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Contacts make a difference in Italy. A world of difference - and nobody knows that better than our highly qualified guides. The sun-kissed accounts of our returning guests testify to the little personal flourishes that made their Italian holiday truly memorable.
There's A&K's amazingly well-connected Donatella, who introduced guests to Siena's small but perfectly formed delicatessen, al Palazzo della Chigiana, for complementary tasting of cheese, meat and olive oil; a similarly convivial experience with decent wines in a Rome osteria; and another in Florence, where, after an introduction from A&K's guide, local artisans presented our clients' children with beautiful towels embroidered with their names.
And we're just starting. There were gifts of freshly roasted chestnuts in Verona's Piazza Erbe, and a night of free wine and mesmerising views after our guide informed a Positano bar owner that his guests were newlyweds. When you take an Abercrombie & Kent luxury holiday to Italy you'll also be able enjoy the fruits of higher level contacts: a tour of Florence's Vasari Corridor, home of the Medici's private art collection, or a visit to the atelier which makes Venice's elaborate carnival costumes.
As one part of A&K's multi-centre European team that has offered seamless travel across the continent for 25 years, we provide an insider angle on Italy's rich cultural heritage and contemporary life. Along with premium hotels and deluxe villas, we also have our nationwide 'Guardian Angels': super helpful locals who'll iron out any travel wrinkles.
You'll discover a Mediterranean country oozing with history and glorious landscapes: the north's imposing mountains and serene lakes; softly undulating central heartlands drizzled with hilltop villages and cypress trees; and the Neapolitan Riviera's ludicrously romantic resorts, across the sea from Sardinia's powder beaches.
Your A&K tour reveals centuries-old art and architecture, from Venice's palazzo-lined canals and Tuscany's renaissance showstoppers to Rome's honey-stoned grandeur and the South's ancient remains - all with a generous side serving of glorious cuisine.
Small wonder Italy's packed in high season, but, once again, our contacts make a crucial difference. 'Our guide walked us past the long snake of visitors waiting to enter St Mark's in sweltering heat,' wrote James Landsdowne. 'He took us to an innocuous side door, said "Ciao" to the guard, and we were allowed straight in. How wonderful.'
Suggested itineraries in Italy
Nights: 9 | from £3,100
Spend 9 days living la dolce vita as you explore historical Rome, romantic Florence, peaceful Siena, and alluring Venice on this Italian journey.
Christie’s Art Journeys: Florence: Art of the Renaissance
Nights: 4 | from £2,995
Join Abercrombie & Kent and Christie’s on a journey through Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance and once inspiration for masters including Brunelleschi, Bernini and Michelangelo.
Nights: 4 | from £1,850
Sip Limoncello overlooking the romantic Amalfi coast each night after your adventures exploring Capri and Pompeii during your 4 night holiday.
Luxury Small Group Journey - Sicily: From the Mountains to the Sea
Nights: 9 | from £5,069
Visiting Palermo, Erice, Seges Ta, Marsala, Selinunte, Agrigento, Piazza Armerina, Ragusa, Modica, Syracuse, Taormina And Catania
Gladiators & Gelati: Family Fun in Italy
Nights: 6 | from £3,950
A fun-filled family Italian adventure over 6 nights, learning about gladiators, enjoying a private cooking class and taking a tour of Florence's oldest gelateria.
Christie’s Art Journeys: Venice: From Renaissance to the Biennale
Nights: 4 | from £3,795
Join Abercrombie & Kent and Christie’s in Venice as we wind through the canals and hidden passages in search of some of the city’s most magnificent works of art. Art and architecture are part and parcel of the city’s charm, from the Renaissance works found in the grand palazzos to the modern masters such as Picasso and Miró at the Guggenheim.
Connections - Italy: South to North
Nights: 12 | from £4,785
Explore some of Italy’s greatest sites and learn from inspiring chefs and artisans in Rome, Venice, Naples, Florence, Sorrento and Siena.
An all-suite private estate hotel bang in the middle of Tuscany with Siena, San Gimignano and Florence all within an hour. From a perfect cappuccino as the Tuscan sun sets, to a romantic picnic lunch in the vineyards and dining alfresco with friends and family, enjoy the best of the regions food and wine on a break in the rolling Italian countryside.
Enjoy three nights for the price two from 19th March - 30th May, 19th - 31st August & 1st October - 9th November 2015. Terms and conditions apply.
SPEAK TO A TRAVEL CONSULTANT ON 01242 850 661
Save from £85pp
Stay three nights at Palazzo Manfredi in a Prestige King on a B&B basis and save 20% when booking 60 days before travel. Includes international flights and transfers. From £840pp, saving £85pp. Valid for travel until 30th April 2015. Subject to availability. Terms and conditions apply.
SPEAK TO A TRAVEL CONSULTANT ON 01242 858 200
Europe & Middle East
Our Europe & Middle East team – Sarah, Eleanor, Lynne, Robert, Lucy and Nicola – are experts in designing the perfect holiday to suit your personal needs, interests and budget.
Best time to be there
Coastal areas and the islands are great year round, although July and August can be very hot. The arts and opera seasons are generally at their peak outside these months. August is very much a shut down month as Italians take their annual break.
Bari, Cagliari, Catania, Milan, Pisa, Rome and Verona (British Airways), Naples and Venice (British Airways or bmi)
2 hours - 2 hours 30 minutes
GMT +1 hour