10 days and 9 nightsItaly 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 different hotels, each enjoying marvellous locations, two on the dramatic Italian coastline, and one amid the forested hills and vineyards of Chianti county in Tuscany. This itinerary makes an ideal honeymoon or just a marvellous holiday. You can use this suggestion as it is, or let us help you to adapt it to suit your own tastes and budgets.Click here to download a pdf with information about some of our suggested Italian touring holidays.From your arrival in Milan, this touring holiday takes you first to the picturesque fishing village of Portofino on the Ligurian Riviera. One of the best hotels in Italy, the Belmond Hotel Splendido takes full advantage of the rugged verdant landscape, set in an enviable position high above the village, and nestled into the side of the green mountainside of the Portofino peninsula. The ideal place to relax, with large luxurious suites painted in a neutral palate, to contrast the vibrant emerald of the hills and the deep turquoise of the sea outside your window. Enjoy dining at the hotel’s superb restaurant which boasts magnificent sea views and relax in the large outdoor heated swimming pool. Leave the small fishing village of Portofino for the Relais Borgo San Felice set in the heart of the Siena countryside. A spa hotel in Tuscan Chianti, the Relais Borgo San Felice is within short driving distance of romantic cities such as Florence and Siena, and small towns, such as Volterra and San Gimignano. From here, drive across the rolling Tuscan landscape, through Grosseta, towards the coast, to Orbetello, where you cross over a short stretch of water onto a small island, and arrive at the Il Pellicano at Porto Ercole. On the south side of the island, the hotel is far removed from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, instead offering an intimate idyllic retreat that is centred upon the natural Italian landscape and tradition. Spend a few days relaxing on the private beach, before driving into Rome for a day exploring arguably the most romantic city in Italy. From Rome, catch your return flight to London.PRICESPrices range from about £3,380 per person.What’s included: - Three nights’ bed and breakfast in a Classic Room at the Belmond Hotel Splendido at Portofino. - Three nights’ bed and breakfast in a Classic Room at the Relais Borgo San Felice. - Three nights’ bed and breakfast in a Garden View at the Hotel Il Pellicano at Porto Ercole on the Tuscan Coast. - Scheduled flight with British Airways from London Heathrow to Milan, returning from Rome to London. - Hire of a basic group car for the duration of the holiday.Click the tabs above to view our suggested day-by-day touring itinerary and to find out more about the hotels featured.Click here to find out more about how our touring holidays work or click here to download a pdf with information about some of our suggested Italian touring holidays.
Day-by-day itineraryDAYS ONE TO THREEArrive in Milan and drive to PortofinoBefore embarking on the first driving stretch of this touring holiday, spend a few hours on a self-guided tour of the best that the great city of Milan has to offer. Explore the iconic image of Milan, the Duomo Cathedral, third largest in the world. Wander down the five aisles of its cavernous interior before heading out onto the roof terrace for a close-up look at its intricate architecture, dating back to the time of the Visconti family, and the breath-taking views across the vast and beautiful city. If you have time, peruse the works of artistic greats, such as Caravaggio and Raphael, in the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana gallery, or Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Atlanticus in the Biblioteca Ambrosiana. Explore the Visconti fortress, the Castello Sforzesco, originally built in 1368, but updated in Renaissance times, another iconic symbol of Milan. The fortress also encloses the Parco Sempione, the largest park in Milan, expertly landscaped around the central miniature lake. Make the most of the excellent shopping and dining available before beginning the drive to Portofino, a small fishing village of very different proportions to Milan. Spend the next three nights in the exclusive hillside Belmond Hotel Splendido on the shore of the Ligurian Riviera. A favourite haunt of names such as Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, Humphrey Bogart, Liza Minnelli and Winston Churchill, this hotel offers some of the most highly regarded service and one of the most luxurious experiences in Italy. During the day, ramble between the olive and cypress trees you can see lining the hills from your hotel room and into the Monte di Portofino natural park. Several peaceful walks take you up to the modest summit, while another trail will lead you to the Semaforo Nuovo lighthouse. The fishing port itself offers the same feel of exclusivity of the Hotel Splendido, perhaps first instilled in the village by the visiting painters who were fascinated by the quiet radiance of the sea and the green hills. 