardino Hanbury near Ventimiglia. Diano Marino known for its olives and sandy beaches. Visit Andora Castello, inland from Alassio, known as the finest mediaeval building on the western Riviera.

Cultural highlights of the Ligurian Riviera

The 12th Century Church of San Matteo in Genoa, with its striped black and white Gothic facade. The 16th Century Via Garibaldi in Genoa, designed by Cantone. The `Adoration of the Magi` by Joos van Cleve in the Church of San Donato in Genoa. Crucifixion by Van Dyck in the Church of San Michele di Pagana between Santa Margherita and Rapallo.

Festivals in the Ligurian Riviera

Festivals include the Blessing of the Fish in Camogli in May and the Stella Maris procession of boats to the Punta della Chiappa in August. Procession at Montallegro, above Rapallo, is held at the beginning of July. La Spezia holds a `Festa del Mare` on first Sunday in August.  

Gastronomy in the Ligurian Riviera

Local cuisine is influenced by the sea in particular and the mountains to the north. Local specialities include dishes made with pesto for example Trenette al Pesto and Farinata which is a flat bread of chickpea flour and oil, thin like a pancake and eaten as a snack. Pansoti with walnut sauce is a Ligurian speciality of spinach and egg filled pasta with a sauce of nuts, garlic, herbs, ricotta and olive oil.

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