Best of Italy

Trip Code: ZMSV

Why we love it

Take to the Tuscan countryside and cycle along the Serchio River in Lucca, working up an appetite for the region’s delicious local food and renowned wines., Spend a free day exploring the beautiful villages, estates and gardens dotted around Lake Como, criss-crossing the lake by ferry, and consider exploring the grounds of Bellagio's grand Villa Melzi., Head with your local leader to a quaint rural village in the heart of Piedmonte to sample world-class local wines from unique grapes grown only in this region – saluti!, Test yourself on the hilly trails of the Cinque Terre, stopping by the picturesque pastel colour villages of Manarola, Riomaggiore and Vernazza. If you get tired, just jump on the train for the rest of your day!, Italy’s iconic Rome, Florence and Venice are a haven of renaissance architecture and historic sights. With plenty of time to discover at your own pace, you have the power to decide what you’d like to see.

Is this trip right for me?

The primary means of transportation on this trip is by train. Train travel is a fast way to traverse long distances, allowing you to avoid traffic jams and arrive right into the city centre. Trains are comfortable and all have toilets; however, they can often be quite busy.

Please note that we will store our bags at the railway station in Milan while exploring town. There is a limit of one bag per person for the lockers, so please make sure you pack accordingly. Please also note that you'll have to carry your own luggage on and off the trains, and up and down stairs at train stations and at hotels, so make sure it doesn’t exceed our weight and size recommendations. You can find this information in the 'What to Take' section of the Essential Trip Information. You may want to consider taking a backpack rather than a wheelie bag, however this is up to your personal preference and what you feel more comfortable with.

Don’t let the heat keep you from exploring the world! Summer temperatures can be extreme in many of the regions visited (over 40°C), which can be uncomfortable. It’s important to use sun protection, wear layers to combat the heat and drink plenty of water. Many hotel rooms in Europe are not equipped with air-conditioning. Please carefully consider the time of the year you wish to travel and your suitability to that season.

As accommodation on this trip is twin-share, single travellers will share a room with another traveller of the same sex. This trip is a great opportunity to get to know other like-minded people, so embrace it while you can. If you’d prefer not to share, a single room supplement is available at an additional charge. Please ask your travel consultant for more details, and please note that in some hotels a single supplement exclusion applies where single rooms are not available. Hotel rooms in Europe can seem rather small by American or Australian standards and often don't have double beds, but rather two single beds that can be pushed together. Please also note that often hotels offer shared bathrooms rather than ensuite facilities.

Important information

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT
A Single Supplement is bookable on this trip, subject to availability at the time of booking. The price of the single supplement does not include the following nights, where a single room does not form part of the package. In this case you will be matched up with another traveller of the same gender. If a single room becomes available at check-in for these nights, there may be the option for you to upgrade to a single room and pay the surcharge locally for that night:
- Days 6-7 - La Spezia/Cinque Terre
Please also note that due to the small properties we use in Europe there is only a limited amount of single supplements available per trip departure. If you would like to book a single supplement and enquire about availability, please speak to your booking agent.

What to bring/pack

PACKING
On this trip you must pack as lightly as possible because you will be expected to carry your own bag and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we strongly recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb. Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps to accommodate the cobbled streets, uneven surfaces, stairs and steps you are lightly to encounter while carrying your luggage. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips. You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list., https://www.intrepidtravel.com/packing-list, TRAVELLING ON LOCAL TRANSPORT
It's important that your bags can be locked, as on local transport it may be necessary that your luggage gets stowed separately (and unattended). The smaller your bag the better for you and other passengers. To ensure maximum comfort, try to pack small and light., WATER BOTTLE
Please bring your own water bottle to refill along the way. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please use the water dispensers which are provided on some of our vehicles and at some of our accommodation. Your leader will advise whether tap water is safe to drink in your destination, if it is you can simply refill with tap water. When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day.