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. Rise early on your second day in Portofino for a invigorating run on the water in the hotel’s very own speed boat, feeling the spray of the sea on your skin and appreciating the view of the village from the water. Spend your evenings sipping inspired cocktails in one of the portside bars. We specifically recommend La Gritta American Bar and the Scafandro American Bar, both a favourite with Portofino’s A-list guests. DAYS FOUR TO SIXDrive further south into San Felice in Chianti CountryOn your final day in Portofino, have one last breakfast on the terrace under the sub-tropical canopy, before beginning your journey inland to the hamlet of San Felice. The Borgo San Felice, a traditional Tuscan village in its own right, is a neat round collection of red-roofed houses, surrounded by its own fields and groves. The largest nearby settlement is Castelnuovo Berardenga, itself only a small village of narrow streets lined with towering golden houses and quaint squares. As part of the Chianti wine region, small wineries are open for wine-tasting sessions, including the Agricola San Felice, which is also available for accompanying lunches. Nearby Siena is perhaps most famous for its long-standing competition with Florence. This tour, placing you so conveniently between the two cities, 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 medieval Italy, the Palazzo Publico 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. This ambitious plan came as a result of its competition with the ever-growing Florence, but was left unfulfilled. 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 medieval times, with one member of each of Siena’s 17 districts competing. The square itself comes alive with enthusiasm and age-old tradition. Florence’s charms are more widely known, from its colourful and imposing cathedral, the baptistery and cathedral museum, to the Uffizi and Bargello museums, its churches and monastery overflowing with exquisite Florentine art, and of course, Michelangelo’s ‘David’, in the Accademia. For an experience of Tuscany that is a little off-the-beaten-track, drive into San Gigmignano, 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 medieval form. Consider an afternoon’s excursion to either Montalcino or Montepulciano, to try some of the local Tuscan wine.DAYS SEVEN TO NINEHead out to the Tuscan Coast and Porto ErcoleYour next stop on this touring holiday is on a small island off the Tuscan Coast. Porto Ercole sits at the base of the Rocca Spagnola and surrounded by the verdant Tuscan countryside. On your journey, consider stopping at Orbetello, the town built on the causeway between the mainland and the island, for a brief tour of the cathedral, built on the site of an Etruscan-Roman temple. Upon arrival at the Il Pellicano, your hotel for the next three nights, make yourself comfortable in your luxury room, and explore the many buildings of Il Pellicano that sit on the slopes of the hillside, and then venture down to the beautifully clear waters of the private beach. Other beaches are available nearby, should you want to sample more of the island’s golden sand, such as the Spaggia della Feniglia, or the rocky Riva del Marchese, perfect for snorkelling. In Porto Ercole, leave the harbour on one of Argentario Divers’ spacious diving boats and scuba dive in the calm waters, or stay a little closer to the surface and go snorkelling further from the shore. The Spanish influence on this landscape can be seen and explored in the Spanish fortresses built on Monte Filippo. For the best, most atmospheric views of Porto Ercole, wait until dusk, and then walk up to the 16th century Forte Stella, which gets its name from the star-shape of its inner fort. You enter through an archway where the drawbridge used to be, and are met with the most spectacular views across the water, the hills, and the town below. Borgo Antico, the old quarter of Porto Ercole, can be accessed only on foot, requiring a brisk walk up the hillside to reach its winding narrow streets, beautiful views, and historic squares. The Piazza Santa Barbara is lined with the arcades of the old Governor’s Palace, and from here it is an 80-step ascent to the Church of Sant Erasmo, still in use today, and claimed by some to be the final resting place of Caravaggio, who is known to have died in Porto Ercole. Explore the hillsides further by seeking out the many hidden caves. To return to modern Tuscany, drive the short distance to Cala Galera, a port specifically built to aid Porto Ercole. It is now an excellent destination for bars, fine-dining, and shopping excursions. Have dinner at Cala Galera, portside in Porto Ercole, or in Il Pellicano’s Michelin-starred restaurant, with its beautiful views of the setting sun across the water. DAY TENSpend the day in Rome before catching your return flight to LondonLeave Porto Ercole in the morning of your final day, to ensure you are able to spend a few hours walking down the historic and romantic streets of Rome. The wealth of opportunity in Rome is too extensive to exhaust in one day; whether you prioritise the Colosseum, the Pantheon, a tour of the many temples and Forums dedicated to Roman emperors, an exploration of the countless art galleries, or visit each of the Roman Baths, the city cannot be fully explored even in a lifetime. The choice, therefore, is yours. One place that might be of particular interest lies in the backstreets behind the Colosseum: the Church of San Clemente. Unassuming at first, it is in fact built on top of one of the first Christian basilicas, which was, in turn, built on top of a number of buildings, including the Temple of Mithras, which dates back to the time of Augustus. From the church, you can enter a Roman alleyway, perfectly preserved for the last 2000 years. When you have had your fill of Rome, or simply when time runs out, drive to the airport for your return flight to the UK.Driving times for this touring holiday:Milan to Portofino: 4 hours 50 minutes Portofino to San Felice: 3 hours 20 minutesSan Felice to Porto Ercole: 1 hour 55 minutesPorto Ercole to Rome: 2 hours 10 minutesClick the 'Hotel Information' tab to find out more about the hotels featured in this touring itinerary or click here to download a pdf with information about some of our suggested Italian touring holidays.
