Memorable & personalized luxury holidays.
The wellspring of creative energies and ideas for over centuries, Italy abounds with Roman ruins, churches, monasteries and museums filled with epic creations. Each city has molto flaunting to do. If Florence brims with pride for Michelangelo and Dante, Venice quietly turns its nose up; its resident artists were Tintoretto and Titian for heaven’s sake! And smiling benignly over all is the larger than life Da Vinci himself. Nature too has reserved her best work for this canvas. And then there’s the food. So when you hit Italy, throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain. Legend has it that you will return again and again!
Cinque Terre, Amalfi Coast – The most recognised spot in Italy will not fall short in any way. The five villages of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso, with pastel coloured houses and whitewashed churches, are built into green cliffs looming over the Mediterranean sea. For a truly offbeat way to savour the region, take a Coastal walk. Romantic beyond description, walk on flower laced paths, pass wisteria covered stone walls, ancient donkey tracks, chapels and enjoy gorgeous views of the sea. Lock fences symbolising eternal love are also a common sight.
Lake Como, Lombardy – Set in the foothills of the forested Alps, with shimmering waters, charming villages, old churches and castles lining its shores, Lake Como is an Italian picnic not to be missed. Among the pretty villas here, the top draw is the Villa del Balbianello, which makes an appearance in a whole host of movies.
Sicily – The island where the mighty Mount Etna resides is full of dramatic scenery, sweeping coastal views and villages that seem to cling to the sky.
Taormina – Feted by the likes of Goethe and DH Lawrence, Sicily’s most famous tourist resort has beautiful stretches overlooking the Gulf of Naxos and Mt Etna. Its list of superb medieval structures include the Palazzo Santo Stefano and the Greco-Roman amphitheatre, all with fabulous views as part of the package.
Ragusa – When an earthquake hit this hilltop town, the residents simply built another city on top. Climb to the upper town to see the baroque glory of Ragusa and admire Sicily’s signature landscape as it unfurls before your eyes.
Ustica – Secluded bays, inlets, caves and grottoes, sparkling waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea and houses covered with artistic murals and tiles, make Ustica a visual delight.
Gole dell’ Alcantara – A stunning river canyon situated below the slopes of Etna, you can wade your way through its chiselled interiors and see the work of time on its layered sides.
Rome, the eternal city, has a near mythical reputation and justly so!
Colosseum – It’s Rome’s leading tourist attraction, rising 157 ft into the air. The Colosseum in its heyday could seat 50,000 spectators, had fountains and latrines, and was the stage of gladiatorial contests, sporting events and even mock navy drills. While only a third of the structure remains, its magnificence has not dimmed.
Vatican City – Enter St. Peter’s square and you can feel centuries of history, faith and art envelop you. St. Peter’s Basilica, with the dome built by Michelangelo, is the most important church in the world, while the Vatican museum has art you’ll salivate over, including the legendary Sistine Chapel ceiling paintings. Do a pre-arranged tour of the catacombs, that date back to the 4th century or earlier. End it by standing for a minute under the most famous balcony in the world.
Trevi Fountain – People throw more than 3,000 euros a day into the Trevi fountain, believing it will bring them back to Rome. Immortalised in art and cinema, this wondrous Baroque fountain was built by Niccolo Salvi, after he won a design competition. Morning, noon or night, the fountain is a sight to cherish.
Spanish Steps – Another Baroque masterpiece, these irregular steps connect the lower Piazza di Spagna with the upper Piazza Trinita dei Monti. A happening place since its construction, it’s where you go to see and be seen. A beautiful twin tower church provides the perfect backdrop.
Pantheon – A star act since its completion, the Pantheon is not only one of the world’s most copied structures, but has a Roman cylindrical structure and outer colonnade that is typically Greek.
Roman Forum – Get a sense of the imperial weight of the Roman empire at the Roman forum. See it from the terraces of Campidoglio (situated on one of Rome’s ancient hills), walk past the Arch of Septimius Severus, past the Basilica di Massenzio and end at the Arch of Titus. Don’t miss the Curia (the seat of the Roman senate) or the ruins of the Basilica Emilia, the only remaining Republican basilica (dating back to 179 BC).
Day trips (Rome)
Pompeii and Herculaneum – Pompeii’s ruins, ironically enough, were saved by the volcano’s eruption. The town’s roads, houses and baths have been preserved as have the plaster casts of Pompeii’s citizens who perished on the fatal day. A short drive away, rests Herculaneum, also affected by the ash. Better preserved than Pompeii, you can enjoy its frescos, mosaics, fountains and cobbled streets.
Heritage Villas of Tivoli – Do as the Roman emperors did. Head to the World Heritage Villas of Tivoli - Villa d’Este (in Renaissance style) and Villa Adriana (Emperor Hadrian’s country retreat).
Assisi – Drive into Umbria to the medieval town dedicated to one of the world’s most beloved saints – St. Francis of Assisi. Visit the Church of Santa Chiara, stroll through the piazzas and pay your respects at the Basilica of San Francesco, with frescoes from the 12th and 13th centuries.
You’ll never run short of marvels in the city of Michelangelo and Dante.