Physical rating

 
2

This trip can be enjoyed by just about anyone with a reasonable level of fitness. Some trips may have individual inclusions that may be of a higher physical rating compared to the overall rating of the trip. Please read the day-to-day itinerary carefully to find out more details on each day's activities, and whether they are suitable for you. Activities can be opted out of if you don't want to participate.

EXPLORING EUROPEAN CITIES
One of the pleasures of travelling in Europe is the ease at which cities can be explored on foot. Your leader will take you on frequent orientation walks, and you will be able to further explore in your own time. We recommend you pack comfortable walking shoes for this trip. Many of our customers are surprised at how much they end up walking, however this is entirely up to you, and public transport to take you back to our accommodation is never far away.

LUCCA BIKE RIDE
This trip includes bike ride in Lucca and the surrounding Tuscan countryside. The length of the ride is usually about 4 km around the old city walls that are now a tree-lined avenue (without any cars), and 14 kilometres by the river (on country lanes with little or no traffic). The activity is usually completed within approximately 3-4 hours. If you don’t feel comfortable riding a bike you can opt out and enjoy more of Lucca instead.

CINQUE TERRE HIKE
Your leader will take you on a hike along the paths of the Cinque Terre. There are many options, so the length of the hike will be determined according to the ability of the group. If you're feeling energetic, walking additional sections of the path (up to 12 kilometres, approximately 5 hours) will give you the best taste of the villages and countryside, though it will require a good level of fitness. Some sections of path have challenging uphill stretches, narrow segments, steep cliffs and foot bridges. It's possible to take the train between any of the villages or back to your base in La Spezia whenever you want, so it’s up to you if you prefer to opt out of the hiking activity, and how much or how little you would like to walk.

PORTOFINO HIKE
The included hike from Santa Margherita to Portofino is an energetic 5-7 km walk through undulating countryside, with some steep sections on rocky terrain. If you would like to opt out please speak to your leader for alternative suggestions in Santa Margherita.

Joining your group

Hotel San Marco, Via Villafranca, 1, Rome, ITALY, Phone: +39 06490437

Joining instructions

We are happy to arrange an arrival transfer from Fiumicino or Ciampino for you at an additional charge. Please ask your booking agent if you would like to add this service and provide your flight details at least 14 days prior to arrival. If you have pre booked an arrival transfer, your transfer driver will be holding a board with Intrepid's Logo or your name at the arrivals hall. In case of flight cancellations, changes or if you are not able to find the driver, please contact our local emergency number or our transfer operator directly at +39 3282171384 / +39 3355685666

Taxis are readily available outside the arrivals area at both Fiumicino and Ciampino Airport, which will cost about 35 - 50 EUR to get to the hotel. For public transport options, please see below:

From Termini
Exit the Termini railway station with the railway tracks behind you taking the RIGHT hand exit : you will find yourself in Via Marsala, cross the road and go ahead to your left, turn right at the first street. Now you are in Via Vicenza. Go straight ahead for 250 meters and turn left in Via Villafranca the hotel is at number 1.

From Fiumicino Airport
The Leonardo Express is a Trenitalia train connecting Fiumicino airport with the main train station in Rome, Termini. It takes roughly 32 minutes and leaves the airport every half-hour, or every 15 minutes during peak hours. Once in Termini, follow the directions above.

From Ciampino Airport
Take one of the coach companies from outside the airport which will take you to Via Marsala at Termini station for around 6 euros. The most famous of these companies is Terravision. On arrival at Termini, simply follow the directions above.

Finishing your trip

Hotel Villa Rosa, Calle Pesaro, 389, Calle Pesaro, 389, Venice, 30121, ITALY, Phone: +39 041716569

Hotel Villa Rosa is a refurbished villa, located in the quiet area of Cannaregio in the northern part of Venice's lagoon. The property is just a 5 minute walk from the Santa Lucia Railway Station, and 20 minutes by vaporetto from Piazza San Marco. All rooms include air-conditioning, a private bathroom with hairdryer, telephone and TV.

