Teatro Greco, Taormina with Mount Etna in the background
Caption: Teatro Greco, Taormina with Mount Etna in the background
Caption: Statue of fallen Icaro & Concordia temple in the Valley of Temples
Caption: Taormina, Italy
Caption: The Leaning Tower of Pisa
Caption: Venice
BEST VALUE
Journey Price: $7,329
7,329 Points Applied: -$1,466
Cash Remainder: $5,863
Prices per person sharing a room. 20¢ per point

 Deposit $600 per person.
Prices are per person based on 2 people sharing a cabin/room. Single room supplement $659.00.

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See available dates
Book online or call Call us on:1.855.624.4386 Monday to Thursday 09:00am - 8:00pm. Friday 09:00am - 17:30pm (London time)

Book your journey

Choose from the list below to book your journey

Available journeys:

  • May 23, 2020. Enticing Northern Italy Escorted Journey with Sicily Extension.
    Cash Only Option
    23 May - 08 Jun 2020 from $7,329 Book Now
  • May 23, 2020. Silver & Standard Members: Enticing Northern Italy Escorted Journey with Sicily Extension.
    Apply 7,329 points per person at $0.20 per point leaving a cash remainder of $5,863 per person.
    23 May - 08 Jun 2020 from $5,863 Book Now
Book online or call 1.855.624.4386

Journey Snapshot

Activity level: Level 2 Requires moderate physical activity. You need to be able to participate in physical activities such as longer walking tours, walking over uneven terrain, climbing steps and be comfortable with some periods of standing. Not suitable if you have limited mobility.
Destination: Enticing Northern Italy with Sicily extension.
Duration: 17 day / 16 nights
Flight information: Please arrange your flights to arrive into Milan [MXP] on Day 1 & depart from Palermo [PMO] on Day 17
Pickup location: Milan Malpensa Airport [MXP]

Overview

May 23, 2020

After visiting the very best of Northern Italy, why not extend your stay and discover Sicily!

A fantastic tour offering all that is the very best of Italy.  On our journey from Milan to Palermo we will visit the classic cities of Verona, Venice, Bologna, Florence, Pisa, Lucca and Rome.  See spectacular Lake Garda, experience the magnificent scenery of Tuscany, walk in the footsteps of Roman emperors. We'll sample traditional food and wine, explore iconic buildings such as the Colosseum, St Mark's and the Leaning Tower of Pisa and visit some of the world's most famous museums that Italy has to offer.  Then we will journey over to Sicily, the largest of the Mediterranean islands. Its rich history is reflected in sites like the Valley of the Temples and the Byzantine mosaics at the Cappella Palatina, a former royal chapel in the capital city Palermo. On Sicily’s eastern edge is Taormina with its magnificent Greek Theatre and, not to forget, Mount Etna, one of Europe’s highest active volcanoes.  Sicily's pastries and desserts (dolci) are famous for their richness, and in the Sicilian heat why not try the refreshing drink granita di limone (ice and lemon slush) or enjoy a glass of Marsala, Sicily's most well-known wine.

Itinerary

Itinerary summary: DAY 1 - Benvenuti in Italia!
DAY 2 - Milan - Lake Garda - Verona
DAY 3 - Verona to Venice
DAY 4 - Venetian Highlights
DAY 5 - Bologna and Tuscany
DAY 6 - Discovering Florence
DAY 7 - Pisa and Lucca
DAY 8 - Chianti Vineyards and Rome
DAY 9 - Ancient Rome
DAY 10 - The Vatican City
DAY 11 - Arrivederci Roma - Benvenuti in Sicilia
DAY 12 - Taormina and Mount Etna
DAY 13 - Piazza Armerina and Agrigento
DAY 14 - Valley of the Temples, Monreale and Palermo
DAY 15 - Discovering Palermo
DAY 16 - Palermo's Hidden Markets
DAY 17 - Arrivederci Italia
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Full Itinerary

DAY 1 - Benvenuti in Italia!

Welcome to Milan! Upon arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel.  This evening we will join our fellow travellers and enjoy a welcome drink and tour presentation, followed by dinner together in a nearby restaurant.

Included meals: Dinner 
Accommodation: NYX Hotel, Milan 

DAY 2 - Milan - Lake Garda - Verona

We will depart after breakfast for a panoramic guided coach tour of Milan before heading east for Verona. Sights will include La Scala, Milan's world renowned opera house, Sforzesco Castle and the Cathedral amongst others.  En-route we will stop at one of the picturesque towns at the southern end of spectacular Lake Garda, Desenzano or Sirmione, where there will be free time to explore and take lunch at leisure.  We will then continue to Verona for an overnight stay. Dinner together in local restaurant/trattoria.