Il Duomo (Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore) – The Duomo announced Florence as the lodestar of Renaissance. Dominating the skyline, the dome was built without scaffolding or buttresses! As a tribute to the great architect and engineer Brunelleschi, no building in Florence is higher than this 14th century Basilica. You can admire its marbled exterior, walk the stark interiors and to crown it, climb up 400 steps to the top of the cupola. The path takes you past Vasari and Zuccari’s fresco of the “Last Supper”, a spectacular explosion of palette and technique.
Vasari Corridor – Built for the infamous Medici family, the 1 km Vasari corridor links the Uffizi Gallery to Palazzo Pitti. Passing many important Florentine landmarks, it covers the Ponte Vecchio and ends in the Boboli Gardens. The corridor is lined with self portraits of yesteryear masters like Filippo Lippi, Rembrandt, Velazquez, Delacroix and Ensor as well as contemporary artists. The Vasari can be seen only through pre-arranged private tours.
Piazza del Signoria – The venerated Piazza del Signoria captures Florence’s heart, history and art. This public square has sculptures by Italy’s who’s who including the Neptune fountain carved by Ammannati, Bandinelli's Hercules and Cacus, and a copy of Michelangelo’s David. The Palazzio Vecchio overlooks the square, while the curved arches of the Loggia dei Lanzi hold further artistic treasures like Giambologna's Rape of the Sabines and Cellini’s Perseo.
Galleria Academia – Michelangelo’s original David has pride of place in the Galleria Academia, along with his unfinished ‘Slaves’ collection. Sculptures and paintings by other masters like Botticelli, Lippi, Perugino, Pontormo, Ghirlandaio, Bronzino and Giambologna make the museum’s catalogue the most envied in the world.
Uffizi – Built by Giorgio Vasari, the Uffizi was intended to be a commercial space. Turned into a museum in 1769, it houses the most important collection of Rennaissance art. The architect called its collection the “School of the World”. Its treasures include several works by Botticelli, Piero della Francesca, Michelangelo, Raphael and Da Vinci’s only completed panel painting. It also has ceiling frescos by Alessandro Allori.
The Uffizi and Galleria Academia are the most visited museums in the world.
Duomo Rooftop Walk – The world’s fifth largest church with more statues and gargoyles than you can count, is Milan’s most imposing structure. A rooftop walk here is exhilarating, both for the city view and sight of the cathedral spires, especially the highest which bears the famous Madonnina, the gold-colored statue of Mary.
La Scala Opera House – Take a tour of one of the world’s most famous Opera houses; see its vast collection of costumes, instruments and other musical curios. Take a minute to marvel at the acoustics of its auditorium and soak up the stories, anecdotes and myths of various performers and composers.
There’s much history along the length of Venice’s famous waterways.
Piazza San Marco – Venice’s main public square (the rest don’t have the title 'Piazza') is framed by some of Venice’s most memorable structures, including the Basilica di San Marco, Doge’s Palace, the Bell Tower (Campanile) and the Clock Tower. A good place to feel the pulse of ancient and modern Venice.
Basilica di San Marco – St. Mark’s remains are interred at Venice’s foremost church with its Byzantine domes and glittering mosaics. Take a tour and get ready for thrilling stories of how the body was brought to Italy.
Doge’s Palace – First built in the 9th century, successive Doges or rulers of Venice have added on to its magnificence. Imposing Halls, wrought loggias, balconies and stairways all lavishly decorated by famed Venetian artists enthral the thousands who visit every day.
La Salute or Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute – Built in the 17th century, by grateful survivors of the plague, no expense was spared in creating this stunning edifice. Guarding the entrance to the Grand Canal, the church overflows with works by the likes of Titian and Tintoretto.
Gallerie dell'Accademia – A storehouse of the best of Venetian art, you can see the works of Bellini, Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese and Canaletto. Carpaccio’s collection of nine paintings of St. Ursula is another masterpiece worth mentioning.
Valley of temples, Agrigento, Sicily – An archaeological park featuring 7 temples dedicated to Concordia, Juno, Heracles and Zeus among others, it’s a World Heritage Site and one of the best remaining examples of the art of Greater Greece.
Chocolate Walks & Gelato stops, Florence – Visit the Vestri Cioccolato (e Gelato) for their signature Affogato (Gelato “Drowned” in Hot Chocolate). Or try homemade specialities like cinnamon, chili, pistachio, mint & orange gelato. Hit Santa Croce for its artisanal chocolate festival, or join an afternoon Chocolate Walk to sample the efforts of Florence’s best chocolatiers like L’Artigiano, La Bottega del Cioccolato, Café Rivoire and Vestri.
Wine & cheese trails, Tuscany – Drive on gorgeous country roads, visit a castle or two and get down to tasting Chianti & local cheeses, especially the salty, flavoursome Pecorino. Visit the medieval town of San Gimignano, and taste the world famous gelato by Gelateria Dondoli as well.
Cooking classes, Puglia & Umbria – Italy’s hotspot for organic foods; you can learn distinctive, Mediterranean style South Italian recipes & wine pairing at Puglia. For Tuscan favourites like Torta al testo, Caramelle and all types of Bruschetta and Crostini, sign up at Umbria.
A climb up Mount Etna is a special Footprint recommendation for those who shun the ordinary.
A sizzling gem on the Amalfi coast, this 30,000-year-old Italian volcano is still huffing and puffing and standing.
Join beautiful Venice as it dresses up in masks and costumes in the countdown to Lent.
Tear yourself away from the many attractions in Italia and go on a delectable culinary journey.