These are the luxurious hotels featured in this romantic tour through Italy. Alternative hotels are available in some destinations - please contact us for full details.Belmond Hotel SplendidoPortofino, Ligurian RivieraThe Belmond Hotel Splendido enjoys a thoroughly striking and enviable position on a hillside above the picturesque fishing village of Portofino. Once a monastery and then the private summer residence of a noble family, the Splendido became an hotel at the beginning of the 20th Century and since then has been added to most tastefully over the years. Today the hotel is one of the best in Italy. It is quite captivating due to its wonderful natural setting, its breath-taking sea views, and its enchanting gardens abounding in olive trees, azaleas, peach trees, wild lavender, cactus and thyme. Hotel Splendido has a superb restaurant with sea views, where you can enjoy the light, natural recipes which make abundant use of the herbs and olive oil which the hotel grows. In summer months, there is also a more informal restaurant at the pool-side. Leisure facilities for guests include a large outdoor heated swimming pool, gymnasium, a tennis court, sauna and beauty salon and a motor launch that can be hired. Hotel Splendido also provides leaflets suggesting local walks, for example to the monastery of San Fruttuoso, accessible only by boat or on foot. Many an hour of leisure can be spent strolling in the gardens and appreciating the many varieties of plants and shrubs. The flowers are particularly striking at the end of May and in June. Most of the Hotel Splendido’s bedrooms have balcony and sea view. All rooms are air-conditioned and are equipped to the expected deluxe standard with immense care and attention to detail. Other striking features of the hotel are the numerous black and white photographs in the piano bar of famous visitors the hotel has had over the years. An outdoor restaurant has been created in Mediterranean-Ligurian style, from where you can enjoy the views of the bay of Portofino. There are also comfortable lounges and verandas, a television room and a bar. An extension of the Belmond Hotel Splendido is the picturesque Belmond Splendido Mare, which is charmingly situated in the piazzetta on the waterfront in Portofino itself, ten minutes walk from the Splendido with sixteen beautifully decorated rooms and suites. The facilities of the main hotel are open to all guests of the Splendido Mare. Both buildings, quite different in character, are highly recommended.Find out more here.Relais Borgo San FeliceSan Felice, TuscanyThe Borgo San Felice occupies almost the entire hamlet of San Felice on a slight hill north-east of Siena in Chianti country. Owned by the San Felice wine makers, the hamlet was converted almost house by house into an hotel about ten years ago and is now a beautiful Relais & Châteaux hotel, in fact one of the most appealing hotels in Tuscany and one which corresponds to the characteristics of charm, character and quality we pride ourselves on. Surrounded by vineyards and gently rolling hills, the turrets of Siena can be seen in the distance against the setting sun. The houses occupied by the Hotel Borgo San Felice surround the old village square and church and all have been carefully renovated and furnished to a very high standard. Pots of flowers adorn paths, lemon trees stand on terraces, lawns are carefully maintained. The Borgo San Felice has a total of 46 rooms located in different houses and decorated in slightly different styles, some being quite modern. There is a spacious, very comfortable lounge and bar, an excellent, charmingly decorated restaurant open every day serving creative dishes covering demands for a lighter lunch to a more robust dinner. The restaurant serves excellent regional specialities such as pigeon and truffles in season. The swimming pool is surrounded by a sun terrace, there are two tennis courts and a wine shop selling the San Felice wine, seventeen different kinds in all, of white, red and vin santo. We recommend the Borgo San Felice very highly.Find out more here.Hotel Il PellicanoPorto Ercole, TuscanyThe dramatic approach to Il Pellicano along the coastal road from Porto Ercole with the sparkling azure Tyrrhenian on one side and the craggy cliffside on the other, sets the scene for this superb hotel, nestling in its own vast hilly grounds between pines and olive trees, leading down to the sea itself. Il Pellicano consists of the main house and six other low houses, where some of the bedrooms are situated, terracotta-coloured with dark green shutters positioned amid luxuriant vegetation of olive trees, pines, oleander, jasmine and lavender. The main building of Il Pellicano houses the reception, Pelliclub health & beauty centre, fitness room, boutique, bar and restaurant as well as several bedrooms. There is an open fire-place where logs burn in cool evenings, plush sofas and armchairs and ample cushions, small tables with hand-carved chess boards and draughts. Aperitifs are served on the terrace with views down through the gardens planted with tall pines to the swimming pool and the sea beyond. The 2-Michelin-star restaurant is elegant yet cosy, the cuisine excellent in choice and quality with dining inside or outside on the terrace in warm weather. The bedrooms at Il Pellicano number 50 among which there are 16 deluxe and junior suites. All the rooms vary in size and aspect, with some having views towards the sea, framed by the abundant trees, and others having a garden view. All are furnished very comfortably in a contemporary Mediterranean style. Il Pellicano's swimming pool is situated on a charming terrace above the sea enjoying stunning views. A lift descends to the man-made beach and sea below or you can use the steps. The service by the pool and beach combines charm and efficiency. Light lunches are served by the pool and beach or on the bar terrace whilst several times a week in the high season lunch-time grills are served on a terrace restaurant. Il Pellicano, Tuscany, is a peaceful haven, enjoying an outstanding natural location, superbly comfortable and intensely relaxing. Elegant, sophisticated, charming, and welcoming.Find out more here or click here to download a pdf with information about some of our suggested Italian touring holidays.
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