Included meals: Breakfast and Dinner 
Accommodation: Best Western Hotel Firenze, Verona 

DAY 3 - Verona to Venice

This morning we will have some free time to explore Verona at our own pace.    It is a very easy city to walk around with plenty of shops, bars and cafes, as well as some world renowned attractions such at the Arena (well worth a visit) and the famous 'Juliet's Balcony'.  After we have had time for a spot of lunch, we will head towards Venice where we will spend the next two nights.  Tonight enjoy dinner together in a local restaurant/trattoria.

We will be transferred from the coach to our hotel by private boat shuttle (same on the return).

Included meals: Breakfast and Dinner 
Accommodation: Hotel Maison Venezia Una Esperienze, Venice 

DAY 4 - Venetian Highlights

After breakfast, we will enjoy a guided walking tour of the main sights of Venice, including the Doge's Palace and St. Mark's Basillica.  The rest of the day and evening will be free to explore Venice with your 24hour ACTV Tourist Venice Travelcard (unlimited travel including the water-buses) Perhaps take a boat tour to the islands of Murano and Burano where the famous glassware is produced or treat yourself to a tour of the canals on a gondola!

Included meals: Breakfast 
Accommodation: Hotel Maison Venezia Una Esperienze, Venice 

DAY 5 - Bologna and Tuscany

This morning we will continue our tour south towards Florence and Tuscany, stopping en-route at the city of Bologna, Italy's culinary capital and, yes, the home of Bolognese Sauce!  We'll have lunch before continuing on our journey.  We will be staying in the spa town of Montecatini Terme for 3 nights which will give us plenty of time to experience what this stunning region has to offer.  Montecatini Terme is a delight in itself and a beautiful spa town located 38 miles from Florence.  If time allows during our stay, it is worth taking the funicular to the summit of Montecatini Alto village, home to the Torre dell’Orologio, a medieval clock tower, plus the Romanesque church of Santa Maria a Ripa and sweeping views.

Dinner will be together in the hotel this evening.

Included meals: Breakfast and Dinner 
Accommodation: Hotel Boston or Hotel Leonardo Da Vinci, Montecatini Terme 

DAY 6 - Discovering Florence

We will depart after breakfast with a short walk to the nearby railway station and board a local train for the short journey to Florence.  On arrival we will be met by our local guide and taken on a walking tour of this historical city.  We will see a host of famous sites such as the Galleria dell'Accademia (statue of David), Uffizi Gallery, Brunelleschi's Dome, Giotto's Bell Tower, St. John's Baptistry, Ponte Vecchio amongst others.   After all this exercise, it's time to relax, maybe enjoy a traditional gelato (ice cream)?  We'll return to our hotel by train, where we will also be having dinner.

Included meals: Breakfast and Dinner 
Accommodation: Hotel Boston or Hotel Leonardo Da Vinci, Montecatini Terme 

DAY 7 - Pisa and Lucca

Following breakfast we will board our coach for a full day tour to Pisa and Lucca.  First stop will be Lucca for a walking tour of this highly attractive entirely-walled Renaissance town.  Walking through the historical centre along the cobblestone streets we will see the Casa di Puccini, where the great opera composer was born which is now a house museum. There will be time for lunch before we board the coach again and head off to Pisa.  We will meet our guide for a tour of the Campo dei Miracoli (Miracles Square) comprising Duomo, Baptistry and the famous Leaning Tower.  There will be some free time and plenty of photo opportunities before we return to Montecatini Terme.  Dinner will be together at our hotel.

Included meals: Breakfast and Dinner 
Accommodation: Hotel Boston or Hotel Leonardo Da Vinci, Montecatini Terme 

DAY 8 - Chianti Vineyards and Rome

As we leave Florence behind we will drive through the picturesque Tuscan countryside and the Chianti region where we will stop at a classic Chianti vineyard for a presentation and wine tasting including local snacks/light lunch.  After re-boarding our coach we will continue south to the Eternal City that is Rome for the next 3 nights.  Dinner will be together this evening in a local restaurant/trattoria.