Pre-booked departure transfer to Venice Airport (VCE): If you have pre-booked a departure transfer you will need to make your own way from the hotel to Piazzale Roma. Your driver will meet you 3 hours before your flight departure time at the end of the white taxi line where the limo service area NCC is located, in the parking lot in front of Olimpia Hotel. Maximum waiting time: 30 minutes from the expected time of pick up. In case of flight cancellations, changes or if you are not able to find the driver, please contact the transfer operator directly: +39 3334112840 or +39 3382044390.

Hotel Villa Rosa is within 7 minutes walk of Venezia Santa Lucia Train Station, and a further 2 minutes from Piazzale Roma (for taxis and buses). Your leader or the hotel reception can point you in the right direction. The best way to get to Venice Marco Polo Airport (airport code VCE) is the ATVO (blue) bus which departs from Piazzale Roma and takes about 20 minutes. To get to Treviso Airport (airport code TSF) you can also catch an ATVO (blue) bus from Piazzale Roma. The journey takes about 75 minutes.

Meals & dietary information

Breakfasts included: 7

Lunches included: 

Dinners included: 

While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. To give you maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.

VEGETARIANS
Vegetarians might find the menu selection in Europe less varied than they would see at home. Vegetarianism is not as common in this region and generally the choices are basic, involving vegetables, soups, salads, bread, cheese, fruit, yoghurt, eggs etc. Vegans and those on gluten-free diets may find this region very challenging and may need to supplement meals with their own supplies from supermarkets and markets. Wherever possible we will cater for dietary needs for any included meals, but there may be times when those with special requirements may need to provide their own.

BREAKFASTS
There are some continental breakfasts included on this trip which may simply include bread/toast or pastries, butter, jam, coffee/tea/juice (or similar).

Climate & seasonal information

SUMMER
Summer temperatures can be extreme in many of the regions visited (over 40°C), which can be uncomfortable. It’s important to use sun protection and drink plenty of water. Please carefully consider the time of the year you wish to travel and your suitability to that season.

SHOULDER SEASON
In contrast, weather in shoulder season can be unpredictable, and snow is not unheard of at higher altitudes. If you travel at the start or towards the end of the European season please pack accordingly with warm and/or waterproof clothes (preferably layers). The advantage of travelling during this time is that there are less tourists around.

In case of emergency

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.

You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. Please do be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is completed, so informing us while still travelling will give us the opportunity to resolve the issue in real-time.

For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/

If you have booked an arrival transfer, and you experience severe delays at immigration, baggage collection or customs, or if you are not able to find to the driver, please contact the transfer operator directly on the number listed in the joining point instructions in the section above.

In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's Europe Operations Team can be reached on the number listed below:

Intrepid's Local Operator: +49 8677 9186 657

Accommodations

OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION
The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.

TWIN SHARE BASIS
Accommodation on this trip is on a twin share basis (unless noted otherwise in the day-to-day itinerary). Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite.

CHECK-IN TIME
Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.

PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION
If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.

FACILITIES
Your accommodation may not always have private en suite facilities or air-conditioning. European hotels generally don't provide kettles or fridges.

Transportation

TRANSPORT IN EUROPE
Half the fun of travel is the travelling itself, that's why we like to travel the local way – whether that means mingling with commuters on a local train, watching the scenery roll by from the window of a long distance bus, arriving on a high speed train in the city centre of your next destination, or navigating each city's public transport system. In Europe, you are guaranteed to travel by genuine local public transport wherever possible, which puts you right in the centre of the action.

TRAINS
The main mode of transportation on this trip is by train. Italian long-distance and inter-regional trains are comfortable and often decked out with air-conditioning. Toilets are always available. Some of the trains have snack bars (or vending machines) and power points next to the seats but that cannot be guaranteed on every journey. Regional and metropolitan trains are usually a bit more basic and can be quite busy, but this just adds to the experience. Train travel is a fast way to traverse long (and short) distances, allowing you to avoid traffic jams and arrive right into the city centre of your next destination.


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