Pisa, The Cinque Terre and Portofino

8 Days - Escorted Tour

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This wonderful tour explores two of the most desirable regions in Italy - Tuscany and the Italian Riviera, delightfully different from each other yet equally fascinating.

Inclusions

  • The price of this holiday is per person based on two people sharing a twin room. Single rooms are subject to availability at the above relevant supplement. The price includes four nights at the four-star Grand Hotel Bonanno and three nights at four- star superior Grand Hotel Miramar, with breakfast and dinner; return flights; all taxes and charges; return transfers; guided tours of Pisa with entrance in to the Cathedral, Baptistery and Camposanto; guided tour of Lucca; visits to a working Tuscan vineyard and tasting; cruise by private charter boat along the Cinque Terre (subject to weather conditions); visit to Portofino; all transport and tours as mentioned; services of a Riviera Tour Manager. Where hotels feature a swimming pool, pools are open in the summer months weather permitting.
  • NOT INCLUDED: Should you wish to climb the Leaning Tower of Pisa entrance is €15 (approximate cost, payable locally).
  • Important note For safety reasons visiting the Cinque Terre and Portofino by boat is inevitably subject to weather conditions. If we are prevented from sailing to the Cinque Terre we will travel by rail visiting the villages of Monterosso , Vernazza and Manarola. If we are prevented from sailing to Portofino we will travel by local bus (approximately a 10 minute drive) - the only other possible method allowed. In these cases refunds of £23 and /or £4 per person per the respective tour will be given. Should these circumstances occur, the Captain’s decision is final, please consider this when booking this holiday

Itinerary

Day 1

Fly to Pisa then stay four nights with dinner at the four-star Grand Hotel Bonanno, set on the edge of Pisa’s historic centre.

Day 2

After breakfast enjoy your guided tour of Pisa, the historic heart centred on its aptly named Piazza dei Miracoli - the Square of Miracles. The great “Leaning Tower” is one of the world’s most instantly recognisable icons and the centrepiece amongst a stunning array of perfectly harmonious buildings, unmatched anywhere. The richness of decoration in the 11th century cathedral is just astonishing and it was here that Galileo formulated his pendulum theory when observing the incense burner swinging from the nave's highly decorated ceiling. This afternoon you can explore more of Pisa’s sights as you wish.

Day 3

Today you discover some of Tuscany’s best secrets – you probably won't find the hilltop village of Campiglia Marittima in a guide book, but it is marvellous to stroll in solitude around its maze of ancient alleys and squares. Vineyards abound here, producing the excellent wines Tuscany is justifiably famous for, with the small village of Bolgheri producing an outstandingly rich style. It would be a travesty to pass by without stopping for a tasting. Next, you call at Castagneto Carducci, before returning to Pisa and dinner in the hotel.

Day 4

After a leisurely breakfast, it’s just a short drive to historic Lucca, famed for its wonderfully preserved Renaissance city walls; each of their four sides lined with different tree species, remain beautifully intact, cementing their place as one of Tuscany’s major sights, although in true Italian style they have even been used for racing cars. Lucca really is a lovely place to explore so at the end of the tour you won’t be rushing off. There’s plenty of time for you to wander its charming cobbled streets, shady promenades or dally in the elegant piazzas. This afternoon, you return to Pisa for a leisurely final evening and dinner.

Day 5

This morning you drive north past Carrara’s enormous gleaming quarries, source of the finest marble, much prized by sculptors from Michelangelo to Henry Moore and used since Roman times to build the great monuments now stretched across the Italian nation and beyond. You commence your exploration of Liguria’s extraordinarily naturally beautiful coast, studded with some of the world’s most attractive small villages and stay three nights in the outstanding four-star superior Grand Hotel Miramare, Santa Margherita. This classic, 1906, fin-de-siècle building faces the sea to the front and extensive mature landscaped gardens to the rear and boasts every modern facility yet retains its essential character of period elegance. Elegant Santa Margherita itself is ideal for your stay - charmingly chic and quintessentially Italian. Full of smart shops and pavement cafés the sophisticated atmosphere pervades the narrow streets beyond, and the fashionable town is just three miles from Portofino.

Day 6

Today you cruise by private charter to the extraordinary Cinque Terre (“The Five Lands”), five villages cut off from the landward side by the rugged terrain and steep coastline, almost unreachable by car. The individual names, Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore are almost unknown but as the Cinque Terre they are celebrated as a region completely unspoilt by modern development and their dramatic position make the Cinque Terre one of Europe’s principal scenic highlights. See note re: weather below.

Day 7

Today you admire yet more stunning scenery with fine watercraft quietly going about their business on the shimmering waters as you sail to Portofino. Arriving by sea allows you to truly appreciate the way in which this historic fishing village nestles around its own superb natural harbour, set amongst cypress trees and olive groves. Traditionally this incredibly pretty village with its jumble of colourwashed houses stretching up the hillside from the water’s edge earned its living from the sea, and its many superb restaurants still do. Mentioned by the great Roman writer Pliny the Elder, and as early as the 1950s it was a favourite of Bacall, Bogart, Burton and Taylor. Indeed celebrity spotting whilst whiling away an hour over a drink is a common pastime of residents and visitors alike. However you may prefer to explore the quieter backstreets, seek out a “locals'” bar for more authentic Portofino life or take a walk to the headland where the scent of wild thyme, pine and wild flowers hangs heavy in the air and the view is stupenduos. Returning this afternoon, you have time to explore lovely Santa Margherita itself before your final dinner in the hotel’s classic dining room.

Day 8

After breakfast, bid farewell to the Ligurian coast and transfer back to Pisa Airport for your return flight.

Accommodation

Grand Hotel Bonanno

The four-star Grand Hotel Bonanno, staying four nights with dinner. Ideally located on the edge of Pisa’s historic centre, just a short walk to the Leaning Tower and the Cathedral, it is very...

Grand Hotel Miramare

The four-star superior Grand Hotel Miramare, Santa Margherita, this classic fin-de-siècle building dating from 1906 faces the sea to the front and extensive mature landscaped gardens to the...
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