Included meals: Breakfast, Light Lunch and Dinner 
Accommodation: Hotel Mecenate Palace, Rome 

DAY 9 - Ancient Rome

This morning we will have a guided city sightseeing tour by coach where we will discover Ancient Rome including visits to the Colosseum and Roman Forum (including skip-the-queue tickets and headsets).  The rest of the day and evening will be free to explore this amazing city, making our own way back to the hotel.

Included meals: Breakfast  
Accommodation: Hotel Mecenate Palace, Rome 

DAY 10 - The Vatican City

Another highlight will be the guided visit we are making today to the Vatican and it's museums including St. Peter's Basilica and the Sistine Chapel (including skip-the-queue tickets and headsets). Our hotel is centrally located so you have the choice to return to the hotel at whatever point in the day that you'd like to.

This evening we will enjoy a Farewell Dinner together in a local restaurant/trattoria.



Included meals: Breakfast and Dinner 
Accommodation: Hotel Mecenate Palace, Rome 

DAY 11 - Arrivederci Roma - Benvenuti in Sicilia

Today we will leave Rome and journey over to the island of Sicily.   We will depart the hotel by coach and transfer to Rome Airport for our short flight to Catania, a city located on the eastern part of the island.  On arrival, we will board our waiting coach, meet up with our fellow travellers who arrived yesterday and drive north, along the coast, to the world famous hill-top resort of Taormina.

Tonight we will enjoy and welcome drink and get-together, followed by dinner in a local restaurant/trattoria.

Included meals: Breakfast and Dinner 
Accommodation: Hotel Villa Diodoro, Taormina 

DAY 12 - Taormina and Mount Etna

This morning we will visit Taormina's greatest tourist attraction, Teatro Greco, a Greco-Roman theatre built into a rocky hillside. Although generally known as the 'Greek' Theatre, Taormina's historic open-air theatre owes much of its present appearance to the Romans. Designed with an unsurpassable backdrop of blue sea, coastline, distant smoking Etna, and inland mountains, we will wander around the theatre complex, the stage and backstage areas, as well see panoramic views from the curving rows of seats.

After some free time to get some lunch, we will depart by coach for a guided excursion to Mount Etna which is among Europe’s tallest (and the world’s most active) volcanoes. A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2013, the volcano has shaped Sicilian history and continues to impact life on the island today. We will ascend the volcano by coach to Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza (6200ft). For those who wish to ascend further to around 8200ft there is the option of a cable-car/funicular (payable direct).**

Back at the hotel, the evening is at leisure.

(**This does not take you as far as the crater which is further uphill)

Included meals: Breakfast 
Accommodation: Hotel Villa Diodoro, Taormina 
Optional extras: Cable-car/Funicular (please ask for details) 

DAY 13 - Piazza Armerina and Agrigento

We depart after breakfast towards Agrigento, one of Sicily's finest ancient cities. On the way we will stop at Piazza Armerina, a pretty and historic town nestled in the heart of Sicily.   Whilst here we will visit the truly astonishing classical mosaics at the Villa Romana del Casale, an important Unesco World Heritage Site due to its containing the most complex and largest collection of Roman mosaics in the world - there are 3535 square metres of them.  We will continue to our hotel in Agrigento.

Dinner will be together this evening in a local restaurant.

Included meals: Breakfast and Dinner 
Accommodation: Grand Hotel Mose, Agrigento 

DAY 14 - Valley of the Temples, Monreale and Palermo

We depart after breakfast for a guided tour of the Valley of the Temples, a magnificent collection of seven ancient Greek temples from the 6th and 5th centuries BC and Sicily's most enthralling archaeological site. The most well-preserved and striking of them, the Concordia, is arguably the best-preserved temple in the world outside the Hephaistion in Athens.

From here we will head north to Monreale, a historic hill-town just outside Palermo, a picturesque place most famous for the fine mosaics in the town's great Norman cathedral which we will tour and visit. The cathedral and cloisters at Monreale are frequently cited as the island's greatest Norman buildings. The upper part of the cathedral's interior is completely covered in gleaming gold mosaics; more than 6,000 square metres of mosaic.

Continue to Palermo and our hotel for the next 3 nights.  The evening is at leisure.

Included meals: Breakfast 
Accommodation: Hotel Federico II, Palermo 

DAY 15 - Discovering Palermo

This morning we will have a guided visit and backstage tour of the famous Teatro Massimo - Sicily's premier opera/concert theatre with its stunning interiors and detailed exterior. It is the biggest in Italy, and one of the largest in Europe, renowned for its excellent acoustics and holds over 1,300 seats. Then we will visit the Palazzo dei Normanni (Royal Palace) and the Cappella Palatina. Home to Sicily's regional parliament, this venerable palace dates back to the 9th century. However, it owes its current look (and name) to a major Norman makeover, during which spectacular mosaics were added to its royal apartments and magnificent chapel, the Cappella Palatina. Visits to the apartments take in the mosaic-lined Sala dei Venti, and Sala di Ruggero II, King Roger's 12th-century bedroom.

