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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 in 2014 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
That is why you use a travel agent and a company like A&K because you are always taken care of not only at the point of sale but during the travel, and after your return home if the need should arise.
- GJ, Tour Consultant
Regions we travel to in Italy
Suggested itineraries in Italy
Amalfi Coast Tour
Connections: Italy - Rome, Florence & Venice
Super Skills Travel, Forte Village, Sardinia
Highlights of Italy
Small Luxury Group Journeys Italian Treasures
Family Gladiators & Gelati
Connections: Italy - South to North