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June 19, 2017

Immerse Yourself in Italian Culture

Travel to Tuscany

With its spectacular coastline and mountainous interior, world-famous cities and quaint villages, and of course, some truly delectable food and wine, Italy is a dream for travellers. A great way to savour its varied charms is on Collette's Spotlight and Explorations tours. Spotlights focus on a particular city or region, with a single hotel stay meaning you'll only need to unpack once. The Exploration tours, meanwhile, have smaller groups and more adventurous and immersive itineraries. Whichever you choose, you're guaranteed to get a flavour of La Dolce Vita (the sweet life).

Spotlight on Rome

Using the sleek, centrally-located Del Borgia Hotel as a base, you'll spend six days absorbing the historic landmarks and vibrant street life of the Italian capital. You can walk in the footsteps of ancient gladiators in the mighty Colosseum, get your photo snapped by the magical Trevi Fountain and fossick the fresh produce stalls of the colourful Campo de' Fiori market (before learning how to make pasta with an expert Roman chef). This tour also leads you into the Vatican City, where you'll marvel at the opulence of the Sistine Chapel and St Peter's Basilica.

Spotlight on Tuscany

From Michelangelo's David in Florence, to the Leaning Tower of Pisa, this eight-day tour flaunts some of Italy's most iconic sights. But it also delves into the some of the lesser-known Tuscan towns and cities, such as Lucca, a postcard-pretty gem with atmospheric winding streets, mansion-lined piazzas and 5km of fortified walls that you can amble on. You'll also take in the medieval majesty of Siena and San Gimignano, go wine-tasting in the Chianti area and sample pecorino at a cheese farm. Each night you'll bed down in Montecatini Terme, a charming spa resort town edged by the verdant Tuscan hills.

Tuscan and Umbrian Countryside

If you fancy a blend of big-city attractions with the soothing delights of rural Italy, this ten-day tour is ideal. As well as enjoying the mindblowing palaces, cathedrals and Renaissance-era art of Siena and Florence, you'll witness the ravishingly-scenic rolling countryside of Tuscany and Umbria. Pit stops include Orvieto and Volterra, a charming pair of hill towns that date back to the ancient Etruscans, and Assisi, a medieval stunner where pilgrims flock to pay their respects to St Francis, Italy's patron saint. Delicious meals, paired with local wines, are another enticing feature of this tour.

Northern Italy

Kicking things off with a cruise on Lago Maggiore, one of Europe's most breathtakingly beautiful lakes, this nine-day adventure offers a tantalising insight into the foodie-loving Piedmont region. You'll visit idyllic lakeside towns and hilltop villages, enjoy strolls through bucolic vineyards and hazelnut groves, and join a trifolao (truffle hunter) on a search for these prized delicacies. Besides truffles, you'll also try artisan chocolates, sparkling white wines and home-made risotto. In Turin, Italy's first capital city, you'll discover the diet of kings and queens on an exclusive private tour of the Royal Kitchens in the Palace.

Italy’s Treasures

Boasting an enchanting mix of coast, city and countryside, this 11-day tour showcases just why Italy is many people's favourite holiday destination. You'll travel by rail through Cinque Terre, a cluster of brightly-painted fishing villages perched by the sea. You'll indulge in the diverse treats of Florence, Siena and Lucca, and experience rural Tuscany at its finest, with a villa stay, a trip to a winery and a cooking class that'll reveal the secrets of its authentic regional dishes. The tour ends with a boat trip around Venice, a glass-blowing demonstration on Murano Island, and a walking tour featuring unmissable Venetian landmarks like St Mark's Basilica, the Doge's Palace and the Bridge of Sighs.

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