It’s not unusual for us to encourage our clients to ditch the sunlounger and sample the local culture instead, but with Italy, we don’t just encourage this, we urge it.
Yes, with its beautiful beaches and stunning hilltop towns, its balmy climate and sumptuous regional cuisine, you could just soak up all this dolce vita without ever leaving your Tuscan villa or Puglian beach resort, but in Italy, such cultural neglect, we feel, is almost a crime. From the snow-capped mountains of the north to the arid boot in the south, with more Unesco World Heritage sites than any other country on earth, Italy just cries out to be explored - not for nothing Victorians flocked here on their Grand Tours.
With all this mind, we have developed a range of Authentic Experience Holidays, helping you get under Italy’s beautiful skin. From garden tours to opera breaks, from half-day wine-tasting excursions to five-day residential cookery classes, these special interest holidays afford a more intimate glimpse of Italian life, but also factor in plenty of time just to relax. For us, Italy wouldn’t be Italy if you didn’t make time to slow down and smell the espresso, too.Food, Wine & Cookery HolidaysFood and wine is the heart and soul of Italy, and we now have a range of different foodie holiday offerings, with cook schools in boutique hotels in Chianti, Umbria and Valpolicella (starring Filippo Gozzoli, formerly of the Gavroche in London, now head chef at Villa del Quar’s two-star Michelin restaurant), and another just outside Florence, so that you can learn the secrets of pasta by day, then return to your hotel in the Tuscan capital by night. Not that you have to commit whole days to these Authentic Experiences: with one-off wine-tasting sessions in Tuscany, two-hour truffle hunts in Piemonte, a morning’s olive oil tasting in Sicily and an afternoon’s Limencello-making in Sorrento, our specialist foodie holidays let you explore Italy’s gastro treats for as long or as short as you desire, staying in hotels hand-picked for their food and wine.Find out more about food, wine & cookery holidays in ItalyGarden ToursPlaygrounds of the rich and famous dating as far back as the Roman Empire, the Italian Lakes and Amalfi Coast – and later Tuscany with its classical and romantic estates – all boast beautiful private and public gardens. We offer specialist itineraries visiting the best of them, with the Amalfi Coast tours also taking in the gardens of Capri, as well as optional daytrips to Pompeii. Offered as a small group holiday, these Garden Tours can also be taken as private trips for individuals – and it’s then up to you whether you want a guide to show you round the gardens.Find out more about garden tour holidays in ItalyCultural ToursAs well as private, personally-tailored sightseeing excursions, we can also arrange private archaeological tours and Opera Festival stays. From the grandeur of the Arena in Verona to the Puccini Festival on the Tuscan Riviera, or from the Ravello Festival in an Amalfi villa overlooking the sea to the Rossini Festival in Pesaro, we take care of all the tricky bits like concert tickets and transfers, leaving you to enjoy the arias. But it’s not all classical: we also offer visits to the Umbria Jazz Festival staged in the streets of Perugia.Events & Local FestivalsFrom Sicily’s Almond Blossom Festival to the Siena Palio, from the Tuscan Sun Festival to the Merano Christmas Market, Italy is bursting with regional festivals reflecting the nation’s insatiable appetite for communal celebration and infectious zest for life. We can arrange bespoke itineraries specifically targeting the festival of your choice. Find out more about local festivals in ItalyCycling Holidays
Expressions Holidays has created a bespoke programme of short cycling excursions with some of our favourite hotels in Tuscany, Puglia and Umbria, allowing you to explore the stunning countryside at your own pace during the day, while still being pampered and cosseted by the hotel staff on your return each evening.Touring HolidaysJust getting round Italy under your own steam is, we think, a brilliant way of getting to know the country. We can suggest a range of multi-centre stays using your own car, or hiring one when you get there – or we can even put together an itinerary that takes you about by Italy’s superb network of very affordable trains.Find out more about touring holidays in ItalyFind out more about our full range of luxury holidays in Italy.
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Italian garden holidays and tours for individuals and small groups
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Tailor-made cookery holidays in Italy
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Our selection of authentic experience and special interest holidays.
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