Click here for a slideshow of Italy Bellissimo
As a travel agent that specializes invacations to Europe, my first experience in Italy was withTrafalgar Tours on their – Italy Bellissimo. This is a moderately paced 12 day tour that runs from April through October so you can choose the best time that works for your busy schedule. I also liked that it started on a Sunday and ended on a Thursday which would give me the weekend to recuperate before heading back to work on Monday. When deciding on a tourthe number of days in each city was important to me so I chose this tour because it has two night stays in all the places I had ever dreamed of visiting in Italy, plus it offered a trip to Pisa and Assisi as part of the included itinerary. How could I resist? This is part one of my Italian adventure with Trafalgar tours!
The trip started off with my overnight flight on American Airlines via Chicago. On arrival into Rome we were met by our Trafalgar tour director Dominic. After clearing customs we were taken to our hotel the Sheraton Golf. The hotel was a little outside city center but it had free shuttle transportation that dropped us off right by the Circus Maximus. After taking a hot shower and a power nap, I jumped on the shuttle to explore on my own. I walked down the middle of the Circus Maximus and stared in wonder at the historical ruins of the Forum.
As I turned left I was absolutely stunned by the view of the Coloseum and the Arch of Constantine. To my right was a view of the Roman Forum. A taxi station is conveniently located directly in front of the Coloseum. From the Coloseum I took a taxi over to the Piazza Navona and as we drove the taxi driver showed me Palantine Hill and the River Tiber. The square is lined with restaurants and cafes and artists capturing a moment in history. The sounds of the various marble fountains and the aromas of all the restaurants dazzle the senses.
After exploring on my own, I took the hotel’s transfer back to the hotel for another power nap and went downstairs to meet the tour director for a glass of wine and introductions to the other guests traveling with us. The day by day itinerary did not have dinner included this evening; however, he suggested a fantastic place with traditional Italian Margarita pizza.
The following morning we set off for the Isle of Capri via Pompeii. On the way down, our incredible tour guide, Dominic, filled our heads with information about the role Italy played in WWII.
Whilst at Pompeii we were joined by a local guide that took us through the vast ruins of the city that was decimated by Mount Vesuvius in 79AD. The guide was brilliant and took us down alleys and hidden courtyards and displays of human frames that were left intact after the explosion of the volcano. After spending two hours with the local historian we stopped outside for a glass of the most amazing lemonade I have ever had in my life!
From Pompeii, we headed down to Sorrento. On the way we stopped and did one of the optional excursions offered by Trafalgar and that was lunch at a traditional olive farm. After Dominic and the owner of the farm met us at the motor coach, they gave us a short tour of the self-sustaining farm, we met the famous Mama and watched her strain milk and turn the curds and whey into amazing mozzarella cheese! After the demonstration they took us the restaurant and gave us samples of limoncello made right there on the farm. After lunch we stopped in Sorrento to tootle around the town for a couple hours and had a tour of the inlaid wood factory to see an example of traditional Italian craftsmanship. I was amazed at the number of vespas being driven by the locals. It seems to be the popular mode of transportation!
Sorrento was so charming and beautiful and the drive down to the pier was breathtaking! The city literally sits on a wall of cliffs. We took the ferry over to Capri and everything you see when you sail up to the pier is all white roofs and sails and greenery everywhere, with teal and aqua water all around. The street signs are dark blue and white tile, everything is done in style! The view from out hotel was of the city of Capri, but one you walk out the hotel and down about a half a block and you have this amazing sea view that brings Audrey Hepburn to mind.
While in Capri we decided to do the Blue grotto optional excursion with lunch. The cruise around Capri to the grotto was awe inspiring. I do not think I have ever seen such a vast variety of the color blue in my life and the incandescent glow inside the cave is beautiful. After the sail around we traveled up to Anacapri for lunch and time to shop before returning to our hotel for the night for dinner.
Stay tuned for Part two of my Italian adventure with Trafalgar tours. Until then do not miss out on these amazing deals!
Last Minute Deals from Trafalgar for this Summer: Don’t wait! These deals won’t last long!
Tour Name Depart / Was / Now / Savings
Grand tour of Italy Aug 05 / US$ 3550 / US$ 3018 / US$ 532
Flavours of Italy Aug 19 / US$ 2625 / US$ 2231 / US$ 394
Italian Holiday Aug 20 / US$ 1725 / US$ 1466 / US$ 259
Best of France Aug 21 / US$ 2999 / US$ 2549 / US$ 450
Best of Scotland Aug 21 / US$ 1625 / US$ 1381 / US$ 244
If you would like more information about an escorted tour of Europe please email me or call 425-821-4100. I look forward to working with you on your dream vacation!