The rest of the day and evening is at leisure.

Included meals: Breakfast 
Accommodation: Hotel Federico II, Palermo 

DAY 16 - Palermo's Hidden Markets

This morning we have a treat in store - a guided visit and tour of one of Palermo's historic open-air markets. A Palermitan street market is a cacophony of sights, sounds and scents and the tradition dates from the 9th century Saracen rule of the island, which explains their striking similarity to Arab souqs. They are a great place to soak up some local atmosphere even if you don't actually buy anything, but you'll have to know where to find them, hidden as they are from the main streets - that's why we recommend you tag along on this tour.

Tonight we will enjoy a Farewell Dinner together in a local restaurant.

Included meals: Breakfast and Dinner 
Accommodation: Hotel Federico II, Palermo 

DAY 17 - Arrivederci Italia

Sadly, it's time to say goodbye.  We have arranged transfers to Palermo airport 

Included meals: Breakfast 

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More information

What's includedWhat's not includedImportant information

What's included

  • Arrive transfer from Milan Malpensa Airport to hotel and departure transfer from hotel/Palermo airport
  • All airport transfers in Milan/Rome/Catania/Palermo as indicated in the itinerary
  • Accomodation as detailed in the itinerary
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary
  • All transfers/touring and excursions in air-conditioned deluxe motor vehicles including necessary ZTL permits.
  • All entrances/guides (English speaking) and visits as indicated in the programme.
  • Porterage at all hotels including luggage assistance for the Venice boat transfers (1 piece per person)
  • Tourist taxes
  • Services of a Big Journey Company Tour Director throughout

What's not included

  • Please arrange your flights to arrive into Milan Malpensa [MXP] on Day 1 and depart from Palermo [PMO] on Day 17
  • Additional food and beverage unless otherwise included in the itinerary
  • Personal expenses
  • Personal Travel & Medical Insurance
  • Optional excursions/entrances
  • Gratuities and tips. Our local travel service providers are paid well and fairly for their work. However, it is usual for groups to tip guides and drivers and it would be reasonable for each group member to factor in a contribution of around €10 per day.

Important information

  • Please let The Big Journey Company know prior to travelling if you have any medical needs or take any medication that we need to be made aware of to ensure that you have a safe and pleasant tour.
  • Check in is after 2pm and check out is before 11am unless otherwise specified in the itinerary.
  • Cancellation 90 – 0 days prior to departure cancellation fee is 100%. It is your responsibility to ensure the correct travel insurance in place to protect you against the need to cancel your holiday. Deposits are non-refundable and final payments are due 14 weeks prior to departure.
  • Further terms and conditions apply and will be provided upon request or at the time of booking. The Big Journey Company reserves the right to withdraw any offer prior to accepting a reservation request. This does not affect your statutory rights. This offer is subject to availability and space is limited.
Once in a lifetime

Book your journey

Choose from the list below to book your journey.

Available journeys:

  • May 23, 2020. Enticing Northern Italy Escorted Journey with Sicily Extension.
    Cash Only Option
    23 May - 08 Jun 2020 from $7,329 Book Now
  • May 23, 2020. Silver & Standard Members: Enticing Northern Italy Escorted Journey with Sicily Extension.
    Apply 7,329 points per person at $0.20 per point leaving a cash remainder of $5,863 per person.
    23 May - 08 Jun 2020 from $5,863 Book Now
Book online or call 1.855.624.4386

The big journey promise

The big journey company was set up with one goal in mind, to share our passion for inspirational cultures, destinations and experiences. Over the last 10 years we have had the privilege to escort thousands of travellers on awe inspiring and sometimes life changing journeys. Our promise to every guest who joins us is that we will do everything possible to make sure your journey not only exceeds expectations but delivers at least one moment of true amazement.

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Holiday tours are operated by The Big Journey Company Limited. Registered in England. Registered office: Marron Bank, Branthwaite, Cumbria, CA14 4SZ. Registered number: 6532140. VAT number: 290797457. The Big Journey Company Limited is a member of The Travel Trust Association member number U5675 and holds an Air Travel Organiser’s License number T7282.

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