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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.'
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
Suggested itineraries in Italy
Nights: 9 | from £3,100
Christie’s Art Journeys: Florence: Art of the Renaissance
Nights: 4 | from £2,995
Nights: 4 | from £1,850
Luxury Small Group Journey - Sicily: From the Mountains to the Sea
Nights: 9 | from £5,069
Gladiators & Gelati: Family Fun in Italy
Nights: 6 | from £3,950
Christie’s Art Journeys: Venice: From Renaissance to the Biennale
Nights: 4 | from £3,795
Connections - Italy: South to North
Nights: 12 | from £4,785
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
Experience the dramatic beauty of Italy. Delicious seasonal delicacies, with a stay at Hotel Brunelleschi. Book before the 28th February and stay three nights for the price of two. Valid for travel from now until the 28th February 2015. Terms and conditions apply.
SPEAK TO A TRAVEL CONSULTANT ON 01242 850 661