A two-week tour from the countryside to the Colosseum.
Italy – a country as varied and vibrant in its landscapes as in its culture, wine and food. And sometimes, experiencing its charms in one place is simply not enough. That's why we've put together this inspiring two-week itinerary, combining some of the best boutique hotels in Italy with an eye for true Italian adventure. It will take you on a journey from 'il bel paese' – the beautiful countryside – to the heady sights and sounds of Rome.
AT A GLANCE
- A two-week independent itinerary of Italy based on flying into either Bolzano airport or Milan Malpensa airport (depending on your starting point) and flying out of Rome
- Spend days relaxing in the countryside, getting active in the hills and savouring delicious food and wine, while staying at our pick of boutique hotels
- Highlights include tasting UNESCO-protected wine in the Bormida Valley, enjoying luxury wellness treatments in the Dolomites and being awed by Rome's ancient ruins
AN APPETISING START: BORMIDA VALLEY
There's no better introduction to Italy than the gentle hills of the Bormida Valley. Famous for its Barolo and Berbera wines, sweet Amaretti biscuits and 'slow food' movement, this part of Italy encourages indulgence. Take time to explore the region's food markets – especially if you visit in the autumn, when rare white truffles take centre stage. Stroll or bike along quiet country lanes before stopping for picnics amongst the vines. And when you're done for the day, rest and recharge at Villa La Madonna, an enchanting hillside retreat that blends bohemian Swedish design with the luxury of a 16th-century wine cellar. Suggested stay 3 nights.
THE ADVENTURE CONTINUES: THE DOLOMITES & SOUTH TYROL
If food be the way to start, wellness can surely follow. From Piedmont, head north-east to the Dolomites for rugged peaks and fresh alpine air. Discover hiking trails and wildflower meadows – and if slalom is your thing, take on world-class ski runs at the Madonna di Campiglio resort. Rest weary legs at Lefay Resort and Spa, a self-styled 'temple' to wellness offering guests sensational mountain views. Suggested stay 4 nights.
Or, if you fancy discovering the Dolomites from a distinctly alpine angle, South Tyrol beckons. A unique blend of Italian and Austrian influences, Italy's northernmost province is where you can ski, hike or cycle up a mighty appetite ¬– then tuck into distinctive Tyrolean dishes, like kaiserschmarren (sweet pancakes). Return to your own private steam bath at Hotel Montchalet, which puts a stylish spin on the traditional chalet retreat. Suggested stay 3 nights or 2 nights after Lefay Resort & Spa.
NEXT STOP: TIMELESS TUSCANY
After all that high-altitude action, you might be tempted to relax the pace. On your journey south, you could stop off in modest Bologna for a quick piadina (flatbread stuffed with cheese, salami and rocket). And don't forget Florence if you're a lover of all things Renaissance. After you reach Tuscany's rolling hills, let the laidback approach to life sink in. Wander round idyllic villages, medieval castles and the elegant town of Siena. Breathe in the scent of olive groves. And when it's time to put your feet up with a glass of fine Chianti, make your way to Castello di Spaltenna. This magical 18th-century Tuscan castle boasts a Michelin-star restaurant, bespoke wine experiences and a spa. Suggested stay 3 nights.
THE GRAN FINALE: ROME
Finish your adventure in style in Italy's fast-paced capital. Stand amid the crumbling majesty of the Colosseum, where gladiators fought to the death. For heart-stopping artwork and sculpture, visit the Museo e Galleria Borghese and look out for magnificent pieces by Raphael and Caravaggio. Then grab a gelato or an espresso and soak up the spirited energy of the city's streets. Hotel de'Ricci, hidden away in the bohemian Regola Rione quarter, is the perfect antidote to a day's sightseeing. Let its resident sommeliers pour your wine, then raise a glass to this enchanting country. Suggested stay 3 nights.
It's a good idea to brush up on key phrases in Italian (and German for South Tyrol). The weather in the Dolomites is changeable, even in summer – so remember waterproof clothing and robust gear if your trip is going to be active. A lot of Rome's main tourist attractions have limited entry times and strict dress codes (particularly Vatican City), and it's worth booking tickets in advance. Ask our Voice Reservation Team for details about transfers or transport provided by individual hotels.
BOOK YOUR BOUTIQUE HOTELS
To book the hotels on this independent itinerary, get in touch with our Voice Reservation Team on 0800 0482 314 (UK) & 1-877-234-7033 (US). You can find a full list of our dedicated toll-free numbers here. We're ready and waiting to plan luxury adventures 24 hours a day, seven days a week. So, whenever inspiration strikes, just get in touch.